Written by: Tomislav Todorovski, electrical engineer, gamer, debater.
- Hearts of Iron 4
Hearts of Iron 4 is a grand strategy war game set in World War 2, starting in the year 1936. You can play as any nation in the World and you are free to decide the destiny of that nation. For instance you can play as Nazi Germany and go through the game without firing a shot, or play as the United States of America and form an American Empire and conquer the World. The amount of detail in the game is impressive, and you will need many hours of game-play to master the game.
The game-play allows you to control your industry, political reality, production, military, navy, the equipment they use etc. You can also engage in diplomacy and trade with other nations, you can decide if you want to declare war on them, or make them your allies or your puppet states, and you will need to secure political power as a resource in order to put in effect policies that will help your war efforts.
All in all Hearts of Iron 4 is probably one of the best World War 2 grand strategy games, where you can learn more about strategies, policy-making, nation building and decision making in a complex WW2 simulation.
- Medieval Total War 2
Medieval Total War 2 like all the next Total War games on this list is a mix between grand strategy and real time strategy. The game is set in the Medieval period between the 11th and the 15th century, and you will be able to forge your own empire. You are given the opportunity to play as some of the Catholic factions: Britain, Hungary, Venice, France, Holy Roman Empire, Spain etc. , or as some of the Orthodox factions: Byzantine Empire, Russia, and the Islamic as well: Seljuk Turks, Moors, Egypt. Of course it is important to recognize that there are some historical inaccuracies in the game, but that doesn’t make it less interesting of a simulation to engage with.
In this game you will need to build your empire by creating a good economy so that you are able to create and maintain powerful and vast armies that you can lead into battle and expand your realm. You will also need to navigate the Medieval politics of Europe, if you play as a Christian faction you will need to keep the pope satisfied and join in the Crusades, and you will not be able to declare war so easily and without reason on your Catholic neighbors.
- Rome 2 and Attila Total War
I am putting these games in the same slot since they are set in similar periods of history. Rome 2 is set in the ancient period after the death of Alexander the Great and at the rise of Rome. Here you can choose to play as any faction of the ancient world and lead it to greatness. Attila is set during the fall of the Western Roman Empire and you can play either as the nomadic Huns, or as some of the barbarian tribes who forged the new medieval kingdoms of Europe, or even if you masochistic enough as the falling Western or Eastern Roman Empire and try and restore the glory of Rome.
Both of these game have a similar game style and similar mechanic in regards to the building the economy and diplomacy. You will need to perform political intrigues in order to keep your family or dynasty in power, you need to keep an eye of your generals leading your armies since back then the political power lied with the military leaders and a general from a rival dynasty who won you those great victories can turn against you easy.
- Shogun 2 Total War / Fall of the Samurai
Shogun 2 and its expansion Fall of the Samurai is a Total War game set in feudal Japan during the Sengoku Jidai period and the expansion Fall of the Samurai is set during the Meiji Restoration period. Both of these game allow you to control and change the history of Japan, they reflect how politics and war was fought back then. For example in Shogun 2, you can exchange hostages from the family of your faction leader in order to guarantee your loyalty in an alliance or to secure peace, as was often the case in this period in Japan, and if you betray too many factions you become dishonorable and you will be forced to commit ritual suicide if your clan is to save its honor or all the other clans will not trust you with making a trade deal with you let alone an alliance, and if you expand too much – too fast all the other clans will declare war on you which reflects that period of history pretty well. In Fall of the Samurai you are able to change Japan’s history once again by either siding with Shogunate or the Emperor, or even creating your own Japanese republic.
- Spec Ops the Line
Spec Ops the Line is the only shooter game on this list, but it is here for a reason. On the surface it looks like a simple generic 3rd person shooter, but the real value in this game lies in the single player campaign. The game is set in Dubai where a series of catastrophic sand storms have devastated the city and an US Army battalion is there helping the civilians. So why is this shooter special? Well it shows the morality of modern war, as your character is faced with series of decisions, and as with most games you get a pros and cons with each decision, but not here, each decision that you always hurts somebody. In most games you want to save the world, in Spec Ops the Line you want to save yourself.