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8 Best Total War Games: You Must Play in 2019 [Updated]

Any avid gamer with a taste for adrenaline has developed a penchant for the total war games. These games offer everything a gaming lover can ask for in a complete package. The strategy play makes them the most challenging games of the lot and the tactical control requires the presence of mind like no other video games. Pair that up with turn-based play and the need for efficient management of the resources available in the game and you have the recipe for the perfect gameplay involving action, drama, thrill, and suspense. The diversified worlds offered by the Total War Games make you keep coming back without ever feeling bored. Moreover, the level of detail offered, along with stunning graphics makes them the masters of strategy games. Although immensely popular venturing into the vast arena of Total War Games can seem daunting for a rookie. It is difficult to decide where to begin exploring this franchise because of two reasons the sheer unimaginable size of the company with a wide array of options to choose from, and the versatility of the games available.

Best Total War Games

As a gamer, I won’t be interested in playing a game which doesn’t interest me, but my job was to help you find the best games to play, that’s why I tested a few games and finally made a list of the top total war games you could consider playing. However, the best can’t be a single game because it changes from person to person. One gamer might like the Shogun 2 while the other might love Empire. So shall we begin with the list?

1. Shogun 2: Favorite Total War Game

Platforms Supported: Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS Released after the multinational battled of Empire and historical battles of Napoleon, the Shogun 2 was the epic game that transformed everything I knew about Total War Games by adding refined gameplay and polished AI. Opinions vary from individual to individual, but most Total War fanatics rank Shogun 2 as the pinnacle of gameplay in the entire history of the franchise. The adrenaline rush-inducing battles that make you feel as if you are smack in the middle of the war is one thing, but the sheer unimaginable scope of the game is what makes it the best in its category. The magnificent battles are set in 10 provinces of Japan and capturing the capital will make you the uncontested champion. Also, narrowing down the battles to one main geographical mass is perhaps the smartest moves by Total War when it comes to game design. Why it is one of the Best: Set against the backdrop of feudal Japan and offering gorgeous graphics, the Shogun 2 is a major upgrade from the previous Total War Games. The epic battles are one thing, but the sheer scope of the game, along with elements like diplomacy and alliances makes it worth the money.

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2. Warhammer II: Best for Beginners

Platforms Supported: Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS Warhammer II is possibly the largest game created by Creative Assembly and also the most complex. With the addition of more detailed campaigns and fleshed details, the second installment goes a step ahead of the original. I enjoyed the real-time battles that, despite being large in quantity, never seemed to feel repetitive. The saga has all the features of a thrilling tale, with four factions fighting it out in the field to achieve control over the Vortex, which is an expensive and exhausting affair in itself. Construction of rare buildings in specific locations was difficult enough, protecting them from intervention by other factions just added to the craziness and stressfulness of this game. The control of the Vortex is the ultimate end goal since it touches everything from missions, battles to conquests.
Throw in some high and dark elves, madmen turned into rats and dinosaurs riding lizardmen and you will get the most insane yet fun game Total Wars has come up with.
Why is it one of the best? A tightly run story centered around gaining control of the agents of chaos, also known as the vortex makes the game unidirectional and easy to understand. Throw in the detailed tutorials, well-designed campaigns, and epic scale battles – and you have just the right mix for a novice to get started on Total War Games.

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3. Medieval 2: Best for Graphic Enthusiasts

Platforms supported: Microsoft Windows Medieval 2 is better than Medieval, of course, but it is not the one for novices. The daunting battles, deep gameplay, and the need to strategize are quite difficult to take on. And with absolutely the largest amount of battles you will play in a Total Wars game, the Medieval 2 has a pleasing yet overwhelming take on gameplay. Though it was stressful, I came around to develop a taste for this dark game about the Middle Ages. and Oh boy did I enjoy it. The graphics are detailed, the plot is engaging and the battles feel as if thousands of people are going for each other’s throats, what more can I ask for? The entire game focuses on two objectives: the first, of course, is capturing the known land to become the ruler of the kingdom. But Medieval 2 adds another, fresh layer. I had to choose between capturing cities and castles. Cities offer more revenue, but taking hold of a castle meant more military units. This bit of micromanagement added with the already overwhelming gameplay makes Medieval 2 the most engaging game yet. Why is it one of the best? Better graphics that make battles look like real battles, instead of stick figures fighting with each other. Everyday aspects of life in the middle ages are covered, including religion and election of the Pope. The in-depth gameplay with fresh ideas scattered everywhere make it one of the best Total War games in the market.

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4. Warhammer: Non-Historical Total War Game

Platforms Supported: Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS Honestly, I was not expecting much from Warhammer when it first came out – primarily because magic as an element in tactical, strategy based games seemed bogus and superfluous to me. But boy, was I proved wrong and am I glad for it. The addition of magic may have made the Warhammer a nonhistorical game in a franchise of history inspired games – but that just makes it even more fun to play with. What it essentially does is that the factions are no longer stereotypical and similar now – I found it surprising and delightful that there were knights and wizards, giants and vampires to engage with. The graphics are gorgeous, the map is well detailed, and magic just adds to the mystery of the game. This is the perfect game to recruit non-Total Warians into the cult – the gameplay is smooth and the tutorials are easy enough to follow. And with all that, there is no compromise in quality of gameplay, with plenty of conquests and battles sprinkled in the story to keep you engrossed. Why is it one of the best: First non-historical game introduced by Total Wars, Warhammer started a unique phenomenon within the franchise. Due to its addition of magical elements, there are many new things to discover and after a long time, I was surprised by this game.

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5. Rome: Hardest Total War Game

Platforms Supported: Microsoft Windows, Mac OS Total War may have started with Shogun and came to notice in the public view with Medieval, but the true jump for Creative Assembly to the next level was the launch of Rome. With the epic style battles and engrossing strategy play already nailed down in its brilliant predecessors, Rome brought something else to the table – intricately detailed historical worlds that felt real and fantastical at the same time. The revolutionary addition of historically accurate worlds and detailed graphics makes Rome an iconic game in the franchise. Even though I played the game more than a decade ago, I remember how thrilling it was to watch thousands of soldiers engaging in battle instead of a couple of robots looking stick figures clanging against each other. Rome was an evolutionary step up for Creative Assembly and it is still relevant because of its engaging campaigns, besides being a nostalgic snapshot of the early days of the cult. Why is it one of the best: Historically accurate maps and conquests that were a revolutionary leap for the franchise when the game was launched makes it one of the most iconic games in the history of Creative Assembly. 3D graphics were featured for the first time, making it a true step up from the previous games.

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6. Medieval: Total War

Platforms Supported: Microsoft Windows As we stated before – even though the Total War games franchise began with Shogun, but it truly expanded with the advent of Medieval. To this day, Medieval is considered as a milestone in the history of Total War games franchise. The enhancements added on top of the Shogun game made Medieval not only a much more refined game but also increased the thrill of the game. Because of the risk style maps that allowed repetitive attacks at the worst possible time, this game left me frustrated to no end, and yet impressed. The Medieval was the first game in Total War history to achieve near perfect design that was simple yet engaging. The addition of religious factions was another thing that kept me on my toes. At any point in time, you could trust a religious battle to crop up and burn everything to the ground. The loyalty and espionage elements sprinkled in the game further sealed the deal for Medieval, making it one of the most iconic games in the series. Why is it one of the best: A milestone game that was the first to introduce the quintessential features of Total War games that are now synonymous with the series – Glittering armor and hordes of soldiers battle charging into one another. An addition of religion and the Pope as a villain made it not only more thrilling, but a challenging game to play.

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7. Empire: Total War

Platforms Supported: Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS At first glance, it may seem easy to dismiss Empire as a knockoff of Medieval or Atilla – but I request you give it a shot. There is more to this game than its predecessor’s quintessential features. Sure, you can engage in battles and take controls of cities and lands to become the ultimate king of the land. But there is more – you can micromanage cities to your heart’s content, engage in naval combats and establish trade routes where none existed. Empire is meant for those of us who like to customize everything – from our battle plans to our villages. Empire was the first to introduce two overarching plays in the Total War franchise – the first is expanding your territory, conquering towns, improve your army and manage your resources. The second, more exciting is the tactical and strategy based battles that are based in real life and require you to plan ahead, incorporate espionage and engage in diplomacy. There is plenty more to keep you hooked to this game, from family trees and senate missions, appointment of governors and establishing trade routes, spying and subverting traders. Give Empire a shot and you will be addicted to this epic fantasy. Why is it one of the best: Empire was one of the first games to introduce the addition of improved graphics. The size of gameplay is enormous and there is a diverse variety of elements to keep you engaged and satisfied.

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8. Shogun: Total War

Platforms Supported: Microsoft Windows It is easy to forget the very first Total War Game with the release of much fancier titles that add more drama and better graphics, but the original Shogun is worth a spot in the best total war games. This is where it all started – the epic battles, the strategies developed in the throne’s room, the swelling music. Overlooked often because of its stunning sequel, the Shogun will always have a special place in the hearts of the oldest fans. Even years after having played the game, there are moments that remain etched in the mind. The beautiful yet imaginary topography of feudal Japan is still as fresh as if I played Shogun yesterday. The arrows firing from hilltops, swatches of valleys covered with interchangeable armies, running into hordes of spearmen with nothing but a sword to protect you – these are the things that made playing the original Shogun a delightful and addictive activity. Why is it one of the best: Although Shogun 2 takes the cake for being the most epic game set in feudal Japan, Shogun is the place which laid the groundwork for the franchise and where a cult began to take its initial shape. The elegant and graceful design will make you forget that it is a game from a different era.

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No gamer likes high ping while playing his favorite game, sometimes it’s an issue from the ISP, but if there’s no problem with the ISP, you should try upgrading your ethernet cable, preferably, buy the one which is most suited for gaming.

Worst Total War Games

1. Rome 2

Platforms Supported: Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux While not a bad game in and of itself, the major drawback of Rome 2 is that it does not live up to the hype created by its predecessor. I remember the glorious battles and a refined map of the original. It was disappointing to play Rome 2 with its numerous bugs and vast map with nothing but stretches of empty space in between. The delays did not help either and while a lot of bugs have been fixed, the game still feels uninspired and a downgrade from Rome.

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2. Napoleon: Total War

Platforms Supported: Microsoft Windows, OS X Napoleon isn’t a bad game per se, but after playing Rome, I did not find anything new and original that the game could call it’s own. Although it has all the engaging features of a classic total war game – there is nothing to come back to once you are done playing. Some tweaks and updates slapped over the older games, along with slightly better graphics – Napoleon failed to register itself in my memory. The gameplay is forgettable at best and boring at worst and changing the uniforms of the soldiers does not make for an upgrade.

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3. Attila: Total War

Platforms Supported: Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS With gorgeously created designs and beautiful graphics, at first glance, Attila looks like the perfect recreation of period battles. But that is where the enjoyment ends – the lack of depth in battles and nothing more than gimmicky expansions to back itself up, there isn’t anything that makes Attila remarkable. I enjoyed the one time play, primarily because of the quintessential elements all Total War games possess, but there was not much that would make me want to go back. There are so many times you can participate in superficial battles before you give up.

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Latest Total War Games

The Creative Assembly has always been innovative and relentless, and it’s no surprise that they keep coming up with newer, more engrossing games with better graphics and details every year. 2018 and 19  are no exceptions. The last year saw an addition of a brand new, limited edition game called “Thrones of Britannia” for Microsoft Windows, Mac, and Linux. However, one can’t still expect a new game every month.
  • Thrones of Britannia (2018)
  • Warhammer II (2017)
  • Warhammer (2016)
  • Attila (2015)
Launched in May last year, Thrones of Britannia is based in 878 AD British Isles and is a Flash game i.e. it’s focused on one point in history. The sheer number of kings in the small British Isles area is surprising, but it adds to the countless battles between the factions and promises to keep you engaged. While I like the game as is, there is really not much to set it apart from the previous legendary epics. There is much similarity between the factions, the combat battles are not as engaging and campaigns are a little too bare for my taste. I couldn’t, in good conscience, recommend spending on the Thrones of Britannia. Instead, go back and replay one of the classics – Shogun 2, Warhammer 2 and Rome.

Upcoming Total War Games

  • Three Kingdoms (May 23rd, 2019)
The latest in the Total War series is Three Kingdoms, set to launch this year on May 23. It is the 23rd game to be launched by the Creative Assembly and will be set in China in 190 AD. The game will be launched on Microsoft Windows, Linux and Mac OS. The game features eleven factions and like the previous games, each faction will vie to control the majority of the mainland to receive the title of the ruler of the land. Sources have revealed that Creative Assembly has added several new features to the game – including improved artificial intelligence and an intuitive user interface. This should make the game more challenging and fun to play. Additionally, it is being theorized that the new game will have a feature none of its predecessors had the fact the general and governors will be able to communicate, interact and form meaningful relationships with other characters as they advance through the conquests and battles. What this basically means is that players will have to explore a new strategic element while planning battles – learning about the generals and governors of their army before making tactical decisions. That sounds like a lot of fun to me.

What is Total War Games?

Total War Games is a franchise of strategy based games that involve tactical prowess, resource management, and turn-based gameplay. The games fall under Real Time tactical play subgenre that features a simulation of real-time military tactics and operational warfare with more focus on battlefield tactics than resource micromanagement. The first Total War Game, Shogun was released in 2000 and since then the company has sold over 20 million copies of multiple games. The latest in the series, Thrones of Britannia was released on 3rd May 2018. The first two games were released only for Windows, but with the launch of Rome: Total War, they can also be run on OS X and Linux. Facts aside, what Total War Games really is black magic that will haunt you while you are awake and while you sleep. I love the games because they offer a realistic story of rags to riches. You start at the bottom, with nothing to your name, your kingdom in distress and surrounded by enemies. You slowly grow to a respectable size with each step, and every turn could be a step up or a fall to plunder. They keep you on your toes all through the gameplay and they never stop challenging you. What more can you ask for from a video game?