The 4 best video games to learn French
Published on April 22, 2022 / Updated on February 9, 2024
Alongside magazines, films and podcasts, video games are a great media to learn French in a fun and interactive way. You have a large variety to choose from, depending on your taste and the skills you wish to develop. In particular, the inventive and useful features of such games, including subtitles, will help you to widen your vocabulary and to practice your reading and listening skills. Here is our choice of four of the best French video games (strictly speaking three video games and one mobile game) to get you started.
1. Languinis: Match and Spell: practice your vocabulary and your spelling in French
2. Assassin’s Creed Unity: a video game to learn French history and language
3. Elder Scrolls: Practice your listening skills in your own time
4. Toy Story 3: The Video Game: a video game to make learning French a child’s play…
You don’t often associate word search puzzles with video games. But Languinis: Match and Spell allows you to play traditional word search puzzles in a fully-formed universe with different levels to reach, colorful characters to free and power-ups to help you along the way. You can play the game in various languages, including French. All in all, there are 50 levels across twelve islands as you go through the various games to free the Languinis, Aztec-like little warriors. Another advantage is that Languinis: Match and Spell is available for free both on Google Play and the App Store : You can play directly on your mobile phone, rather than having to use your game console at home. This is a great way to practice your vocabulary and your spelling when you are on the go, even if for only a few minutes every day.
The whole series of Assassin’s Creed is made of fictional worlds based on real events in which the Assassins, an Islamist sect, and the Templars, an order of catholic knights, face each other throughout the centuries. The storyline of Assassin’s Creed Unity, the eighth installment in the series, takes place mainly in Paris during the French Revolution of 1789. “Time anomalies” also allow Arno, the main character, to travel through time, for instance to the Belle Époque, when the Eiffel Tower was built, and World War II when the French capital was occupied. This is a great way to discover some of the most important episodes of French history in an interactive fashion. Within the open world of the video game, the players also have to leverage their reading and listening skills in order to interpret what is happening and make decisions.
Another role-playing game for medieval fans, Elder Scrolls takes place in pre-medieval times in the fictional land of Tamriel. Although this series of video games are not made in France, they are available in French. What’s more, each installment contains many dialogues to enrich your vocabulary. Even if they can be a little complex, you can take all the time you need to understand them before giving your answer. You also have the possibility to put the subtitles on. This is particularly useful if this is the first time you play the game. The more times you play the game, the less you will need the subtitles to understand the dialogue, as you will quickly learn the vocabulary.
In case you had a doubt, we are not referring to the third movie of the Pixar franchise, but the video game it is based on. Contrary to what you might expect, Toy Story 3: The Video Game was conceived in France. As the plot follows the same general storyline as the animation film, you will benefit from having watched the latter. This will be particularly useful to help you understand the content in French if you decide to play in story mode. Alternatively, you can also choose the unique “toy box” adventure mode to go on an unexpected journey. Generally speaking, the fact that the game is aimed at children means that the language used is generally easier to understand. You can also focus more on it, since the game is quite easy to play (which doesn’t mean it’s not a lot of fun!).
Whether they find inspiration from traditional games, history and mythology, or recent films, video games allow you to exercise a variety of skills in a fun and imaginative way; and help you learn French. You can pick and choose the game you want depending on your preferences and objectives.