The Decade’s List of Best Military Games
From iOS games to PC mainstays, we compare the decade’s top military games in this 60-page free issue!
Dear gaming enthusiast,
It’s been an incredible decade in military gaming. From the Battlefield series to Sid Meier’s Civilization, players have profited from sizeable advances in game engines and consoles alike.
Given the software and hardware capabilities of today’s dev teams, it comes as no surprise that the industry is pushing realism and authenticity like never before.
But how do their claims stack up? Just how accurate can a WWII shooter be? Did Red Orchestra hold true to its historical premise, or were embellishments added for the sake of amping up the gameplay?
Inside this free single issue, we jump right into the biggest titles of the past decade and attempt to answer these questions.
These aren’t just simple gameplay overviews—we explore the ins and outs of each title to discover how the games fit into their historical (and in some cases, political) framework.
Call of Duty: Changing the Face of War
62%—The percentage of forces in Afghanistan as of March 2013 that are private military corporation (PMC) contractors.
In Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, war has become an ever-growing international industry, and beneath that premise lies certain elements of truth: in the decade since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the United States government has spent over $3.3 trillion on private defense contracts.
Sledgehammer Games certainly explored this phenomenon in their most recent title: the plot of Advanced Warfare revolves around a private military company that turns against the U.S. government. In the game, PMCs have become the main armed forces for quite a few countries.
So is the face of war really changing?
Ask anyone to describe a soldier, and you’ll most likely get a description of a young man wearing a camouflage uniform, carrying a rifle and proudly defending his country. But as PMCs are used more and more by drug cartels, human rights groups and governments the world over, the line between traditional military units and PMCs continues to blur.
Inside, you’ll find even more commentary on this new trend in modern warfare, and what the future might hold for today’s military.
Military Games As Creative Storytelling
It’s hard to create a game using World War I as its premise.
For starters, there’s not much in the way of traditional action. Trench warfare is slow, arduous and rife with infection. Soldiers often died of disease before combat could ever find them, and simulating trenchfoot and lice isn’t exactly what today’s gamers are looking for.
So how did Valiant Hearts pull it off?
From the start, it was obvious that Ubisoft Montpellier had something special on their hands. Too often, we find ourselves wading through the same idioms in military gaming, and that’s precisely what makes Valiant Hearts’ effort to tell a real story all the more compelling.
From the development team’s lovingly-crafted artwork to the novel way they’ve incorporated real WWI artifacts into the gameplay, Valiant Hearts makes every attempt to pull you into the story and engage with its characters. And we cover it all inside.
When Games Become Social Issues
EA Games’ new Battlefield installment moved its theater of combat from overseas wars to the domestic United States. The game’s protagonist is a dirty SWAT officer, and military-grade weapons are the tool of choice when wiping out criminals, gun runners and police alike.
That’s led Polygon’s Chris Plante to question whether it’s authentic (or even appropriate) to glorify police use of military force.
The promotion for Battlefield: Hardline came at an unfortunate time, when the Ferguson, Missouri, riots were ripping the city apart. The riots, of course, were directed explicitly at the kind of indiscriminate use of police force inherent in the game. Plante lamented that law enforcement in Hardline are armed like soldiers, and treat citizens like enemy combatants.
But how accurate is this assessment?
After all, the prohibition era alone was a law enforcement arms race of military proportions. Shotguns, already commonplace with American police, terrified the German Army when used in an assault role during World War I, prompting questions of their legality in warfare.
And then there’s the Thompson submachine gun, developed to trump the shotgun’s trench-clearing capabilities. It wasn’t completed until the war had ended, however, so the weapon was battle-tested on the streets of Chicago by police and mobsters alike.
How else does police use of force stack up against its military counterparts? Is Battlefield: Hardline really that outrageous, considering the kit used by modern police units? Read inside to find out.
It’s been an implausible thirty-four years since Wolfenstein’s first debut on the Apple II back in 1981. The series has since become internationally known for its seminal contributions to the first person shooter genre.
And now, with Wolfenstein: The New Order, it seems the Nazis are back at it again. But how well does the franchise’s original premise relate to players today?
The events of The New Order pick up after the original, kicking off with William “BJ” Blazkowicz and pilot Fergus Reid taking part in an intense Allied raid against a Nazi fortress and weapons laboratory. Only it’s July 1946, and as you’ll quickly discover, the war is still going strong.
It doesn’t take long for the Allied raid to go absolutely sideways. BJ and the rest of his squad are left hung out to dry, and in BJ’s case, left for dead with a critical head injury.
When BJ finally comes to, he finds himself in a Polish asylum. To his bewilderment, it’s 1960 and the war is over. The Germans have won, and have seized control of the rest of the world.
How well do the developers pull this off? Certainly, they use their horrific retro-future to fantastic effect, but how do they sell the idea to the players?
The first Wolfenstein had very little in the way of a storyline. Quite the opposite with The New Order—if anything, the new installment can get a little heavy-handed with the plot. But inside, you’ll learn all about how the development team tied the story together to create a refreshing campaign shooter.
60 Pages of Gaming Commentary
These are just a few stories that you’ll find inside our free single issue. From iOS games to PC mainstays, from the fieldworks of the Civil War to futuristic battlefields, you’ll find 60 pages of reviews and commentary. Rainbow Six, Red Orchestra, Ghost Recon, Company of Heroes and Civilization—it’s all covered inside. And best of all of course, it’s absolutely free.
So go ahead and download your copy today! And please tell us what you think about the features inside our comments section—we’d love to hear what you want us to cover next.
Editor, Warfare History Network