The Middle Ages are one of the most popular settings for gamers, thanks to its near-mythical status as an exciting time to live. There are hundreds of medieval games littered with fantasy elements like dragons, orcs, and wizards. But not all medieval games are in the fantasy genre.

Life is Feudal MMO

Platform: PC
This free-to-play MMO is available on PC only and aims to offer a highly realistic look at medieval life. Your character will specialize in becoming a blacksmith, fletcher, builder, or a knight for hire. To truly be successful, you’ll need to join a town or a group to make your way in the world. The game is a harsh and realistic portrayal of medieval life.

War of the Roses

Platform: PC
War of the Roses was an action hack n’ slash game set during the Hundred Years war in England. The game was a predecessor to modern online medieval games like Mordhau and Chivalry. Unfortunately, Paradox Interactive stopped hosting the servers in 2017. Currently, the community is working on reverse engineering a server host to bring the game back to life.

Besiege

Platform: PC
At its core, Besiege is a physics-based game about building medieval siege engines. You can wipe out hundreds of soldiers with your creations, and the only limit is your imagination. The game is still in Early Access, but the developer recently added multiplayer and a level editor.

King Arthur’s Gold

Platform: PC
King Arthur is a free-to-play online competitive game about blasting your way into your opponent’s castle. You can choose to be a warrior or a builder, tunneling your way to the enemies base or creating devious traps to ward off enemy warriors. The game is entirely free to play, so give it a try if you like competitive online fun.

Northgard

Platform: PC (coming to Switch/PS4 soon)
Northgard is a new strategy game that melds elements of the 4x genre with real-time gameplay. Players choose one of many Viking clans with their playstyles to lead to victory in the campaign or scenario skirmish mode. You can achieve victory through conquest, fame, lore, or trading. There are nine clans to choose from, though three of those are DLC on PC.

Banished

Platform: PC
Banished is a city-building strategy game where your population is your greatest resource. You control a group of travelers setting up shop in a new land. Your townspeople grow old, work, have children of their own, and eventually die. Dealing with the population cycle is just one element of managing your medieval village. Banished also features no combat to speak of, which is great if you prefer to focus on building.

For Honor

Platform: PC/PS4/XB1
For Honor is an online fighting game that pits factions of history against one another. Play through the game’s story mode to familiarize yourself with it, then go online to fight it out in seven different multiplayer modes. Fight as a Knight, Viking, Samurai, or Wu Lin Warrior with sixteen different customizable heroes.

Stronghold Crusader HD

Platform: PC
Stronghold Crusader HD is a total remake of the original Stronghold Crusader. At its core, the Stronghold series is about managing a medieval society while defending your castle. Crusader features historical figures like Richard the Lionheart and Saladin. Multiple skirmishes and campaigns from the First, Second, and Third Crusades are included.

Medieval II: Total War

Platform: PC
Total War: Medieval II is the best way to re-live massive battle campaigns from the Middle Ages. Maps available include the British Isles, Teutonic Northern Europe, the Middle East, and even the Americas. With the Kingdom’s expansion, you can play as the Aztecs, Apaches, or Mayans.

Crusader Kings II

Platform: PC
Ever wanted to control your medieval dynasty through the ages? Crusader Kings II allows you to make all kinds of medieval decisions, like choosing to kill your over-ambitious heir. Maybe your uncle has been pressing his claim to the throne a little too much? Take him out and secure his lands for your sons instead.

Mount & Blade: Warband

Platform: PC/PS4/XB1
Start from nothing and gather a Warband of fighters to take over the world of Calradia. The factions and world are a fantasy creation, but many of them are based on real-world medieval counterparts. The physics-based gameplay is second to none and allows you to re-create the feeling of Genghis Khan’s horde.

Age of Empires II

Platform: PC/XB1
Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition gives this classic real-time strategy game a fresh coat of paint for modern systems. Relieve the campaigns of several historical figures, including William Wallace, Joan of Arc, Saladin, Genghis Khan, and Frederick Barbarossa. This release also includes The Conquerors campaign.

Chivalry: Medieval Warfare

Platform: PC/PS4/XB1
Raid castles and villages in this competitive first-person online game. The developers describe the game as inspired by battle scenes from 300, Gladiator, and Braveheart. Wield swords, maces, battleaxes, and longbows in your fight for victory. Master over 60 different handheld weapons before moving on to siege weapons like catapults, boiling oil, ballista, and trebuchets.

Mordhau

Platform: PC
Mordhau is the new hotness when it comes to first-person online medieval games. Most of Chivalry’s population has moved over to Mordhau for a variety of reasons. The game features co-op play with friends as well as several competitive modes. The combat feels satisfying and visceral, making it a joy to play. The game is finished and not early access, so it has enjoyed massive community success.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance

Platform: PC/PS4/XB1
Ever wanted to re-live the day in the life of a medieval peasant? Kingdom Come Deliverance is that experience. After an unknown force raids his village, illiterate Henry must set forth in a world that wants him dead. The game is challenging because your skill in anything is dependent on practice. There are also no fantasy elements here; it is strictly a medieval simulator.

Conclusion

We tried to include the best medieval games that incorporate real history over fantasy elements. While some games on the list take liberties with the setting, they all focus on visceral sword-based combat and conquering the world. Most of these games are on PC since they’re strategy-oriented, though a handful are available to console players.

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