Top 10 Viking Games for PC

The Banner Saga, a beautifully animated Viking themed game

Vikings: A Fascinating Culture

Longboats, beards, mead and fighting. These are the images that are conjured up when we think of Vikings. Whether it be in movies or TV, Vikings have been a part of popular culture for many years now. From the time we’re children, we see Viking themes all over the media, we grow up hearing about this great race of northmen and the fear they struck into early Europeans. So of course it’s no surprise that these brave warriors have also made their mark on the world of gaming. So grab your axes and pelts as we take a look at the best Viking themed video games on PC.

1) For Honor

A Viking Raider decimating his enemies in For Honor

A millennium after a terrible cataclysm lay waste to the major civilizations of the world, the descendants of those that survived still battle for control of what little resources are left. An ever constant battle survival is what For Honor centers around. For Honor is a Hack and Slash action game with multiple classes

The game features 3 factions, that of the chivalrous Knights, the honorable Samurai and, of course, the powerful Vikings. Each faction has 4 classes. Looking closely at the Vikings, their classes are: The Berserker, The Raider, The Valkyrie and The Warlord. Each is based on an actual warrior caste from Viking lore and offer different styles of combat depending on the class chosen. This game features a combat system called “Art of Battle” which activates when facing strong enemies. In this mode you can aim when your weapon strikes will land, making combat feel genuine. The player has to watch their enemy carefully, studying their movements and attack patterns to see when and where, they should strike.

Heart pumping action is the foundation of For Honor

2) The Banner Saga

A tale told through beautiful artwork makes The Banner Saga a must buy for any fan of the genre

Possibly one of the most beautiful looking games of all time, The Banner Saga is a fantasy tactical RPG set in a world of Vikings. You lead a caravan of warriors and craftsmen to try and defeat the Dredge, a race of beings that despises humans. They’re led by an almost invincible Dredge called Bellower. The game centers on the player trying to find a way to defeat Bellower and save their society, all the while recruiting new characters and playing through a deep engaging storyline. Here, defeats don’t mean you load up your game and try again, they are permanent. You need to deal with the consequences of your defeat and push on, making every engagement with the enemy feel important.

What is probably the most noticeable feature of this game is its art style, with everything being hand drawn in a style influenced by Disney’s 1959 masterpiece, Sleeping Beauty. With various character classes, deep strategic combat and a gripping storyline, The Banner Saga is sure to please any fan of strategy games.

Combat in The Banner Saga follows the typical "tactics" formula

3) Diablo III

The female and male Barbarians stand ready to meet the hordes of hell

In the world of Sanctuary, the battle between angels and demons is all too real. 20 years after the events of Diablo II, Sanctuary has once again been enveloped in darkness. Deckard Cain seeks for an answer as to this rising darkness when a meteor falls from the sky and strikes the church he was in, causing him to disappear, thus begins the journey into the world of Diablo III. Diablo III features great dungeon crawling, action-oriented gameplay with various character classes completely different from one another. One of these being the Barbarians, which are essentially the Vikings of the Diablo universe. In the lore of Diablo III, the Barbarians come from Mount Arreat which was the resting place of the worldstone. After its destruction, the barbarians were scattered, losing their sense of identity and forgetting their duty. You play as one of the last Barbarians in search of hope, seeking an end to the madness that plagues the world of Sanctuary.

The Barbarian plays like an aggressive brawler, feeding off the energy of their fallen foes to further fuel their powers. They specialize in area of effect attacks and strong weapon strikes, more-so than any of the other classes. Either dual wielding or using massive weapons, the Barbarians tear through the minions of hell with unmatched strength and ferocity.

A male Barbarian in the character creation screen

4) Volgarr the Viking

Volgarr's Intro Screen

In line with Ghosts ‘n Goblins and Rastan, Volgarr the Viking is a side scrolling action platformer with the difficulty setting ramped up to 11. Saying this game is hard is a severe understatement, players will probably die more while playing this game than in Dark Souls 3. In Volgarr the Viking, you play as the titular hero, tasked by the great Odin himself to slay a mighty dragon. On the way you will meet a plethora of enemies and obstacles pretty much put there to do nothing but kill you. Volgarr began as a kickstarter project developed by Crazy Viking Studios. Although based on old school arcade titles of the 80’s, Volgarr is a modern interpretation of the genre. For example, Volgarr carries 3 weapons when first starting the game, that being a shield, a sword and a spear. The spear is probably the handiest as it’s used not only to strike enemies from a distance, but also create a platform with which to help navigate through the world and its obstacles.

Combat is Volgarr is pretty much what you’d expect from any side scrolling platformer, but with the difficulty being beyond insane. Gamers all over the globe have thrown their mice and keyboard to the floor out of frustration only to pick them up minutes later and try again. It’s filled with epic boss battles, powerful weapons and items and of course, an army of horrible monsters whose sole purpose is to ruin your day. So if you’re on the look for some glorious side scrolling Viking action and don’t mind dying a couple of (hundred) times, then look no further.

Lord Gyrgok, the first of many bosses the game has to ruin your day

5) The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Skyrim's Dragonborn as a Nord, ready to face all challenges

When dragons suddenly returned to the world of Tamriel to wreak havoc, a lone warrior stood up against them and brought the world back from the brink of destruction. This hero called “The Dragonborn” or “Dovahkiin” in the dragon tongue, was born with the body of a man but the heart and soul of a Dragon. While The Elder Scrolls features many playable races, Skyrim centers around the Nords, a race of northerners modeled after real-life Vikings. It is amongst their rank that the Dragonborn rose to power and challenged Alduin, the World Eater. While not a Viking game per-se, it’s not hard to see how real life Vikings influenced the creation of the Nord race. Everything from their architecture, to their religious customs, to their identity and strong and fierce warriors, Nords embody all the ideals of the powerful Vikings of old.

In Skyrim, players assume the role of the Dragonborn. From there they can build up their character any way they wish, whether as a warrior, mage, thief or any combination in between. Skyrim is packed with Norse-themes and Nordic lore as well as influences from various other cultures. It takes place in the province of Skyrim, from where the Nords originate. As the player begins their journey through this world they learn of Ulfric Stormcloak and his Stormcloak rebellion, which seeks independence from the Empire and their elven allies. Most Nords are very nationalistic and look down upon foreigners in their land, especially those there to change their ways. Combat is done in either first or third person perspective and there are many different weapons and spells to choose from. Skyrim is too broad a game to be able to describe fully in this article but I urge EVERY gamer, not just fans of the Viking genre to pick this up if they haven’t already and begin their adventure as the Dragonborn.

A female Nord overlooks Whiterun, a town in the center of Skyrim

6) Viking Squad

Splash art for Viking Squad

Pillaging, fighting and good ol’ side scrolling action. This is what you’ll find in Viking Squad, an upcoming game from Slick Entertainment. In this game you lead a group of brave Viking warriors out to put a stop to the trickster Loki’s schemes and re-open the doors to Valhalla. Classic Viking imagery such as Longboats, mead halls and sick beards really give this game a true Viking feel, one which even those that aren’t big fans of the genre will enjoy.

Each of the 4 characters has their own unique weapon class, weapons being upgraded during the course of the game as well as your characters leveling up to become stronger. It features a combat system very much reminiscent of Castle Crashers and other side scrolling brawlers. It features online Co-Op, as well as Local. It sports 2D hand drawn art, making this title not only a joy to play but to look at as well.

Massive boss battles are just a part of Viking Squad

7) Jotun: Valhalla Edition

Thora facing down a Jotun

It seems that in the world of gaming, 2D action and Vikings go hand in hand, Jotun: Valhalla Edition being no different. In this title, you play as the shield maiden Thora whom, after meeting and inglorious end by drowning, is given a second chance by the gods to claim glory and enter Valhalla. She is tasked with defeating the Jotun, a race of elemental giants whose strength is legendary. In difference from the other 2D titles on this list, Jotun doesn’t feature an endless horde of enemies. Jotun is less focused on regular combat and more focused on telling a story through gorgeous visuals and engaging narration by Thora herself, even the voice overs are in authentic Icelandic to really help set the atmosphere.

Jotun plays a lot like Shadow of the Colossus in that the focus is set on the world and the boss fights, with all the time in between dedicated to puzzle solving and story-telling. While a bit on the short side, Jotun is a game that will grip you and keep you thinking days after you’ve finished it.

Jera, the first boss encountered in Jotun

8) Northgard

Northgard looks very promising for fans of Vikings and strategy games alike

When we talk about Viking games, it’s always good to see a title that embraces mythology and exploration of the world instead of focusing solely on the combat aspect of things. Northgard is an upcoming title from Shiro Games that does just this. It’s a Strategy/exploration game not much different from Age of Empires. You’re tasked with helping a clan of Vikings survive through all the dangers of their world, whether it be dire wolves and undead that roam the land or even a harsh winter. Exploration and resource management are integral to the game, while combat isn’t too far behind.

While this game is still in development and details are scarce, it already looks like a great title in the RTS genre, and the fact it’s so deeply steeped in Viking lore really makes this one stand out from the pack. Be on the look for this one to drop sometime this year, maybe early 2017.

Viking warriors in Northgard taking on what seems to be a Nidhogg from Norse Mythology

9) Vikings: Wolves of Midgard

Vikings: Wolves of Midgard, an action RPG with survival elements

Another upcoming title that looks very promising is that of Vikings: Wolves of Midgard, developed by Games Farm. In this title you play as the chief of a Viking village in a quest for revenge for your home’s destruction. While VERY reminiscent of Diablo III, Wolves of Midgard brings a couple of new features to the action RPG genre. For example it has an “exposure” system in which your character can become deeply affected by the cold, hindering their combat prowess and if left unchecked, kill them outright. This can be combated by seeking a heat source such as a campfire or torch.

The combat is ever evolving, with weapon strikes starting out very basic and changing as your experience goes up. For example, while wielding a sword the first attack you’re allowed to do is a basic slash. Upon leveling up and gaining experience with it, you get access to attacks such as sweeping slashes or dash attacks, making the combat feel fresh and different with every type of weapon. Monsters and creatures from Norse mythology populate the land and it’s up to you to destroy them, saving your world and allowing you to rebuild what was once lost. Magic also makes an appearance, making this title stand out from Diablo III’s massive shadow. Look for this one when it comes out on Steam in early 2017.

Brutal combat against terrible foes awaits in Wolves of Midgard

10) Expeditions: Vikings

The second installment in the Expeditions series deals with the Vikings’ arrival to the British Isles

The second entry in the Expeditions series, Vikings takes a more historical approach in its game experience. Based on the actual raids Vikings conducted into the British Isles, you will have to seek new allies and propel your clan to greatness. In this title, you are the newly appointed chieftain of a small and weak Norse village after the death of your father, the previous chieftain. It’s up to you to restore glory to your village and family name by amassing an army and look to expand your influence outside your lands. You will face treachery from your neighbors and unknown dangers in the British Isles, where you will be raiding.

A tactical turn based RPG, Vikings offers the player different routes to their rise in power. You can choose to submit those you come across under your rule through battle or, if you prefer a more diplomatic route, you can choose to establish trade routes and multiply your wealth exponentially. Exploration is an integral part of this game, with bandits, hostile armies and spies all around you it’s very important to know the lay of the land and secure as many resources as possible, all the while fighting against those that would take them from you. Your reputation is your most powerful weapon as it’s never prudent to be too soft or too harsh on those you come across.

Tactical combat in Expeditions: Vikings

These are just a few in what is an extensive library of Viking games. Across different platforms and diverse genres, Vikings will continue to fascinate gamers all over the world. Whether it be the visceral combat of For Honor, the strategic gameplay of Northgard or the beautifully rich story of Jotun Viking games are sure to please. So grab your axes and your shields and prepare for battle because Viking games won’t be leaving us anytime soon.

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