Over half a century has passed since the emergence of the first computer war game. Empire, the mentioned game, was created by Peter Langston in 1972, and it was inspired by a board game of the same name.

The beginnings were indeed challenging, but fortunately, producers recognized the potential in war-themed games. By 1980, the market saw the release of Computer Bismarck.

This time, the game’s theme was based on actual historical events from 1941, specifically the final battle of the eponymous battleship. The game was well-received, and since then, the market for historical war-themed computer games began to flourish.

Memorial Day is fast approaching. This is a national remembrance day commemorating American soldiers who have died over the years on various fronts and in different wars.

It is also the unofficial start of summer and one of those periods when stores feature various sales! Accordingly, our marketplace will also have various sales on historical war games waiting for you!

For the undecided, we have prepared a cheat sheet featuring the top historical wargames. We invite you to read on!

GameReleaseGenreDeveloper
Total War Three Kingdoms Royal Edition 2020-09-24 Strategy The Creative Assembly
Total War Rome II Emperor Edition 2013-09-02 Strategy The Creative Assembly
Total War Shogun 2 Collection 2011-03-14 Strategy Creative Assembly
Age Of Empires II Definitive Edition 2019-11-14 Strategy Forgotten Empires LLC
Age Of Empires IV Anniversary Edition 2021-10-28 Strategy, Real-Time Relic Entertainment
Crusader Kings III 2020-09-01 Strategy Paradox Development Studio
Europa Universalis IV 2013-08-13 Economy Paradox Development Studio
Grand Tactician The Civil War 1861 1865 2020-08-21 Strategy Oliver Keppelmüller
The Great War Western Front 2023-03-30 Strategy Petroglyph Games
Company Of Heroes 3 2023-02-23 Strategy Relic Entertainment
Company Of Heroes 2 Platinum Edition 2013-06-25 Strategy Relic Entertainment
Wargame Red Dragon 2014-04-17 Strategy Focus Entertainment
Victoria II 2010-08-30 Strategy Paradox Interactive
Il 2 Sturmovik 1946 2006-12-15 Simulation 1C: Maddox Games
Verdun 2015-04-28 Action & Shooter M2H
Hearts Of Iron IV 2016-06-06 Simulation Paradox Development Studio
Call Of Duty WWII 2017-11-03 Action & Shooter Sledgehammer Games
Battlefield 1 Revolution 2016-10-20 MMO EA Digital Illusions CE
War Of Rights 2018-12-03 Indie Campfire Games
Valiant Hearts The Great War 2014-06-25 Adventure Ubisoft Montpellier

Hearts of Iron 4

Release date:2016-06-06
Genre:Simulation
Developer:Paradox Development Studio

Hearts of Iron 4 is another installment in the series of the same name, which debuted in 2002.

In the game, players have the chance to steer the fate of a chosen country between 1936-1948 or 1939-1948, deciding on technological development, military strategies, or diplomatic decisions to try to change the course of the war.

Our ranking of war video games starts with Hearts of Iron 4 for good reason. Upon its release, the game received very high ratings from both critics and players. The most praised aspects were its playability, graphics, and soundtrack.

Key features
  • Real-time war simulation
  • Control over any nation
  • Alternate historical paths

Total War: Three Kingdoms

Release date:2020-09-24
Genre:Strategy
Developer:The Creative Assembly

Total War: Three Kingdoms is the twelfth installment in the Total War series.

This time, the action takes place in Ancient China during the Three Kingdoms period (220-280). The player assumes the role of a Chinese warlord aiming to unite China.

The gameplay mechanics of Total War: Three Kingdoms are character-based and introduced many innovations to the strategy genre. Many critics consider it one of the best entries in the Total War series.

Key features
  • Real-time and turn-based gameplay
  • Two modes — Romance and Records
  • An immersive journey into ancient China

Call of Duty: WWII

Release date:2017-11-03
Genre:Action & Shooter
Developer:Sledgehammer Games

As the title suggests, the game is set during World War II.

Players assume the role of a soldier in the U.S. 1st Infantry Division, Ronald “Red” Daniels. During his wartime journey, the young soldier will participate in various operations across Europe.

Sledgehammer Games, responding to player requests, decided to return to the roots of the Call of Duty series with Call of Duty: WWII, which was well received. The game grossed $500 million in just three days after its release, a testament to its success.

Key features
  • Classic Call of Duty gameplay
  • Various character classes
  • Two modes

Battlefield 1

Release date:2016-10-20
Genre:MMO
Developer:EA Digital Illusions CE

Despite its title, Battlefield 1 is not the first installment in the Battlefield series, which debuted in 2002.

The game’s action takes place during World War I, following the stories of five different protagonists.

Many players have hailed it as the best part of the series, achieving an impressive score of 88 out of 100 on Metacritic. Its high ratings have persisted even though ten years have passed since its release.

Key features
  • Operations mode in multiplayer
  • Diverse battlefields
  • Varied single-player campaign

War of Rights

Release date:2018-12-03
Genre:Indie
Developer:Campfire Games

War of Rights transports players to the time of the American Civil War.

Players face several challenging battles, deciding whether to fight for the Confederacy or the Union.

War of Rights is a unique online game funded and co-developed by players. What sets it apart from the previously mentioned titles are the large, realistic battles involving up to 150 players.

Key features
  • Authentic campaigns
  • Detailed weaponry and uniforms from the era
  • Over 30 battlefields

Valiant Hearts: The Great War

Release date:2014-06-25
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Ubisoft Montpellier

The action of Valiant Hearts: The Great War takes place during World War I.

Players take on the roles of four characters (a French farmer, an American soldier, a Belgian nurse, and a German infantryman) whose lives have been complicated by the war.

Valiant Hearts: The Great War is a war-themed game unlike any other. It was inspired by… the letters from World War I. The game includes elements typical of war games, as well as arcade elements and puzzles. Its comic book-style graphics add to its unique charm.

Key features
  • World War I presented in comic form
  • Four intertwined stories
  • Exploration, action, and puzzles

Crusader Kings III

Release date:2020-09-01
Genre:Strategy
Developer:Paradox Development Studio

Crusader Kings III is a strategic war game set in the medieval period (867-1453).

The player’s task is to lead a dynasty, controlling its successive generations to gain more power.

Crusader Kings III is the third installment in the series. This time, the developers have provided players with the largest map in the series’ history, featuring detailed and unique regions. Paradox Interactive’s attention to detail is well known.

Key features
  • Largest map in the series
  • Genetically driven 3D character models
  • Rule in a world full of enemies, rogues, and spies

IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad

Release date:2014-10-22
Genre:Simulation
Developer:777 Studios

The action of IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad takes place between 1942-1943, and, as the name suggests, during the Battle of Stalingrad.

In the single-player campaign, players become pilots of one of the fighting factions.

IL-2 Sturmovik is a cult series that has set a high bar for other flight simulator games. The Battle of Stalingrad instalment features improved mechanics, more realistic aerodynamics, and more detailed content.

Key features
  • Detailed reconstruction of the Battle of Stalingrad
  • Realistic graphics
  • Team battles, aerial duels, and online cooperative modes

Total War: Rome II

Release date:2013-09-02
Genre:Strategy
Developer:The Creative Assembly

Total War: Rome II takes players to Ancient Rome, into the midst of the struggle for power and territories.

Players become the leaders of a chosen nation (including Rome, Egypt, and Macedonia) to fight for dominance.

With historically accurate battles, detailed maps, and a blend of tactical warfare and management, the game has garnered a large fan base. Even years after its release, it continues to be

Key features
  • Hundreds of regions to conquer
  • Siege engines like catapults and battering rams
  • Famous historical figures

Age of Empires: Definitive Edition

Release date:2019-08-19
Genre:Strategy
Developer:Forgotten Empires LLC

Age of Empires: Definitive Edition is a remastered version of the 1997 game, where players guide the development of a chosen civilization from the Stone Age to the Iron Age.

Age of Empires is a classic, and its remastered version retains the original gameplay mechanics. The game has been enhanced with 4K HD graphics and several new multiplayer features.

Key features
  • Improved audiovisuals
  • Multiplayer mode
  • Classic gameplay in a new edition

Summary

Historical war games come in many forms, and we have tried to include each one in the above ranking.

We hope you find something to your liking among our suggestions. Or perhaps you already have a favourite? If not, be sure to check out our recommendations — fun for many evenings is guaranteed!