Find your sharpest sword and sturdiest shield, for what lies ahead will force you to use both. The medieval period has been highly romanticized in our times, but as far as the historical accuracy goes, both the Dark Ages and the Middle Ages were some of the most brutal of times Earth ever experienced. Sure, kings, knights, chivalry, and fighting for your ideas may sound amazing, but there’s also an entirely different side to it. So, if you want to better understand the complete picture, you’ve found yourself in the right corner of the web.

Luckily, nowadays technologies are so advanced that, not only can we read and see the past events, but we can also participate in them ourselves! How? The best medieval games can offer you a level of immersion of which, just thirty years ago, people couldn’t have even dreamt about. And here we are today, with these awesome digital machines in our possession. These can transport us there and then in just a glimpse of a moment. The question may then arise – how to use such portals in the most proficient and entertaining of ways?

With tons of awesome experiences on the market, it’s hard to pick the one that would really benefit you, and here we can joyously come to your assistance. Honestly, there’s a hefty ton of solid medieval games out there, but the best medieval games: those that represent the era’s intricacies to a level of near perfection, well… We’ve collected them and laid them out for you in a neat 1 to 5 fashion. And while this doesn’t necessarily mean that these five will cover you for a lifetime, we have written this article with an implication in mind – these five are essential.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance

Developed by: Warhorse Studios

Published by: Warhorse Studios, Deep Silver

Released on: PC, PS4, Xbox One

Kingdom Come: Deliverance is by far one of the best medieval games out there, and with no doubt in mind we would recommend it for a thousand times, over and over and over again – yes, this open-world action-RPG is simply captivating and you’re bound to experience it if you’re into the whole Medieval thing. And If it’s your destiny to embark on this experience eventually, it’s better to do it sooner than later. Why? Because Kingdom Come: Deliverance, before any other game, will put a thick layer of muscle onto your fragile shoulders.

Assume the role of Henry, a regular peasant guy, a blacksmith’s son, literally a nobody in this fierce and unforgiving world, however, even Henry can become a man of great impact, with guided actions and logical choices that is. Even amongst the best medieval games, Kingdom Come: Deliverance excels with an unprecedented focus on realism. The experience you’ll find here is pure medieval – no magic, no dragons, no fantasy. The game will drop you into its world and disregard you entirely. Blood, sweat, dirt, and tears are the forces pushing you forward, never forget that because YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN HERE!

Pro tip: wash from time to time, avoid early quarrels, and maybe find a scribe to teach you how that reading thing is done.  

Mount & Blade: Warband

Developed by: TaleWorlds Entertainment

Published by: TaleWorlds Entertainment

Released on: PC, PS4, Xbox One

Even though Mount & Blade: Warband is not of the newest games around, it’s without a doubt amongst the best medieval games out there. The in-game world with which you are presented is entirely fictional, however, the factions and cultures portrayed in it are based on reality. You play as the nameless hero (insert name yourself) and you enter this world with a single goal in mind – gather a warband and conquer the world. Broad yet delicate aspiration, wouldn’t you agree?

While the subpar graphics of the game cannot compete with the visually stunning megalodons that today’s technologies allow to produce, the third-person driven battles with an extreme focus on horse-mounted combat are certain to leave any player gasping for breath. The best medieval games have this feeling to them, the feeling of the calm before the storm, and that’s exactly on what Mount & Blade: Warband capitalizes. Also, the 200-player multiplayer mode brings the brutality levels off the charts.

Pro tip: even though you start as a man with no lands, titles, or armies – believe in your success and you may end up owning all three.

Total War: Three Kingdoms

Developed by: Creative Assembly

Published by: SEGA

Released on: PC

Let’s put our sights a bit further into the past, and check what the newest Total War: Three Kingdoms has to offer. The game capitalizes on the legendary conflict between three warring states set across China, 190 AD. Honestly, the game is simply captivating, and we just had to mention it in the best medieval games’ category as well. Where there are swords and shields clashing – diplomacy is the one to win it all, and nothing can prove it better than this thrilling strategy title.

The game, much like its predecessors in the Total War series, capitalizes on turn-based empire building, and real-time battles scheme. The game encourages you to focus on the three most crucial factors when it comes to war; tactics, strategy, and diplomacy – succeed in two by neglecting one, and you’ll fall miserably. Your goal here is quite broad, become the greatest ruler across China, unify the lands once and for all, and end the cycle of suffering and cruelty. It’s amongst the best medieval games for a reason.

Pro tip: the game offers two distinct modes, Romance & Records. Choose Romance for novel-resembling gameplay, choose Records for historical authenticity.  

Crusader Kings II

Developed by: Paradox Development Studio

Published by: Paradox Interactive

Released on: PC

Crusader Kings II simply couldn’t be left out when the topic is Medieval. As far as the best medieval games go, this title right here is in-expendable. Why Crusader Kings II? A single playthrough can last for hundreds of hours and centuries in-game, that is if you’re competent. The inevitable fall of your dynasty is definitely possible though – die before raising an heir or get stripped from all your titles by some lousy mistake and that’s it! The game time period spans from 1066 to 1453, however, if you decide to acquire some DLCs it can go to much earlier periods.

So, what’s Crusader Kings II about? Much like Total War: Three Kingdoms, you can leave your swords and shields in the basement and instead find a cage and fill it with pigeons. We’re not saying that you won’t need to fight here – there’s plenty of that in all the best medieval games, however, the diplomacy plays an even bigger part all throughout this experience – that’s why it’s in the top. Assume the role of one out of a whole bunch of historical figures, control such legends as William the Conqueror, Charlemagne, Saladin, and… conquer everything in your path!

Pro tip: don’t even expect that the old age will get you. Someone is already plotting to poison you, stab you in the back, or burn you in your sleep, it’s just how things work here.

Chivalry: Medieval Warfare

Developed by: Tom Banner Studios

Published by: Tom Banner Studios, Activision

Released on: PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360

Last and probably the most brutal, close, and personal of the bunch is Chivalry: Medieval Warfare. When it comes to the best medieval games; tactics, strategy, and diplomacy are essential, however, this title manages to somewhat neglect the importance of the aforementioned three and present a well-put combination between thoughtful combat and mindless limb-hacking as its core. Whatever bodily part appears to be on your swords path, tends to drop off. It’s brutal, gory, and perfect for playing with friends!

To make the spectacle of death even more delightful, the game presents an arsenal of weapons for bulging, smashing, cutting, chopping, stabbing, piercing etc… one of the best medieval games for sure, only a rare game manage to represent every hit with such precision and real-feel to it, as simple as that. First-person, hands-on, melee combat simulator is just the right medieval game to wrap this up. After the whole diplomacy ordeal, tactical meetings, and on-field strategies – sometimes all you need is to take your two-handed sword and cut two heads with a single unholy swing.

Pro tip: the heavier is the weapon – that harder it is for the opponent to block the incoming doom.