World War II is a conflict that sticks indelibly in the popular consciousness. Although this war was arguably just as morally grey as others, it’s clear that the Nazi party and Hitler represent villains towards which the world could unify in their hatred. That probably also explains why there are so many World War 2 games; people want to defeat uncomplicated enemies, and the Nazis are about as uncomplicated as it gets (for the most part, anyway). Here are the best World War 2 games you can play right now.
Sledgehammer Games’ latest entry in the Call of Duty series takes things back to the franchise’s WWII roots. The campaign revolves around four different fronts of the war and features four disparate protagonists, but it’s not the star of the show here. Thanks to improvements made over 2017’s Call of Duty: WWII, Vanguard features much better gun feel, bringing it more in line with Warzone and Modern Warfare. If you love World War 2 as a setting but want a more modern Call of Duty experience, Vanguard delivers.
Call of Duty: WWII (PC, PlayStation, Xbox)
Here we have the second of Sledgehammer’s solo forays into the Call of Duty series after 2014’s Infinite Warfare. Unlike that game, WWII brought the series back to its roots for the first time in many years, and was praised for doing so by many fans (and almost certainly reviled by others for the same reason). The campaign took some brave risks; there’s no regenerating health, and the gameplay is more guerrilla-focused than the traditional Call of Duty “sightseeing tour” model.
Wolfenstein: The New Order (PC, PlayStation, Xbox)
With Wolfenstein: The New Order, developer MachineGames did the impossible: it made this cheesy, hyper-self-aware Nazi-killing franchise emotionally resonant. Long-running protagonist B.J. Blazkowicz (yes, that’s really his name) is here recast as a tired soldier desperate for something to fight for. The cast is lovable and three-dimensional, but it’s the shooting that’s the real star of the show here. Using the then-new id Tech 5 engine, The New Order is fluid, frenetic, and great fun.
Wolfenstein: The New Colossus (PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Switch)
It’s nowhere near as emotionally compelling as its predecessor, but The New Colossus still offers plenty of thrills. B.J. and many of his friends from The New Order return here, and while their mission looks a little less hopeless than it did the first time around, there’s still a fairly strong emotional core to this story. The New Colossus stretches disbelief to breaking point more than once, but if you loved The New Order, there’s plenty here to like.
Hearts of Iron IV (PC)
So far, we’ve just been featuring shooters on this list. If you like something a little more cerebral, you should check out Hearts of Iron IV. It’s a Paradox grand strategy game, and if you’ve never played one before, that essentially means lots and lots of stats to tweak and micromanage. Oceanic depth is the order of the day here; if you’re hoping for simplicity and accessibility, Hearts of Iron IV isn’t your game. If, however, you prefer to pore over maps than to hit the ground, you should take a look at this one.
Company of Heroes 2 (PC)
Another one for strategy heads, Company of Heroes 2 is nonetheless a little more active than Paradox’s game. It’s a real-time strategy affair in which you’re managing boots on the ground rather than the affairs of entire nations. There’s a fully-fledged campaign in which you can get used to the mechanics, as well as plenty of other modes to test your mettle. Company of Heroes 2 wasn’t quite as well-received as the first title (which is also worth checking out), but it’s still great fun.
Hell Let Loose (PC, PlayStation, Xbox)
Hell Let Loose is a large-scale first-person shooter set during some of the most iconic battles of the WWII era. If you were lucky enough to be subscribed to PlayStation Plus in October 2021 and you claimed your games, then you’ve already got Hell Let Loose on PS5, so what are you waiting for? Where everyone else is concerned, Hell Let Loose is a smart tactical shooter with an emphasis on slow-paced strategy. If you’re sick of lightning-quick shooters, Hell Let Loose should test your mettle.
Enlisted (PC, PlayStation, Xbox)
This free-to-play shooter comes to us from Gaijin, whose name we may be seeing again before this list is through. It’s a squad-based tactical game in which you can build fortifications anywhere on the map, and you’re limited to the equipment soldiers would have used during whichever conflict you’re currently taking part in. That’s what makes Enlisted the perfect option for history buffs; it’s a great way to learn while you’re murdering scores of multiplayer opponents.
World of Tanks (PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch)
Told you we’d be seeing Gaijin’s name again. As the name suggests, World of Tanks is all about one vehicle: the Spitfire fighter plane. Obviously, that’s a joke. It’s tanks all the way here. There are some remarkably realistic models available to try out in World of Tanks, and it’s free to play, so if you’re on the fence about whether you’d enjoy a World War II tank sim, you can give it a shot for nothing. It’s a great game, though, so you’re missing out if you don’t!
Hidden & Dangerous 2: Courage Under Fire (PC)
Now this is the real deal. Okay, so Hidden & Dangerous 2 is a truly old-school game that you might not be able to appreciate if you’re after cutting-edge graphics. If you can look past its polygonal appearance, though, this is a truly spectacular tactical WW2 shooter with a range of wide-open maps and deep tactical gameplay. Thanks to an active and passionate fan community, there are even still multiplayer servers you can go to if you want to play with others.