Drawing inspiration from the likes of Chivalry, Mount and Blade, For Honor, and Mordhau, Half Sword is a ridiculous medieval combat sim filled with historically accurate weapons and armor. It’s gleefully silly, strikingly gory, and immediately, unquestionably a lot of fun. After blowing up online on social media platforms including TikTok, you can now play Half Sword yourself for free thanks to a new Steam demo.
Half Sword is, in the words of indie developer Half Sword Games, “an immersive, physically simulated medieval combat game that offers players a unique experience of becoming a commoner turned knight, fighting in brutal tournaments in 15th-Century Europe.” Playable as an FPS game or in third-person, Half Sword makes use of mouse controls to give you full control over how you swing your sword, axe, or even a candle stand in physics-led combat.
The controls are immediately very intuitive, and you’ll soon be staggering about the darkened demo space, which is laid out with various tables, each of which bears a selection of armor, weapons, and tools for you to equip. Enemy combatants will occasionally wander in with the darkness geared with their own random loadout, and it’s up to you to take them down.
By holding the right or left mouse button and moving your mouse, you get full control over either or both arms depending on your currently held items. You’ll quickly figure out how to start putting your tools to use, but successfully doing so in combat is another thing altogether. Bringing down one or two enemies isn’t too tough, but it’ll take quite some practice to handle the more well-equipped foes.
When I say that Half Sword is rather gruesome, that’s no exaggeration. I was rather shocked to find my first swing had cleanly removed one of my opponent’s legs, grisly entrails left in its wake. You won’t always get people cleanly either, with weapons occasionally getting stuck in your opponents. Half Sword does offer rather robust sliders to adjust how intense this is, but you can get a feel for the default in the video below – just note that it’s rather bloody!
The demo that’s now available is largely a combat test, but beyond the arena mode Half Sword Games says the full release will include “a variety of game modes and quests” with interactable NPCs (that means talking to them, not just chopping them up). You’ll also be able to customize your knight to your liking in the full game to “create an authentic and personalized look that seamlessly fits the period.”
The Half Sword demo is available now on Steam. You can head here to download it or add the game to your wishlist. There’s currently no release date set, and development is still in its early stages, so don’t expect a full version of this to arrive until at least late 2024 or even 2025. Have a browse of the best medieval games in the meantime.
If you can’t get enough of swinging a good blade, you’ll want to strap on your finest armor and stride into the best sword games on PC. If you’re just looking to find something new, there are plenty of the best free Steam games out there that won’t cost you a penny.