Top 10 Best Games Like Shogun

1 month ago 59

FX’s historical drama Shogun has easily been the biggest new TV show of 2024 so far. Based on James Clavell’s 1975 novel of the same name, it blends political intrigue and character drama with sweeping set pieces and graphic violence, and has been a hit with audiences. If you’ve wrapped up the show and find yourself yearning for more like it, check out our list of the ten best games like Shogun.

James Clavell’s Shogun

This first entry on our list is probably the easiest choice out of them all. Nearly ten years after the first television adaptation of the Shogun novel released, an adaption of the book came out as a video game from Infocom for Amiga, Apple II, DOS, and Macintosh.

Rather than anything action-packed, James Clavell’s Shogun is a heavily text-based adventure game, adhering quite closely to the novel’s plot. You play as John Blackthorne as you crash-land in Japan and come to grips with the complex political landscape, but don’t actually get to have any of the fun yourself.

It was a muted release that was widely panned, and as such it’s impossible to play on any modern systems. That might be for the best, because Clavell himself wasn’t especially interested in it – refusing to contribute creatively and merely signing off on the project.

Ghost of Tsushima

Jin stood on a beach in Ghost of Tsushima.Image Source: Sucker Punch

Next on our list is arguably the closest thing there is to Shogun in video game form. Whether you’re playing the base PS4 version or the PS5’s Director’s Cut, Ghost of Tsushima is a bombastic triple-A blockbuster with boundary-pushing graphics, sharp combat, and a deep story.

You play as Jin Sakai, a samurai in 12th-century Japan. Your home island of Tsushima is under siege by imperial Mongol forces, and it’s up to you and your allies to hold them off and repel the invasion by all means.

If you loved the action in the Shogun series – even if it was few and far between – Ghost of Tsushima will more than deliver on that promise. It’s set several centuries before Shogun, but the themes of vying for power and holding off opposition pressure resonate through both.

Rise of the Ronin

The main character in Rise of the RoninImage Source: Team Ninja

The newest game on our list, Rise of the Ronin is set in the 19th century, some 300 years after Shogun. It sticks closely to real Japanese history, taking place at the end of the Edo period where opposing forces are battling to either maintain or dissolve the shogunate government structure.

Developed by Team Ninja of Ninja Gaiden fame (more of which we’ll discuss later), swordplay is the focus in Rise of the Ronin. You can pick from various fighting styles, ranging from polearms to twin swords, each with unique skills, parries, and attacks.

For those who like the combat in Ghost of Tsushima but want something more detailed and rewarding, Rise of the Ronin will do the job. Just remember it’s a PS5 exclusive!

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

 Shadows Die Twice.Image Source: FromSoftware

Taking combat a step further, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is FromSoftware’s most recent foray into real-life settings, even if its version of the Japanese Sengoku period is fictionalized. As a ninja called Wolf, you fight through hordes of enemy samurai who kidnapped your former master.

If Rise of the Ronin toes the line of risk-and-reward combat, Sekiro pushes it into all-out punishing. It’s a FromSoft game, after all, so anybody expecting a story-driven narrative adventure will soon get a big shock. The combat is notoriously difficult, ranking among the developer’s hardest games with its incredibly precise parrying time and very low HP barrier for Wolf. It’s not for everyone, but soulslike fans who also enjoyed Shogun will definitely want to give it a try.

Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection

Promotional cover for the Ninja Gaiden Master Collection.Image Source: Team Ninja

Rather than picking one specific game in the Ninja Gaiden series, we’ve opted to go for 2021’s Master Collection. This collated the first three HD games in the series onto modern consoles, and is even available on Game Pass for subscribers.

The precursor series to Rise of the Ronin, Ninja Gaiden was a major pioneer of sword-based hack-and-slash gameplay. It’s all about landing the highest combo you can, juggling enemies in the air, and pulling off brutal decapitation moves. The Ninja Gaiden series is much more arcadey than other entries on this list, making it a perfect starting point for newcomers to the hack-and-slash genre.

While Shogun is certainly more focused on story and characters over combat, Ninja Gaiden is an ideal remedy if you finish the series and want a more action-focused narrative.

Like a Dragon: Ishin!

10 Things to Do After Beating Like a Dragon IshinScreenshot by Twinfinite via Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio and Sega

This remake of the 2014 Japan-only Yakuza game is set entirely in 18th-century Japan. You play as Sakamoto Ryoma, a former ronin now abandoned by his clan and forced to go out on a brutal quest to avenge his father. As a Like a Dragon game, though, it’s not especially self-serious.

Featuring a vast open world, the side activities are what make Like a Dragon: Ishin! stand out from other games on this list. To show how wide the range is, you can sing karaoke, cook noodles, take dance lessons, race chickens, and play poker. There’s plenty to do in the main quest, but losing yourself in these side distractions is all part of the fun.

If you liked Shogun but found it a bit too serious and dark, Like a Dragon: Ishin! is the perfect antidote. Sure, there’s a quest for revenge here, but there’s plenty of silliness as well.

Aragami

The player about to attack in Aragami.Image Source: Lince Works

One of the most stylized games on this list, in Aragami you play as the spirit of an assassin sent back to Earth to take out targets. Your abilities allow you to harness the power of shadows, casting illusions to manipulate enemies, transporting through shadows, and summoning weapons out of thin air.

Like a stealthier, more stylish version of Assassin’s Creed, Aragami lets you choose from various methods of dealing with enemies. The diversity of your shadow powers means you don’t always have to cut enemies down with your sword – you can also sneak past or harness shadows to engulf enemies.

It’s not too similar to Shogun in a stylistic sense, but instead a more cartoonish but equally grisly take on Japanese history.

Total War: Shogun 2

 Shogun 2.Image Source: Creative Assembly

For the strategy fans out there, Total War: Shogun 2 is a perfect accompaniment to the end of Shogun. Without delving into spoilers, let’s just say that it makes an awful lot of sense for the huge-scale conflicts of this game to fill the void left by the end of the series.

Developed as always by long-term developer Creative Assembly, Total War: Shogun 2 is the definitive historical Japanese RTS. You get to pick from various clans – those pro-shogunate and their detractors – to formulate your own forces and head into battle.

If you haven’t enjoyed military strategy games in the past, Total War: Shogun 2 probably won’t change your mind. However, anyone familiar with the genre who loved Shogun will find it the perfect companion piece.

Mafia 3

Lincoln Clay shooting gangsters in Mafia 3.Image Source: 2K Games

Mafia 3 is by far the most surprising game on our list, but hear us out. Unlike the first two Mafia games, where you start off as a lowly grunt and work your way up the ladder, Mafia 3 gives you a bit more of a power trip.

In fact, once you get far enough into the story you can decide which of your rival gangs to side with, and which to do battle against. The crux of Shogun’s narrative is different factions vying for authority in a power vacuum, and Mafia 3 handles that concept really well. Yes, they’re totally different in most ways, but thematically share a hugely common thread.

Assassin’s Creed Red

Ubisoft Teases Three Future Assassin's Creed TitlesImage Source: Ubisoft

The last entry on our list is a bit of a cheat, because Assassin’s Creed Red isn’t even out yet. In fact, it doesn’t even have a proper title – Red is just the working codename, after all. That said, one of the few tidbits of information we have is that it’ll take place in Feudal Japan.

While that’s all we have to go off, we’ve already seen how the Assassin’s Creed series faithfully adapts the time periods it tackles, from Victorian London in Syndicate to renaissance Italy in the Ezio trilogy. We’ve seen how Shogun made feudal Japan a living, breathing world on television. With Assassin’s Creed Red, it should be the exact same thing for gaming.

Those are our picks of the best games like Shogun! For more lists like this, check out the best Xbox couch co-op games and the best games like Manor Lords.


Twinfinite is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more

Continue reading