The best aspect of any hack-and-slash game is the combat. They’re fast-paced, addicting, and equally rewarding. This genre of games is generally incorporated with other genres, such as Action RPGs, Dungeon Crawlers, Character Action, etc., to make up for their shorter lifespan.
I’ve compiled a list of games of different genres that still have the hack-and-slash element at their core. Things I’ve taken into consideration while making this list are average reviews from the gaming community, Metacritic scores, and some personal opinions as a gamer.
The Best Hack and Slash Games:
- Path of Exile: Top-down hack-and-slash MMO
- Dynasty Warriors Series: the original hack-and-slash beat ‘em up game
- Bayonetta 2: Over-the-top action adventure
- Hades: Best hack-and-slash roguelike
- Nier Automata: Story-driven action RPG
- God of War Series: Brutal hack-and-slash gameplay
- Devil May Cry 5: Stylish hack-and-slash combat and boss fights
- Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance: The most fun hack-and-slash gameplay
Intrigued? Keep reading to learn more about the above titles.
Path of Exile
Path of Exile is a free-to-play action RPG game set in a grim, dark fantasy world. Developed by Grinding Gear Games, the game features multiple character classes and customization, expansive skills and abilities, and a huge loot pool.
However, the main appeal of the game is the top-down hack-and-slash combat. It is fast, responsive, and feels very polished. Fans of the Diablo and Torchlight series will feel right at home in Path of Exile, as the gameplay and skill progression are quite similar.
Another reason why I’ve put Path of Exile on the list is because of how active the community and the developers are. The game is still going strong, receiving new content updates and patches even after now being a decade year old.
Also, be on the lookout for Path of Exile 2, which is coming in early 2024.
We cannot make a hack-and-slash game list without mentioning the Dynasty Warriors (Musou) games. This is the franchise that started the whole hack-and-slash genre.
The thing that makes Dynasty Warriors games so fun is the combat. Something about hacking and slashing down hordes and hordes of enemies with your weapon feels very satisfying.
The franchise has nine different iterations, each with a different arc. So be sure to experience at least one of them.
Also, if you’d love a different spin on the Dynasty Warriors gameplay, then do check out Persona 5 Strikers, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, Fire Emblem Warriors, and One Piece: Pirate Warrior series.
PlatimumGames’s acclaimed masterpiece, Bayonetta 2, is an over-the-top action-adventure game with excellent hack-and-slash gameplay.
The plot is kept quite simple, but the combat is where the game really shines. It is stylish, fast-paced, and challenging and will keep you on the edge at all times.
Rather than just button-mashing your way through the game, you’ll have to be a bit clever with your attack and combos to defeat the enemies.
While you’re at it, I recommend you also check out the other two titles. i.e., Bayonetta 1 and the newest Bayonetta 3.
Developed by Supergiant Games studio, Hades is considered the studio’s magnum opus.
This rogue-like perfectly incorporated the hack-and-slash and dungeon-crawling genre and made a game that is both fun and addictive.
In Hades, You take on the role of Zagreus, the son of Hades. And your goal is to escape the nine levels of the underworld. But don’t expect to complete the game in one go.
As this is a rogue-like, you can expect to die a lot and do multiple re-runs before finishing the game.
Death is an essential part of this game, so don’t let it discourage you from playing this masterpiece. After failing a run, you will continue to get stronger upgrades and abilities that will help you on your next run.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Nier franchise, this game may come across as rather strange and complex. But trust me, if you stick with it long enough and experience everything the game offers, you’ll discover one of the most beautiful yet tragic storytelling in all gaming.
The game is set in a post-apocalyptic world where humans have reached near extinction. Here, you will be fighting for the human cause while experiencing the plot from the eyes of three different protagonists.
As you’d expect, the hack-and-slash gameplay is quite similar to the Bayonetta series, as both titles are made by the same studio (PlatinumGames).
The fast and fluid gameplay combined with the most beautiful soundtrack and visuals is sure to keep you captivated for hours on end.
God of War Series
The God of War franchise is undoubtedly one of the best hack-and-slash games ever made. I’m not just talking about the 2018 and Ragnarök releases for the PlayStation 4 and 5, but the whole series.
The classic series centers around Kratos, a spartan warrior who seeks out revenge on the gods for betrayal.
While the classic saga did end with its third iteration, the 2018 soft reboot continued the legacy of Kratos as he has now shifted toward Norse mythology.
The GOW series is a no-brainer if you’re a hack-and-slash genre fan. Swinging, slashing, and brutally stabbing enemies with the Blade of Chaos never gets old.
I recommend you play the game in chronological order, as this is one of those games that is certainly worth your time.
Devil May Cry 5
The fifth iteration of the DMC series was a complete revamp over the previous games, which improved in almost every aspect. Many fans and critics of the game even consider DM5 one of the best entry to the franchise.
There are so many good elements in this game, like the beautiful visuals, the compelling narrative, and the blood-pumping soundtrack that is sure to keep you motivated during your playthrough.
That being said, the meat of the game is actually the combat. Capcom has elevated the hack-and-slash gameplay by adding style to it. Every encounter, animation, and finisher has a unique charm that’ll make you feel like a badass.
Although the story picks up after the events of Devil May Cry 4, you don’t have to play any of the previous DMC titles to enjoy this game. This makes for a perfect opportunity for newcomers to experience this masterpiece.
Metal Gear Rising Revengeance
Metal Gear Rising Revengeance is a spin-off to Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid games. While the classic MGS title focused on stealth and silent gameplay, Rising Revengeance takes on a completely different approach.
As the game was developed in collaboration with PlatinumGames, the gameplay is exactly what you would expect from the studio.
It is loud, flashy, and packed with stylish hack-and-slash combat. My personal favorite is Raiden’s Blade Mode, which allows you to slice enemies and objects into very small pieces.
The plot follows Raiden, a cybernetic super soldier wielding a powerful katana whose mission is to defeat a private military company.
The amazing boss fight, the over-the-top dialogues, the soundtracks, and countless memes from this game make it a must-play.