The Total War series offers some of the best large scale military strategy simulations on the market. You can control legions of Roman Centurions or a cabal of Dark Elves. Total War games allow you to role-play as different civilizations both realistic and fantasy.

Total War Games

While Total War games have excellent narratives that are shaped by the player, they also have deep tactical strategy mechanics. Each Total War game on the market approaches tactical combat in a different manner. In some games, the fantasy environment means you have tactical options available that would be otherwise unheard of.  

We have combed the internet to bring you the top 10 Total War games worth your time. We have prepared a guide that will help you understand how we critique the top Total War games. With this guide, you can organize your thoughts on a specific Total War video game to make the final decision for yourself.

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COMPARSION TABLE

HOW WE CRITIQUE THE TOP TOTAL WAR GAMES, A REVIEWER’S GUIDE

Critiquing video games is a complicated process. Deciding what factors to judge a video game on is important to fairly critique a video game. We base our selection of the 10 best total war games based on the following critiques:

  • World Building
  • Tactical Gameplay Mechanics

WORLD BUILDING

In most video games, world building is an important factor that can help determine whether or not a game will be enjoyable. Video games with powerful narratives and exceptional world building draw the player in to continue playing. Proper world building can bring a video game to life, especially Total War video
games.

When critiquing Total War games, we will unpack the world in which the Total War game is set. What is the reasoning for conflict in this game? What are the stakes, and how does the player interact with the game world at large? These are important questions to ask when differentiating a good Total War game from the Best Total War games.

TACTICAL GAMEPLAY MECHANICS

Besides world building, Total War games live and die by the ingenuity of their tactical gameplay systems. As a war strategy simulation, Total War games must provide players with a variety of tactical systems to complete their objective.

Different Total War games require different tactics and maneuvers to be successful in the game. When playing these games, you need to ask yourself: are these tactics and maneuvers enjoyable? Do I feel like I am being challenged? Do I have the tools to use the environment and wit to turn the tides of battle?

The best Total War games provide you with an ability to shift your tactics as the battle needs it. Excellent Total War games also offer you a degree of difficulty to challenge your tactical prowess.

10 BEST TOTAL WAR VIDEOGAMES

Shogun 2
Total War: Shogun 2 - PC
  • Choose from 9 different clans and compete on and offline for the undisputed supremacy of Medieval Japan. Gain experience...
  • Play through the Main Campaign in single player or invite a friend online to play competitively or cooperatively in...
  • Developed according to Sun Tzu's principles in the Art of War, the Artificial Intelligence constantly analyzes its...
No products found. TOTAL WAR: SHOGUN 25 out of 5 Stars">

Total War Shogun 2 was released on March 15, 2011. The game world is set in 16th century Japan during the feudal era. This is the era in which multiple Shogun were battling to decide who would rule Japan at the dawn of a new modern age. As the setting suggests there is a combination of traditional Japanese weaponry, and imported modern weapons like rifles.

After the Onin War, Japan is split into 8 different factions ruled by feuding warlords. The player plays as one of the factions and must defeat the other warlords to gain control of Japan. This game goes to great lengths to establish the stakes of what the player is fighting for early on in the game.

Total War Shogun 2 essentially has two gameplay modes. In one mode the player must play the role as clan leader and oversee the campaign. This includes managing the development of settlements as well as the economic and military growth of the clan.

As general, the player must maneuver unity around the battlefield tactically to complete battles. Combat is not the only solution. The player can use ninja, geisha, political communication, and diplomacy to win the overall campaign. Total War Shogun 2 is a complete conquest simulator.

 We rate Total War: Shogun 2 a 5 out of 5.

Rome 2
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Total War: Rome 2 - PC
  • Feel the thunderous clash of battle as the Roman war-machine takes to the field in real-time combat. Tens of thousands...
  • All-new graphics engine - see exotic ancient cities and colossal armies rendered in incredible detail, while...
  • Completely scalable experience, with performance optimized for your PC or laptop. Witness the awesome scale of Total War...
No products found. TOTAL WAR: ROME 24 out of 5 Stars">

Total War: Rome 2 was released on September 3, 2013. This game released to mild reviews, but was considered to be a financial success for the series.

The game is set in 272 BC and lasts for 300 years until 172 AD. Players take control of one of 3 different political families battling for control over Rome. The player must balance the politics of the ruling family, and military strategy. The map boundaries are from Bactria to Lusitania, and Caledonia to Garamantia.

The game is split up into 173 different regions. 3 to 4 of the regions in game combine to form a province. There are over 57 provinces in game. Gameplay revolves around balancing public happiness with military production.

On top of political maneuvering, there are multiple combat scenarios that show Total War: Rome 2 strategic genius. Players can fight in either land battles, large naval battles, or both at the same time. It is also possible for players to enter siege if certain conditions are met. This adds an immense amount of variety to each campaign.

We rate Total War: Rome 2 a 4 out of 5.

Warhammer
No products found. TOTAL WAR: WARHAMMER5 out of 5 Stars">

Total War Warhammer is a game that allows you to fulfill the role of playing a general in a large fantasy realm. Karl Franz becomes emperor and must unite all of the factions in the empire. Peace is threatened by multiple rival factions and the coming doom of the chaos horde.

You can take control of a human faction, orc faction, dwarven faction, undead faction, or chaos hoard. Total War: Warhammer has excellent narrative stakes, and makes you feel like you are in the heart of deciding the outcome of this Tolkien-esque universe.

Gameplay mechanics in Total War Warhammer are some of the most interesting around. There is an incredible magic system that allows key unity to completely turn the tides of battle. You can also use agents, powerful units, to turn the battle as well.

Total War: Warhammer gives you the tools to be a fantasy power house. We rate Total War Warhammer a 5 out of 5.

Warhammer ll
Total War: Warhammer II – Blood for the Blood God II [Online Game...
  • From the icy peaks of Naggaroth to the arid reaches of the Southlands, each race struggles for dominion. As their...
  • Blood for The Blood God brings a number of gory, mature-rated effects to Total War: WARHAMMER II
No products found. TOTAL WAR: WARHAMMER II5 out of 5 Stars">

Total War Warhammer II is a different story set in the Warhammer universe. The game revolves around the conflict for control of the Great Vortex in Ulthuan.

There are 5 different races battling for control of the Great Vortex including High Elves, Dark Elves, Skaven, Tomb Kings, and Lizardmen. In Warhammer II the plot truly seems like a grand scale fantasy story.

Gameplay is nuanced and tactical, following along Warhammer I. We think if you enjoyed Warhammer I, then Warhammer II is a necessary addition to your Total War library. There is also a multiplayer component that allows you to do battle with friends.

We rate Total War: Warhammer II 5 out of 5.

Total war Saga Thrones of Brittania

TOTAL WAR SAGA THRONES OF BRITTANIA

No products found. TOTAL WAR SAGA THRONES OF BRITTANIA4 out of 5 Stars">

Total War Saga Thrones of Brittania revolves around the moment that defined modern Britain. In this pivotal moment, British armies go toe to toe with Viking to determine who will rule over all of Brittania. This narrative is interesting as it represents a pivotal time in which two cultures came into massive conflict.

Tactical battle in this Total War game relies more on shield based combat, and charge based combat. Charging is such a mechanic because of the historical time in which Brittanians had to modify their combat style to fight Vikings. There is also a critical hit feature to add in a sense of combat realism to each encounter.

We think Total War Saga Thrones of Brittania covers an interesting moment in history, and has combat that balances well with historical realities. We rate this game a 4 out of 5.

Medieval ll Total war

MEDIEVAL II: TOTAL WAR

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Medieval II Total War - PC
  • Manage your empire in the turn-based Campaign Map, handling everything from building and improving cities to recruiting...
  • Employ diplomacy to manipulate allies and enemies, outsmart the dreaded Inquisition, and influence the Pope
  • Lead the fight in the Crusades and bring victory to Islam or Christianity in the Holy War
Sale Medieval II Total War - PC Manage your empire in the turn-based Campaign Map, handling everything from building and improving cities to recruiting...Employ diplomacy to manipulate allies and enemies, outsmart the dreaded Inquisition, and influence the PopeLead the fight in the Crusades and bring victory to Islam or Christianity in the Holy War Check Price MEDIEVAL II: TOTAL WAR4 out of 5 Stars">

Medieval II: Total War takes place during the middle ages. In this game, multiple factions from the middle ages compete to rule over the land. Spanning across the western and middle eastern world, players are tasked with using diplomacy and combat to expand their reign.

The world building in medieval II is astounding as it manages to capture the various cultures who were competing against one another in this time period.

Where Medieval II really shines is its combat. This was one of the first Total War games to introduce massive 10,000 unit battles. In addition to this massive scale, siege towers and other medieval technology is available to the player to use tactically. This makes combat diverse and a complete joy.

We rate Medieval II: Total War a 4 out of 5.

The total war

EMPIRE: TOTAL WAR

Empire: Total War - PC
  • New Real-time 3D Naval Warfare. Players control single ships or vast fleets with fully destructible sails as well as...
  • All-new Game Engine. With a newly created Windows XP-compatible DirectX 9 graphics engine, players will experience...
  • Episodic Campaign. Improves accessibility to the game by gradually introducing advanced features over time.
No products found. EMPIRE: TOTAL WAR4 out of 5 Stars">

Empire: Total War is set in the 18th century and revolves around the Industrial Revolution, the American Revolution, and the rush to open up spice trade routes in the East.

If these stakes weren’t already high, players have to choose between 11 different factions that are all unique. In terms of world building, this massive scale is enough to bring in the most die hard of historical simulator fans.

A new feature that Empire: Total War added to the series is naval combat. This combat was well received and greatly opened up the strategies that players could employ to win battles. Technology research is also a huge component of this game.

Savvy players can invest in technology and use their technological genius to turn battles in their favor. This makes Empire: Total War an interesting tactical game to play with technologies that were just developing. We rate Empire: Total War a 4 out of 5.

The shogun total war

SHOGUN: TOTAL WAR

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Shogun: Total War is a cult classic of the Total War franchise that came in June 2000. It was one of the first large tactical strategy games to focus on the Sengoku period of Japan. The player can play as one of a number of Daimyo, and must use their cunning to rule Japan.

Players are given control of multiple units from samurai to archers. Each unity has relative advantages and disadvantages. This was one of the first Total War games in which the enemy uses both their environment and knowledge of your tactics against you. This gameplay pushed Total War into a popular franchise.

We rate Shogun Total War 5 out of 5.

The total war of attila

TOTAL WAR: ATTILA

Total War: Attila Special Edition
  • Apocalyptic Destruction Mechanics: Wield the ferocious power of fire in battle to set buildings ablaze and terrify...
  • Legendary Start Position: Playing as the Western Roman Empire you will begin with vast territories under your control,...
  • Overhauled Game Mechanics: Improved core gameplay and UI through the latest optimised and modified Total War game...
Total War: Attila Special Edition Apocalyptic Destruction Mechanics: Wield the ferocious power of fire in battle to set buildings ablaze and terrify...Legendary Start Position: Playing as the Western Roman Empire you will begin with vast territories under your control,...Overhauled Game Mechanics: Improved core gameplay and UI through the latest optimised and modified Total War game... Check Price TOTAL WAR: ATTILA4 out of 5 Stars">

Total War: Attila is excellent because of its defining world building. In this game, the Mongol army faces off against the Roman army for control over Rome. Players can take a pivotal role in a wild historical time period that is often rarely discussed.  

Tactics in Total War: Attila is exceptional because of their focus on the realistic differences between the way in which the Mongol army and Roman army fight. With the Mongol army, players can take control over elite horsemen equipped with bow and arrow. Total War: Attila is the ultimate Mongol army simulator.

We rate Total War: Attila a 4 out of 5.

The total war in Arena

TOTAL WAR: ARENA

CGR Trailers - TOTAL WAR: ARENA Gameplay Trailer Check Price TOTAL WAR: ARENA4 out of 5 Stars">

Total War: Arena is a free to play game for fans of the Total War series that want smaller skirmishes. Arena pits 4 different factions, Carthage, Greece, Rome, and Barbarians, against one another. Players take control of commanders and must utilize them to take control of the battle.

If most Total War games are about controlling a large army and a large number of resources, then Total War: Arena is that on a much smaller scale. Players can face off against one another using series staple tactics like war dogs, missile infantry, artillery, and cavalry.

We rate Total War: Arena 5 out of 5.


THE TOP 10 TOTAL WAR EACH ADD SOMETHING TO THE SERIES

Each Total War game has added a novel historical time period, fantastical background, or novel tactical mechanics. The best Total War games balance narrative excellence with deep rich tactical gameplay.

We recommend any fan of tactical strategy games play a game from this series. Each Total War game contains hundreds of hours of satisfying tactical gameplay.

Keyword: total war games

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