13 Best Total War Games to Play in 2024

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Total War games have a large fan base (including me) and most of the gamers have different opinions when it comes to choosing “the best total war game”.

As a gamer, playing any of the Total War game released till date is a rich gaming experience because of the real-time tactical gameplay and turn-based logistics with amazing graphics.

Having played almost all the latest Total War games including Shogun 2, Warhammer II and Thrones of Britannia, you can definitely count on me!

So, here are the best total war games that I have ranked as per the gameplay, authenticity and popularity.

List of Best Total War Games

Last update on 2020-03-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

1. Total War: Shogun 2

Supported Platforms: Windows, OS X, Linux
War Engine: TW Engine 3 (32-bit)

Released in 2011, the Total War: Shogun 2 took the franchise to the level it deserved with advanced gameplay and more perfected AI algorithms to give you the real war-like adrenaline rush.

If you’ll ask any of the Total War fans, a majority of them will rate Shogun 2 as the best Total war game since the beginning of this game franchise.

Shogun 2 is actually the sequel to the very first Total war game named Shogun (2000). The game takes you the 16th century feudal Japan when various leaders fought each other to become the most powerful.

The gameplay can be split into two – the campaign map and the battlefield. In the campaign map, its all about your strategy with vast possibilities like managing tax rates, strengthen your alliance, establish trade routes etc.

While on the battlefield, you use your ninja army, infantry and archers to attack the castles and conquer territories.

Once you conquer it all, you become the “Shogun”.

With exciting battlefield dash mixed with diplomacy and strategy, Shogun 2 is clearly the best total war game that any gamer would love playing!


2. Total War: Attila

Supported Platforms: Windows, OS X, Linux
War Engine: TW Engine 3 (32-bit)

Total War: Attila follows the journey of Atilla the Hun from the Rome series and some gamers unofficially called this game as Rome III. That’s because the game interface including the maps, assets and models are quite similar to that of Total War: Rome.

Still, Atilla marks some really impressive changes from their predecessors from the series. I would suggest you play at least one of the Total War: Rome games to actually understand the difference between the two.

The Total War Atilla is basically set in Europe after the collapse of the Roman empire. The cities are burning, regions are devastated and numerous nomadic tribes endlessly rampaging the cities across the Anatolia.

Unlike previous Total War games, in Attila, you can play as a horde which keeps moving from one region to another and set up temporary camps to invade territories without having a home province.

Talking about the battles, Atilla has much more impact on your city if you lose a battle. In fact, if you lose too soon in a battle, it could probably make your city completely disappear from the map.

Considering the new ways to build and attack, Total War: Atilla deserves the second place on this list.

3. Napoleon: Total War – Definitive Edition

Supported Platforms: Windows, OS X, Linux
War Engine: TW Engine 3 (32-bit)

My third favorite Total war game is the “Napoleon: Total War”. As the name suggests, the game completely focuses on the journey of Napoleon from being a small Artillery officer to the emperor of France.

But this thought also kind of restricts the gameplay. There are three campaigns that let you play as Napoleon has objectives that scripted to match the history. This side missions are also historically appropriate but all this takes away the control from the player on the policies of his empire.

What really takes away the points are the battles that are lively,

The vast, bloody battles that are possible with one of the first introductions to gunpowder warfare is also satisfying. There are a handful of DLC experiences for the game that improves the base game, but none are entirely necessary to enjoy this entry in the Total War series.

It was also one of the classic Total War games that got a Definitive edition upgrade late last year, along with Medieval II and Empire.

4. Total War: Empire – Definitive Edition

Supported Platforms: Windows, OS X, Linux
War Engine: TW Engine 3 (32-bit)

Having discussed Total War: Napolean, I would say Total War: Empire is almost the opposite of it when it comes to freedom and versatility that the game offers.

Unlike the Napolean, the Empire definitive edition gives the players a vast number of possibilities than limiting to just what happened historically.

At the very first glance, everything seems too similar to the Medieval or Attila, but there’s more to it.

Not only you get to engage in absorbing battles to acquire lands but you also get to show your diplomacy and strategical skills while managing the cities, establishing trade that never existed in history and much more!

Empire was actually the first time in Total War series that made gamers not only to indulge in tactical battles, spying and diplomacy but also manage resources, improve arms and expand territory.

Adding stuff like family trees and side missions, establishing trade and appointing governors, spying and subverting traders.

Also, Empire was one of the first games that incorporated improved graphics. With Empire and afterwards, the scope of gameplay broadens with lots of possibilities that keep you engaged throughout.

In my opinion, if you’ll give Empire a shot and you will be literally addicted to this epic Total War game

5. Total War: Warhammer II

Supported Platforms: Windows, OS X, Linux
War Engine: TW Engine 3 (64-bit)

While making the Total War: Warhammer II, the folks at Creative Assembly actually listened to the complaints gamers had with the original version of the game. And the release of Warhammer II successfully renewed the interest of gamers in this fantasied version of Total War.

At first glance the four factions of Warhammer 2 look totally same as the previous version of the game – High Elves, Dark Elves, the Lizardmen on dinosaurs and the fierce rats called Skaven.

But, if you play the Warhammer II, you will see the high elf forces now include dragons and are able to do magic spells in war. Also, the lizardmen are now more colorful and enchanting.

My personal favorite, the Skaven faction, is now more sneakier and brings up reinforcements from underground.

All these renewed factions are better at magic and have both melee and ranged specialists.

Even the map design has got an update. Unlike the spawning continent in Warhammer I, this time its loaded with more interesting campaigns. One that I enjoyed the most is the Curse of the Vampire Cost which takes the game on another level.

I am sure you will love every small improvement that they have made into the Warhammer II.

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6. Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia

Supported Platforms: Windows, OS X, Linux
War Engine: TW Engine 3 (32-bit)

Once you have played the Total War: Attila, I highly doubt you would like the Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia. It completely looks like a blatant rip off of the Attila with just a different geographical setting.

The devastated cities which was first introduced in Attila can be seen exactly the same in the Thrones of Britannia. And, that’s one of the main reasons, people kinda rejected the game.

Though much of the game functions exactly like Attila, still there are some new geographical areas and campaign that are interesting.

In the Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia, you get to play as Alfred the Great and how he fought against the Viking Invasion during the battle of Edington.

There is no connection between its story and the characters from the previous games which also worked negatively for those who waited for the next release just to see what happens to their favorite emperors in the next game!

7. Total War Rome

Supported Platforms: Windows, OS X, Linux
War Engine: TW Engine 3 (32-bit)

The release of Total War Rome marked a significant jump in the popularity of the game series.

Creative Assembly had already mastered the epic scale battles and captivating strategy in the previous editions. With Rome edition, the game feels so real and engrossing because of the brilliantly detailed historical worlds.

Total War Rome was the first game in the series that had true 3D graphics. Added to that is the revolutionary aspect taken directly from the history of Rome. All this made Total War Rome a turning point in the journey of this game franchise.

Personally, even when I play Total War Rome today, it still feels so engaging with the thrilling battles with huge armies fighting each other. And, what to say about the nostalgic feeling! It’s one hell of gaming experience.

8. Total War Medieval

Supported Platforms: Windows, OS X, Linux
War Engine: TW Engine 3 (32-bit)

After the Shogun, Total War franchise entered into a new era with the launch of Medieval. The creators listened to the feedback on Shogun and improved the game experience a lot in the Total War Medieval.

The enhancements not only turned Medieval into a more engrossing game but also added to the adventure of the players.

I personally liked the new map styles introduced in Total War Medieval that made it possible to attack repeatedly at the worst possible time.

Another thing that made me glued to the game was the introduction of religious factions. These religious battles would occur at any time and destroy everything!

Also, there are elements of loyalty and espionage all across the game which can make it or break it for you. It made the game even more challenging to play!

Worst Total War Games

1. Rome II: Total War

Supported Platforms: Windows, OS X, Linux
War Engine: TW Engine 3 (32-bit)

A majority of gamers unanimously regard the Total War: Rome II as the worst Total War game ever. It saw a complete failure just like the Empire which had an excuse of a new war engine.

You can still see the Dynastic politics in the game but they could have borrowed the supporting systems from the Shogun 2 because that how they work. A completely wrong move!

Another thing that upset gamers (including myself) is the way Egypt has been shown in Rome 2 – too cartoonish and unreal. This could have been easily avoided considering it is the sequel of the game and has access to better graphics and technologies.

2. Total War: Medieval II – Definitive Edition

Supported Platforms: Windows, OS X, Linux
War Engine: TW Engine 2

Once again, a sequel that sucked! The Total War: Medieval II was released in 2006 and ran on a then-updated second generation of TW Engine. That’s why people expected it to be a revolutionary sequel.

But nothing happened of that sort. Instead, the game made a U-turn to the old pike-and-shot warfare. Also, the diplomacy side of the game is not up to the mark even after the definitive edition that fortunately fixed some graphic issues.

Its not that there’s nothing in the game; its just that there’s not enough for every kind of player.

For example, if you love to be a warlord and run your kingdoms, the game might appeal to you. But, for those who love playing economically and in a diplomatic way, Medieval 2 is nothing more than a dead battlefield.

3. Total War: Shogun

Supported Platforms: Windows, OS X, Linux
War Engine: TW Engine 3 (64-bit)

Release in 2000, Total War Shogun is the very first game released under the Total war franchise. I am putting it in the worst Total War games section just for the reason that it is outdated and you can feel it during the gameplay.

Neither the graphics nor the war engine is that much advanced and that’s why situations seem a bit scripted.

Another reason for Shogun being tagged as worst is its sequel – the Shogun 2 (which tops this list of best Total War games). The sheer contrast between the two makes the original Shogun look immature and primitive.

Definitely, the Shogun leaves some really great impact on its successor. And, when Shogun 2 has become the most favorite Total War game, some of the credit also goes to the original Shogun.

Latest Total War Games

Talking about the most recent releases, below is the list of latest Total War Games.

  • Total War: Three Kingdoms (2019)
  • Thrones of Britannia (2018)
  • Warhammer II (2017)
  • Warhammer (2016)
  • Atilla (2015)

Total War: Three Kingdoms (2019)

Supported Platforms: Windows, OS X, Linux
War Engine: TW Engine 3 (64-bit)

Creative Assembly regularly releases new games in Total War series to provide some new exciting adventures to the fans of the franchise.

And, the Total War: Three Kingdoms will be the first time the series has looked at the epic conflict to Unite China during the Three Kingdoms period. The game is set in 190AD – the period of the downfall of the Han dynasty.

Players can choose from 12 legendary warlords and conquer the known world. The player who can defeat all of them will be the ultimate emperor and unite China into one strong kingdom.

The Creative Assembly keeps on updating and bringing new and exciting Total War games set in various different eras of history. Each new release comes with better graphics and updated AI algorithms to take the gaming experience to the next level (not everyone agrees though).

Generally, the Creative Assembly releases a new Total War game every year. The latest Total War game is Three Kingdoms which was released in May 2019. It is the 13th game in the list of Total War game series.

In 2018, Thrones of Brittania was released. One of the most popular Total War game recently released is the Atilla from 2015 which, in my opinion, is the flagbearer of the advancements in the Total War universe.

Upcoming Total War Games

The next upcoming Total war game is Total War Saga: Troy is set to release on May 23, 2019. Before I tell you more details, first check out the trailer of the Total War: Three Kingdoms.

Total War Saga: Troy is set in the Bronze Age which the oldest era among all the games in the Total War series. This upcoming Total war game not only features the battles before the city of Troy but your actions in the game will also decide the future of the surrounding Aegean civilization.

I am eagerly waiting the Total War Troy to be released (just a few months more!). Once I get my hands on it, I am gonna share my review in this article. So, watch this space for updates.

Questions Related to Total War Games

What type of Game is Total War?

Developed by Creative Assembly, Total War is a series of war-based strategy games that convert historical battles into the real-time multiplayer tactical gaming experience. The games incorporate AI algorithms that they call War Engine to give a real-like war experience.

What is the Best Total War Game?

According to my personal experience and popularity, the Total War: Shogun 2 is the best Total War game released to date (though opinions of individuals may differ).

Is Total War Free?

No, Total War games are not free. You can buy Total War games from the Steam store or from Amazon itself.

In 2017, Creative Assembly announced a free-to-play version called Total War: Arena in collaboration with WarGaming (the makers of World of Warcraft) but it went offline permanently on Feb 22, 2019.

Is Total War on Steam?

Yes, Total War games are available on Steam store. If you have a Steam account, just log in and go to the Steam Store. Now, search for Total War and you will see the list of Total War games available for Steam.

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