The Vikings have long raided popular culture. These intrepid and brazen Scandinavian warriors have invaded our screens with TV shows like Vikings and movies like The Northman. Meanwhile, mighty deities from Asgard are still at the forefront of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And the gaming industry has also jumped on the Viking bandwagon with as many triple-A blockbusters as indie gems. So, care for a rousing adventure to the gates of Valhalla or an all-out battle against the monsters of Helheim? Ready your axe and jump on a longship alongside brash Norse raiders with these top role-playing games with a Viking flair.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
In Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, players assume the role of a Viking raider caught up in the ongoing feud between the Brotherhood and the Templar Order. Continuing the storyline introduced in previous entries, the latest title in the franchise offers a fictionalized account of the Norsemen’s migration to the British Isles during the 9th century. However, this overarching narrative arguably takes a backseat to the depiction of Norse lore.
Much like its Egyptian and Greek forerunners, the twelfth canon installment in the series leaves players free to visit countless historical landmarks in a breathtakingly gorgeous open-world setting. Several expansions added many more stories to explore, building around real-life events like the Siege of Paris. So, travel from the dreamscapes of Jotunheim to the shores of Norway with AC Valhalla.
God of War: Ragnarök
God of War: Ragnarök was among the most hotly anticipated games of 2022. And the ninth iteration in the franchise exceeded all expectations, selling an astonishing 5 million units in its first week alone. This mythological epic received universal praise for its incredibly immersive graphics and imaginative storytelling, elevated by the moving relationship between Spartan god-killer Kratos and his wayward son Atreus.
The game even garnered a whopping 94% approval rating on Metacritic, besides bagging a plethora of awards. Set against the backdrop of the apocalyptic Ragnarök, the final battle of the gods, this blockbuster action-adventure brings a thrilling conclusion to the franchise’s Norse narrative arc. Brace yourself to wield your axe, thus, and take on a host of monsters as you journey across the nine realms.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice presents a unique perspective on Viking mythology. While Norse gods and soldiers are often the valiant protagonists of epic gaming escapades, both can be equally fearsome adversaries. This indie title by Ninja Theory tells the poignant tale of a Celtic woman warrior embarking on a quest to rescue her departed lover’s soul in the Viking underworld. Combat and exploration are integral components of this dark and gritty journey full of fire giants and malformed Northmen exaggerated by Senua’s past trauma.
Indeed, this one-of-a-kind action adventure also leans toward psychological horror, portraying its character’s brutal descent into insanity as she grapples with psychosis. Akin to a tense and gut-wrenching visual novel at times, Hellblade is a hauntingly captivating experience. What’s more, the game’s meticulous attention to detail regarding its Norse setting is a wet dream for history buffs.
Published by Square Enix, Valkyrie Elysium is the latest addition to the Valkyrie Profiles series. Expanding upon the formula set by its predecessors, this action RPG puts players in the shoes of a Valkyrie tasked with purifying lost souls on behalf of the All-Father Odin. Using resurrected warriors to aid her in battle, this emissary of redemption is the one hope left in the doomed world of Midgard. While Valkyrie Elysium received somewhat lukewarm reviews, the title remains worth exploring for fans of J-RPGs with a knack for Norse mythology.
The legendary Valkyries also play center stage in other action-packed franchises like God of War, Gauntlet, and Apex Legends. Gamblers may even make bank out of Valkyrie-themed slots on platforms like VegasSlotsOnline. From Rise of the Valkyrie to Valkyrie Queen, dozens of pokies are available for free online. The most extensive casinos offer thousands more fun machine slots to play on desktop or mobile. And for players feeling like putting some skin in the game, real money slots and tabletop options also await to win big.
Norse lore and mythology are all over pop culture these days. The Viking frenzy is still going strong in the gaming medium. And the good news is, from city builders like Frozenheim to real-time tactics roguelikes like Bad North, there is more to Norsemen in video games than mere RPGs.