Picks for Best Political Narrative in Games

Creating narratives in games inspired by real world politics is no easy feat. 

But some studios are up to the challenge. While these games are not always entirely accurate, some games get close and are worth giving praise.

Here are a few picks for best games with political narratives.

Assassin’s Creed II

Assassin’s Creed is a game series that takes its history seriously. Although frequently dipping its toes into fiction, many of the games seek to recreate the political narratives of the time. 

Assassin’s Creed II, in particular, takes place during the Italian Renaissance in the midst of a political coup. The plot involves a family betrayal, the Catholic church, and political conspiracies across Italy, including Florence and Venice.

Civilization 

Civilization is a 4X real-time strategy game that puts you in control of a historical nation as you explore new lands and build up your civilization.

Each nation is inspired by real civilizations, including their leaders, technology, buildings, and wonders. Nations also get unique attributes that come into play that buff your economy, politics, and war.

The Civilization series does include scenarios inspired by real-world events, and some aspects of the game are pulled from history. But you get to choose how you want to play. This includes gifting nations to gain their favor, forming alliances, going to war, and helping allies to make peace.

Crusader Kings

Crusader Kings is billed as a “grand strategy game” that spans over several centuries and is inspired by real history. 

In many ways, the game is more of a simulation or role-playing game than a strategy game. Over the three games that have been released, many changes to the gameplay have been made. However, the core focus of the game revolves around communicating with families, economic advisors, military leaders, and those in religious institutions. 

Players are tasked with completing objectives, conquering nations, and instituting policies successfully. What’s interesting is that the game pulls few punches. Throughout the game, you will be faced with many randomly generated events that require the player to make decisions that can entirely change the outcome of the game.

Metal Gear Solid

The Metal Gear Solid series is a fictional spy-espionage game that blends in science fiction and fantasy. The plot includes many facets, including nuclear proliferation, political conspiracy, betrayals, war, and the exploitation and victimization of individuals in the name of patriotism.

While the game is more action-adventure than a political thriller, the stories presented throughout the series offer an interesting look into how real-world politics can be used to construct engaging stories.

Tropico 

Tropico is a city-building and management series inspired by the world’s real dictators. In Tropico, you play El Presidente, who controls an island much like Fidel Castro controlled Cuba. 

The series has gone through several changes, but the core gameplay has remained the same. You control every aspect of the island, including the economy, whether you are capitalist or communist, what religions are allowed, and if your citizens can vote.

Depending on your choices, you may have to deal with invasions from foreign nations or uprisings among your own citizens. If your palace is destroyed, you lose the game. Of course, you can use bribes and build an army to fight off enemies or seize control of your people.

The game offers a lot of replayability, especially in later entries that include a variety of scenarios to play through, islands with different challenges, new economic buildings, and creative ways of running your government.

Papers, Please

Papers, Please is a puzzle game that takes place in the fictional, communist country of Arstotzka, which is inspired by the Soviet Era.

In the game, you play as an immigration inspector at a checkpoint. Each day, you start the day with a set of directives, including known people who should not be allowed to pass. Citizens will approach the checkpoint and provide their documents. These documents must be checked against a set of documents for accuracy. You must work to prevent smugglers, spies, and terrorists from passing through.

If you fail, you will be cited and lose pay, potentially resulting in starvation and the inability to buy medicine for your family. The game seeks to show the dystopia conditions of a nation and the desperate people you have to turn away.

Final Thoughts

Enjoy politics and complex narratives? 

These games are some of the best options. Not only are they interesting, but they are also fun too. Check them out and see how much you love them.