WW2 strategy games provide some of the best experiences in the genre. They require you to think tactically as you lead your troops into battle and hopefully toward victory. And they all help immerse you in World War II.
From squad-based combat to continental-scale strategy, you can step into some of the most famous battles of all time to test your strategic mettle. In this article, we list the best WW2 strategy games, both old and new, that are worth playing.
The original Company of Heroes is one of the best examples of real-time strategy games period, let alone in the war genre. This sequel is equally impressive.
The game primarily focuses on battles on the Eastern Front, like the Battle of Berlin and Operation Barbarossa. You need to manage your resources carefully, taking over buildings, and upgrade your infantry and vehicles as you go.
Two features that make Company of Heroes 2 especially interesting are TrueSight, a more realistic approach to line-of-sight in combat, and weather conditions that impact a soldier’s health and power.
Steel Division 2 is set during Operation Bagration, across a great single-player campaign that puts you in the roles of General, Colonel, and Weapons Expert. It aims to be historically accurate, with more than 600 units to control across 25 huge maps.
One awesome thing about Steel Division 2 is that you can either fight in the fun real-time tactical combat, or you can automatically resolve them if you just want the pure strategic experience.
On top of all that, the game looks great. So much attention has been paid to the vehicles and environments that you’ll feel totally immersed in the World War II experience.
Instead of controlling individual units, Hearts of Iron IV puts you in command of the highest-level strategy in the war. You develop technology, build and outfit armies, control forces on land, sea, and air, and launch invasions that will change the tide of the war.
You also handle negotiations, trade, and politics. By appointing ministers and generals, you can use the game’s AI to help you ensure victory. Plus, you can do it with any country involved in the war, from the major players to the smaller nations just trying to survive.
This is a complex game, and it requires a monumental amount of strategic thinking. If you want to see what World War II must have looked from the highest level of command, this is the game for you.
Order of Battle: World War II may seem like a free-to-play game, but you actually buy each campaign individually. It’s very expensive if you buy them all, so instead it’s better to pick and choose from those that interest you the most.
Thankfully, you can play the first chapter of each campaign pack for free to get a taste of the action. You’ll find a slick and detailed game packed full of content—with over 700 units, including infantry, tanks, ships, and aircraft.
If you like traditional turn-based hex gameplay, this is the game for you. It’s easy to pick up, but packs a lot of depth, and has some nice animations and effects to keep things interesting.
Panzer Corps is a beloved WW2 strategy game, and this sequel takes what worked for the original and improves upon it.
According to the developers, no other game has as many authentic World War II vehicles. There are over 1,000 unique units, each modeled with incredible detail and realistic animations. You can take charge of them in the single-player campaign or online.
Once you’re done with the game’s main content, you can use the powerful scenario editor to build your own campaigns and maps with ease. Panzer Corps 2 is so deep that you may never need to buy another WW2 game again.
Codename: Panzers was first released in 2004, but it has since been remastered to work with modern systems and support larger resolutions. Despite its age, this is a game that is still worth playing thanks to its timeless tactical fun.
Across landscapes like small towns, bleak mountains, and murky swamps, Codename: Panzers plunges you into the depths of war and lets you control lots of units like a battle tank, a flame-throwing squad, an organ rocket launcher, and more.
While there is an online multiplayer mode to keep you happy, you should definitely check out the story mode, which is engrossing and supported by great voice acting.
War in the East is a different type of WW2 strategy game. It’s descended from a long line of tabletop war games, and it shows; it captures the look of cardboard pieces on paper maps.
Despite that, it packs a huge amount of strategic heft. You wage war along the entire Eastern front, and you can play through five different campaigns. You have access to a wide variety of units, including ski troopers, engineers, pioneers, and tank destroyers.
Beyond combat, you also manage production, supply lines, weather, and fog of war effects. This is a complicated, challenging strategy game, but it’s a deep one that you can sink hundreds of hours into.
If you’re looking for a WW2 strategy game that has a lot to offer, you can’t go wrong with Assault Squad 2. It’s a top-down real-time strategy game that lets you control every unit in your squad. 200 soldiers with unique loadouts, 250 vehicles, and five different factions make for a huge amount of variety.
There’s a realistic and gritty feel here that few games manage to capture—it’s almost like starring in one of the best World War II movies. The graphics are great and help immerse in the action. You face off against other armored units, engage in sniper battles, and pit groups of infantry against the enemy in massive engagements.
Be warned that this game won’t hold your hand and you will find it very difficult. Welcome to World War II.
There’s one thing that sets Sudden Strike 4 apart from many of its contemporaries: it’s one of the few WW2 strategy games available on PS4 and Xbox One, as well as on PC.
Beyond that, it has a lot of what you’d expect from typical WW2 RTS games: 100 units to command, zoned damage areas on tanks, building occupations, and so on. It’s a great-looking game that lets you take on three campaigns from three different sides of the war.
If you’re looking for a console-based WW2 strategy experience, Sudden Strike 4 is the way to go.
If you only decide to buy one WW2 strategy game, make it Unity of Command II. It’s a follow-up to the 2011 cult classic, putting you in command of the Western Allies as you manage their supply and logistics.
No two play sessions are the same thanks to dynamic campaigns that branch out with your decisions, meaning you can alter the course of history. Despite that, there’s still a keen attention to detail in the units that will please history buffs.
There’s also a scenario editor with Steam Workshop support, meaning you can build your own campaigns and download other people’s campaigns with ease.
The Close Combat series began in 1996 and still exists to this day as a mixture of remakes and originals. It’s a top-down strategy series that puts the focus on realism. Your troops have changing mental and physical conditions, you need to scavenge for ammunition, and a troop’s experience on the battlefield impacts how they react to a situation.
Each game in the Close Combat series focuses on a different, real-life key event from WWII, with grand campaigns playing out on large maps, so choose the one which interests you the most. 2019’s Close Combat: The Bloody First was the first 3D entry, though reviews for that are mixed.
Don’t let the old-school graphics put you off; it’s the gameplay that matters. This is an immersive strategy game series that will suck you in for hours.
You Can Also Play Strategy Games in Your Browser
These aren’t the only World War II strategy games out there, but they are some of the best. Whether you’re looking for tactical, operational, or grand scale battles, you’ll find what you’re looking for in the WW2 strategy games above.
If you don’t fancy buying a game right now, or just want something to dip into wherever you are, consider exploring strategy games available free via your browser.
The 6 Best Browser Strategy Games to Play for Hours