Most video games do not claim that posted historical events are authentic, and many players are fine with this situation because the main thing – that it should be interesting to play. This approach is used in many sectors of the gaming industry, including gambling. For example, free pokies Aristocrat offer a variety of historical eras, while not insisting on their compliance with real events. Meanwhile, high-quality drawings and a generous bonus policy make slots of this manufacturer popular and in-demand worldwide.
At the same time, some developers make great efforts to recreate the world presented in the game exactly as it was in all its details: weapons, clothes, events, activities, relationships, and even the characters’ personalities. They are unlikely to be educational material but they will help to a certain extent to study the characteristics of those times and become a participant in the events.
On the one hand, the developers of earlier versions of video games can be understood – they did not have access to the information that is open now. They had to fill the gaps and makeup stories, relying only on their own conviction. Especially picky and knowledgeable players found a lot of inconsistencies and actively criticized the project. This mainly referred to artifacts and equipment, which were created much later than the time presented in the game.
Modern video games inspired by historical themes are created with the direct participation of historians-consultants, so they are as close to real events as possible. Such efforts are made both to improve the quality of the product, and because of the high competition that has arisen in the last few years. To make sure the project becomes popular, it is important to take into account all the nuances that may negatively affect the opinion of a wide audience.
Despite all of these factors, many games remain in the genre of fiction for the sake of a pretty picture and exciting gameplay. Who and what to sacrifice is up to the developers but we offer a look at 8 video games that impress with their authenticity.
Top 8 most credible historical video games
The ranking has been compiled after a careful analysis of real historical data and gameplay. Some games in the ranking recreate the eras completely, others are embellished with some fictional details, but in general, correspond to the present time.
Ultimate General: Civil War
The action takes place in the 19th century and recreates the events of the American Civil War, 1861-1865. The confrontation unfolds between Southerners and Northerners, as it really was. The player is offered the choice of one of the factions, which differ in equipment and tactical warfare:
- The North has more units and weapons;
- The South has experienced generals who can quickly upgrade commanders.
It is possible to choose one of the campaigns: in the first one, the North wins, in the second – the South with the capture of Washington. Players can repeat events on the battlefield or change the course of events by their own decisions.
Ultimate General: Civil War was released by Game-Labs in 2016. It runs on PCs and is available for purchase on Steam. You can go through the entire campaign as well as take part in individual battles, such as:
- The Battle of Aquia Creek;
- The Battle of Malvern Hill;
- The Stone River, and more than five dozen other locations.
The global turn-based strategy series recently received its sixth part, which has become the most successful one. However, the previous five accurately depict the progress of mankind starting from 4000 BC. The players have to develop their territories up to the present day going through wars, making alliances, establishment trade, and political relations.
Here, the wonders of the world have been accurately replicated – the Colosseum, the Pyramids of the Pharaohs, the Eiffel Tower, and other landmarks. Warriors also undergo upgrading according to the relevant time. In addition, the game features historically significant personalities, engineers, explorers, and inventors that you can control.
The first part of the video game was released in 1991 and has been regularly upgraded since then. The following parts were released in the sequence of years in accordance with the following timeline:
|Civilization II: Conflicts in Civilization||1996|
In between, there were intermediate releases, no less epic and fascinating.
The whole series is developed by a team of several companies – MicroProse, Firaxis Games, Westlake Interactive, Aspyr, BreakAway Games with the active participation of Sid Meyer and Bruce Shelley
Commander: The Great War
The strategy is presented with a top view depicting the events of World War I exactly as it was actually fought. The player is given a unique chance to become a participant in epic battles, create troops, command, and lead them into battle.
The global map includes:
- North Africa;
- The Ural Mountains and the Caucasus;
- part of the coast of the United States.
Eighteen types of units and 40 actual battles are available for war. The gamer will be able to make alliances such as the Entente and the Triple Alliance, choose a large-scale campaign or smaller events. Success depends on the tactical abilities of the players, who are able to turn current events in their favor.
The developer of the video game is The Lordz Games Studio. It released the PC version in 2012 and the iOS version in 2014. It is available for one-time purchase on Steam and is intended only for computers.
The game features postwar Los Angeles in the 1950s. At that time, almost all regions of the United States were mired in corruption and gangsterism, gangsters and drug barons flourished. The main character – Mickey Cohen – is inspired by the real person. The gangster came to Los Angeles in 1939 and was one of the first persons of the underworld. The game recreates the dark atmosphere of that time very precisely and shows the details of the city itself, the types of buildings, and even the clothes of all the characters. For this purpose, Rockstar developers studied a lot of documents, photos, and newspaper articles to present the most authentic picture.
The video game was released in 2011. It is compatible with:
- PlayStation 4;
- Xbox One;
- PlayStation 3;
- Nintendo Switch;
- Xbox 360;
- Microsoft Windows.
The series of games are devoted to different eras and locations. Atilla and Shogun 2 are especially popular. The action in Atilla takes place at the time of the Western Roman Empire and directly, its fall. Notably, the game analyzes why the invasions took place and also tells us that global climate change forced the tribe of the Huns to move to Eastern Europe.
The second part is about the feudal Japan of the 16th century. The turn-based real-time strategy allows you to seize control of the country, competing with other clans, as well as to visit the historical provinces that really exist in Japan.
The game’s publishers were Electronic Arts, Activision, SEGA, and individual parts were released in the years 2000 to 2020.
The series of games are available on all platforms and includes historical events of 15th century Italy, the Renaissance up to 1700, Ancient Egypt, and other eras. Ubisoft games reliably depict real people from history, for example, the pirate part in the Caribbean Sea features famous names – Benjamin Hornigold, Charles Vance, Calico Jack, and they are exactly at the time and place where they were described in the documentary chronicles. You can argue about some moments, but in general, the developers have tried hard enough to make the game look realistic and meet the given period.
One of the few games that were created as an educational game with the help of the Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium. Further remakes and extensions also kept pace with historical accuracy. The game’s publishers are Brøderbund and The Learning Company, with the first release coming in 1971. Further updates were made until 2009.
The player is given the opportunity to choose a profession of:
- a banker from Boston;
- a farmer from Illinois;
- a carpenter from Ohio.
According to the class, the player obtains and further extracts resources, overcomes various adversities, such as cholera, typhoid fever.
Brothers in Arms
The game is dedicated to World War II and is the only one used in the History Channel documentary about the invasion of Normandy. There are even jokes that such map detail could make the player a guide to Holland. The main character, Matthew Baker, and his team undertake various missions that were really wartime. Although Baker is a fictional character, he is inspired by the real-life hero Harrison S. Summers.
Over the years, publishers Ubisoft and Buka, together with developers Gearbox Software, have released three main parts and eight separate parts.