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10 Best Hack and Slash Games

The 10 best hack and slash games is a list of the most thumb-crushingly satisfying hack and slash games to ever rip their way onto your console.

The recipe is simple — Snag some DNA from an old arcade style beat-em-up, add some weapons, and invite a never-ending tide enemies to try their luck with a massively overpowered hero. You may add a dash of some platforming for good measure. Presto! You have yourself a hack and slash game fit for entertaining the seething masses of gamers bent on tearing apart some baddies.

After many hours of research and aching thumbs, we came up with this list of the 10 best hack and slash games.

10. Shinobi

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Obviously the perfect story for a hack and slash game involves a sword that feeds on souls. Using Japan and ninja culture as a backdrop, Shinobi for the PS2 was a fantastic title that kept the action coming fast. You had to be quick because if your sword had no enemies to devour, then it would turn and devour you. This added a whole other reason to slice your way through hoards of enemies and gave the game a sense of immediacy that lesser titles lacked.

9. Onimusha 3

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Onimusha 3 is by far one of the strangest inclusions to our list of the 10 best hack and slash games. The action oscillating back and forth between modern day Paris and feudal Japan kept things interesting and the time travel aspect lent an air of complexity to some of the puzzles. Of course there were tons of enemies for you to blitz your way through as well. Finally you got to play as Leon the Professional and that alone should be enough to make it onto the list.

8. Heavenly Sword

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Heavenly Sword was one of the first offerings on the PS3 and when it came out, wowed us with it’s incredible graphics and frenetic style of gameplay. It was a joy controlling the scantily clad Nariko as she flipped, cartwheeled, and impaled her way through just about anyone in her way. In addition to being a great game, the incredible Andy Serkis lent his movements and facial expressions, via motion capture, to many of the characters in the game. But, sadly, Heavenly Sword was just a bit too short to break into the top five on our list of the 10 best hack and slash games.

7. Dynasty Warrior Series

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Bearing the brunt of much mirth and snickering, the Dynasty Warrior series deserves a second look. Sure all of the games are more or less the same and yes, it is supposedly historically accurate even though all of the generals are imbued with magical powers, and of course the power metal score is outrageously out of place in a feudal China setting. But, all of this makes it memorable. It’s like a movie that’s so bad that it’s good. You can’t stop watching it over and over again.

6. Devil May Cry Series

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Dante has been with us for a number of years now and with each new addition to the franchise we are treated to more of the outrageous combat we know and love. There aren’t many games where you can uppercut an enemy into the sky and hold him aloft on a bed of bullets while fending off other demonic marionettes with your huge sword. Ridiculously overacted cutscenes and one liner’s aside, Devil May Cry is a solid series that looks like it is only going to get better.

5. Dante’s Inferno

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If you want to hack and slash your way through hell, then look no further than Dante’s Inferno. Other than borrowing the concept from the epic poem, this is certainly not Alighieri’s Inferno. After ripping the spine out of death himself, Dante bathes himself in the blood of anything in his path on the way to the inner circle of Hell. Brutal and visceral, Dante’s Inferno really earned its place in the top five.

4. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

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By far the most underrated game in the current generation of hack and slashers, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow belongs here in the top five because it ticks every box for a fantastic title. The game is incredibly gorgeous and no two of the 50 levels look alike or become monotonous. The sheer number of attack combos would rival a fighting game. The combat is quick and you can feel the weight of the Combat Cross with each strike on the hoard of undead baddies. To top it off, the story is well paced, engaging, and narrated by Patrick Stewart. Need we say more?

3. Ninja Gaiden Series

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The Ninja Gaiden series has consistently turned out game after game full of hear pounding action that occasionally comes with controller snapping frustration. But, these exceedingly outlandish games get to the heart of the hack and slash genre while still keeping a bit of skill involved. If you don’t choose your weapons and attack enemies wisely, you will be hitting the restart button more often than not. The games may be difficult, but it is so satisfying when you get the right combo for an enemy and see them dismembered and flying off the side of a building.

2. Prince of Persia Series

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Consisting of the most story and puzzle centric hack and slash games to come about it recent years, the Prince of Persia series is a near perfect example of what can be achieved when you put a little thought behind the crazy action. In addition to the usual light and heavy attacks, the Prince is also able to manipulate the Sands of Time which allows for some incredible puzzles and a great mechanic to take out hoards of enemies.

1. God of War Series

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Kratos is the heavyweight in the hack and slash genre. No matter how many Greek Gods we help him dismember, we keep coming back for more. The original God of War was one of the first games to introduce quick time events and finishing moves that the rest of the games on this list have eagerly copied. The thousands of minions in the God of War games are easily ripped apart and the boss fights are simply epic. Since God of War 3, no other game has come close to its hacky-slashy perfection. Well, that is until God of War 4 finally comes out. Maybe Kratos will have grown a conscience by then. Probably not.

NEXT: 10 Best Donkey Kong Games Ever

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