Scholars can’t quite agree on exactly where the word “viking” comes from, but one thing’s for sure: it doesn’t mean raider, pillager, or even warrior. The Vikings were simply a seafaring people, and although they certainly did conduct raids on villages, many other civilisations did the same thing and didn’t acquire the same reputation for barbarism. Whatever your personal opinion on the history of the Vikings may be, there are plenty of excellent Viking games to check out on PS4, allowing you to live out the romantic fantasy of a warrior with a horned helmet (also not accurate!) and a massive axe. Here are the 15 best PS4 Viking games to play right now.
After the arguably disappointing Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Valhalla tried to walk back some of that game’s more controversial changes to the formula. It’s a more story-focused experience in which you can tackle areas in a more free-flowing order, but it’s still a modern Assassin’s Creed RPG, albeit one set in the 9th century and revolving around a Viking clan. You are Eivor, a person who can either be male or female (sometimes interchangeably, depending on the situation), and you must explore 9th-century England, uncovering the truth behind the Assassin-Templar conflict.
2. Elden Ring
We’re going to get in some trouble for including Elden Ring as a Viking game, we can feel it, but hear us out. First, the game is unquestionably partially inspired by Nordic myths and legends. Second, there’s actually a part where you can visit what amounts to Valhalla and battle what look like Viking ancestral spirits. Third, Elden Ring is great, and we want to recommend it to anybody who wants to play a massive, involving open-world RPG with great combat and a brutal difficulty curve.
If you’re a fan of ARPGs like Diablo or Torchlight, then Viking: Wolves of Midgard should definitely be one of your next ports of call. It’s a top-down isometric hack-and-slash game in which you play as a Nordic warrior battling through a world heavily inspired by classical Norse mythology. You can decide how you want to tackle the game’s combat challenges, and there are a few extra fun twists that help this one to stand out amongst a crowded field of similar games.
Let it never be said that the Vikings were just a bunch of raiders or warriors. Northgard is a real-time strategy experience in which you command a clan of Vikings attempting to take control of a newly-discovered continent. You can assign different Vikings to different tasks, explore the world around you, and try to fulfil a variety of different victory conditions, only some of which revolve around combat. There’s also a fully-fledged story mode in which you can hear the saga of Rig, the son of the Viking High King.
5. For Honor
While it didn’t take off in quite the way Ubisoft was hoping for, For Honor is still a solid multiplayer melee fighter. You take control of one of three clans, choosing between Vikings, medieval knights, and samurai, and you must battle the other factions for dominance across a variety of game modes. For Honor’s secret weapon is its crunchy, brutal melee combat; this really is a game in which you can feel every single blow that you land or every hit you take. It’s well worth a look if you like competitive multiplayer games.
6. God of War
After the events of the original God of War series, Kratos is living in Norse lands, trying to raise his son and looking to spread his wife’s ashes. He’s quickly dragged back into his old life of brutality and violence, exacerbated in no small part by figures like Baldur, who are trying to antagonise him. What follows is a compelling saga that tells Kratos’ story in a human and emotionally satisfying way, and while God of War might not boast the same kinetic combat as its forebears, it’s still a worthwhile experience, especially if you were wondering what happened to Kratos after the conclusion of God of War 3.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice prides itself on being a game that focuses heavily on mental health in a realistic way, and while the game has its fair share of fantasy elements, protagonist Senua’s struggle is certainly depicted with sympathy and understanding. She’s a Pictish warrior who must save her lover’s soul from Hela by traversing the realm of Helheim. Along the way, she struggles with visions and hallucinations due to her “curse”, which strongly resembles what we now understand to be psychosis.
Created by the developers of Spiritfarer, Jotun is a beautifully-animated top-down adventure with simplistic gameplay and a focus on combat and exploration. It’s sort of like a Norse version of Shadow of the Colossus or Titan Souls; you must explore a handful of beautifully-crafted environments in search of the next boss to take down, and once you’ve battled the five jotuns that populate the game’s realms…well, we don’t want to spoil, but suffice it to say that Jotun offers up a suitably epic conclusion.
All three Banner Saga games are well worth your time if you love brutally difficult tactics RPGs. These games play something like Fire Emblem meets XCOM, forcing you to make very difficult decisions as you journey through a harsh, unforgiving land inspired by Norse mythology. The tactical gameplay is as brilliant as it is punishing; you’ll likely take a little while to master The Banner Saga’s particular blend of strategic combat, but when you do, you’ll feel like a god as you fell your enemies. That is, until you have to make the next horrible decision in the story, of course.
Skyrim is probably one of the most famous games in the world at this point. If you haven’t played it, you definitely know someone who has, and it’s available on pretty much every platform in the world. The land of Skyrim is very clearly inspired by Viking mythology and legend; it’s all snowy peaks, horned helmets, and thick Scandinavian accents, with jarls presiding over halls of mead and draugr stalking the corridors of winding barrows. Skyrim is a little janky, but it’s a hugely compelling adventure nonetheless.
Do you yearn for the days of 16-bit action games that were as brutal as they were addictive? If you answered “yes” to that question, then Volgarr the Viking is very much the game for you. “Precision” doesn’t do it justice; if you don’t judge every single jump and swing of your sword perfectly (it feels like a missed opportunity that Volgarr doesn’t wield an axe, but there you go), then you’ll fall flat on your face. This is an insanely difficult game, but it’s still enjoyable.
12. Bad North
A Viking tower defence game? A Viking tower defence game that’s also a roguelite? A Viking tower defence game that’s also a roguelite and a real-time strategy title? Humph, say you, but humph no more, for Bad North is great. It’s a beautiful little time-killer that won’t match the biggest AAA games for sheer spectacle, but if you don’t end up addicted to this one, we’ll be very surprised indeed. The core gameplay loop is incredibly solid, making up for an overall lack of variety.
13. Ancestors Legacy
Vikings are just one of the four clans available to play as in this historical RTS. You’ll need to manage your resources and construct your base to repel invaders and keep your civilisation thriving. As you do so, you’ll battle enemies in gory, realistic-feeling combat scenarios. If you want to get stuck into the action, this probably isn’t the game for you, but if you’re looking for a more hands-off, thinking person’s experience, then Ancestors Legacy is definitely one for your list.
At its core, Tribes of Midgard is a survival game in which you must fend off the braying hordes of giants that seek to destroy your settlement in Midgard. To do so, you and a group of friends must venture forth into the wilderness around your village, gathering resources to craft weapons for yourself. The aesthetic here is bright and breezy, contrasting nicely with the usual mud and snow that Viking games like to use, and the multiplayer gameplay is fun.
Blizzard Arcade Collection contains two essential Viking gaming experiences in The Lost Vikings and The Lost Vikings 2. Both games are essentially 2D puzzle-platformers in which you must use each Viking’s strength to overcome certain challenges. You’ll need to use your brain a little more than you usually would with Viking games; there’s no pillaging to be had here. This collection also includes Blackthorne, Rock’n’Roll Racing, and RPM Racing, so it’s great value for money if you’re into your retro classics.