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Marching to War
It’s safe to say that most of us would rather not jump on a boat or plane bound for foreign lands in order to shoot people. The last few really big wars have left a pretty nasty scar on our collective psyche. Even worse the most recent petty wars that we are engaged in now seem less like battles for freedom or ideology and more to do with big business and the military machine.
Politics aside wars have always provided fertile ground for games. In the game world everything is black and white, your enemy definitely deserves to die and we can all go home at the end of the day and forget about it. World War II is the king of settings when it comes to war games and the number of digital Nazis who’ve been killed now must exceed the population of the world by a distance.
The best PC war games drag you into the strategy of conflict and challenge you to pit your wits against an unseen enemy. Whether you’re playing RTS war games or running through foreign jungles in an FPS the thrill of the battle is a serious hook. Now let’s take a look at some of the best war games you can buy, get obsessive about and disappear into only to emerge weeks later as a battle scarred veteran with night terrors.
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Military FPS Games
First-person shooters are so in tune with the tactics of war that the US army had their own game developed as a recruitment tool – America’s Army. Just because you can time that flashbang perfectly before riddling a warehouse full of terrorists with hot lead in Counter Strike doesn’t mean you could do it in real life though. Some hardcore CT players can barely get off the couch.
There are FPS games covering many of the 20th century’s greatest conflicts. There are also plenty of military styled FPS games set in fictional situations, take Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 for example. It follows on from the excellent Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and if you need some help with the latest installment then you might want to check out a Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 walkthrough.
The Battlefield franchise is another series that covered major conflicts from the last century and you can get your hands on a few of the titles in Battlefield 1942: The Complete Collection. If you’re a fan then check out the more recent Battlefield: Bad Company 2.
Things can always get a little strange like in Wolfenstein where the Nazis are up to all sorts of no good. Maybe you’d prefer something like Darkest of Days and if you find it tough going check out our Darkest of Days walkthrough.
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RTS War Games
The real-time strategy genre is where you’ll find some of the best online war games where you can engage in some real tactical battles with other players online. The best series in the genre currently has to be Total War and the most recent release was Napoleon: Total War which challenges you to relive the campaigns of the great Frenchman himself. Set just a little earlier there’s Empire: Total War and the original game that kicked the series into overdrive goes even further back challenging you to rebuild the mighty Roman empire in Rome: Total War. If you like the naval side of empire building then East India Company is another RTS worth a look.
The RTS genre has long been fertile ground for some of the best war games and the series that used to rule the roost was Command and Conquer. Of course WWII is well represented in the RTS genre too with games like World in Conflict and Company of Heroes. There are also lesser known titles like Men of War and Officers: World War II. If you something really challenging in the logistics department then check out Hearts of Iron but you’ll probably need our Hearts of Iron guide to really get into it.
Sticking with RTS but moving into the future you might want to check out something like Supreme Commander or the sequel Supreme Commander 2. If you like a bit of space battling then Sins of a Solar Empire is tough to beat and if you find it tough to beat check out our Sins of a Solar Empire Strategy Guide.
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Best of the Best
When it comes to war games the Call of Duty series seems to be the current top dog in the FPS genre but there is always plenty of competition. The recent release M.A.G. (Massive Action Game) promised to take warfare to a new level with battles featuring up to 256 players. The best RTS war game series is Total War but once again the competition remains fierce. What’s your favourite war inspired game? Post a comment and let us know.