Want to put your strategy skills to the test? Nothing quite matches the high-octane thrill ride of the best war games when you're testing your tactics. Delivering intense, often fast-paced gameplay and an opportunity for incredible immersion, these games have become popular among console, mobile, and PC players worldwide.
These days, there are many great titles to choose from, whether you're looking for a simple solution based entirely on strategy or you want something more hands-on. You can even experiment with single, online, and multiplayer action.
So, where do you start building your games library? We've tracked down some of the most impressive war games available to play today to help get you on the right track.
World of Tanks
Lovingly referred to as “WoT” by its fans, World of Tanks is one of the most widespread war games on the market. Created by the Wargaming studio, this legendary multiplayer online game allows you to drive various tasks around an open landscape, bringing death and destruction to your enemies as you go. While many strategies are involved if you want to win, there's something to be said about simply driving around at full speed and seeing how much damage you do.
World of Tanks is a pretty flexible game, with various challenges as you increase your scales and the opportunity to jump between solo and co-op modes. You can complete missions to climb the leaderboard and use codes to kick up your XP levels. As a bonus, it's free to play, so you don't have to worry about your budget.
Another epic free-to-play title for our list of the best war games, War Thunder, once again puts you in control of some of the most exciting vehicles on the planet. Initially, it was developed as a flight simulation game but has since added the option to control much more than just planes. You can jump between the air and the sky to complete your missions and even try your hand at boat navigation.
War Thunder has been around since 2013, so it's got quite a lot of extra DLC to pick up if you get bored of the main game. However, it would help if you stayed entertained for a while, thanks to various game modes. You can choose between realistic battles, historical missions, and a more fast-paced arcade-style experience. The flexible game modes and options mean you can keep returning to this game repeatedly without getting bored.
One of our favorites for any list of the best war games, Arma 3 has taken the world by storm over the years. Honestly, it's one of the most significant and robust titles, with countless environments to explore, opportunities to drive all kinds of vehicles, and access multiplayer modes. There's also a zombie version of the title available if you feel like trying something new.
Be warned, Arma 3 isn't for the casual gamer. The military-style sandbox game has a steep learning curve, and it's easy to get killed in various ways. You can crash your plane, carry too much, break your legs, and even get shot by friends. Still, if you love a challenge, the crafting, exploration, and battle mechanics of Amra 3 are all wonderful.
World of Warships
World of Warships was created by the Wargaming Group and has existed since 2015.
This game does everything that all other games in the family do well. They combine historical accuracy with realism and entertaining strategy action. You can use artistic license to command vessels from all periods in your campaigns.
Selecting your first ship is the first step in the game. You will then have the option of a variety of missions. Each battle has two teams. You will be paired up with another player with whom you can interact and create strategies.
The controls feel natural and are a significant difference between this game and other games in the series. Like in real-life naval warfare, you can't perform turns and shots on the fly. Everything needs to be preempted and prepared in advance.
You can equip your fleet and upgrade it once you win battles in a classic strategy game. There are over 300 options for you to choose from.
You can customize your ship even further. World of Warships is a massive game that allows you to customize your ship with flags, naval staff, and paint schemes. You can also modify weapon
weapons. It's free to play, and over 1 million players are currently worldwide.
Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts 2
Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 is slightly different from the other games we've covered in a tactical shooter and stealth-style war game. This title is part of the “Sniper” franchise series, introduced in 2021. If you played previous installments, you should be able to jump in quite quickly. If you're new to the game, expect a bit of a learning curve.
There's a lot of realism in these games, with tons of beautiful weapons and military equipment to explore. You'll also have plenty of freedom regarding completing your objectives in the game. You can either hide somewhere in the distance and use your sniper to take an enemy out or get up close and personal with a blade.
Developed after some inspiration from the 1980s thriller “Wargames,” Defcon is a popular PC game with many exciting features. In this title, you'll take on the role of a general hidden somewhere deep underground in a dedicated bunker. You'll be looking at a computer monitor to get an idea of what's happening in the world around you while setting up your own tactical strikes.
The real-time strategy game is all about proper planning. You need to ensure you have enough firepower to make a dent in your opposing forces' military power so you don't end up like a sitting duck. Managing your artillery can be challenging, but once you get the hang of the game, you'll find it becomes deeply engaging. However, if you're looking for something with more hands-on shooting and immersion, you might prefer to choose another game on this list.
Another excellent option for those interested in military-focused “First Person Shooter” titles, Squad has earned positive reception from gamers and critics alike. The great thing about this game is its heavy focus on multiplayer mechanics. You're thrown directly into team-based mechanics, with a hundred players in the world around you. You'll need to take a slow and calculated approach to combat, communicating with your team regularly.
There's a voice chat included so that you can reach out to the other people in your group. As you progress through the map, you'll be able to collect resources and vehicles to help you in your quest. Although this game can feel a little slow at first, there's a lot of suspense as you try to work your way around other teams without being killed.
Call of Duty: Vanguard
We can't have a list of the best war games without at least one reference to the Call of Duty franchise. In 2021, we received a new installment to the CoD world, complete with all the phenomenal gameplay action and great graphics we're used to. Vanguard places you in the middle of World War 2, where you can work through a single-player mode with various missions or enjoy some great multiplayer gaming.
Although the story for single-player is fantastic, most people prefer to play Call of Duty with friends or participate in campaigns online. You'll have various competing modes, like team deathmatch, search and destroy, domination, and free-for-all. There's also the iconic “Zombies” option, where you battle against rounds of the undead. The Zombies option is entertaining if you're looking for highly fast-paced fun with friends.
Hell Let Loose
Highly rated by players and critics, Hell Let Loose is a phenomenal game for PS5 and PC. This title places you within the heart of an FPS shooter experience in World War 2. You're transported to a range of iconic battles, where you'll be working as just another soldier, trying to help your squad succeed. There are vast battles of 50 vs. 50 players, so prepare for a lot of action.
In-built voice chat allows you to communicate with other players and set up teams if you like. You'll also have the option to play with a range of weapons, vehicles, traps, and barriers throughout the game. It's a little like Fortnite in this regard, but a lot more advanced. If you want to beat your foes, you'll need to devise a clear strategy and stick to it!
A fun and exciting first-person shooter game, Battlefield V is the eleventh installment of one of the most popular game franchises in the war games world. It's also available on various platforms and consoles, so you shouldn't have trouble finding somewhere to play. This game places you within World War II, similar to many of the other titles we've covered so far.
The intense combat has tons of realistic components to make you feel like you're in the battle. However, this game didn't receive a lot of critical support originally due to its limited content when it was first launched. While Battlefield V isn't the latest in the Battlefield franchise, it's one of the top picks for those who love the game from Electronic Arts.
Tannenberg is a little different from most of the war games we've covered, as it takes us back to World War I. This game was released in 2019 and was produced by the M2H company, which was also responsible for another popular war game: Verdun. As you might expect, the gameplay situates you within the Tannenberg battle of Prussia, where you'll be part of the major battle between Russia and Germany.
This game has been praised for its realism in the past and the wide selection of uniforms, weapons, and environments to discover. The combat here is brutal, and the conditions feel very aggressive, so you're sure to feel your heart pumping. There are fewer bells and whistles in this game than you'll get with other titles too. It's mostly about introducing you to the true and gritty reality of what war can really be like.
Enlisted is another of the best war games based on World War II, a free MMO FPS based heavily on managing tactical squads. Players need to join a squad and tactically work out how they will approach various missions. You'll have a chance to participate in some of the main battles of World War II with your own strategies and twists.
The battles are broken down into four major areas; Berlin, Normandy, Moscow, and Tunisia. While there's a lot of brutal and realistic gunplay involved, you can also find a range of different vehicles to control and use to your advantage. It's also possible to play alongside your friends if you want some people you can trust in your squad.
If you're looking for something entirely different for your standard war game, why not take out the VR headset? Pavlov VR promises an immersive experience similar to Counter-Strike in many ways. You can join an online game or work on your skills by fighting against bots. There are also various game modes, such as gun games and deathmatches. The gun game experience is very similar to Call of Duty.
Pavlov VR is particularly unique because it allows players to create their own maps and share them with other games. It's great for putting your creativity to the test, but you might find it a little overwhelming if you're new to the VR world. We'd recommend practicing your skills with a few slower games before you jump in here.
The Best War Games to Enjoy Today
These are just a handful of the best war games we've tracked down across multiple platforms. You're sure to have a handful of your own favorite titles you'd love to add to this list, so why not share them with us in the comments below? Alternatively, if you've tried out one of the top war games mentioned above, let us know what you thought of it!