10 Best and Latest Games Inspired by History

edited January 5 in Gaming

Like a clipper ship gliding into Boston Bay, the end of 2023 draws closer every day. We may be looking forward to the future, the new year and the promise of 2024. But before we forget the past, let’s take a look at some great games that have been inspired by history. In this article we will traverse a vast swathe of human history and geography, from the Three Kingdoms period in China (220-280 AD) to the deserts of North Africa in WW2. Historical war games and FPS games aside, we will also cover some popular historical strategy based video games. Read on to discover the best historical games out there!

1. Red Dead Redemption 2

Set in an open-world fictionalized US in 1899, take control of the outlaw Arthur Morgan in this gun-slinging action-adventure game. Who doesn’t aspire to be a cowboy? The third installment of the Red Dead series, released in 2018 went on to be one of the best-selling games of all time with over 57 million copies sold. Choose from first-or third-person perspective, steal and train your horse and get into all kinds of adventures in this universally acclaimed game. Celebrating the Wild West, Red Dead Redemption 2 transports you back to a lawless era “When deadly games of pride were played, and livin’ was mistakes not made.” 

Metascore: 97

2. Ghost of Tsushima

Next in our top ten historical games is the 2020 action-adventure Ghost of Tsushima. Take control of samurai warrior Jin Sakai and defend the Japanese island of Tsushima island from the invading Mongol hordes (1274-1281). Trade in the six shooter for a katana, as you travel the vast open world by horseback and engage with Kublai Khan’s army. The three islands of Tsushima are your battleground as you fight (in third-person) different enemies with your sword, eventually attaining ghost stance for single strike kills. Set during the Mongol invasion, developers Sucker Punch extensively researched the island and the conflict. While the characters are fictional, experts on 13th century Japanese language, as well as expert swordsmen contributed to the game’s authenticity. 

Metascore: 83

3. Age of Empires IV 

This popular historical strategy based video game developed by Relic Entertainment is set during the Early Middle Ages to the early Renaissance. This fourth Age of Empires release follows the series’ tradition of focusing on actual historical events, beginning in the year 750 in this game. Eight civilizations were available at release: English, Chinese, French, Mongols, Delhi Sultanate, French, Abbasid Dynasty, Holy Roman Empire, and Rus. A star among historical strategy games, players are able to rewrite history and get stuck into real historical campaigns including the Hundred Years War (between England and France), as well as the expanding the mighty Mongol Empire.

Metascore: 81

4. Company of Heroes 3

Fancy a trip to the Mediterranean this winter? Immerse yourself in two legendary campaigns of WW2 in this real-time strategy, released in 2023. Play as the Allied forces and invade Italy, and as the Axis forces in the deserts of North Africa. Combining action, tactics and strategy, players take charge in the heat of the battle, then step back and guide the campaign as a General. In a dynamic environment where everything can be destroyed, hone your strategy to overcome the enemy in mountainous regions, coastal towns and open desert. While the game is somewhat lacking in historical accuracy, the biggest single player campaign so far in the Company of Heroes franchise was generally well received.

Metascore: 81

5. Battlefield 1

The tenth offering in the Battlefield franchise, 2016’s Battlefield 1 is a first-person-shooter that takes its inspiration from historical events in WW1. Revisit the dawn of all-out warfare in (up to 64 player) multiplayer modes, or single player mode. Single player campaigns in Battlefield 1 consist of “War Stories”, featuring six different Allied soldier protagonists. These campaigns include “Through Mud and Blood”, where players take control of a British tank driver in France, and “The Runner”, played in Gallipoli as an Australian messenger. The game was inspired by colorized wartime photographs, and features an assortment of historical weapons, from trench clubs to the Lee-Enfield No.1 rifle. 

Metascore: 88

6. Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

Out of the mud of the trenches, into the mud of late 8th century Scotland. Enter the dark fantasy world of Norse mythology and Celtic culture that is Hellblade. Released in 2017, this action adventure game combines historical influences with a hero who is battling her own psychosis. As a Pict warrior named Senua, you must battle a plethora of baddies to get to Helheim (the afterlife) to rescue your dead lover. The character and appearance of Senua was inspired by the Iron Age queen Boudica, who lived in the East of England, while the character in this game originates from the islands of Orkney, home of the Picts, a fearsome Celtic group.

Metascore: 81

7. Kingdom Come: Deliverance

Now to Bohemia in 1403. The medieval Kingdom of Bohemia is the setting for this action role-playing video game released in 2018. Players take control of Henry, son of a blacksmith and a survivor of the massacre of his village who sets out for revenge and ends up involved in a campaign to restore the rightful king to the throne. Immerse yourself in the open world environment of medieval central Europe in a game that was widely lauded by historians for its historical accuracy. While this title received criticism for its portrayal of the Hungarians as barbarous invaders, and an overwhelmingly white cast, the medieval food and weaponry are considered accurate.  

Metascore: 76

8. Assassin's Creed Mirage

This recently released (October 2023) action-adventure is the 13th release in the iconic Assassin’s Creed series. Set during the Islamic Golden Age in 9th Century Baghdad, this game follows Basic Ibn Ishaq, a thief who joins the order of Assassins to fight for freedom. A linear and plot-focused stealth game, most of the action in Assassin’s Creed Mirage takes place in and around the four districts of Baghdad during the Anarchy at Samarra (861-870), nine tumultuous years during the Abbasid Caliphate. Assassin’s Creed Mirage features Arabic dubbing and includes an educational database illustrating Abbasid culture that is progressively unlocked throughout the game. 

Metascore: 76

9. Dynasty Warriors 9

Released in 2018, this open-world hack-and-slash game is set in China during the Three Kingdoms period. Roam the vastness of ancient China by foot, horse, or boat and invade the lands you want to claim as your own. Fans of Chinese literature may be attracted or repelled by the “Story mode” in Dynasty Warriors 9, which retells the historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms in an abridged 13 chapters (the original has 120 chapters). Starting out, players can choose between warlords from the three kingdoms and unlock further characters as they progress through history. 

Metascore: 65

10. Sid Meier's Civilization VI 

Legendary game designer Sid Meier is behind this turn-based strategy game, released in 2016. Players choose a civilization from one of the nineteen available, ranging from Peter of Russia, to Cleopatra of Egypt, and even Gandhi of India. Starting off as a small tribe, the goal of the game is to develop power and cities through industry, farming and eventually gain control of the world. Navigating the world wisely is necessary to achieve victory, choosing trade and diplomacy to foster peace, or going the military route to “eXterminate” your foes. Another legend, Sean Bean himself, reads players inspirational quotes as they progress in their campaign.

Metascore: 88

The takeaway 

We hope that you’ve enjoyed this journey through the 10 best and latest games inspired by history. Perhaps it's time to dust off your traveling shoes, or even your war boots, and venture to 8th century Scotland, or Tsushima island in 13th century Japan? Historic games offer players an interesting glimpse into history through their individual artistic interpretations of real events. From the meticulously researched details of Assassin’s Creed Mirage to the slightly out there hack-and-slash of Dynasty Warriors 9, these games present history with varying degrees of accuracy and seriousness, so remember to take them with a pinch of salt.

Edmund is an English copywriter based in New Taipei City, Taiwan. He is a widely published writer and translator with two decades of experience in the field of bridging linguistic and cultural gaps between Chinese and English.



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