Believe it or not, there has been hundreds of games released over the years based on Norse culture and mythology. Although the majority of them aren't historically accurate, a lot are quite good as they embrace the rich folklore of the supposedly savage people that dominated their era.
With that said, not all games based on the Vikings are made equal, with some not being as worthy of your time as others.
Scroll down below to learn more about the best Viking games available today.
Ubisoft's first foray into the Viking era came not in the form of Assassin's Creed. Instead, it was in the more grounded action-fighting game, For Honor, which, admittedly, uses a version of the Vikings that are more influenced than pop-fiction than actual history.
Even though the Vikings in For Honor lack historically accurate aesthetics, they game does capture the nitty gritty. In particular, these warriors' dedication to giving it their all in every battle, in the hopes of dying a noble death to ascend to Viking heaven, Valhalla, is captured by the game's ruthless fighting and mechanics.
True. The combat is far from realistic. However, it's not without its nuance and depth. The parrying system, for example, is difficult but satisfying to master. Besides, where else can you find a game where you can behead an enemy with an axe after you chokeslam them to the ground?
God of War
2018's God of War took one of the angriest men in all of gaming - probably only second to the Doomguy - and made him more of an annoyed single father who's decided to settle down somewhere cold and quiet after already taking out the entire Greek pantheon.
Unfortunately, killing gods doesn't really sit well with other deities. Instead of getting the life he's always wanted, Kratos finds himself embroidered in yet another conflict.
In an adventure that starts with Kratos and his son, Atreus, traveling to the top of a specific mountain so that they can scatter the ashes of his deceased wife, the new God of War is a sober and interesting take on Norse mythology.
Although it still very much has the visceral combat that the series is known for, the change in perspective gets you up close and more personal than before.
With a sequel expected to release in 2021 or 2022, there's never been a better time to check out God of War if you haven't already.
Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
Similar to God of War, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice has a rather interesting take on Norse mythology and the setting. It's central to the game's plot, but, at the same time, also tells its own unique story of Senua, who journeys into Helheim on a quest for defiance and to overcome her very own personal mental trauma.
The story is then told through what initially looks like a typical hack-and-slash action game but with so much more nuance and some clever puzzle solving.
TLDR; join Senua fight her own demons in exhilarating combat.
Assassin's Creed: Valhalla
Assassin's Creed games have always done their historical settings well. Even when the games weren't as well-received, the stories always stood out. Assassin's Creed: Valhalla is no exception. However, in terms of both gameplay and story, Assassin's Creed: Valhalla is probably the best yet, as it tells Eivor's tale of conquest and survival.
As always, Ubisoft took quite a lot of liberties telling this 9th-century tale, but even so, there's a lot of historical truth behind the game's fictional facade.
Valheim takes the concept of a god-forsaken realm quite literally as it puts players in a world where they're tasked to rid it of creatures that even the Norse gods themselves do not want any part of.
Luckily, you're not alone. At least, you can choose not to go through this perilous journey on your own. You can group with up to nine other people as you journey together through Valheim, attempting to brave the elements while having the occasional mead.
Because each world is procedurally-generated, every player's adventure is unique and every tale told is different from the other.
While the cooperative PvE element is central to the gameplay, a lot of players have found Valheim just as fun being played as a survival sim where you mess around and explore throughout the game's expansive world.
Just in case someone tells you that it's impossible to tell an immersive and original tale via VR given today's technology, simply point them towards the direction of Asgard's Wrath.
Whereas other VR titles feel more like glorified demos, this action-adventure RPG VR title takes players through a massive and sprawling RPG that can take hundreds of hours to complete. The best part is that it's all completely built for VR. This means that the combat, interface, and the world all take into account the player's experience and perspective while wearing a VR headset.
The fact that it comes with an incredibly detailed and immersive story only adds to the game's credence as one of the best Viking games around.
Getting a chance to walk through the glorious halls of Valhalla is the ultimate dream of every Viking warrior, which is why it makes for a particularly interesting talking point to wonder what happens if a Viking warrior dies an unworthy death?
The answer to that question is something that we find out in Jotun, a hand-drawn action game that sees Thora try and regain her honor by impressing the gods themselves.
Seeing as the gods have seen pretty much everything, this is a tall task. In Jotun, it's a literally gargantuan undertaking. It sees the game's protagonist journey through Niflheim to take out giants who are several houses tall in a genuine tale of "David going up against Goliath" that's told through some pretty lovely animation and art.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Journey through a massive world inspired by Iceland where you play as the legendary Dragonborn, a hero prophesied to save the world from the clutches of Alduin, who is basically a dragon that's evil incarnate, by being able to absorb the souls of dozens if not hundreds of dragons, so you can learn to literally shout enemies to their death.
Of course, what is such an adventure without being sidetracked a little bit? Skyrim's main mission might only be a dozen hours or so long, but it'll take you hundreds of hours to complete everything that the game has to offer.
In true role-playing fashion, Skyrim has you solving everything from a civil war to drunken bar brawls as well as doing questionable errands for deities, often without you even knowing.
With dozens of hours of gameplay to offer via the base game and expansion alone, as well as hundreds more via mods, Skyrim will let you tailor your Viking gameplay experience just exactly how you would prefer it to be experienced.
The common adage usually goes that "knowing is half the battle". However, in Northgard, you might as well change it to "knowing how to survive if half the battle."
This isn't to say that this real-time strategy game doesn't feature its fair share of battles. Rather, it's just that the majority of those clashes can be won by some careful strategizing instead of going in to see who's got the bigger weapons, because braving the elements and making sure that everyone in your tribe lives is the bigger goal in Northgard.
The Banner Saga Trilogy
The Banner Saga trilogy of games is a series of titles that we recommend playing in its entirety. Although each game is a stand-alone title that can be enjoyed individually, all three together tell an epic story that you yourself will get a chance to craft.
The fantastical setting draws heavy inspiration from the Vikings, including the grim tale of refugees trying to survive a world-ending event. In battle, you'll have to rely on a clever mind and strategy to do turn-based combat on a grid map. However, what's perhaps the biggest draw of the game isn't its battles, but its story.
As the one in charge of a group of people who are already struggling to survive as it is, how do you know which people to take in? How do you keep your morale as every decision you make can potentially result in the death of another? How do you justify who gets to defend your stronghold as you send others to try and save the world, knowing full well that they could fail and doom everyone?
"Intense" and "gripping" are two words that perfectly describe the theme and story of The Banner Saga as it explores themes that very few games have and probably ever will.