First-person shooter video games are a particularly apt genre to present the subject of WW2: their interactivity allows the player to feel like a soldier om the battlefield, and the first-person perspective enhances the realism of the fight.
For years, the players could enjoy plenty of WW2 games, some better and some worse. Our list will present the best of the games, which not only treated the subject matter with respect but also gave a player a chance to feel like a real soldier on the European and Pacific front, thanks to excellent gameplay mechanics.
Load up on ammo and grab your MediKit, cause it’s time to send Nazis to Hell in the best first-person shooter games.
Day of Defeat
|Release year:||2003 / 2005 (remake)|
Despite not so optimistic title, Day of Defeat provides plenty of excitement for the fans of multiplayer FPS games.
DoD started its life as a mod to Half-Life 2, similarly to Valve’s other multiplayer title, CS: GO. The gameplay mechanics are also similar – the player chooses to fight on the team of the Allied or the Axis, selecting one of several classes available for each faction. The battles are most often waged in narrow maps, forcing the players to cooperate in proceeding with their objectives.
The gameplay emphasizes realism, forcing the player to abandon some of their usual multiplayer habits. For example, the stamina bar indicates for how long the player can run, and recovering takes some time. Moreover, the player cannot shoot while running and jumping. DoD boasts faithful representation of WWII weaponry, including such details as the force of the recoil and accuracy.
Day of Defeat received mostly positive reviews, with the critics praising the games attention to realistic detail and pace of the action.
Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad
|Developer/Publisher:||Tripwire Interactive, 1C Company|
Defend the Motherland against Nazi invaders in this complex multiplayer FPS.
Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad is another multiplayer game on our list that emphasizes a realistic approach. While in Day of Defeat, realism was limited to weapon presentation and behavior, as well as some mobility mechanics, in HoS, almost every aspect of the game is given the realistic polish, making it an engaging but also challenging title.
The first thing the player will notice is the lack of any indicators: health bar, ammo count, or even crosshair. What’s more, health doesn’t regenerate, and the player is only allowed to bandage wounds to stop the blood loss. HoS cover system is also tricky – specific covers can be destroyed or be too small to cover the player’s body. All this requires the player to make quick, on-the-fly decisions, whether about the amount of ammo in the mag or if their cover is safe enough to stay behind it.
Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad received positive reviews, in which the realistic gameplay was widely praised by the critics.
Turning Point: Fall of Liberty
|Developer/Publisher:||Spark Unlimited, Codemasters|
An alternative spin on the World War 2 history makes Turning Point: Fall of liberty a perfect match for all the fans of “what if…” scenarios.
According to the version of the history presented in TP: FoL, in 1931, Winston Churchill in an accident in New York City, causing a butterfly effect that leads to complete victory of the Axis over the disorganized and helpless Allies. The action of the game picks up years after Nazi’s triumph, in 1953. Having taken over Europe, Asia, and a larger part of Africa, Germany launches an attack on the United States, forcing the government to surrender. Dan Carson, a construction worker from New York, joins the American Resistance movement, waging guerilla warfare against the occupant.
The gameplay features of Turning Point: Fall of Liberty include both single and multiplayer modes. In the campaign, the player controls the protagonist throughout various missions. In the multiplayer, players can participate in deathmatch or team deathmatch mode. The game’s mechanics feature elements of stealth, with the player able to sneak up to unsuspecting enemy for a quiet kill or use them as a human shield. Various elements of the environment can also be used against the enemy.
The game received solid reception, with the critics praising the unique story setting.
While not the most innovative of the WW2 -themed FPS games, Enemy Front still manages to win the player over with its setting and gameplay mechanics.
In EF, the player controls Robert Hawkins, a US war correspondent, who joins up with various resistance movements in Nazi-occupied Europe, documenting the atrocities committed against the population and fighting alongside the resistance. The game’s setting takes the player to places rarely visited in WW2 games, including the occupied Poland, where Hawkins will witness the events of Warsaw Uprising.
Enemy Front’s gameplay mechanics combine the fast-paced FPS action with stealth and elements of tactics. The player will be able to use a variety of WW2-era weapons, including pistols, sub-machine guns, rifles, grenades, and more. The game allows the player to use the environment to their advantage, setting up ambushes on unsuspecting patrols. Enemy Front’ features a multiplayer mode, where up to 12 participants can fight in Deathmatch ad Team Deathmatch modes, among others.
Enemy Front was met with decent reception from critics and players alike, who praised the multiplayer mode and sniping sections of the game.
|Developer/Publisher:||800 North, Digital Ranch|
A less serious take on the events of the World War 2 featuring prehistoric reptiles fighting on the front.
Dino D-Day presents yet another alternate take on the history of wartime Europe. Using dark arts, Adolf Hitler managed to bring back the dinosaurs and use them as weapons in his armies. To stand a chance against such a threat, the Allies deployed the extinct reptiles of their own, sending them to battle the Nazis on the fronts of World War 2.
While the story of Dino D-Day doesn’t take itself very seriously, its multiplayer gameplay is more concrete. The player chooses to fight either on the side of the Allies or the Axis. Each side of the conflict has both human and dinosaur units, including species like Velociraptor, Protoceratops, and even the mighty T-Rex. The game features several modes, including typical deathmatches, a variation of capture-the-flag mode, and escort missions.
Dino D-Day was met with positive reception, with critics praising the graphics and alternative history themes of the game.
Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway
|Developer/Publisher:||Gearbox Software, Ubisoft|
Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway combines fast-paced action with excellent tactical mechanics, retelling the events of the Operation Market Garden, which could’ve turned the tide of the war.
In Hell’s Highway, the player once again takes control of Sergeant Matt Baker, as he and his squad make their way through occupied Europe. The game’s storyline is based around the events of Operation Market Garden, an Allied attempt at securing the other bank of the river Rhine.
The gameplay mechanics of BiA: HH remain similar to the previous installments of the series: as Baker, the player can command his squad to take action. There are three types of teams, and each has different actions available to them: suppressing the enemy with fire, flanking, and using special weapons like bazookas and mortars. The game features several difficulty levels, with the hardest (Authentic, in which the HUD and crosshair are removed) available upon the completion of the campaign.
Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway was met with generally positive critical reception.
Medal of Honor: Airborne
|Developer/Publisher:||EA Los Angeles, Electronic Arts|
Medal of Honor: Airborne takes the series in a new direction with open gameplay mechanics, given the player freedom of how to approach a given mission.
In MoH: A, the player is put in the shoes of a member of the US 82nd Airborne Division, Boyd Travers. Along with other members of 82nd, Travers takes part in the crucial paratrooper missions of World War 2, including Operation Market Garden and Operation Varsity.
With MoH: A, several changes to the gameplay mechanics of the series were introduced. Due to the paratrooper missions being the central theme of the game, Airborne gave the player a lot of freedom in where to begin completing them. After jumping out of the plane, the player could choose their landing zone, designated with flares. From there, the player could start completing the mission objectives in any order they wanted to do it. Such freedom of choice was unheard of for a Medal of Honor, up to this point very linear in carrying out the missions.
A multiplayer mode is also available in the game, with mechanics similar to that in the campaign. Multiplayer featured only one mode in which the players divided into teams of Axis and Allies, fought on a scaled-down map from the campaign mode.
Medal of Honor: Airborne was met with positive critical reception, with particular praise going to the multiplayer component of the game.
Return to Castle Wolfenstein
|Developer/Publisher:||Grey Matter Interactive, Activision|
A continuation of the classic Wolfenstein series, Return to Castle Wolfenstein takes bold new choices in terms of setting while remaining true to the core gameplay mechanics.
Return to Castle Wolfenstein is set in 1943. The player controls B.J. Blazkowicz, a US Army Ranger and an agent of the Office of Secret Actions. The OSA believes that the Germans want to turn the tide of the war in their favor using advanced science and occult practices. Blazkowicz is sent on several missions to investigate these reports and stopping the Nazis from gaining the upper hand.
The game’s core mechanics are based around completing mission objectives and fighting enemy forces, both human and paranormal. The player has at their disposal a variety of weapons, ranging from period-accurate pistols, sub-machine guns, and rifles, to experimental heavy machine guns and tesla coil guns. Certain firearms are equipped with silencers, which help during the games stealth sequences. Return to Castle Wolfenstein features a multiplayer mode, in which the players are split into two teams and must fulfill specific mission objectives.
Return to Castle Wolfenstein was met with critical acclaim and is considered a cult-classic among the fans of the genre.
Battlefield V improves on the gameplay solutions introduced in Battlefield 1, giving the players one of the best multiplayer World War 2 games available on the market.
Like Battlefield 1, V features a series of short story campaigns, told from the points of view of different participants of World War 2. These campaigns take the players to various settings, including the Norwegian snowscapes, North African desert, and the fields of France, among others. These single-player episodes are brief and may serve as a nice aperitif to the main course of the game – the multiplayer mode.
The multiplayer in BF V works on the same principles as the on in BF 1. The mode focuses on a realistic approach to battle, thus discarding many distracting elements. The ones that remain are the character and weapon customization options, which allow the player to add personal touches to their in-game avatar and their equipment. BF V introduces two new modes: a battle royale-like Firestorm, featuring the most extensive map in the series history and Grand Operations, in which multiplayer battles are fought in stages, resembling the campaign mode.
Despite some pre-release controversies, Battlefield V received generally positive reviews from the critics.
Call of Duty: WWII
|Developer/Publisher:||Sledgehammer Games, Activision|
Call of Duty series’ return to the World War 2 scenery brings back some familiar gameplay features.
CoD: WWII takes place during Operation Overlord, which began with the Allied forces’ invasion of Normandy. The game’s story campaign features the characters of Ronald “Red” Daniels and his squad from the 1st Infantry Division, who participate in the D-Day landings. The campaign takes the player through various battles, including those fought during Operation Cobra, and the Battle of the Bulge.
Gameplay-wise, CoD: WWII remains mostly unchanged in comparison to the most recent installments of the series. The changes in the campaign mode include the return of health packs, absent since Call of Duty II: The Big Red One, and the player’s squadmates providing them with ammunition, health, and other means of support.
In WWII’s multiplayer, the player can now choose from several character classes and participate in battle royale-like modes. Each Division has several weapon expansions, specifics to the playstyle it represents. The game features a social space called Headquarters, set on Omaha Beach after the Allies captured it. There, up to 48 players can interact with each other, train their skills in a firing range, and open loot boxes. Call of Duty: WWII also features a cooperative Nazi Zombie mode, the series’ trademark.
Call of Duty: WWII received positive reviews, with critics praising the series return to World War 2 period, changes made to the multiplayer, and the graphics of the game.
World War 2-based FPS games could not be counted on the fingers of both hands and feet. The sub-genre is so expansive that making a comprehensive list of all first-person shooter video games set during the WW2 would take weeks and way too much space. Our list presents what we think are the best WW2 FPS titles, featuring popular franchises and lesser-known games. Thanks to these titles, the player will be able to feel the part of a great conflict, which hopefully will remain ONLY within the sphere of popular media for years to come.