[Top 15] Military Games With Realistic Action

What games depict warfare better?

What do we love about Military-based games? The shooting of course. The combat, immersion, accuracy, several factors take into account the love of military games. Maybe you love the shooting aspect, running and gunning in a simple arcade-styled game. Maybe you love the immersive feeling, playing a Military Simulator (MilSim) with a large community. Maybe it’s just for the attention to detail, which while adds on to immersion, can still be considered a separate thing. Today, we are here to talk about military games that portray realistic action or provide a realistic and immersive feeling. What are some of the characteristics of a military game with “realistic action?” We are looking at these three main elements:




Combat determines how realistic the gunfight or the overall warfare is portrayed. Are the solders flopping around after death? Are the guns practically without recoil? This will be taken into account and further clarified as we continue. Accuracy determines how realistic the setting is portrayed. Are there WW2 soldiers running around with M16s or modern Russian soldiers wearing Chinese uniforms? Little nitpicks might not change the overall rating, but details are important when it comes to delivering an overall immersive experience. Strategy determines how the players work together. Are they running and gunning, or are they carefully planning their objectives? While it can be done for any game, games that truly force the players to work together truly make the game more realistic, as in war, no one wins fighting alone.


#15 - Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War

Black Ops Cold War takes place during the time period when the United States and the U.S.S.R were at the brink of a third world war. The Cold War, or a proxy war, resulted in no direct engagements between the American and Red troops, however in this game, we get to fight the Vietnamese and the Soviets too. The multiplayer is nothing special. The game includes standard game modes like in the previous years although it has been rebranded with new and colorful graphics under the Cold War theme.

Speaking of new graphics, this was the first Black Ops series game that ran on the Black Ops Cold War engine, or a modified IW 8.0. In terms of realistic action, it’s awful. Yes indeed, the game is arcade-style, however when judging based on realism, the game has little-to-no weapon recoil, lacks historical accuracy, (campaign) and being the casual game it is, there’s no teamwork needed.


#14 - Battlefield V

Another arcade-styled game, Battlefield V is yet another WW2 game made by DICE. Despite the hate, Battlefield V’s graphics and captivating scenery can truly immerse some players, until it doesn't. Many nations in Battlefield V lack historical accuracy both in the stories and multiplayer skins. Similarly to Call of Duty, Battlefield V is a casual game where not much teamwork or realism is needed when it comes to realistic action, however, its large maps, tanks, airplanes, and ships make this better than Cold War.


#13 - World of Tanks

World of Tanks is a game that includes tanks from WW2-Cold War Era. Play as 9 different nations, with over 600 tanks, and each one being accurate to its real life counterpart. All in-game sounds are raw from real life, including tanks from the Second World War, meaning yes, someone had to revive an old T34 to get its sounds in-game. 

Capture objective points, destroy hostile tanks, dominate the battlefield, everything that is necessary to complete the mission. In the game, teamwork is encouraged, but may not be frequently used throughout the game. The damage system is pretty interesting. A round can penetrate, ricochet, or not penetrate, however there is also a health bar that keeps a player alive. When that health bar is depleted, you explode.


#12 - War Thunder

Time to meet WoT  spoiled younger sibling, War Thunder. In the game, you can play as 10 different nations, and with over 2,500 vehicles ranging from sea, land, and air, it’s almost impossible to find boredom, that is unless you have spent years competing all of the national trees. The game offers realistic action, and a unique damage model that gets constantly improved.

Instead of health bars, players must rely on knowledge and experience to get through the research tree. Even planes like the A10 can be taken out by a BF-109B1, or a T-34/85 taking out an Abram. (speaking happily from experience) Excluding occasional bugs and glitches that come with this free game, teamwork is highly encouraged. In almost every game, players will communicate to each other whether it be through quick chat or manually typing.


#11 - Ghost Recon Wildlands

Ghost Recon Wildlands is an open-world game that takes place in Bolivia, 2019. Take out the Santa Blanca cartel with more than 50 guns and camos to choose from. Ride with your friends or AI acquaintances and clean Bolivia of belligerents. The game features mildly realistic action. It involves more planning than other games, however every mission feels like stealth until everything goes gun-ho.

Besides the short Time To Kill (TTK) the game doesn’t punish players for making the wrong decision, that is unless you and your crew fly off of a hill. The combat feels somewhat realistic, but for a game that came out in 2017, you’d expect something better in those golden years. The game is fun, the campaign is well drawn-out and even after finishing there’s still things to do. Ride cars, fly helicopters, kill gang members, and rule the Wildlands.


#10 - Ghost Recon Breakpoint

Ghost Recon Breakpoint is essentially the enhanced version of Wildlands. While Wildlands is known for having a better storyline, Breakpoint adds much more variety in guns, (57+) camo, and customization options for players to choose. You can customize to be a Russian Spetsnaz, American MARSOC, British SAS, the choices are endless. Additionally with newer graphics, there are more mechanics added to the game. One of which is the ability to use dirt/mud to help camouflage your character even more. 

Explore the Golem Island, investigate, and eliminate the enemy and locate Lieutenant Colonel Cole D. Walker.  As for realistic action, the game debuffs the damage of the guns, and besides the fun gameplay in single player, in terms of multiplayer realism, the game is slow paced and actually involves teamwork to win. While it’s completely possible to play this game casually online, it’s preferred to have voice chat. The game is not as punishing when it comes to fall damage, getting shot, or locating the enemy, but it does make a good job for a tactical shooter.


#9 - Insurgency: Sandstorm

Insurgency: Sandstorm is an online game where players can either play in Co-Op or PvP. Customize your character with several different choices, but to unlock, you must grind in-game coins! In the game, there are two teams, Insurgents, and Security. Play as different classes, each class has its own exclusive gun choices and special traits that help the team.

Lead a squad as a commander, help coordinate artillery strikes as an observer, or use exotic weapons as an advisor. The gunplay is realistic, each shot could mean the end of your life and oftentimes players rely on voice chat to communicate, be careful, the enemy may hear. The game also adds realistic details such as barrel overheating, tinnitus, and even realistic gore.


#8 - Rising Storm 2: Vietnam

Rising Storm 2: Vietnam is an online game similar to games like Squad 44, HLL, Squad, and Arma. Fight as the NVA or the U.S with up to 64 players. Fly helicopters, call in napalm strikes, or simply do it yourself by using a flamethrower. The game is unforgiving, the gore is decent for the time of its release (2017) and the game’s TTK is practically nonexistent. Remember, it only takes one bullet to kill you.


#7 Squad 44

Squad 44 (formerly known as Post Scriptum) is an online game set during WW2. It is 1944, the Western Front is collapsing in Germany. Storm the beaches of Normandy with dozens of other players, push through the forests and the Maginot and capitulate the German Reich. The game has beautiful graphics, detailed gore, and great attention to detail when it comes to historical accuracy. The realistic combat can be immersive when things take a sharp turn. Strategy is critical, teamwork is needed.


#6 - Ground Branch

Ground Branch came out in 2018, same year when Squad 44 and Insurgency: Sandstorm were released. The game is highly tactical, and while there is no PvP, the AI is still quite a worthy opponent. In Ground Branch, players can customize their kit, from how many rifle/pistol mags you want to put on their belt, to where you want to put your scope on the gun.

In the game, your missions can vary, from bomb defuses and hostages, to a clean up mission where you tactically take everyone out like the SAS. The gore and overall gunplay is realistic, with bodies dropping like a sack of potatoes or players choosing how they wish to hold their gun. The game practically requires communication at play, but it’s always possible to play this by yourself.


#5 - Hell Let Loose

Hell Let Loose, the main competitor of Squad 44 is also a highly realistic military game set in WW2. Parachute from planes in the Western Front or fight the infamous Battle of Stalingrad in the Eastern Front, Hell Let Loose has it all. The in-game gore is worth mentioning, as for a game that was free (for limited time) the gore is quite impressive. Ride tanks, jeeps, and boats, because in Hell Let Loose, your mission isn’t to win the war, it’s to survive.

In a tank, there are several roles that each player must fulfill. From commanders and gunners, to loaders and drivers, every player has a part. Construct logistics or build garrisons for your teammates to spawn on, because the game can sometimes feel like a marathon simulator. The gunfight is a chef’s kiss, the strategy/tactics that go into coordinating is fun, and it’s also available on console.


#4 - Escape from Tarkov

If we talk about realistic action, we can not forget to mention Escape from Tarkov. A game released in 2016, your mission is to try and get better loot and come back alive, because if you die, you lose everything. After successful extraction, you can either sell items for better gear, store them, or use them for your next game. This game is notoriously difficult and causes many players to leave. This is also one of the games where there’s no HUD, meaning you won’t be able to find your teammate unless he tells you. (fortunately you’ll spawn near your friends, if you have any)

Each bullet feels personal, the interactions can sometimes be memorable, and the gunfights in this game makes you wish you’ve never gotten yourself in there. Once a gunfight is finished, and you manage to stay alive, you must first treat yourself with any wounds and load your bullets one-by-one before a next fight occurs. You can encounter AI and Players alike, and most of the time, they are not friendly. This game is great for those looking to step up a notch in realism, or those who simply wish to break their keyboard.


#3 - Six Days In Fallujah

A fairly new game, (2023) Six Days in Fallujah takes place during the Iraq War in 2004. Play in the perspective of the USMC 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines trooper. Interestingly, more than 100 marines and soldiers helped in the development of Six Days in Fallujah, to further advance the realism of the game. Smoke and dust truly have an effect, the game has realistic Rules of Engagement (ROE) set in place, and the AI can even detect you by your flashlight! In this game, it’ll be a blessing if all teammates survive, because chances are someone’s not making it out.

The realistic graphics, vehicles, and gunfights can even trigger those who have fought, or simply immerse those who are interested. After the game is finished, players can read their After-Action Report (AAR) and see how the developers “narrated” their game. Personally, I have loved the developers ever since it was in its testing phase, and highly suggest watching videos for people who are interested.


#2 - Squad

Just like HLL is a competitor to Squad 44, Squad is the competitor to Arma 3. With 50 players fighting on each side, (amassing 100 players total) Squad gives an accurate taste of warfare. Ride tanks, drive jeeps, fly helicopters, the vehicles and weapon variety are insane. Work as a team, squad, platoon, or a whole regiment as both sides make their plans towards victory. With mods, you can boost the game to unreal levels. Communication is key as no-mics are often frowned upon. In Squad, everything is done by players, there is no AI. The gunfights are surreal, but the next game is practically the civilian version of analyzing warfare.


#1 - Arma 3

Undoubtedly the game with the most realistic action. Arma 3 takes place in the modern setting, leaving no spot for any inaccuracy. The combat in-game often gets confused with real life simply because of how realistic it is. The recoil is realistic and the detail is fascinating, considering that the game came out in 2013. With many game mods like TDM, Capture the Flag, and King of the Hill, Arma 3 doesn’t have killstreaks, you ARE the killstreak. Teamwork is required, meaning that there are many strategies and tactics that come into play. Fly helicopters and planes, drive tanks and jeeps, or download mods to play as a civilian, the choices are endless.

Writer/Blogger who enjoys playing RTS and Grand Strategy Games for fun. Hearts of Iron IV, Cossacks 3, EU4, etc. I write in both Russian and English so that many people could enjoy the content!
Gamer Since: 2011
Favorite Genre: RTS
Currently Playing: Cossacks 3
Top 3 Favorite Games:Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Europa Universalis IV, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3