All Total War Games Ranked Worst To Best

best and worst total war games
Total War is one of the leading strategy game franchise for the last two decades.

It is without a doubt that the Total War series is one of the longest-running franchises in gaming history and one of the best in the strategy genre. Creative Assembly has bought us a total of 15 major titles for the past 23 years, and each and every single one of them offers a unique perspective and setting that never ceases to captivate us. And yet, not all Total War games are equal, nor do the crowds have the same favorites. With this, I decided to give an overview of all the major Total War releases and rank them from worst to best.

Before going any further, I would like to point out that only the major releases are going to be featured in this ranking. Therefore, spin-off titles like Total War Battles, Total War: Elysium, and Total War: Arena are off the list. So, without further ado, let us now take a dive into each major Total War title and rank them from worst to best.


15. Shogun: Total War – 2000 (Windows)

Released in the year 2000, this classic introduced a revolutionary style of gameplay in which the campaign is a blend of turn-based strategic empire management and real-time tactical battles. Set in feudal Japan, you’ll play as one of the noble clans vying to control and unify the entire country under your banner. It has a good expansion, the Mongol Invasion, which re-imagines Japan after the Mongols have successfully landed on its shores. Unfortunately, even though it was groundbreaking during its time, Shogun has already gathered dust on the shelves; it didn't age well, so that’s why we are ranking it last.

If you want to play it for nostalgia, you still can. But good luck running it on newer systems, as it can be janky and may crash at times. But still, it can be a pilgrimage to the humble beginnings of the series.

Fun Factor Score: 50/100


14. Medieval: Total War – 2002 (Windows)

Following on the success of its predecessor, Medieval is a much better improvement from its previous title. Set in medieval Europe, it features an expanded map that stretches from the British Isles to the plains of the Levant, adds new factions and cultures, and introduces new mechanics such as espionage, religion, and loyalty that will later be carried over to the next titles. With upgraded graphics, music, and the addition of being able to field up to 10,000 men on the battlefield, the game takes it up a notch in terms of immersion, unlike its previous title.

Despite this “improvement”, Medieval shares the same fate as its predecessor. Outdated graphics and clunky controls make it unbearable to play for newer players, who at times also suffer crashes on the latest systems. I’ll rank it second to last for the improvements it brought, but frankly, I’ll just prefer you play its sequel.

Fun Factor Score: 61/100


13. Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia – 2018 (Windows, macOS, Linux)

Taking place during the tumultuous era of Britain and Ireland in the aftermath of the Viking invasions and their defeat by Alfred the Great. You’ll get to play as one of the Anglo-Saxon, Gaelic, or Viking warlords fighting to be called the rightful king of the British Isles. Form alliances, raise armies, and manage a kingdom. This installment of Total War takes an experimental approach to the Total War experience by being the first in the ‘Saga’ series and introducing new gameplay mechanics.

This game, in my opinion, is the weakest in the latest release of Total War games; it lacks the scope and grandeur of other entries, and it felt like an experimental game by Creative Assembly. In spite of this, the game offers unique gameplay by introducing a new unit-mustering system, a character-driven campaign, and a shieldwall-oriented battle tactics. I still encourage players to try this game out and immerse themselves in this chaotic era of British history.

Fun Factor Score: 74/100


12. Total War: Warhammer – 2016 (Windows, macOS, Linux)

"The Old World's rivers run red, as the only thing that is constant on this continent is war!" This entry was met with skepticism during its reveal; it was Creative Assembly’s huge gamble to flip the script, and guess what? It paid off tremendously. Not only was it a success, but it was also well received by both Warhammer and Total War fans. This is the first time CA has jumped into the fantasy realm, and boy! It was a blast. It features a diverse race of factions, including humans, greenskins, dwarves, vampires, and more! A roster of units never seen before, playable legendary lords from the tabletop game, and the ability to harness the winds of magic in your favor. 

Although groundbreaking on release, I rank it here not because the title strayed away from its historical roots. but because of how its sequels added more features and content that eventually preceded it. 

Fun Factor Score: 75/100


11. Empire: Total War – 2009 (Windows, macOS, Linux)

The most ambitious Total War project in 2009. After the success of Medieval II, CA decided to leap to the 18th century, a rich period of enlightenment, scientific breakthroughs, and of course, total war! This title brings you into the age of fire-and-maneuver battles, where black powder smoke litters the battlefields. Interestingly, this is the first title to introduce real-time naval battles and the only historical Total War game to span three continents, yes! You read it right—"Three continents!" You get to expand your empire to India, Europe, and the Americas.

Even though it was a fantastic game on a grander scale, it was reportedly littered with many bugs and path-finding issues that ruined the experience for some players. But despite this, this title has a loyal following, and with the addition of mods from its supportive community, the possibility of experimentation is endless.

Fun Factor Score: 76/100


10. Total War Saga: Troy - 2020 (Windows, macOS)

A Saga title that retells the story of the Iliad, set in a time before the Romans founded Rome and a time where legends walked the earth. This experience is a different one, to be honest; it is still Total War but focuses more on the narrative campaign of each of the heroes that participated in the Trojan War. It immerses you in bronze-age Greece, where you battle for the favor of the gods, hunt for mythical beasts that will aid you in battle, and wage war for the fate of Troy.

The downside of this entry is the additional heroes and MythosDLCsthat should have been in the base game. Despite this, it is one of the most optimized and aesthetically pleasing entries in the Total War franchise to date, and although it is underrated due to its scope, I still recommend you try this game. My friends scoff whenever I mention that I play this game, well “If they ever tell my story, let them say that I lived in the time of Achilles.”

Fun Factor Score: 77/100


9.  Rome: Total War - 2004 (Windows, macOS, Android, iOS)

This was the first Total War game I played, and I have a lot of funmemories of it. This is where I created the legend of General Brutus, the conqueror of Greece, Thrace, and North Africa; his exploits and heroism will forever be ingrained in my mind. 

Being the first fully 3D Total War game and the entry that made Creative Assembly a household name in the video game industry, many long-time fans will surely trace their love for Total War to this entry, and surprisingly to this day, it is still compared to its successor, Rome II. 

I would definitely say that this is the ‘classic’ Total War that we all know; to this day, it still has the perfect balance and limitless possibility for sandbox gameplay. If you are planning on trying out this game, I would recommend that you try Remastered instead, as it is graphically enhanced, has additional content and modability, and is optimized for the newest systems.

Fun Factor Score: 80/100


8. Napoleon: Total War - 2010 (Windows, macOS)

As a stand-alone expansion of the controversial Total War: Empire, it offers a more polished and visually engaging experience than its predecessor but limits the scale of the campaign by focusing mainly on the European theater during the onset of the Napoleonic Wars. The campaign is great, as you get a chance to follow in the footsteps of "Le Petit Caporal" on his way to be the undisputed master of Europe or be a part of the coalition that will stop his onward march to dominate Europe. This entry is fun and engaging in terms of real-time battles and top-notch detail in the single-player campaign.

Although this is pretty much an “upgraded” Empire, it contains many of the most engaging historical campaigns you can play in a Total War series, where every faction you fight is a major player in a power struggle in Europe. I would recommend this game not just to new Total War players but to everyone who is also a fan of Napoleon.

Fun Factor Score: 82/100


7. Total War: Attila - 2015 (Windows, macOS, Linux)

In Rome II, you will build an empire, but in Attila, it is all about survival. Cold, unforgiving, and brutal—that is how I would describe Attila Total War, the arrival of the Hunnic scourge on the borders of Europe, at a time when the earth is recorded to be the coldest since the last ice age. It feels like you are forging an empire at the end of the world. You get to play as the crumbling Roman empires stemming the tide of barbarian migrations or the barbarian tribes escaping from the relentless onslaught of the Huns. The ambiance of this game is on a different level from other Total War games where it is vibrant and colorful; this one is dark and cold, a fitting theme for a game where everyone is just trying to survive. 

What really shines most in this entry is the weight of the battles, where charges are more brutal and hand-to-hand fighting is much more desperate than other Total War entries. I had a blast playing the Hunnic campaign, as their only objective is to literally just burn everything to the ground! 

Fun Factor Score: 84/100


6. Total War: Rome II - 2013 (Windows, macOS)

The entry that almost brought CA to its knees, one of the worst total war games during its launch, was littered with bugs and glitches that made you laugh in pain, but a diamond is not a diamond until you rough up its edges; that's what happened to Rome II. After 5 years of polishing, it became the most popular historical Total War game to date, garnering around 5,000 players per day, making this a top-tier experience with a lot of content and improvements from its predecessor. The entry spans centuries, bringing you campaigns from the Peloponnesian Wars, the Rise of the Roman Republic, and the Crisis of the Third Century.

If you are a fan of historical antiquity, this game is a must-pick, and you won't be disappointed. You can couple it with community mod favorites like DEI and Radious for more immersion and replayability. Despite the controversial launch, it eventually became the gold standard in the Total War community.

Fun Factor Score: 86/100


5. Total War: Three Kingdoms - 2019 (Windows, Linux, macOS)

Probably the best diplomacy and economy system in any Total War, set during the Three Kingdomsperiod of ancient China. The campaign is complex if you are not familiar with the novel, but the complexity works wonders in this entry, as dealing with your opponents is not just by means of annihilation; options of diplomacy and political cunning are viable options that are handsomely rewarded. 

This game rewards not just battle victories but also administrative management. It features interactive characters with different characteristics and motivations that you’ll encounter in the campaign, which adds more flair to the game.

Although great in terms of diplomacy, economy, and AI system, this entry lacks what other entries have: diversity. As China is a single landmass of similar cultures, unit diversity is not on the priority list so far, but if you are a fan of this period, I highly recommend trying it for yourself.

Fun Factor Score: 88/100


4. Medieval II: Total War - 2006 (Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS)

Without a doubt, the most well-known game in the franchise, despite being 16 years old now, never ceases to amaze me. The most immersive campaign, the sandbox possibilities, the wacky and unpredictable gameplay—this is overall a fun experience. 

Behind this game is an active community that still celebrates it and an active modding community that always pumps up content every year. I still come back to play this game from time to time, and it never bores me. The role-playing factor of this game is limitless, despite being old. But hey, age doesn't matter, right?

At times, controls can be janky due to the limitations of the engine, but with just a brief tutorial, you'll get the hang of it. This is the most moddable Total War game, with many mods to choose from, such as the famous Third Age and the immersive Stainless Steel. A must-try for gamers who are considering giving Total War a try.

Fun Factor Score: 90/100


3. Total War: Warhammer II - 2017 (Windows, macOS, Linux)

A direct follow-up to the success of Warhammer I with the same formula but tremendously expanding the game by adding more factions like Lizardmen, Skavens, Tomb Kings, Vampire Coast, and High Elves; expanding the campaign by adding the continents of Lustria and Ulthuan; and with additional gameplay features and mechanics. 

While the base game only features campaigns set in Ulthuan and Lustria, having Warhammer I and some of its DLCs in your game library will unlock some Old World factions in the Mortal Empires campaign, where the Old World, Ulthuan, and Lustria are combined into a mega campaign. This is Warhammer on a grander scale, and this is what Total War is supposed to be.

This entry received very positive reviews and feedback because not only did CA improve upon the previous title, it was also expanded in many ways that the fans were not expecting.

Fun Factor Score: 93/100


2. Shogun 2: Total War - 2011 (Windows, macOS, Linux)

"Beauty and harmony, all that begins must end... the reign of the old shogunate is over!" In my opinion, the best Total War, the most polished, complete, and balanced. This is what I would recommend for those who want to try their hands on the series.A sequel to the first Total War, this entry can be compared to a cherry blossom, which is beautiful all throughout. 

Set during the Sengoku Jidai (Warring States period), lead your ambitious daimyo and battle your way to the gates of Kyoto to be the undisputed master of Japan and be hailed as the Shogun, the military dictator of Japan, all while strategically maneuvering against other Daimyos doing the same. This historical total war is not as complex as other titles; it’s simple, and that’s what makes it a gem. Although the unit diversity is lacking as it solely focuses on Japan, it has tons to offer, with the best musket mechanics in Total War and the most visually stimulating.

In addition to what I just mentioned, this title is also considered to have the best expansion in the series, Fall of the Samurai, set during the final days of the samurai, where the old ways clash with the new. The DLC itself became an official Saga title because, after all, it’s just a complete game on its own.

Fun Factor Score: 95/100


1. Total War: Warhammer III - 2022 (Windows, macOS, Linux)

The culmination of the Warhammer series, this is the final installment of the title, and this can be considered CA’s magnum opus. Featuring new factions such as the long-awaited Chaos factions Nurgle, Tzeentch, Slaanesh, and Khorne and the much-anticipated complete roster of the Grand Cathay, a faction that was only speculated by Warhammer fans. Featuring the largest and most diverse Total War campaign ever seen. 

By owning Warhammer I & II you get access to the Immortal Empires campaign, a sequel to the Mortal Empires campaign in which you get to play the super-mega campaign that features the known world of the Warhammer universe and adds with it the realms of chaos—a desolate and hostile place, home to the malevolent Chaos gods. By default, you'll get to play the base Warhammer  factions, but by owning some Warhammer I and II faction DLC, you’ll get to unlock those specific factions in the Immortal Empires campaign.

Warhammer III is the best total war to date, and although it is still new, it is still being constantly updated and improved. The large features and content of this game are not to be taken lightly; I guarantee you will sink a lot of hours into playing this masterpiece.

Fun Factor Score: 97/100





Jack of all trades, master of one, constantly evolving and seeking knowledge. On a quest to discover the Elixir of Life, the quencher of unquenchable thirst, but for now, a writer that writes.
Gamer Since: 2007
Favorite Genre: RTS
Currently Playing: Deep Rock Galactic
Top 3 Favorite Games:Sid Meier's Civilization V: Brave New World, XCOM 2, Total War: Rome II

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