Best medieval games on PC 2023


Medieval games are less common than you might think. Rare is the videogame that doesn’t feature at least one sword, suit of armour, or roast chicken, but they’re usually mixed in with bearded hermits slinging magic fireballs, which we’re reliably informed your average medieval peasant had very little knowledge of.

To that end, we’ve assembled a list of the best PC games that eschew all the prophecy and pyrotechnics for good old-fashioned steel-on-steel action. Medieval games come in all different shapes and sizes, with some opting for a more fantasy game style. Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is, after all, no basis for a system of government. Similarly, a level ten Necromancer against a blacksmith wearing a potato sack is no basis for a fair fight.

Here are the best medieval games on PC:

Game of Thrones: Winter is Coming

Okay, so, don’t get mad, but technically, this isn’t a medieval game. However, when creating the world of Westeros, it’s clear that George R. R. Martin was heavily influenced by medieval history and, sure enough, this game manages to capture that medieval feeling in the same way that the books and the TV series did before it.

In Game of Thrones: Winter is Coming, you play as a lord or lady trying to build up their powerbase after the death of Eddard Stark. It uses MMORTS gameplay that sees you both developing your own city, as well as building an army. It’s a great way to translate the complex political nuances of this fantasy world into the video game medium.

Play Game of Thrones: Winter is Coming for free.

Conqueror’s Blade

Conqueror’s Blade is a free-to-play MMO set in the gory Middle Ages, where you play as a warlord in command of an army, leading your chosen units into epic 15v15 PvP battles. You can survey the battlefield from both third-person and top-down perspectives to ensure you’re squeezing every advantage from your positioning. You take part in Field Battles and Siege Battles and can wield a huge amount of control over your combat style thanks to the sheer number of weapons and units you can customise. Sure, you can head into battle with a sword and shield – or your warlord can wield glaives, mauls, or even a huge Japanese no-dachi.

To raise the stakes, you can join a House and become part of a larger combined force. Houses engage in larger-scale battles such as Territory Wars, and if you’re lucky, your bannermates will share rewards and resources to help you grow your army’s strength.

Play Conqueror’s Blade for free.

Best Medieval games - An army in red is laying siege to a village in Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord.

Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord

Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord understands what combat in medieval games is all about, and that is the feeling of being part of an extremely dangerous moshpit, jostling for a few inches of space to swing your mace into someone’s forehead, who then dies instantly because that’s how maces and foreheads work. You’re never further away than an arrow in the eye from death, which means that Bannerlord’s huge battles absolutely thrum with vitality, tension, and danger.

If this medieval game were just about creating openings and trading blows, it would still be a damn good time, but Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord’s squelchy skirmishes take place in a huge medieval sandbox. Warring factions and empires, trading, romance, bandit raids, sidequests, arena duels, and town management all exist side-by-side. On top of this, the battles themselves feature an entire RTS layer, allowing you to order your troops into formations and give orders. It becomes a hybrid between your favourite open-world games, simulation games, and RPG games, resulting in something totally and uniquely Bannerlord.

At the time of writing, Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord is still in early access, so there are a few rough spots to iron, cracks to smooth out, and breastplate stretchers to fetch. But, even at this stage, it’s still one of the finest medieval games. For fans of huge, exciting battles, or just moving from one city to the next to sell large quantities of cheese.

Best Medieval games - a King stands in his throne room flanked by his two obviously in-bred children in Crusader Kings 3.

Crusader Kings 3

Paradox Interactive’s grand strategy games have a reputation for impenetrability, but we’d bet our favourite heirs that that’s set to change now Crusader Kings 3 is out. It’s not only the most instantly accessible of Paradox’s oeuvre; it achieves this without sacrificing an inch of depth, making it one of the best medieval games out there.

Crusader Kings 3 stands out from the medieval games crowd for one important reason: it’s about people, not empires. As much an RPG as it is a statistic-laden map painter (perhaps moreso), an average session of Crusader Kings 3 focuses on the triumphs, failings, victories, and heartbreaks of an individual ruler and the people close to them. It’s basically a magic box you click on to make cool stories come out of.

On a given day, you might task your spymaster to fabricate evidence your second cousin has been practising witchcraft, just to give you an excuse to imprison them and strip them of land and titles. Or, you might spend a lifetime devoted to your faith only to create your own nature-worshipping splinter branch and spend your twilight years ruling stark-naked but for a glorious imperial crown. It’s got something for everyone, or at least everyone who enjoys a healthy bit of conniving, backstabbing, and betrayal.

Should you decide to take to the throne, we have a Crusader Kings beginners guide, as well as a Crusader Kings faith guide for forming your own religions, and the best Crusader King 3 mods for those wishing to tweak the game to their heart’s content.

Best Medieval games - a band of knights standing on a hill with their weapons raised in Chivalry 2.

Chivalry 2

While there are a few pretenders to the throne, nothing is quite like the first-person knight combat game that started it all, except for its sequel Chivalry 2. Clash blades with foes on huge battlefields, fire arrows from the relative safety of the castle walls, or knock down enemy fortifications with catapults and other siege technology. There is a wide range of customisable options for your knight, as well as over ten subclasses and 30 unique weapons.

Fancy charging towards a peasant village with nothing more than a lance and a shield, but on horseback? You can do just that. The most recent Winter War update adds a new map, the quarter-staff, and even the opportunity to become a warrior king. So saddle up and make your mark on history, but don’t forget to read our guide to the best Chivalry 2 classes first.

Best Medieval games - several knights are fighting on a hilltop in Kingdom Come: Deliverance.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance

We take it for granted today, as the ancient saying goes, but a single Dorito has more extreme nacho flavour than a peasant in the 1400s would get in his lifetime. Life sure was tough then, and it makes you wonder why more medieval games haven’t taken advantage of the setting. Enter Kingdom Come: Deliverance, a game that knows that you need an escape from reality and so allows you to become a precariously employed twenty-something in a world filled with uncertainty, inequality, and rampant disease. If only, eh?

Kingdom Come: Deliverance sets itself apart from other medieval games by playing into disempowerment as a central mechanic while still offering the sort of directed, character-and-quest-filled world that many dedicated survival games lack. Set in medieval Bohemia, you slip into the sodden boots of Henry of Skalitz, the son of a blacksmith, and immediately throw yourself into such epic quests as “throw poo at man’s house” and “buy some charcoal.” Things soon liven up, though, as Henry’s life is soon flipped turned upside down by the civil war sweeping the country.

Medieval Bohemia is both realistically muddy and a real beauty to explore, either on foot or horseback. As far as medieval games that let you live out the story of a decidedly non-heroic individual, there’s little else like it.

Best Medieval games - Hugo is sat on top of Amicia's shoulders in a bustling town in A Plague Tale: Requiem.

A Plague Tale: Requiem

As the sequel to the captivating A Plague Tale: Innocence, Requiem continues from where the first game left off. It largely looks and plays the same as this bleak mud-packed medieval game packed with darker moments of tension and despair. You’re still weaving in-between waves of killer rats while taking cues from both stealth games and action-adventure games to get around guards.

However, the changes in Amicia and Hugo truly feel like their past has moulded them. Amicia is psychologically traumatised to the point where her hatred and rage build her into a sadistic loathing of soldiers. It’s also one of the best story games, so well worth your time.

Best Medieval games - soldiers marching through a snow-covered town in Total War: Medieval 2.

Total War: Medieval 2

Before there were the zombie pirates and nuke-dropping rat men of Total War: Warhammer 2, there were a bunch of dudes in armour with pointy sticks ready to fight and die for their liege’s right to eat peacock seven times a week instead of only six. Total War: Medieval 2 is not only a classic of the Total War series but one of the finest marriages of medieval games and grand strategy out there.

Though perhaps offering a unit roster less diverse than the games that follow it, the instantly recognisable strategic application of Medieval 2’s infantry, cavalry, and missile units makes it a great entry point into the series for new players. It’s also full of neat features that haven’t made it into the more recent Total War games, like the rousing (often Python-esque) speeches that your generals rattle out before a battle.

Best Medieval games - a barbarian in For Honor with a horned helmet with a skull face.

For Honor

A lot of the medieval games we’ve covered so far have been focused on strategy or simulation aspects. For Honor, however, is all about the immediate clash of steel-on-steel. Although it does feature a story campaign, For Honor is primarily a dedicated PvP experience. Players choose one of several factions including Vikings, knights, or Samurai – and take part in intense competitive team battles lent cinematic flair by NPC combatants on all sides.

For Honor has been out long enough to find an established competitive community, so new players to the experience may be in for a steep learning curve. Persevere, however, and you’ll be rewarded with graphically impressive, meaty duels, plus an answer to the age-old question, “could my Samurai dad beat up your Viking dad?”

Best Medieval games - some bald men with swords in black robes are ransacking a village on a tiny island in Bad North.

Bad North

Strategy titles can bring to mind complex interfaces, endless statistics, and Matryoshka doll-like menus within menus. Bad North is the opposite and makes its case to strategy-inclined fans of medieval games with its minimal, sleek interface.

Constructed atop the stalwart genre pillars of rock-paper-scissors matchups and unit positioning, Bad North sees you defend a series of procedurally generated islands from Viking invaders. Upgrades between missions and steadily increasing challenge and complexity keeps things interesting. Plus, it’s just lovely to look at, at least until your tiny adorable soldiers get axed in the face and the crisp, inviting snow gets stained red with their entrails. As I say, adorable stuff.

Best Medieval games - a village on fire and under siege in Northgard: Clan of the Lynx.

Northgard

Eagle-eyed enjoyers of Viking games may notice that this sounds quite similar to the last game we listed. Yes, they both contain the word ‘north’. And yes, they both feature Vikings in some capacity. But while Bad North is a minimalist roguelite game, Northgard is a fully-hatched RTS seagull swooping down to steal your time, and possibly your chips.

This isn’t just one of those RTS games of the buildy-clicky-attacky variety, either. It’s got that, sure, but also a fleshed-out town management system. You can assign recruits to various roles in your settlements, and various different victory conditions allow for different styles of play. Also, if you get the DLC, it has battle cats. Perfect.

Best Medieval games - a Persian city in Age of Empires 2. Some yellow-bannered units stand near the palace.

Age of Empires 2

Age of Empires 4 may be the newer game, but for medieval combat, we still love the spruced-up definitive edition of Age of Empires 2. It’s not strictly just a series of medieval games, sure, but it handles each time period it tackles so well that we’re saying it absolutely counts.

It’s a testament to how well-made those classic titles were that we still talk about the second game with such high praise. It features classic RTS combat with a massive unit variety, trade, and expansive technology trees. It’s still got a pretty healthy competitive scene, too.

So, there are the best medieval games on PC for all your head-chopping, plate mail-wearing, and mead-chugging needs. If you’re looking for games not necessarily medieval era, look to the best strategy games list to find an alternative worth investing your time in.

Additional entries by Nic Reuben and Joe Robinson.



Source link