Norse video games or Norse mythology games are exceptionally unique. The Norse pantheon contains some of the most famous beings and gods with incredible stories and folktales.
The line between video game protagonists and gods is often blurred in such titles. They usually have epic stories praising the gods and sometimes painting them as antagonists. Any which way, these games are a treat to experience.
Offerings that feature these epic stories are some of the best today. With Norse mythology having such a plethora of characters, a lot is open to interpretation, and artists have tons of creative freedom when constructing narratives.
With strong protagonists, intriguing world-building, and godlike beings, this list looks at some of the best Norse Mythology inspired titles available to play.
Five video games based on Norse mythology
A wonderfully hand-drawn world, Jotun is a small yet incredible experience exploring one of the Norse culture's most prominent aspects. It has a tremendous amount of polish, and the art style is very distinct.
The game has a short run time, and the story is quite linear. It is divided into sub-sections with their own charm and personalities. The title has little combat, as the main focus is on puzzles and exploration.
The story follows a Viking woman, Thora, who has perished unceremoniously in battle. Since Valhalla is only open to warriors who have had a glorious death, Thora must travel through the lands, defeating Giants and fighting the All-Father at the end.
This story is well thought-out and presented simply. It does not try too hard to explain the plot, but lets players go through the experience themselves.
Jotun is a fun, uncomplicated experience that should be played by anyone who enjoys a bit of Norse flavor in their games. Users will be lost in the wonderfully crafted art style that will leave them wanting more. The video game is available to play on almost all devices.
2) The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
While not containing any of the usual gods found in Norse mythology, Skyrim is set in a fictional land with traces of Norse inspiration. Vast scenic mountains dominate the lands of Skyrim, with creatures and beasts straight from classic Norse folktale.
The video game has been defined as an open-world sandbox boasting unparalleled gamer freedom. As an RPG, it is well-crafted to experiment with different playstyles and weapons.
Skyrim's story follows the protagonist, dubbed the Dovahkiin. Players must uncover the secrets of Skyrim and save the land many people call their home. Skyrim is the first Elder Scrolls game to feature Dragons as characters and antagonists. The fights with these dragons are epic and challenge the user's skill.
Skyrim's Norse roots can be seen in the architecture of the various Holds and their people. While not being outright related, Skyrim does feel like playing an old epic.
The gameplay was highly praised for its time, and the RPG mechanics allow gamers to tell their own stories. The various quests in Skyrim enable them to explore different paths as characters are incredibly diverse and unique.
Skyrim might be old, but it remains a premier RPG experience for any fan to get into.
3) Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
Ninja Theory has been responsible for some decent video games in the past, but this one is extremely promising. Senua's Sacrifice takes the player through a grim, dark psychological experience that has them question their own sanity.
The video game has been wonderfully rendered, and the team behind it has done a great job in telling the story of Senua in a Norse world.
Gameplay for Senua features combat, puzzles, and boss battles. These are challenging and allow users to prove their mettle. Combat also features a parry mechanic, dodges, and light and heavy attacks.
Gamers must keep in mind that the protagonist is going up against monstrous foes of incredible danger at all points in the game. Senua's Sacrifice walks a thin line between immersion and breaking the fourth wall at times.
The story of Senua's Sacrifice takes a look at some of the most intriguing concepts in Norse mythology. Senua is a woman on the quest to save her dead lover's soul from the clutches of Helheim and its ruler, Hel.
The concept of death is highly prominent in the game as it states that if Senua falls too many times in battle, the game is quite literally over. It needs testing for how many deaths it takes but does not take anything away from the overall experience.
Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice is a brutal, gritty game with a fantastic story. The sequel is set to release soon, and fans cannot wait to play the next adventure in the Hellblade series.
4) Assassin's Creed Valhalla
If developers want to attract gamers to their Norse-inspired game, then putting it in the name is half the battle.
Ubisoft is a highly polarizing video game developer. It has evolved in recent years from releasing smash-hit titles to making mediocre games that release annually.
The Assasin's Creed franchise is an excellent example of this. Valhalla is not particularly bad, but it does lack a lot of depth and nuance that the older titles were known for. They have also seemingly moved away from the silent assassin trope set in fictionalized events that felt realistic to full-on fantasy.
Valhalla is an open-world action-adventure game with some RPG elements attached to it. The game's story is quite complicated and drawn-out.
It was criticized for the length and repetitive structure Ubisoft is well known for. The title does no favors to itself by adding a microtransaction feature that everyone despises. The world has been well realized and rendered but feels lacking in story and depth.
The gameplay for Valhalla follows the same formula as the modern-day Assasin's Creed video games. Combat feels underwhelming at times and relatively trivial. The stealth option is present, and players can dispatch foes by sneaking around.
There are tons of quests to complete, ranging from fetch-quests to trailing missions. The RPG elements come through in the form of a skill tree that users have to level up as per how they want to play. The game can be challenging at times, but it can be overcome with enough patience.
Assassin's Creed Valhalla is a good video game when gamers don't look at the things that bog it down. Microtransactions, length, lack of replayability, and copy-paste content are all some of the things fans wish that the franchise would drop.
The game series seems to be headed in this direction, and Ubisoft has little to no interest in innovating or changing the formula. Hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
5) God of War (2018)
One of the best games of the last decade and one of the best overall experiences in gaming, God of War (2018), is a reboot no one expected. With the video game franchise being a titan in its own right, it was due for a modern-day retelling.
The game's 2018 release sent shockwaves throughout, blending in the familiarity of the old titles with a heartfelt narrative that has been well constructed.
God of War (2018) is much a father-son story and the continuation of Kratos' epic life. He had killed his way through the Greek pantheon, and with the consequences of his deeds weighing heavy on him, he must find the strength to undertake his biggest challenge yet, raise a son who is a better god than he.
The story keeps players engaged from start to finish. There is not one lull part in the narrative as they see through Kratos and Atreus' perspectives.
The gameplay is unique to the God of War franchise. Moving away from being just a hack-and-slash, the game has more combat depth and feels challenging.
It has RPG elements, but these take a back seat to the rest of the title. Enemy archetypes aren't aplenty, but there is enough to explore and finish for the completionists.
The title takes a serious look into Kratos' life before and after coming to the Norse lands. God of War (2018) is heavily tied to Norse mythology as the gods are not to be trifled with.
The video game has been exceptionally made, and Cory Balrog and his team have done an excellent job bringing it to next-gen consoles. The video game sequel is set to release soon, and fans are excited to see the next chapter of Atreus and Kratos' story.
Note: This article is subjective and reflects the author's views.