For a fascinating insight into what might have happened if WWIII had kicked off in 1975, then European Escalation is a must play. It's an epic RTS game which plays a little like Close Combat
or Steel Panthers
and really captures the feel of large scale battles and the chaos that ensues in such situations. The game takes the idea that NATO is going up against the Warsaw Pact countries in battle and thus gives you the opportunity to find out what might have happened if such a nightmare situation had really occurred. You're given control of your forces and must control literally hundreds of units on the battlefield, including infantry, tanks, helicopters and support vehicles, in order to emerge victorious. There's an extensive campaign to play through, and you're going to have to think about many elements of your strategy, including resource management, ammo trajectory, fuel lines, and so much more. It's this sense of detail which gives the game its appeal and although it sounds like it could be a bit much for many, the depth is handled in such a way as to be surprisingly accessible. There's a great sense of flexibility too, as you can tailor your forces to the way you want to play, and there really is a huge range of options to tinker with. The visuals do a great job of capturing the scale of the conflict, with effective sound helping to create a strong atmosphere, while the controls are intuitive and easy to use. All in all, a great military strategy game that is well worth picking up.