There’s nothing like the feeling of wielding your blade against an epic enemy in gaming. Using your sword in battle is perhaps one of the most iconic methods of combat in gameplay, but which games do it the best? We’re counting down the top 13 Xbox Series X|S sword fighting games sure to give you a real slice of satisfaction.
Release Date: 2001-2019
A series that’s all about retelling the stories of pivotal figures from Japanese history, the Onimusha titles are sword fighting games that always feature high-quality swordsmanship as a focal point of the main character’s skillset. Originally developed for PlayStation, the latest installment in the franchise was a 2019 HD remaster of the original Onimusha: Warlords featuring high-resolution graphics, full 16:9 support, and modernized controller options on the Xbox One and Series X|S via backwards compatibility.
#12 Chivalry 2
Publisher: Tripwire Interactive
Developer: Torn Banner Studios
Release Date: June 2021
Inspired by iconic medieval movie battles, Chivalry 2 is a multiplayer slasher game that players can enjoy either in first-person or third-person modes. Fans of medieval-style combat will certainly enjoy the game’s variety of melee weapons. However, it’s the game’s use of long swords (and shields) that really gives players that knights and templars vibe. Swords will clash while using the slash, stab, and overhead mechanics of combat, which has a distinctly cinematic feel to it as players are thrown into a number of trials, tournaments, and medieval battlefields. Players will need to master their sword fighting skills in order to stay alive in this brutal but exciting title.
#11 Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Developer: Ubisoft Quebec
Release Date: October 2018
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is another game that gives players a choice between stealth and chaos, as players can choose assassination tactics over outright sword-based combat if they so wish. Set in ancient Greece, sword fighting is a key component of the game’s commitment to historical accuracy. This is evident in the types of blades players can use to help achieve their objectives and keep them alive during combat. Choose from daggers, light blades, and heavy blades when perfecting a sword-based strategy, as well as various other melee weapons. Lighter swords are easier to wield but require more frequent, sustained attacks, whereas heavier swords do more damage but can sap the stamina meter pretty hard.
If players choose to develop a warrior-style build, sword fighting will be a key component of their gameplay. Graphically, this game looks gorgeous on the Xbox Series X|S after receiving some enhancements both to frame rate and resolution, as it was originally released for Xbox One. Played on the Series X|S consoles now, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey runs at 60fps with full HDR support and dynamic 4K resolution.
Publisher: All In! Games, 505 Games
Developer: Studio Slipgate Ironworks, One More Level
Release Date: October 2020
One of the most futuristic sword fighting games on this list is Ghostrunner. The Xbox Series X|S version of the game was released in September 2021 and sees players taking on the role of Jack, the most advanced sword-wielding fighter ever created, as he embarks on a cyberpunk-style adventure. Players will make use of a specialized katana as their main bladed weapon and should have great fun slicing up enemies and exploring the neon-bathed game world at high speeds thanks to the parkour-style methods of traversal Jack uses. Combat is challenging in Ghostrunner, so players will really have to work on their swordsmanship and be confident with jumping into some pretty fast-paced action. There are a number of different collectible swords to discover, though your original will basically cleave your enemies in half with one stroke. If you don’t manage to find the other, you’ll still be able to handle yourself with your starter weapon.
#9 The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Publisher: CD Projekt RED
Developer: CD Projekt RED
Release Date: May 2015
One of Geralt’s key combat strategies is fighting with his swords–swords plural, as he wields two: a steel sword for dealing with beasts and humans, and a silver sword that’s best suited to killing monsters and all things supernatural. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was released for Xbox One in 2015 and still looks absolutely beautiful on the Series X|S. That said, the game is getting a next-gen upgrade at some point in the future. There’s a lot you can do in terms of customizing Geralt’s sword handling skills in The Witcher 3, such as fine-tuning the skills and strengths of fast attacks, strong attacks, and deflection skills. Sword fighting is intensely satisfying in this game, and with a range of enemy-specific oils, runestones, and enhancements that can be added to your blades, your swordfights never become repetitive.
#8 For Honor
Release Date: February 2017
Sword fighting is a key element of this game, which allows players to take on the roles of different historical warriors and soldiers. For Honor takes place in a medieval fantasy world and gives players control of Vikings, samurai, knights, or the ancient Chinese Wu Lin in order to do battle across the game’s single-player campaign or multiplayer modes. Sword fighting is just one of the different melee strategies players can implement in For Honor but if wielding a blade is your thing, you’ve got plenty of options in this game. Each character class has a sword-wielding option or two, so players can test out the combat prowess of a Samurai Kensei or a Viking Warlord to get a feel for which swordplay style works best for them. As an Xbox One title, For Honor has also received optimizations for Xbox Series X|S and will run at 60fps on both consoles, with 4K resolution support on Series X and 1080p on Series S.
#7 Kingdom Come: Deliverance
Publisher: Warhorse Studios
Developer: Warhorse Studios
Release Date: February 2018
This expansive open-world RPG set in medieval Bohemia is a great story-driven adventure for those who love their sword fighting to be steeped in historical narrative. Sword fighting is taken pretty seriously in this game, as the developers dived deeply into the lost martial art of European medieval fencing to give the game’s combat a real sense of authenticity. There’s a really interesting video you can check out on the real sword fighting techniques that Warhorse Studios used to inform the combat elements in Kingdom Come: Deliverance.
As you’d expect with such a breadth of research, the sword fighting in-game feels incredibly realistic and satisfying as a result. Kingdom Come: Deliverance was developed for Xbox One and while it runs well on Series X|S consoles, it has not benefitted from optimizations and enhancements in the same way as other games. Although there’s no HDR support and the game runs at 1440p/30fps, it still runs well and looks graphically impressive.
#6 Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Release Date: March 2019
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is one of the best sword fighting games on the market, period. It’s all about perfecting the art of swordplay as players take on the role of Japanese shinobi Wolf on his revenge quest against a clan of Samurai. Players will need to master the art of the katana in this game, as combat is less about hacking and slashing and more to do with executing precise strikes, parrying blows, and knocking your enemies off-balance in order to finish them off with a perfectly-timed critical hit. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is a game famed for its level of difficulty and will definitely put players’ sword fighting skills to the test as they navigate the fictionalized Japanese world of Ashina. The game has been enhanced for Series X|S and will run at 60fps organically.
#5 Elden Ring
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Release Date: February 2022
Elden Ring has taken the world by storm since its launch earlier this year, largely due to the game’s challenging but thought-provoking combat system. Sword fighting skills are a crucial part of Elden Ring and are a solid starting build for newcomers to the title’s brutal style of gameplay. Melee combat involving swords in Elden Ring relies on a solid understanding of when to block, when to parry, and when to dodge; slashing away and hoping for the best simply won’t cut it in this game. That said, once players master the basics of sword fighting in Elden Ring, it becomes a highly satisfying experience, and the different varieties of swords players can unlock and equip are incredible. You can even find a sword made from other swords (inspired by Game Of Thrones) for maximum bladed visuals.
#4 Dark Souls Trilogy
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Release Date: March 2019
The Dark Souls Trilogy includes Dark Souls Remastered, Dark Souls II: Scholar of The First Sin, and Dark Souls III: The Fire Fades, as well as all of the DLC content for each title. Each game works well via Xbox’s backward compatibility as they were originally designed to work on last-gen consoles. If sword-based combat with a realistic and brutal edge is your thing then the Dark Souls Trilogy will be right up your alley. Combat in most instances in these games relies on successful parrying with your sword, dodging, and deciding on the best strategy for dealing damage to foes. Sword and shield-based combat is a solid choice for newcomers to Souls games, who will get a thrill out of fast, short attacks as well as charging up a sword for a stronger, more sustained attack on their enemies.
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: Arkane Studios
Release Date: October 2012
Arkane’s first entry into the stealth action-adventure Dishonored series was originally released on the Xbox 360 and later had a 2015 release for Xbox One. As with many of the other sword fighting games on this list, Dishonored runs well at 60fps on the Series X|S thanks to Xbox’s backward compatibility and next-gen enhancement. Dishonored’s swordplay is really satisfying if players choose to use it during their antics as Corvo Attano. Whilst gameplay is designed to be stealth-based, players can choose to go on a high-chaos run and use their sword for some lethal combat. It’s satisfyingly bloodthirsty and fits right into the fictional, plague-addled industrialized city of Dunwall. It’s a great game for fans of assassination-based adventures.
#2 Samurai Shodown
Release Date: March 2021
Optimized for Xbox Series X|S in March of last year, Samurai Shodown is a more classic 2D sword fighting game. It makes use of 3D graphics to create memorable high-octane battles between characters. The game requires players to learn different skills and combo moves specific to each character in order to win fights, and of course, many of these characters make use of swords in their arsenal. Fighting mechanics are impressive in Samurai Shodown, and fans of fighting games and the Samurai genre will enjoy how the game runs at 120fps on Xbox Series X|S. Those who owned the Xbox One version of the game can also upgrade to the Xbox Series X|S version for free thanks to the game’s support of Smart Delivery.
#1 Middle-earth: Shadow of War
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Monolith Productions
Release Date: October 2017
An open-world action roleplaying game set in Tolkien’s world of Middle Earth, this game is the sequel to Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. It continues in the previous game’s high-fantasy setting and as you’d expect, makes use of sword-based combat as a part of its core gameplay. Middle-earth: Shadow of War introduces larger-scale battles into the game as well as maintaining a sense of close combat throughout. This gives the player a fuller sense of the main adventure’s scale; fighting off the armies of Sauron individually and with the followers that players will recruit during the course of their adventure. The game is available for Xbox Series X|S after originally being developed for Xbox One but hasn’t had an fps boost or graphical updates quite yet. That said, it’s still one of the most gorgeous looking sword fighting games with satisfying and engaging combat, and well worth checking out regardless.