Video games offer a unique medium to dive deep into worlds and narratives unlike any other. Beyond the realms of fantasy and science fiction, a subset of these games opts for an intriguing route – basing their storylines on real-life events, historical epochs, or actual people. These video games, centered around true stories, allow players to step into the shoes of individuals from different eras, granting them a sense of connection to the past and often offering a deeply immersive, emotionally resonant experience.
In the following list, we explore the 10 best video games that are either directly based on or heavily inspired by true stories. These games span various genres and settings – from the heart-wrenching reality of war-torn landscapes to the eerie mysteries of real-life unexplained events. They highlight how video games, often viewed merely as entertainment, can also serve as compelling vessels for storytelling, education, and reflection on historical events. Prepare to embark on journeys through time and reality, as we delve into these riveting worlds of historical and factual authenticity.
Valiant Hearts: The Great War
Valiant Hearts: The Great War is a puzzle adventure game set during World War I. It follows the intertwining stories of four characters and a loyal dog as they navigate the horrors of war. Based on actual letters from the period, the game provides a touching exploration of friendship, love, sacrifice, and tragedy.
L.A. Noire is a detective game set in a perfectly recreated post-World War II Los Angeles. Many of the cases you solve in the game are based on real crimes that happened at the time, providing a glimpse into the city's history.
Kholat is a horror game based on the true events of the Dyatlov Pass incident, where nine Russian hikers mysteriously died in the northern Ural Mountains. Narrated by Sean Bean, the game blends facts, theories, and myth for a haunting experience.
Assassin's Creed II
While the narrative is fictional, Assassin's Creed II meticulously recreates Renaissance-era Italy, populated with real historical figures such as Leonardo da Vinci and the Medici family. The game skillfully weaves fiction and history for an immersive experience.
Call of Duty: WWII
Call of Duty: World War II aims to portray a historically accurate depiction of World War II. It focuses on the actions of the 1st Infantry Division on the Western Front and includes a variety of real battles such as the D-Day invasion at Normandy.
Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond
Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond is set during World War II and places you in the shoes of an agent of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). The game blends a narrative based on real-world events and locations with immersive VR action.
JFK Reloaded is a controversial game that simulates the assassination of JFK. The game's developers claim it is a 'docu-game' meant to debunk various conspiracy theories surrounding the event. It places players in the role of Lee Harvey Oswald, from whose perspective the infamous act unfolds.
This War of Mine
This War of Mine is a survival game inspired by the Siege of Sarajevo during the Bosnian War. The game provides a sobering perspective on war, focusing not on soldiers but on civilians struggling to survive amidst the conflict, scavenging for food, medicine, and shelter.
The Saboteur draws inspiration from the true story of William Grover-Williams, a racing driver who became a war hero. Set in Nazi-occupied France during World War II, the game portrays a stylized black-and-white world that regains color as the protagonist inspires the French Resistance.
1979 Revolution: Black Friday
1979 Revolution: Black Friday is an interactive drama and action-adventure game that tells a story based on the Iranian Revolution. It provides players with an immersive experience of the political climate during this turbulent period in Iran's history.