The 5 Best Games Based On Greek & Roman Civilization

As you may have heard if you’re up on the latest console gaming news, the Assassin’s Creed franchise is about to come back in a big way. Having most recently explored ancient Egypt (making our list of games with the best graphics) and previous delved into colonial America, the Ottoman Empire, and other fascinating settings from history, the series is now taking on Ancient Greece. And by the look of the early trailers and gameplay screenshots, it’s going to be a beautiful game. It also figures to provide the most immersive and detailed look at the ancient Mediterranean world we’ve ever seen in a video game. Naturally though, this has us thinking about some of the other games we’ve seen over the years depicting Greek and Roman civilization thousands of years ago.

There really isn’t a definitive leader in this category of gaming, but these are five of the better options across a wide range of platforms and gaming styles.

1. Ryse: Son of Rome

ryse son of rome roman and greek civilization game
Ryse: Son of Rome. Image by Joshua Livingston via Flickr, released under Creative Commons License.
ryse son of rome

Ryse: Son of Rome is the most recent console game on this list, and by default the most advanced in many ways. Most of the attention surrounding it was focused on gameplay, with one review summarizing it as an “incredibly violent action game filled with bloody vengeance.” This is a fair description of a a game that does has some sophisticated hack-and-slash elements to it. But it also ignores the incredible beauty of the game. While it was somewhat dark, it provided arguably the most detailed and immersive take on Ancient Rome we’ve ever been able to play through.

2. Apotheon

apotheon greek and roman civilization games
Apotheon. Image by PlayStation Europe via Flickr, released under Creative Commons License.

There’s plenty to criticize about Apotheon, including a relatively shallow story and an unwieldy control system. But it’s also hard to take one glance at this game and not fall a little bit in love with it, at least if you’re interested in ancient civilization. Essentially a 2-D platformer, it pits you against the Greek gods, and adopts an artistic style meant to be reminiscent of the actual pottery art of Ancient Greece. The game succeeds in establishing this aesthetic, and that alone makes it an absolute pleasure.

3. Rome: Total War

rome total war civilization game
Rome: Total War. Image by Miyaoka Hitchcock via Flickr, released under Creative Commons License.

Rome: Total War is a 2004 PC game that was developed by The Creative Assembly as a sort of twist on an existing strategy franchise. If you’re unfamiliar with it, you can almost think of it as an Age of Empires or Civilization style game, zoomed in on the Roman Empire and involving a little bit more control over battle and confrontation. It’s a game that requires some smarts to master, yet one that’s also a visual thrill for its genre. Basically, if Ryse: Son Of Rome makes you feel like a real Roman soldier, Rome: Total War will make you feel like a general.

4. Age of the Gods

  • Game genres: casino arcades, slots

This is a different sort of game, but merits inclusion for anyone who might be a fan of slots and casino arcades. Indeed, within this category it was named as one of the best new games of 2018 – or at least, the specific title Age of the Gods Live Roulette was. The truth is that Age of the Gods is more of a cluster of games, featuring numerous slots and arcades that all involve the same beautiful artistic takes on the ancient gods of Greece and Rome. The games themselves are familiar as fairly regular casino arcades, but the atmosphere established by the various themes will thrill anyone interested in these ancient cultures.

5. Gods of Rome

gods of rome civilization game
Gods of Rome. Image by Wiki Fandom

I’ll close this list out with another game that’s fairly familiar, but which is made more exciting by way of including the ancient gods of Rome. It’s a mobile fighter for iOS and Android, and one in which the cast of characters replaces the likes of Street Fighter’s Ryu and Mortal Kombat’s Sub-Zero with heroes, gods, and titans of lore. With fairly smooth gameplay and intentionally over-the-top visual effects, it’s a blast to play.

Honorable mentions: God of War; Achilles; Spartan: Total Warrior; Shadow of Rome

Summary: Top 5 best games based on Greek and Roman civilization

  1. Ryse: Son of Rome
  2. Apotheon
  3. Rome: Total War 
  4. Age of the Gods
  5. Gods of Rome 
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