Existing Video Games

Here is a list of some currently available video games that include Imperial Japanese vehicles.

 

Order of Battle – Pacific:

This 2015 turn-based strategy title is highly recommended for anyone interested in playing a sweeping campaign of the Pacific as Imperial Japan or the United States.

OoB-P allows for exploration of what-if and historic scenarios by land, sea, and air. It’s a great package with depth but not impenetrable depth. It has enough “stats” under the skin with an easy to approach GUI that make it a good wargame enginel. No ugly or abstract counters to represent your units, either. The graphics here are quite pretty for the scale. Think of 6mm scale wargaming. It’s a huge step up in terms of scope, polish, and feel from other Pacific-focused turn-based wargames.

1. The turn-based system/engine is engaging and fun, the graphics up to par for a game of today (which is not always the case for turn-based wargames), and the sound effects are excellent.

2. This is one of only a handful of computer games that will let one play Imperial Japan with actual ground invasion scenarios, not just Japan on its heels after it lost some crucial battles. The perk system makes playing them unique as well – and there isn’t an exact match for every vehicle in-game for the other side, keeping things realistic.

3. The Japanese troops are well done, and US troops also stay true to the era, allowing you to upgrade equipment as years go by. The initial US forces look much like they did after the US was pulled into the war with their broad-brimmed hats, etc.

4. The variety of vehicles on all sides (even neutral allies) is expansive, and the pace at which they are introduced by year avoids vehicle overload for the player. Japanese vehicles of all types are well represented. The “Type 91 Sumida” armored car, can convert for rail or road use just as the Sumida Broad-Gauge Tractor did historically. It’s this attention to detail that takes the game far beyond those like Storm Over the Pacific which has very little real variation in unit types.

5. The scenarios and objectives are what makes this game shine, along with the perks and “special events”. A turn-based game where you have no time-based objectives can be a real slog and a bore as you slowly grind it out — but add in “you must capture bridge X in 10 turns” then add a reward for achieving that objective? This adds tension. Also, since units go from campaign to campaign and gain experience, you will want to keep them alive and keep them from losing too many men (replacing with greens). One more thing – while you can deploy many vehicles, you need to watch how you use your money – you can’t just keep pumping out troops like in RTS titles such as Company of Heroes.

One criticism is that currently (although DLC may change this) the game is mostly focused on Japan vs. USA, without China, the Soviet Union, or the British Commonwealth, not to mention Japanese allies such as Manchukuo or Thailand.

Men of War Assault Squad 1&2: 

These games, the second of which is really more of a 1.5 enhancement of the first game, feature Japanese ground units prominently in a way perhaps that no video game has before, including a rich variety of troops and armored vehicles. This series is highly recommended if you wish to play as Imperial Japan. The controls take a bit of getting used to, but once you have them down the game is addictive and enjoyable. The voice acting of the units is excellent and authentic in Japanese, but the English voice acting at the beginning of each scenario leaves much to be desired.

Storm over the Pacific:

This strategy game is unique in that it offers several turn-based scenarios with Japan in China and Manchuria during the 1930s, as well as 1940s scenarios. All countries are playable including the British, Australians, Communist Chinese, and of course the USA. Several minor countries including Japan’s puppet state of Manchukuo are also playable. The graphics are primitive and resemble a boardgame, so this is really only a game for those who don’t care as much about graphics, but prefer the open-world, presence of China in the game, and turn-based style.

Battlestations Pacific:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxqN3wAxO-U

This action-themed shooter and strategy game is focused on aircraft and naval units, has a campaign to play as Imperial Japan, and allows you to control some unusual vehicles including the Ohka manned rocket later in the game. The graphics are a bit dated as a 2009 game, but it still holds up rather well despite its age and gameplay is smooth and satisfying.

For Xbox 360:  Battlestations Pacific

For Mac: Battlestations Pacific

For Windows: Battlestations Pacific

War Thunder:

This 3D “shooter” MMO has excellent and highly detailed graphics (as of 2015) and gameplay and promises an ever-expanding list of playable Japanese vehicles, and even some post-WW2 ones. There are currently no Japanese ground vehicles, but this is expected to change. The planes they do have are very well modeled and enjoyable to play in a variety of even single-player campaigns.

 

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