The Viking era is one of the most well-recognised in human history. However, the true Viking era, just like many others that people love to romanticize such as the Caribbean pirates and cowboys of the American Wild West, was actually much shorter than commonly billed—and, in terms of lifestyle, might not be all it's touted to be.
Scholars know that the Viking era was based on conquest, raiding, and trading. Contrary to popular belief, ‘Norsemen’ weren’t strictly from Norway, but hailed from as far south as central Germany, then migrated north. This is just one of many commonly held misconceptions. Though these interpretations aren’t always damaging, they’ve led to more than a few projects that miss the mark when it comes to Viking identity.
Specifically, video games have borrowed greatly from this era. For example, the concept of the ‘berserk’ warrior has seen tons of attention from video game writers and developers, from 1999’s Sword of the Berserk to 2016’s Berserk. But just because there’s a lot of attention on Vikings, that doesn’t mean creators stay true to their source material. Let’s break down some of the biggest games with a Viking tag, along with which ones represent the era well.
Best of Short-Form Games
Even the shortest games in the world borrow from Viking vibes. Let’s cover slots, which are the most popular online casino game. Viking titles, such as Viking Hoard, are listed alongside dozens of others that cover fantasy, history, and ancient pantheons. Given the Viking Era’s over-the-top reputation, it’s a popular choice for players who like adventure and historical motifs.
Slots like Viking Hoard nail the era’s theme without delving too deeply into the past.
However, there are other mobile titles that take a deeper dive. These include Vikings: War of Clans and Northgard. Both are multiplayer strategy games that require players to make real-time decisions about building villages, managing resources, and then expanding to conquer new regions—both very Viking in spirit.
Best Console & PC Title: God of War Ragnarök
Both mobile titles mentioned above touch on the core theme of Viking video games: strategy, expansion, and handling resources in a historical setting. But not all successful Viking titles must stick to this format. For console and PC gamers, there are different Viking adventures to choose from.
One of the best new releases is God of War Ragnarök. The game follows the story of Kratos, a warrior from the previous God of War franchise. He was once on a mission to punish the Greek gods for interfering with his life, but during his last mission, he struck down the god of light, Baldur. For those who aren’t familiar with Norse mythology, this is the event that triggers Ragnarök—which Kratos must now survive.
Upon its release, the game nabbed 15 nominations, and took home notable awards, including The Game Awards’ Best Narrative, Best Action/Adventure, and Best Innovation in Accessibility.
Best Creative New Take: Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Let’s cover a more recent title that tackles the Viking era—this time, from a woman’s perspective. Enter Senua, a female warrior who enters the Viking realm of Helheim (home of the dead) in order to find her long-lost lover. Players will notice Viking themes and players, along with plenty of Celtic influences.
The game takes things in a totally new direction by adding elements of psychological duress. Senua isn’t only traveling through Helheim, the underworld, but is also battling her own inner demons. It’s a brand-new take on the action-adventure genre and offers tons of interesting callbacks to the Viking era.
For Further Gaming
So far, we’ve outlined a few different Viking-inspired titles that gamers of all stripes will enjoy. However, there are a few notable titles that we’ve missed. For example, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is often hailed as one of the best Viking-era games. Others, like Jotun and Valheim, take an even closer look at the culture, identity, and lifestyle from this historical epoch. All are great titles for gamers who want to fully immerse themselves in a digital Viking world.