Beyond anime and manga, video games set in ancient Japan are excellent expressions of the rich Japanese culture. They can change the way you learn about the history of Japan, the important figures involved, and its scenic ancient landscapes. You can also relive some of the most popular Japanese folklores while you sit behind a screen with your console!
If you haven’t yet paid this country a visit, playing a video game set in old Japan is a great way to start your first journey! This article puts together 6 video games about ancient Japan that offer you a chance to travel back to the time of feudal samurai and ninjas!
Total War Shogun 2: Fall of the Samurai
Ever imagined how life would look like as a clan leader in ancient Japan? Prepare to enter the period of warring Sengoku with the Fall of Samurai! Released in 2012, this PC game is centered around the age of growing clan culture in Japan, so you can expect several clan wars your way. As a clan leader, you will find yourself reclaiming your Japanese clan’s power and taking control of Kyoto. Get ready to intervene in an interesting period of Japan!
It is time to become the hero of a story inspired by Japanese mythology! Playing Ōkami promises an incredible experience of classical Japan for the users. Players wander around the streets of ancient Japan as the goddess of the sun – Amaterasu.
The video game has a compelling narrative with a creative folklore twist. If Japanese legends were challenging to memorize in class, this video game would be a turning point for you. More than just a game, it is a learning experience about Japanese spiritual practices, legends, and myths! This action-adventure game was released in 2006 and is available on Play Station 2,3,4, Wii, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch.
Ghost of Tsushima
Ghost of Tsushima is one of the best games to play if you are interested in some ancient roleplaying. As Jin, you take up the role of the protagonist who is on the mission to save his village. Set during the first Mongol invasion, the game has several one-on-one combats. While you roam around the feudal Japanese countryside, you will also encounter many historical landmarks. This game is highly cinematic, with special attention paid to the setting details. This is your chance to participate in ancient battles happening in ancient Japan! This 2020 release streams on Play Station 4 and 5.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
If you have heard about ninjas in books, it is time you take up the character of a ninja yourself! Travel back to the years between 1467 and 1615 in Japan with Shadows Die Twice. This game lets you step into the shoes of a Shinobi who is on the quest for revenge. Not only that, but you also get to experience the brutalities and turmoil encapsulating the late 1500’s Sengoku Japan. While the game is mostly centered around head-to-head combats and ninja abilities, the setting and story are also a great chance to get a taste of Japanese Buddhism! Shadows Die Twice was released in 2019 for Win, PS4, and Xbox One, while it started streaming on Stadia by late 2020.
Way of the Samurai
Samurai were some of the key figures in Japanese history. This goes back to their role as exceptional warriors and their impact on Japanese culture and heritage to date. As you play Way of the Samurai, you will be on the frontline of the period between the fall of Tokugawa Shogunate and the rise of Meiji. This game does not only depict the traditional street culture of ancient Japan but also gives a heads up for how the military class evolved. This video game is all about exploration, side-quests, and mini-games where players get to decide how the narrative concludes! This made its way into the market in 2002 and is available on Play Station and Play Station portable.
Experience what it is like to walk around a reimagined 16th century Japan with Tenchu. This video game provides an exciting adventure of directly encountering assassinations. However, this is no ordinary assassination game since you will be handed all the ninja moves and powers on your journey. This stealth game lets you experiment with Japanese weapons and tools to spy for Lord Gohda. Put on your ninja masks because you are about to get teleported to the time of ancient Japanese Ninja clans! The latest Tenchu release was in 2009. You can experience this marvelous game streaming on PlayStation 2, Xbox, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS, Xbox 360, and Wii.
These video games are not only action-packed but also serve as great lessons about Japan’s historical geography and the fascinating civilizations that inhabited it. By reliving characters of different Samurai, warriors, and ninjas, players learn about the evolution of Japanese heritage. These games also incorporate detailed settings to make the experience of walking around ancient Japan as realistic as possible. Turns out you can travel to ancient Japan from the comfort of your sofa!