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Home Lists The 15 Best Games For Fans Of Roman History
The 15 Best Games For Fans Of Roman History

Ancient Rome is a time period fraught with video game potential, a fact that these titles clearly take advantage of.

One of the most interesting and seemingly ‘perfect for gaming’ historical settings is Rome. Whether it is Ancient Rome, the Holy Roman Empire, or the Roman Renaissance, the city is one of the most significant in history. Naturally, gamers who are interested in a particular time love to dive into the gaming world that offers it as a setting.

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Unfortunately, there aren”t a lot of choices for gamers that want to immerse themselves into accurate or even fictional depictions of Roman history. There have been lots of games based on medieval history and World War II, but after the hype for Ridley Scott’s Gladiator died down in the early 2000s, fans don’t have a great deal of choice out there for them. That doesn’t mean there aren’t some great games based on Roman history that fans shouldn’t seek out; here are ten of the best.

Updated December 24th, 2020 by Michael Llewellyn: Even though the recent Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla skipped a potential Ancient Rome setting in the Layla Hassan trilogy for a medieval game steeped in Viking lore and mythology. However, the Assassin’s Creed games aren’t the only ones that offer players incredible historical settings to explore and play around in. Thanks to the diversity of videogames, the Roman historical setting can be explored in many other ways.

15 Asterix

Released in 1991, the Sega Master System version of the Asterix videogame was actually better than the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis version. The 2D platformer absolutely pushed the 8-Bit Master System to its limits and featured some excellent cartoon-perfect visuals and animations.

The lets gamers play as Asterix, Obelix, and their faithful hound Dogmatix as they attempt to rescue a captive Getafix from Julius Ceasar in Rome. Unlike many other games in the genre at the time Asterix was far more forgiving with its infinite-continues feature which came in handy for the difficult later stages.

14 Spartan: Total Warrior

Released in 2005 for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Nintendo GameCube, Spartan: Total Warrior is a hack-and-slash fighting game developed by Rome: Total War developers Creative Assembly. Spartan: Total Warrior’s story is set in Greek and Roman mythology as players take on the role of a Spartan Warrior defending Greece against the invading Roman army.

Even though the game lacks the strategy that is found in the Total War series by being an action game in a similar vein as the Dynasty Warrior series, Spartan’s battles are huge in scale and exciting.

13 Colosseum: Road To Freedom

Released in 2005 for the PlayStation 2, Colosseum: Road to Freedom is a gladiatorial action-RPG set during the reign of Emperor Commodus. The game’s narrative is pure historical fiction that was inspired by the popularity of the film Gladiator starring Russel Crowe.

However, the game still does a great job of nailing the atmosphere and will more than satisfy gamers with a passing interest in Ancient Rome and its setting as a video game world. The gameplay is open-ended and offers its players a lot of freedom to live out their Spartacus fantasies.

12 Grand Ages: Rome

Released in 2009 for the PC Grand Ages: Rome is a real-time strategy and an empire-building game that is set during the final years of the Roman Republic. Players are tasked with completing missions and building a reputation as a leader and a statesman for real-life historical figures like Mark Anthony, Pompey Magnus, Marcus Tullius Cicero, and Marcus Crassus.

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The game covers real historical events like the slave uprising led by the former gladiator Spartacus and is given the choice of siding with either Julius Caesar or Pompey Magnus.

11 Gladiator Begins

Released on the PSP in 2010, Gladiator Begins is a prequel to Colosseum: Road to Freedom and is based on the end of Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus” final years as a ruler before Commodus succeeds him.

Once again, Gladiator Begins is pure historical fiction and even follows a similar plotline to the film that inspired it, Gladiator, by casting Commodus is the main antagonist and the player as the gladiator. Despite being on the smaller system, Gladiator Begins is a much larger game than its predecessor with a far more grandiose plot and even more freedom to develop one’s fighter in the arena.

10 Rygar: The Legendary Adventure

Released in 2003 for the PlayStation 2, Rygar: The Legendary Adventure is a 3D remake of the 1986 Rygar that released on the NES. Just like the original, Rygar features a story that is steeped in Greek and Roman mythology.

The titular Rygar is armed with the Diskarmor and functions in a similar manner to the whip from the Castlevania and the Blades of Chaos from God of War. As something of an overlooked classic, Rygar’s setting is a must for fans of a Roman setting and epics boss fights.

9 Centurion: Defender Of Rome

Released in 1990 for the PC and 1991 for the Sega Genesis/Megadrive and the Amiga, Centurion: Defender of Rome is one of the first turn-based strategy games that worked very well on consoles at the time.

Centurion: Defender of Rome takes place in the year 275 BC and players are tasked with rising through the ranks of the Roman army with the intention of becoming Caesar. Despite the limited hardware, Defender of Rome remained one of the most faithful and historically accurate depictions of Ancient Rome on consoles for many years to come.

8 Praetorians

Released in 2003 for the PC Praetorians is a real-time strategy and tactics game originally developed by Pyro Studios the creators of the Commandos series. The game was recently remastered by Kalypso Media as Praetorians HD Remaster and was released in early 2020 with PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions to follow.

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Praetorians allowed its players to take on the role of Julius Caesar and doing battle with barbarian hordes. In terms of its gameplay and mechanics, the single-player campaign plays very similarly to the classic RTS Warcraft series and Command & Conquer.

7 Age Of Decadence

Released in 2015, Age of Decadence is an isometric RPG made with classics like Baldur’s Gate in mind. The game is set during the fall of the Roman Empire and sets up an almost post-apocalyptic scenario for players to dive into.

Players get to create their own character as they participate in Roman politics and backstabbing. Age of Decadence has a strategic turn-based combat system and very deep dialogue and choice system that has huge implications in how the world develops around them.

6 Rome: Total War

Released in 2004 for the PC, Rome: Total may be starting to show its age compared to its successors but that takes nothing away from the sheer amount of depth and gameplay it offers. Even after the release of its sequel Total War: Rome many fans of the genre consider the original to be the best.

The game is still being modded by fans to this day but even without that, the lengthy single-player campaign is one of the best historically-set videogames of all time. The game also comes with the expansions Barbarian Invasion and Alexander which added more complexities to negotiations, religions, timelines, and locations.

5 Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

First released in 2010 for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is the direct sequel to Assassin’s Creed II. It was remastered and released again for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One in 2016 as part of the Ezio Collection. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is set during the 16th Century Rome and is the most modern game on this list.

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However, despite not being set in Ancient Rome, it was still an important era for fans of history, and players will encounter real-life historical figures like the Borgias and Leonardo Da Vinci. Furthermore, fans can also freely explore and climb the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Sistine Chapel, the Castel Sant Angelo, and more.

4 Shadow Of Rome

Shadow of Rome is a gladiatorial combat game with elements of stealth set in 48 B.C. and after Julius Caesar’s assassination. The player takes on the role of Agrippa the soldier-turned Gladiator wrongfully accused of the assassination of Caesar and Octavianus a statesman who sets about trying to prove Agrippa’s innocence in stealth missions.

The stealth missions are Shadow of Rome’s weakest element but the brutal combat in the arena more than makes up for this and really plays into Capcom”s strengths. The fighting system is easy to pick up with weighty and satisfying attacks and finishers.

3 Assassin’s Creed: Origins

Released in 2017 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and the PC Assassin’s Creed: Origins is both a prequel and a reboot for the series that incorporates a larger open world, a brand new combat system, and RPG mechanics reminiscent of The Witcher 3.

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While the game is set in Ancient Egypt during the Ptolemaic period, players will still interact with several important figures from Rome’s history like Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Pompey Magnus, Brutus, Lucius Septimus, and others.

2 Ryse: Son Of Rome

Released exclusively as a launch title for the Xbox One, Ryse: Son of Rome is an action-adventure hack-and-slash game developed by Crytek. It was one of the first true next-gen games with high production values and visuals which still hold up seven years after its release.

Like many other games on this list, Ryse: Son of Rome is pure historical fiction but the authentic Roman setting and real-life characters like Emperor Nero and Boudica will definitely appeal to history buffs. Players will take part in large scale battles and gladiatorial fights in the arena with a surprisingly deep combat system.

1 Total War: Rome II

Released in 2013 for the PC, Total War: Rome II is the successor to what many consider to be one of the greatest strategy games ever released Rome: Total War. Rome II initially launched with lots of bugs and technical issues that hurt its scores.

However, these were fixed in updates and patches thanks to fan feedback and now Rome II is a more than worthy successor with great visuals and incredible depth. Just like its predecessor, the game features real-time tactical combat, turn-based grand strategy, and a massive single-player campaign.

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About The Author
Michael Llewellyn (164 Articles Published)

Writer for rev-conf.org, The Gamer, The Sportser, and ScreenRant. Gaming, wrestling and film fan for over 35 years. He”s a Schwarzenegger and Stallone fanatic that considers himself something of an expert in all things RPGs and cheesy action films from the 80s and 90s.

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