The 10 Best Games Set in Italy
Italy is among the world’s most talked about civilizations. From its architectural blueprints to its rich culture, riveting blood sports, and historical figures, the country has been the source of inspiration for several media franchises, including video games.
With lots of history to absorb, we can expect historical inaccuracies in some of these productions.
However, a few video games manage to capture the rawness and characterization of Italy’s heritage and history, from Greek mythology to the Roman Empire, World War II, and more.
If you’re a history buff looking to spend time playing games that picture Italy’s deep history and culture, read on to find out the ten best games set in Italy.
Call of Duty: WWII
Call of Duty: WWII is an excellent first-person shooter video game created by Sledgehammer Games.
It is the fourteenth entry in the Call of Duty franchise and the first in the series franchise to be set during WWII. The game was published worldwide by Activision in 2017 for PS4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows.
Call of Duty: WWII is set in Italy. The story is about a 1st Infantry Division squad during the events of Operation Overlord. You will assume the role of Ronald “Red” Daniels, a member of the unit.
Call of Duty: WWII offers many options in terms of equipment. Instead of depending on drones and exosuits for assistance to make you a one-man army, you’ll depend on your squad to perform like a real army. Teamwork is key.
Ronald Daniels’ squad mates can supply you with extra ammunition, grenades, first aid kits, target spots, and artillery strikes.
These weapons aren’t automatically replenished — they charge up as you defeat enemies. It’s a tradeoff as you’ll need to stay close to your teammates to redeem these perks.
The same can be said of the setting — it’s a beautiful campaign, even in the most chaotic areas. Forest missions are quite interesting, and certain missions have great weather effects.
For fans of the franchise and new gamers alike, Call of Duty: WWII is a must-play.
Sniper Elite 4
Sniper Elite 4 is a tactical shooter stealth game created and released by Rebellion Developments. It was published for PS4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows in 2017.
The game’s story revolves around Karl Fairburne, an elite marksman and covert agent, who fights alongside the brave members of the Italian Resistance to defeat a new threat that could stop the Allied fightback.
The setting of Sniper Elite 4 follows the events of its award-winning prequel, transporting players from the African deserts across the Italian peninsula.
You’ll infiltrate vineyards, military docks, monasteries perched on hillsides, quaint Tuscan towns, and sun-soaked forest canyons, all overrun with Nazis.
Your primary objectives start, and remain, perfectly simple: locate hidden intel, kill a high-ranking officer, or destroy a strategic position. These are staples you’ll frequently see throughout the campaign, though Sniper Elite 4 still manages to offer a good rhythm.
The game allows players to freely explore its large hub areas, so you’re free to approach each objective how you want to. The developer, Rebellion, does a great job at creating a rich environmental design.
Each level offers different ways of approaching a given target, and the open-ended verticality allows players to traverse mountain paths, rooftops, and several other high vantage points for an advantage against enemies.
The best way to keep getting more from this game is to play through the tougher settings.
Here, bullet markers aren’t displayed, there is no HUD assistance, and no icons to notify you of a nearby enemy. However, the gaming experience in Sniper Elite 4 offers is as authentic as it gets.
Assetto Corsa Competizione
Assetto Corsa Competizione (“Race Setup Competition” in Italian) is a car racing simulator created by Kunos Simulazioni, an Italian game developer.
The game focuses mainly on GT4 and GT3 racing cars and is the official game of the Blancpain GT Series and Endurance Cups.
Assetto Corsa Competizione is set in Italy, and gameplay involves racing against other players or AI. The game includes custom championships, custom races, special events, online multiplayer, and an offline career.
Players can automatically select offline grids depending on the season and series they select.
Alternatively, you can opt for single-make racing sessions, which allow the creation of series like Audi R8 LMS Cup, Porsche Carrera Cup, or Lamborghini Super Trofeo. In multiplayer mode, car selection is free except when determined via server settings.
The developer does a great job in terms of car sound and physics, offering an authentic driving experience, where each car feels different.
Compared to several other racing titles, Assetto Corsa Competizione features a relatively small number of tracks and cars. Most of the cars are Italian brands, which isn’t particularly weird considering the developer is Italian.
Besides the fantastic car models, Assetto Corsa Competizione boasts several legendary tracks. Circuits like the Hungaroring, Bathurst, and Spa, offer so much experience for racing enthusiasts. The tracks also have a well-detailed system that features rubber build-up to enhance the course’s grip.
The scenarios in each race approach photorealism and the weather conditions are dynamic during each race, influencing your driving difficulty. Assetto Corsa Competizione is unarguably one of the best racing games set in Italy.
Assassin’s Creed II and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood Remastered
Assassin’s Creed II is a prequel to Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood in the Assassin’s Creed franchise, an action-adventure stealth game developed and published by Ubisoft. The developers also created remastered versions of these games as part of Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio’s Collection.
The protagonist in both games, Ezio Auditore, a Florentine nobleman whose family members are killed, sets out to hunt down the killers. Assassin’s Creed II is set in 15th century Italy, during the Renaissance.
Ezio’s adventures take him through Famous Italian cities such as Venice and Florence, where players can admire real places like the Basilica of Santa Maria in Florence, the Rialto Bridge, and the Grand Canal in Venice.
During Ezio’s hunt, he gets help from some characters who lived in Italy during that period. He also visits his family villa, situated in the beautiful village of Monteriggioni.
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is slicker than its prequel, with more fluid traversal and combat. Brotherhood begins right where Assassin’s Creed II left off, fleshing out Ezio’s character. At that point, Ezio is the world’s greatest murderer.
The opening is cinematic, with Monteriggioni being invaded by enemies, citizens screaming, cannonballs firing, and it all feels bombastic.
Playing the two games in succession feels great and nostalgic, and seeing Ezio change and age as a character is something.
Ubisoft is highly praised for the fidelity and meticulousness with which it reproduces the historical settings in these games, so if you’re looking for the best games set in Italy, you can’t go wrong here.
Ryse: Son of Rome
From the stables of Crytek comes this story-driven action-adventure game. The game is set in Ancient Rome and revolves around the life of Marius Titus, a Roman centurion as he rises to become a leader in the Roman XIV Legion.
Assuming the role of Marius, you’ll partake in this epic story of conflict, tale, and comradery.
After witnessing the mindless slaughter of his family during a barbarian attack, Marius seeks vengeance as he ascends the Legion ranks.
Upon discovering details about the attackers, he embarks on a quest to restore his family’s dignity and destroy those who offended him and the Roman citizens.
Throughout the game, you’ll gain access to various weapons for defending yourself or assaulting enemies.
For instance, you’ll be equipped with a sword for striking and killing enemies, as well as a shield for deflecting enemies’ attacks and breaking their defense. The game also features ranged weapons, such as javelins and spears.
The environments have great variety and look terrific technically. You’ll find plenty of ancient Roman architecture, as well as beaches dotted with trap-filled swamps, Crytek‘s signature forests, and shipwrecks.
Characters’ animations look natural and fluid even during heavy battles with lots of fighters.
Ryse: Son of Rome also features a multiplayer (cooperative) mode, which allows players to team up and fight against various enemies in a gladiator arena setting known as the Roman Colosseum.
Without a doubt, this hack and slash game is one of the best games set in Italy.
The Forgotten City
The Forgotten City is a non-linear open-world mystery adventure RPG developed by Modern Storyteller.
The game was originally released by Dear Villagers as a Skyrim mod but has since grown to become a title of its own. It was re-released in 2021 for PS4, PS5, Nintendo, Xbox One, Xbox Series, and Microsoft Windows.
The story is about a cursed city where everyone dies for the crime of one person — a tough collective punishment, which was a part of Roman culture.
The game strikes a good balance of stealth, exploration, and puzzle-solving, effectively making a high-quality product that explains why it is seen as one of the best mystery games on Nintendo Switch.
You play the protagonist in modern-day Italy. He ends up lost on the Tiber River and discovers the portal to an ancient city, rewinding the time to the Roman Empire age.
The player must now unravel the mystery of what or who brought about the city’s downfall by interrogating residents, exploring, and smartly exploiting the Groundhog Day-style time loop to solve various puzzles.
Players will have the chance to explore the hidden world of lost memorabilia and culture in ancient Rome.
For instance, what was the Romans’ opinion of the Christians after Nero blamed them for igniting the 64 AD Great Fire of Rome? How did they differentiate between what was right and wrong?
With the combat elements being entirely optional, the developers have managed to prove that a video game doesn’t have to display violence to make players’ hearts skip. You can achieve the same result with a well-told, gripping story like the one in The Forgotten City.
The Hand of Glory
Developed by Daring Touch and Madit Entertainment, The Hand of Glory offers a refreshing adventure experience, considering the fact that scale and innovation are not often present in point-and-click games.
The Hand of Glory takes a progressive step in its design too, drawing inspiration from series like Runaway or Broken Sword.
The game is split into two parts: one is set in Miami and the other is set in Italy. While the Miami aspect is stylized and doesn’t feel like the real Florida, the Italian section is spot on.
It captures the country’s ancient-modern dichotomy, such as medieval fountains and churches in San Leo’s piazza alongside the run-down tabacchi.
The main objective of the game is to solve various puzzles and address the issues encountered while resolving the case. You’ll control Lazarus Bundy, an Italian-American detective, whose pursuit of a serial killer plunges his career into an abyss with no headway.
He decides to investigate the disappearance of a young heir to an influential and rich family, plummeting him into international intrigue, with an ancient cult conspiracy.
There is a mysterious masked individual known as The Doctorwill, and you’ll also control Bundy’s sidekick, Alice, who works with him and hopes to become a great detective.
Overall, The Hand of Glory is an interesting experience with lots of content. Although quite humorous, the game covers some serious topics and events along the way. It’s a must-play for those looking for an adventure game set in Italy.
Battlefield 1 is an FPS game set during World War I. It was created by DICE and released by Electronic Arts for PS4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows.
Rather than a single-player campaign that highlights only one protagonist, Battlefield 1 features five different “War Stories”, covering a broad range of World War I experiences.
They include the mountain warfare in Italy, the desert battles in Arabia, the Gallipoli campaign in Turkey, and the tank battle in France. Each War Story is deep, and personal, and gives the feeling that you’re right in the middle of the war, but you’ll hardly get attached to any soldier.
When your character dies, a memorial message will be displayed with the soldier’s full name, year of death, and birth year. It’s a solemn reminder that a real soldier can’t be reborn to save the world as we see in several video games.
The dead soldiers don’t return in the prologue, creating a touching remembrance of WWI’s “lost generation”.
Battlefield 1 offers intense combat that leaves players breathless after each battle. In Italy, you could fire a machine gun until your hands get numb while the enemies’ bullets are bouncing off your armor.
You won’t see politicians, generals, or strategy maps in Battlefield 1. You’ll only experience the stories of soldiers as the game isn’t about the pleasure of combat or the glorification of war.
It’s a serious game that’s respectful of courageous soldiers’ sacrifices. It properly balances history, personalized stories, and fun within epic battles and is easily one of the best games set in Italy.
Vampire Survivors is a shoot ’em-up game created and released by Luca Galante. It was published on the macOS and Microsoft Windows platforms in 2021. You’ll control a character that fights against increasing waves of monsters.
The game’s objective is to survive the continuous onslaught and unlock additional weapons, relics, and characters for subsequent sessions. It requires quick reflexes and constant attention, eliminating the risk of becoming an idle game with less interactivity.
Vampire Survivors takes place in rural Italy. Bisconte Draculo summoned hordes of monsters, which have now ravaged the land in 2021. Some heroic survivors like the Belpaese family are determined to hunt down and kill Draculo.
In their quest, they’ll pass through several monster-infested locales, including an otherworldly chapel, an ominous tower, a cursed forest, an abandoned dairy plant, and a haunted library.
It’s a roguelike game, and players need to move around large massive maps to avoid larger waves of monsters. You don’t have to fight directly since it’s an automated combat system.
You might ask, “So where’s the fun?” Constantly unlock new weapons and new perks capable of improving your performance when you’re faced with overflowing enemies on your screen.
The Italian characters display the common features of the Belmontes in Castlevania but with contrasting names such as Antonio Belpaese, Dommario, Suor Clerici, and Poe Ratcho. Despite the game’s name, none of the monsters encountered are really vampires.
Martha is Dead
This survival horror video game is one of the more recent titles on this list of the best games set in Italy. It was developed by LKA (an Italian Studio) and released by Wired Productions for PS4, PS5, Xbox Series, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows in 2022.
The main protagonist, Giulia, discovers her identical twin sister’s body lying dead in a lake. The girl apparently drowned but no one knows how this happened.
Giulia suspects she was murdered and even thinks she knows the culprit. But in the course of the game, it appears that she doesn’t have a glimpse of reality.
Martha is Dead is set during World War II in 1944 Italy. There are several references to the war — radio broadcasts, newspaper clippings, etc. — but the terrible events from the war rarely surface until a point in the game when the Italian Resistance invades Giulia’s home.
Before then, you’ll see different horrors as Giulia attempts to investigate her sister’s death while struggling with her mental health issues.
The game isn’t exactly action-packed. You’ll mostly walk from one location to another in search of answers.
Thankfully, the communities you traverse are generally beautiful, though the countryside of Tuscany can sometimes be hidden by the darkness of the thick forests and fog that you can only wander through.
The story isn’t in the least boring — Giulia is a really fascinating character and the mystery behind her sister’s death is intriguing.
In terms of art direction and creativity, the developers deserve lots of credit, and some of that is extended in the fact that this is considered to be one of the best mystery games for PS5.