Our list of the best medieval games will have you besieging fortresses and plundering monasteries in no time. Countless titles promise a rewarding experience set in the medieval period, but only a few make the mark.
We can help you out with our list of the best sword-swinging and Inquisition-evading titles, whether you’re interested in living out the rest of your life as a medieval peasant or consolidating your rule over early medieval Britain. Here are 12 of the best medieval games.
1. Kingdom Come: Deliverance
Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a role-playing game set in medieval Bohemia. It’s a game that makes ambitious claims about its historical accuracy and authenticity, although it’s largely preoccupied with burly men swinging swords at each other.
Its memorable open world has proven a sufficient invitation for many players. Playing as the son of a blacksmith, the player is thrust into a civil war in a challenging, story-driven adventure. It’s situated near the 15th century Hussite Wars, which also inspires the Dawn of the Dukes expansion for Age of Empires II.
2. Going Medieval
Also the title of a fantastic series of films presented by Dr Eleanor Janega and podcast with Dr Cat Jarman and Matthew Lewis, Going Medieval is a building simulator set in the Middle Ages. The game has players plan and develop a settlement from a beleaguered colony into a stone fortress.
Having launched in Early Access in June 2021, Going Medieval has made a name for itself for its emphasis on verticality and its intriguing premise. Going Medieval digs its foundations in an alternate history where plague has wiped out 95% of the world’s population, and it’s the players’ job to make the world habitable.
3. Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord
Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord has players develop a loyal band of followers as they perform quests on a vast medieval campaign map inspired by the early medieval Migration Period. It’s an ambitious game, providing a satisfying if occasionally wobbly sandbox experience.
Bannerlord’s pitched battles let players fight beside their soldiers. Here they can make use of the weapons and armour they’ve looted and bargained for. Each faction in the game has a distinctive visual flair that’s inspired by their counterparts from history.
4. Chivalry 2
Chivalry is a multiplayer action game which employs bows, swords and big pikes to outstanding effect. It’s brutal and slapstick. Enjoying the game’s combat doesn’t involve a huge learning curve, and with 64 player battles there’s an impressive sense of spectacle.
Its gruesome melees are comic affairs. It is, after all, a game where you can lob your shield at someone, lob your sword at them as well, and then charge after them with your fists while quoting Shakespeare.
5. For Honor
Ubisoft’s take on the medieval fighting game is a third-person, character-based dueller. Four fictionalised factions make up the cast of characters, which are inspired by medieval knights, Vikings, samurai and ancient Chinese legend.
The combat is much more nuanced than you’ll find in Assassin’s Creed, but demands more patience from players to learn its systems. Dodging, parrying, combo chains and more make up For Honor’s intricate brawling.
Mordhau competes with Chivalry as the go-to hack and slash game set in the sad, muddy castle era. Mordhau offers more in-depth character customization and leans closer towards realism than Chivalry’s gory japes. Its multiplayer expands to 80 players, while its combat requires a finer appreciation of directional blocking and counters.
7. A Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia
Released in 2018, Thrones of Britannia folds Gaelic clans, the early kingdoms of the English and Viking settlers into its turn-based Total War campaign. It reveals Great Britain and Ireland in greater detail than previous Total War games, and Viking raids function as a cunning way of reinvigorating the late game.
Thrones of Britannia brings its own nuances and mechanics to Total War, some of which don’t work terribly well such as bargaining loyalty for estates. Overall, it makes for a memorable medieval strategy experience. Other Total War entries like Medieval II and Attila are also sure to scratch an itch.
8. Assassin’s Creed
The original Assassin’s Creed will feel familiar if you ever watched Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven. It took players to the Levant of the Crusader period, putting them in the white robes of the assassin Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad.
A stealth game that spawned one of the best-selling video game franchises in history, its open world took in the cities of Masyaf, Jerusalem, Acre and Damascus. It lifted inspiration from the historical Order of Assassins in a plot leavened with science-fiction conspiracy.
Developed as a “next-gen” game for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, it looks a little ropey nowadays. It still manages to impress with its vivid, climbable environments and Epic genre of historical content.
9. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
The most recent Assassin’s Creed sets the series a few centuries earlier. Moving from Viking Scandinavia to the shores of East Anglia and West Francia, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla presents the series’ most vivid world to date. It substitutes the original’s iconic stealth dynamics with combat more closely oriented around abilities and big axes.
That’s to say it’s the most the game has felt like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Valhalla’s version of Anglo-Saxon England is full of places to discover, characters to meet and monasteries to plunder.
10. A Plague Tale: Innocence
Set in war-ravaged medieval France, A Plague Tale: Innocence is a cinematic adventure that follows siblings Amicia and Hugo. You’ll use straightforward stealth mechanics as you guide them out of the clutches of plague and the Inquisition, while developing a newfound fear of the rats that swarm A Plague Tale’s diseased countryside.
Perhaps you’ve heard of this one. Valheim’s been glued to Steam’s list of most-played games since it entered Early Access in February 2021. A survival game for 1-10 players, it drops players in a world inspired by Viking culture and asks them to gather enough food to survive and enough wood to develop a house to sleep in.
Crafting tools, building homes and fighting back monsters are your main hobbies. At first, it may not offer much that’s novel in its core gameplay. But its details are everything. Its stylised, low-detail graphics are beautifully lit, its trees have satisfying felling physics, and without a chimney, your house fills with smoke.
12. Age of Empires II
While Age of Empires IV is shaping up to be one of the greatest games to take on the medieval world, its distinguished predecessor Age of Empires II has plenty of life left in it. While its multiplayer hosts a rich esports scene, its singleplayer continues to get new content.
The Dawn of the Dukes DLC brings three new campaigns and two new civilizations. Meanwhile, the Lords of the West expansion added Burgundians and Sicilians and stories of Edward Longshanks and Robert de Hauteville.