Throughout history, there have been several points in time that stick out and are recognized more than others for their aesthetic or cultural impact. Greek and Roman Art, the facade of family-friendliness of 1950s America, the big hair and loud music of the 80s all come to mind.
Another recognizable time in history is the Soviet Era, which has had a lasting effect on artists and creators since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Soviet architecture, technology, and ideals have informed a number of pieces of media, including many beloved video games. Join us as we take a look at the 6 Best Soviet Era Games to Play in 2023.
Call of Duty: World at War
The Call of Duty series began as a World War II FPS, but has since crossed all over the timeline. Somewhere in between modern-day combat and far-future sci-fi, the series made a pit stop back in World War II with Call of Duty: World at War.
This particular entry was developed by Treyarch and went back to WWII to cover areas of the war that previous games had missed, including the European and Pacific fronts. There is an entire campaign dedicated to the Soviet’s perspective of the war, where you see through the eyes of Private Dimitri Petrenko.
If you’ve ever seen Red Dawn and wished they made a video game out of that story, they kind of did. It’s called Freedom Fighters and it is pretty awesome. And while it might have been underappreciated in its time, it’s always a good idea to go back and experience a classic.
Developed by IO Interactive and published by Electronic Arts, Freedom Fighters is a third-person shooter that takes place in an alternate timeline where the Soviet Union won World War II, and invades New York City in the early 2000s. Its solid concept is backed up by intense four-player co-op combat.
Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic
There are plenty of action games inspired by the Soviet Era, but relatively few entries in other genres. Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic takes a chance by becoming one of the first and only Soviet-themed city-building/tycoon games.
Developed and published by 3Division, this game gives you a blank patch of land and workers, and tasks you with building an industrial superpower from the ground up. You decide every aspect of this place, from economic to diplomatic to infrastructure. Can you build the next Soviet Union?
Hearts of Iron IV: No Step Back
Hearts of Iron IV is already a massive Grand Strategy game on its own, but through many expansion packs, it has increased its reach and depth of mechanics and content. With one expansion in particular, No Step Back, it introduces new details that bring the Soviet Union into clearer focus for the game’s players.
Developed and published by Paradox Interactive, Hearts of Iron IV: No Step Back adds a number of new features to the game, including a tank designer, railway guns to use in combat, and updates to the supply system. It also adds a Soviet national focus to the game, in which you engage with soviet politics and military might directly.
Command & Conquer Remastered
Command & Conquer and its expansion Red Alert are highly influential entries to the RTS genre. They were released over 25 years ago and have since informed just about every RTS that has been released since then. And, in 2020, those games got a massive facelift.
Command & Conquer is an amazing RTS on its own, but Command & Conquer Red Alert outshines it in leaps and bounds. Especially due to its distinctly Soviet-themed campaign, which is not-so-subtly hinted at by its subtitle. This remastered version also includes a nifty feature where you can switch between the classic graphics and the shiny new ones on the fly.
This next game isn’t out yet, but it’s been on all of our radars for several years by this point. The game is being billed as the spiritual successor to Bioshock, and it definitely seems to have taken inspiration from Ken Levine’s work.
The game is being developed by Russian game developer Mundfish and takes place in an alternate timeline version of 1955 where the Soviet Union has made incredible leaps in robotics technology. However, as is always the case when advancements in technology get out of hand, those very same machines they created turned on them. Now it’s your job as Major Nechaev to rush in and dismantle some Soviet robots.
Mike has been playing video games since he was able to hold a controller, having been fascinated by Sonic 2 on his mom’s Sega Genesis. That fascination and passion for the art form has grown exponentially nearly 30 years later, and he doesn’t see that fading away anytime soon.