With graphics becoming more realistic every day, war games have been growing in popularity. The authentic and engaging backdrops of war games online create unique perspectives of life on the front lines.
While some of them may glorify war, others look at the deeper issues behind it, such as building or rebuilding civilizations and economies. The best games today give players the option of experiencing both sides of the divide – all-out warfare and strategic control.
There is no doubt that warfare is anything but fun, but there is something quite mesmerizing about the concept of war in a video game. It gives gamers a chance to experience the raw emotion of the battlefield.
Modern games draw from the rich history of table-top war games that started during the early 1800s in Prussia. While those games were mostly used to train military tactics, the spread of computers has led to people playing war games online more for fun.
War games today come in various guises. You can find strategy games that provide a top-down overview of the action, requiring players to direct battalions in order to defeat enemies. Alternatively, there are first-person shooters where players can really feel the rush of being on the front lines. You can also play from a third-person perspective, taking control of tanks, ships or planes to dominate your AI or human opponents.
If you’re looking for something to try, it just depends on which type of war games for PC or mobile you prefer. There will be some of you who enjoy the tactical part of planning attacks and dominating enemy forces while some might want to get right into the thick of the action.
In general, war games have three core characteristics – a war theme, intense combat, and realism.
First and foremost, a war game must depict the act of war. There are three different types of war themes that run through the heart of most free war games available today. Modern-day warfare is a theme that’s growing in popularity, focussing on hyper-realistic scenarios based on actual engagements and utilizing modern-day weaponry. Many war titles also hark back to ancient history when empires had to battle neighboring civilizations to extend their rule. There’s also a host of more fantasy-based war games, pitting fictional civilizations together rather than those based on history.
Secondly, the gameplay should propel players into the act of warfare – it isn't a war game without combat. This may be in a cooperative mode, working with other gamers to defeat human-controlled opponent armies, or on a one-on-one basis.
Thirdly, a war game should simulate the physical and mental strain of fighting a war or leading an army. By focussing on realism, the best war games online are designed to trigger a visceral emotional response from players. This is the reason why “permadeath”, where you cannot keep using characters that have reached zero health, is more common in these games
In addition, there can be some other secondary characteristics of free war games that you encounter when playing on your PC or mobile depending on the type of game:
As we mentioned, there are several war games for PC that are shooters, letting you face off with your virtual enemies. With a first-person perspective of the battlefield, you can be sure of an adrenaline-filled gaming experience which kickstarts your innate “fight or flight” senses.
At the other end of the spectrum there are several long-standing strategy games where you focus on battle tactics rather than fighting in person. These games are typically played from a top-down perspective, giving you greater oversight and perspective of your armies in order to conduct clever attacks on enemies and hostile territories.
You’ll even find war games online where you can be at “mission control”, the hub of military operations. With a digital screen overview of the map, you will be able to make measured decisions about whether to go into war or not, calculating the cost of warfare on lives and economies.
Some of the best war games online provide a blend of gaming genres to make the gameplay even more engaging, including:
The addition of massively multiplayer online (MMO) game mechanics can bring a whole new dynamic to real-time war games. Knowing that multiple human-controlled enemies are on the move and needing to hurry to close them down brings a new level of authenticity and immediacy to your experience. It's even possible in some games for thousands of players to join forces to bring down previously impregnable empires in the most dramatic of circumstances.
Fans of role-playing games can also find war games online that implement role-playing, campaign-style gameplay. Players can immerse themselves in pre-set scenarios, where they must survive and lead their comrades to victory. War-based RPGs tend to feature characters that can be leveled up, with some having a stronger storyline running through as you take control and make a bid for glory.
Some of the best first-person shooters of all-time are war-themed. They usually feature realistic shooting mechanics that make you feel like you are genuinely in control of real weaponry. In some games, you even have to account for wind and gravity, particularly when you assume the role of a marksman with a sniper rifle. Further, war-based shooters often don’t have regenerative health and can sometimes even require players to keep track of their character’s fatigue, hunger, or thirst levels.
Now that you are aware of the huge spectrum of simulated war games for PC and mobile, it’s time to rally the troops and sample some of the available war games online above. With browser-based games, you don’t even have to download any software on your PC to get started. Meanwhile, the free mobile war games listed can be downloaded on your smartphone or tablet so you can play whenever you are ready.
Whether you prefer to fight on the front line or lead an army from base camp, there are plenty of enchanting war games waiting for you!