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Best Immersive & Historical Open-World Games

Kassandra, Aloy, and 2B are among The Best Open World Games With Female Protagonists (According To Metacritic)


  • Open-world gaming is now mainstream due to accessible sandbox style games.
  • Historical settings in open worlds offer immersive experiences to players.
  • Games like Mafia, Assassin’s Creed, and Mount & Blade provide engaging historical settings.



Open-world gaming has become all the rage in modern times. With gaming hardware getting better and better day by day, open worlds have slowly become the norm in mainstream gaming due to how accessible the sandbox style of games really is. Players absolutely adore the freedom that comes from traversing a vast and dense open world that is full to the brim with content.


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Some of these open worlds become even more engaging when they focus on a historical setting as opposed to a fictional one. That way, players can expand their knowledge of world history while also enjoying the perks of a game as well. Keeping this in mind, here are some open-world games with the most engaging and immersive historical settings.

Updated on March 2, 2024 by Ritwik Mitra: There are many open-world games that do a great job of integrating of diverse historical settings that are a blast to explore. In some cases, these games end up serving as an interactive window into history as players explore a wealth of rich cultures and time periods. History buffs will love the immersive historical settings of these titles that transport players back to a time when people lacked many of the modern innovations that humankind has come to rely on at this point. With that in mind, this list has been updated to feature more games with more exceptional historical settings to explore.

20 Mafia: Definitive Edition

Time Period: 1930s America

Tommy Angelo in Mafia: Definitive Edition

Mafia: Definitive Edition

September 25, 2020

Hangar 13

Most people unfamiliar with Mafia wrote it off as a historical GTA clone, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Fans of well-organized crime syndicate stories will love what the first Mafia game brings to the table.

It helps that this game recently received a remake that serves as the best way to experience it. Mafia is a simple open-world game with a riveting tale centered around the elusive mafia. It’s been a fantasy for everyone to roleplay as a member of the mafia after watching The Godfather, after all, and the Mafia series does the best job of simulating that experience.

19 Assassin’s Creed Syndicate

Time Period: Victorian London

assassin's creed syndicate box art

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate

October 23, 2015

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is set in Victorian London and offers players the chance to engage in some classic assassinating goodness while operating during the onset of the Second Industrial Revolution. Players take on the role of twin assassins, Evie and Jacob Frye, as they fight to liberate the city from the corrupt Templar Order.

The game offers a sprawling open-world map of London, with a wealth of historical landmarks to explore and important figures to meet. The game’s intricate storyline and attention to historical detail make it a standout title in the series, and it’s a shame that this game didn’t sell that well.

18 Mafia 3

Time Period: 1960s New Orleans

Mafia 3 Lincoln exploring the city

  • Platforms:
    PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, macOS, Google Stadia
  • Release Date:
    October 7, 2016
  • Developer:
    Hangar 13

Mafia 3 allows players to take on the role of Lincoln Clay, a Vietnam veteran seeking revenge against a vengeful Mafia group for killing his family. The game is set in the fictional city of New Bordeaux, a recreation of 1960s New Orleans.

The open world is pretty diverse, featuring a mix of urban and rural environments such as swamps, bayous, and city streets. Mafia 3‘s depiction of the Civil Rights Movement and its exploration of themes such as racism and police brutality make it a unique and thought-provoking entry in the genre, even if the repetitive open-world activities do get somewhat grating after a point.

17 Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord

Time Period: Medieval

mount-and-blade-bannerlord 2 farm

Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord

October 25, 2022

Action RPG , Strategy

Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord is set in the fictional continent of Calradia, which is littered with real-life medieval influences. Players take on the role of mercenary as they navigate the complex political landscape of the game’s world, joining leaders and making rivals along the way.


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The game features a massive open-world map that offers players a chance to engage in battles, interact with characters, and build powerful armies. The game’s attention to detail and historical accuracy make it an immersive experience for players looking to explore a medieval-inspired world.

16 Way Of The Samurai 3

Time Period: Sengoku

Way Of The Samurai 3

Way of the Samurai 3

October 13, 2009



Way of the Samurai 3 is easily one of the most underrated and forgotten titles on this list. It’s set in feudal Japan during the Sengoku period and offers players a chance to explore and engage with Japanese culture and history, which is a draw for many people.

Players make major choices that impact the game’s storyline and ending, with a whopping total of 22 endings. The mix of open-world exploration, role-playing elements, and combat mechanics makes Way of the Samurai 3 a unique and engaging title that fans of historical open-world games should definitely check out.

15 Red Dead Redemption

Time Period: The Dying Days Of The Wild West

Horseriding in Red Dead Redemption

Red Dead Redemption

May 18, 2010

Rockstar San Diego

Red Dead Redemption is one of the greatest open-world games ever made, and a modern port of this title can’t come soon enough. Set in the dying days of the Wild West in the early 1900s, players control former outlaw John Marston as he tries to track down members of his former gang to save his family.

The game offers a massive open-world map of the American frontier, with a mix of environments such as deserts, forests, and mountains. The attention to detail in the game world and the riveting historical setting make it a standout title to experience the end of an era in American history.

14 Dynasty Warriors 9

Time Period: Three Kingdoms

Guan Yu striking enemies

Dynasty Warriors 9

February 13, 2018

Action , Hack and Slash

The Dynasty Warriors franchise is something that fans have really mixed opinions on. For the most part, this series seems like nothing more than a way for players to deal a ton of damage to mindless opponents who almost never attack the player.

However, Musou games can be engaging if players approach these titles with proper expectations, and Dynasty Warriors 9 is a great example of the same. It’s the first open-world game in the series that has attracted a mixed reception, but there’s no denying that the gameplay of Dynasty Warriors 9 can be pretty fun when everything clicks.

13 The Saboteur

Time Period: World War 2 Paris

The Saboteur - Best Games Set In Historical Periods

The Saboteur

December 8, 2009

Pandemic Studios

The Saboteur was developed by Pandemic Studios and is easily one of the most underrated games around. The way in which players can literally inject color into the world by liberating areas makes for an immersive and thoroughly enjoyable gameplay loop.


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It helps that the story is pretty engaging too, making The Saboteur a complete package. It’s a great game that any fan of stealth-action games should check out.

12 Mount & Blade

Time Period: Medieval

Mount & Blade Warband ps4

Mount & Blade

September 16, 2008



Mount & Blade was developed by TaleWorlds Entertainment and is one of the most comprehensive and accurate historical open worlds around, which is amazing given that its world isn’t really specified outright. However, the medieval setting rings true in every way, making this game quite incredible indeed, despite the fairly lackluster visuals.

Along with the stellar content from TaleWorlds Entertainment, Mount & Blade can be significantly enhanced thanks to the game’s excellent modding community.

11 Assassin’s Creed Origins

Time Period: Ancient Egypt

Assassin's creed origins

Assassin’s Creed Origins

December 15, 2020

After a year-long hiatus, Assassin’s Creed decided to shake things up and turn into a proper open-world RPG that went all the way back in the timeline. This led to the creation of Assassin’s Creed Origins, which detailed the rise of the Assassins.

Roaming through Ancient Egypt is a blast, and it’s easy to see why many people considered this game to be a return to form for the series. Assassin’s Creed Origins has set a new template for the series, which has consistently proven why its historical settings are so riveting.

10 Shenmue

Time Period: 1980s Japan & China



November 7, 2000


Shenmue made huge waves when it was released on the Dreamcast. As one of the most expensive games ever made, expectations were high for this ambitious title. Unfortunately, the game’s enormous budget proved to be over-ambitious, as Shenmue was a commercial failure that didn’t even cover its development costs.

As for the game itself, for the most part, Shenmue and its sequel didn’t disappoint. It told a great story in a fleshed-out world, and it’s a shame that the third game was such a disappointment.

9 Assassin’s Creed 2

Time Period: Renaissance Italy

Assassin's Creed 2 Amunet

Assassin’s Creed 2

November 7, 2009

It would be impossible to talk about games with historical settings without mentioning the Assassin’s Creed series. Ubisoft’s trademark franchise has explored various eras in history, but most games have yet to reach the heights of Assassin’s Creed 2.


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The game felt downright revolutionary when it was launched in 2009. Taking place during the Renaissance in Italy, the setting of this game elevates Assassin’s Creed 2 to a whole new level.

8 Kingdom Come: Deliverance

Time Period: 15th-Century Bohemia

Kingdom Come: Deliverance promotional art of a swordfight

Kingdom Come: Deliverance

February 13, 2018

Warhorse Studios

Credit must be given to Warhorse Studios for attempting such an ambitious project as their first title. Kingdom Come: Deliverance might have its fair share of flaws, but there’s no denying the fact that this title has a ton of heart.

The brutal nature of medieval times is communicated clearly in Kingdom Come: Deliverance. Henry is as fragile as they come, and it’s up to the player to get him ready for the trials and tribulations that are about to ensue.

7 Red Dead Redemption 2

Time Period: The Wild West

red dead redemption 2 arthur morgan neon rainbow paint colors bug

Red Dead Redemption 2

October 26, 2018

Rockstar Games has created several amazing open-world games that have defined and re-defined the genre with each successive entry. However, none of these titles have the stellar narrative that’s present in Red Dead Redemption 2.

The setting of Red Dead Redemption 2 shows the land of America during a time of great change, with the advent of new forms of technology arriving sooner than later. This, coupled with the brilliant narrative of Arthur Morgan, makes for a stellar experience.

6 Ghost Of Tsushima

Time Period: The Mongol Invasion Of Japan


The PlayStation 4 has been home to some of the best exclusives in recent times. Ghost of Tsushima is no exception, featuring the amazing setting of Japan during the first Mongol Invasion.

The swordplay of this game is excellent, with combat genuinely making most players feel like a powerful ninja. The immersive visuals and setting of these games make Ghost of Tsushima one of the standout PlayStation titles.

5 Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag

Time Period: The Golden Age Of Piracy, 1715-1722

assassins creed iv black flag

Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag

October 29, 2013

Black Flag is another popular Assassin’s Creed title that has carved its way into the hearts of fans. The innovations brought about by this title received a massive amount of praise, with the naval exploration and combat being genuinely engaging.



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With the small touches added to the game in the form of shanties, collectibles, side stories, and everything else along the same lines, Black Flag has become one of the best games in the series for many. Edward Kenway is a charismatic protagonist whose personality makes even the most mundane events in the game feel refreshing and alive.

4 Far Cry Primal

Time Period: Prehistory

Primal Cinematic Visuals <a href=mod for Far Cry Primal” src=”https://static0.gamerantimages.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Primal-Cinematic-Visuals-mod-for-Far-Cry-Primal-Cropped.jpg”/>

Far Cry Primal

February 23, 2016

Ubisoft has a poor reputation for copy-pasting mechanics across a host of games. As a result, most people wrote off Far Cry Primal as nothing more than another rehash of the established Far Cry formula.

It’s a shame since Far Cry Primal definitely had a ton of things going for it. Its prehistoric setting was especially notable, with the innovative gameplay changes arising, as a result, being quite entertaining to play around with.

3 Mafia 2

Time Period: 1945 To 1951 America

mafia 2 box art

Mafia 2

August 24, 2010

2K Czech

The Mafia series features some of the most immersive open worlds around… even though the content in them might not be all that engaging. That being said, the narratives of these titles more than make up for their various shortcomings.

Mafia 2 is considered by many gamers to be the best game in the trilogy. The story of Vito Scaletta is extremely entertaining, with the game’s narrative beats making for some of the most engaging and memorable moments in the game by a country mile.

2 L.A. Noire

Time Period: Post-World War 2 Los Angeles

L.A. Noire

LA Noire

May 17, 2011

Team Bondi

The idea of an open-world detective game sounds extremely engaging, which is why so many people were hyped to the moon for L.A. Noire. Its state-of-the-art facial animation systems made the game look even more tantalizing, with the name Rockstar Games serving as the perfect icing on top of this in-demand cake.

While the game wasn’t perfect, fans of detective titles would feel right at home with the mechanics of L.A. Noire. Cole Phelps was a great protagonist, and the post-World War 2 setting is quite engrossing as well.

1 Yakuza 0

Time Period: The Bubble Era, Japan

The opening of Yakuza 0

Yakuza 0

January 24, 2017

There was a time when the Yakuza series was fairly obscure, with only a few fans out in the West. This changed with the advent of Yakuza 0, a prequel to the Yakuza series, which was an instant success and popularized the series around the world once and for all.

Yakuza 0 was the perfect entry point into the series and featured excellent gameplay across the board. The setting of Kamurocho and Sotenbori allowed players to understand the backgrounds and motivations of both Kiryu and Majima before they became the Dragon of Dojima and the Mad Dog of Shimano, respectively.


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