10 Best Video Games Set During World War 1

A conflict remembered for gruesome trench warfare and grizzly, inhumane combat tactics, World War I doesn't often make a great background for a video game. Unlike World War 2, which earned countless digital adaptations spanning multiple console generations, the Great War was a test of attrition that simply isn't suited for video game reimaginings.

Yet, the supposedly-authentic interpretations of war seen in games like Brothers in Arms: Road To Hill 30 andMedal of Honor: Frontline have, in recent years, given way to more creative and stylized depictions of warfare. From the intensely romantic 11-11: Memories Retold to the flashy and fierce Battlefield 1, there are a few World War I games that due the era justice without emphasizing realism.

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10 NecroVision (2009)

A screenshot from the 2009 first-person shooter Necrovision.

Developed by The Farm 51, NecroVision is an alternate history take on World War I notable for swapping standard enemy soldiers out for demons, vampires, and zombies. Centering around a kind of occult conspiracy that delves into some pretty Doom-esque territory, it's definitely a unique approach to the conflict.

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NecroVision was only ever released on PC and was forgotten fairly quickly, though it did receive an expansion in NecroVision: The Lost Company, which was also released in 2009. While clunky and outdated, NecroVision makes the most of its strange setting and stands out as a World War I title that debuted at a time in which most developers preferred to ignore the Great War.

9 Valiant Hearts: The Great War (2014)

Characters from the Ubisoft video game Valiant Hearts: The Great War.

A 2D sidescroller of a completely singular breed, Valiant Hearts: The Great War tells a tale of commodore and tragedy, fate and futility, and it's likely got more heart than any other game ever developed by Ubisoft.

Boasting an art style that wouldn't look out of place in a graphic novel, Valiant Hearts: The Great War is a puzzle adventure title that'll challenge the player's mind and morale in equal measure. Tear-jerking yet triumphant, there really aren't many other World War I games like this.

8 Verdun (2015)

A promotional image for the multiplayer video game Verdun.

Released in 2015, Verdun was an unquestionably ambitious PvP-focused indie title that pitted players in the hectic trenches of the titular World War I battle. A title that taunted authenticity, Verdun's gameplay was slower-paced and demanded that players stop and carefully line up blasts from bolt action rifles rather than run and gun with anachronistic automatic armaments.

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While Verdun isn't terribly active seven years after its release, it did spawn a succession of games of World War I titles, the newest of which—focusing on the battles of the Isonzo Front—is set to debut in September 2022.

7 Darkest Hour: A Hearts Of Iron Game (2011)

Gameplay of the PC strategy game Darkest Hour: A Hearts Of Iron Game.

Hearts of Iron is among the most acclaimed grand strategy series of all time, and its 2011 spin-off, Darkest Hour, replicates the intense minutiae of HOI gameplay. Spanning the onset of the twentieth century to the dawn of the Cold War, Darkest Hour isn't entirely focused on World War I, though some of the title's scenarios do feature it.

Darkest Hour: A Hearts of Iron Game is extremely detailed and requires players to conquer a significant learning curve. From micro-level troop placement to macro-level supply chain management, it's about as in-depth as one could expect a strategy game to be.

Characters from the Ubisoft video game Valiant Hearts: The Great War.

6 Trenches - A World War I Horror Survival Game (2021)

A screenshot from the horror video game Trenches.

An indie effort developed by Steelkrill Studio, Trenches is an atmospheric horror romp set in the sordid muck of the World War I front lines. The conflict was notorious for the poor living conditions soldiers were forced to endure, and this title brings this aspect of the war to the forefront, adding some psychological scares to increase the tension of an already bleak and emotionally heavy title.

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While some of the game's gimmicks do begin to wear thin after a point, the unique setting of Trenches alone makes it worth playing, even for fans of the setting who may not necessarily enjoy horror-centric media.

5 Rise of Flight: The First Great Air War (2009)

A screenshot from the flight simulator Rise of Flight: The First Great Air War.

Most modern flight simulators tend to focus on aerial combat in jets or stealth fighters, but 2009's Rise of Flight: The First Great Air War takes players back to the dawn of aviation. Detailed and exact in its replication of biplane piloting, Rise of Flight is the sort of title meant primarily for amateur aviators rather than average gamers.

That's not to say that only those with in-air know-how can play Rise of Flight. While it does feature something of a learning curve, it also has a fairly compelling gameplay loop that'll have flight sim fans eager to come to grips with the presumably-archaic World War I-era plane controls.

4 11-11: Memories Retold (2018)

A screenshot from the video game 11-11: Memories Retold.

World War I is often regarded as a particularly senseless conflict; the factors leading up to it were convoluted and intensely political, and those caught in the fighting often had difficulties reconciling the purposelessness of war. This is a driving force behind the plot of the 2018 adventure title 11-11: Memories Retold.

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Developed in collaboration with British animation studio Aardman Animations, the title focuses on two characters on opposite sides of the war thrust into the brunt of the battle despite their disdain for it. Much like Ubisoft's Valiant Hearts: The Great War, 11-11: Memories Retold focuses on a kind of heart and heroism not often seen in media focusing on World War I.

3 Darkest of Days (2009)

A screenshot from the FPS game Darkest of Days.

Easily one of the strangest FPS titles of the seventh console generation, Darkest of Days sees the protagonist conscripted into a sort of time-bending far-future organization with a vested interest in shaping the course of history by determining certain outcomes in major military conflicts. Players storm battlefields of the American Civil War and World War I armed with anachronistic weaponry and are asked to either even the odds or protect soldiers who will later be consequential to the timeline.

Darkest of Days is totally bizarre and outrageously buggy, but it's so unique that just about anyone who enjoys first-person shooters will derive some enjoyment out of a playthrough.

2 Vampyr (2018)

Vampyr Game

In Vampyr, players step into the role of Jonathan Reid, a man who was recently turned into a vampire. Eager to help a desperate London populace while also desperate to sate his vampiric thirst, the game centers on an interesting mechanic whereby players must get to know NPCs to help treat them and strengthen the community, though they must also feed on them to become more powerful.

Set during the outbreak of the Spanish Flu in the aftermath of the first World War, Vampyr doesn't deal directly with any military conflict, though it does feature in-depth examinations of veterans, and it dwells quite a bit on the intangible mental scars with which veterans of the war must contend.

1 Battlefield 1 (2016)

A screenshot from the video game Battlefield 1.

While it was by no means historically accurate, DICE's Battlefield 1 is perhaps the most popular World War 1-centric video game release of all time. Focusing on a variety of different fronts, campaigns, and allegiances, it was a surprisingly thorough affair that included one of the most exciting multiplayer modes since Battlefield 1942.

As per usual Battlefield fare, multiplayer battalions are separated into five-man squads, and each squad member is expected to pick a specific role to help maximize the unit's battlefield effectiveness. This pairs particularly well with maps that focus on trench warfare and close-quarters urban chaos.

NEXT: 10 Best Video Games To Play This Month

2022-09-11T01:44:33.000Z

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