Best WW2 Themed Games to Play
‘War, HUH, what is it good for?’ goes the famous lyrics to Edwin Starr’s 1969 track, with the answer to his hard-hitting question usually being, absolutely nothing. However, when it comes to video games, war certainly does make a great theme. Obviously, when it comes to real life, war is one of the biggest blights on humanity, but getting to play virtual war games is a totally captivating slice of fun, and the best bit is, nobody gets hurt.
The Second World War (WW2) has had loads of games based on it through the years, with the earliest thought to be 1981’s Castle Wolfenstein, which first appeared on the Apple II computer. Since then, it has become one of the most mined events in history, with there being seemingly hundreds of games based on the global conflict.
Well, we’ve waded through all the virtual battlefields that are out there, to bring you our choices for the best WW2-themed games that you need to seek out and play.
Call of Duty
You can’t have a best of WW2 game list without having a first-person shooter on it, and to be fair, every selection could’ve been one, as there’s been that many impressive titles on a whole range of consoles. Our pick of the bunch though is the original Call of Duty, which was released back in 2003, on a variety of consoles. Nearly a decade on and it’s now one of the most seismic franchises in the world of gaming, with big budget releases like the upcoming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, still causing huge fanfare.
The first entry of the franchise captured people’s imagination by bringing a cinematic experience to gamers, making them feel like they were literally playing through some of their favourite war movies, such as the seminal Saving Private Ryan. It also let players take control of the different countries that made up the Allies, meaning they were treated to many intertwining narratives, breathing new life into the FPS genre.
1942 Sky Warrior
This entry looks up at the clouds above and focuses on the intense battles that raged in the air. 1942 Sky Warrior is a virtual slot game made by developers Red Tiger, and is stacked full of exhilarating twists and turns. First released in 2021, the game is definitely a romanticized version of dogfights, and features colourful blue skies, dashing uniforms, and some marvellously moustachioed avatars. When it comes to gameplay, it consists of 5 reels, 4 rows, and has a massive 30 paylines available, with an immense 600x max win for those who strike lucky.
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Hearts of Iron IV
This entry is for the real brain-boxes amongst you. Hearts of Iron IV came out on PC’s in 2016, and built upon the solid foundations that the previous 3 entries in the series had already laid down. Most WW2 games put you right at the front of the battle, as a war-torn solider trying to dodge your way through the steel rain, but Hearts of Iron IV instead puts you right back in the general’s seat. The grand strategy wargame has players taking control of any nation in the world in either 1936, or 1939, and has them trying to direct their chosen country to victory over the other warring factions.
Just because it has gamers overseeing the orders, rather than out executing them, doesn’t mean the excitement level drops though. Every decision players make has a gigantic impact on how successful their nation is, and with them having to take control of the naval forces, aerial forces and ground forces, they’ll find themselves waging colossal battles on all fronts. Plus, on top of that, they also handle the negotiations, trade and political decisions, meaning players will constantly have lots of irons in the fire. It’s definitely a game for those who think of themselves as a grand strategist.