One thing we've come to learn since the dawn of gaming is that not every best-selling title has to possess complex gameplay mechanics in order to be successful. In fact, many top-notch headliners haven't so much as altered a single button layout in their timeline of releases. Instead, certain games rely on button mashing and fast-paced combat to drive the story forward and nothing more. As the saying goes: if it isn't broke — don't fix it. And, as for hack and slash games — nothing needs to be touched in order to draw a crowd.
Although a strong narrative and fleshed-out map can truly define an experience, they aren't always the necessary ingredients when looking to create a hack and slash contender. Sometimes, whether external fans of the category may agree or not — a simple concept can often be the breath of fresh air that everyone needs once in a while. Without the pressures of having to linger on a neverending plotline and branching quest chain, hack and slash games offer something a little more simplistic. Tap this — hit that — punch them. That's sometimes all we need in a video game. And, we think these five in specific are worthy enough to be sunk into. So, are you ready to put that pad to work?
5. Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends
When looking at Dynasty Warriors from the top down, it seems like an impossible task in trying to pluck just a single feather from its wealthy coop. Not only have Koei been publishing entries to the historical franchise since 1997, but they've also been building on their hack and slash kingdom by introducing new elements with every addition. Even still, the algorithm for Dynasty Warriors has rarely shifted from its original best-selling game. The story of the three kingdoms is always an accurate portrayal of the Han dynasty events, and Koei never strays too far from the truth of the beloved Chinese literature. And yet, even after decades of telling the same old story — Dynasty Warriors is still a game that fans just can't get enough of, and this entry in specific tells it like no other.
4. DmC: Devil May Cry
Again, having to try and decide on a single entry to a beloved series is no easy task. Devil May Cry, although showcasing some absolutely stellar games since its 2001 release, has to point towards a specific entry that ticks all the boxes for our hack and slash list. Of course, any fan of the franchise will know that any Devil May Cry title is a perfect symbol of hack and slash gaming — but the game that really packs a punch is the spin-off title. Admittedly, it might seem strange to boot the alternate timeline and unfamiliar Dante, but DmC: Devil May Cry truly is a worthy candidate, and it holds the flag admirably high for the long-standing platform. Plus, we can't fault the raw cinematics and cutthroat soundtrack, either. Talk about being at the apex of the underworld.
3. Hyrule Warriors
Who says ploughing through hordes of bloodthirsty enemies has to be drizzled in monochrome surroundings? Nintendo, who are undeniably known for sprinkling essences of glitz and glamour over their works, have managed to break that hack and slash cliché rather beautifully. With Hyrule Warriors, players are invited to enter the wondrous world of Zelda and its packed-out roster of loveable characters in order to fend off thousands of enemies. Again, following a rather simplistic narrative, players can slice and dice their way to victory with the charm of the best-selling franchise dancing over them. Oh, and being partnered with the minds behind Dynasty Warriors — Hyrule Warriors was sure to be a groundbreaking success ever since its release. To be fair, we think it's still going strong even today.
2. Monster Hunter: World
Capcom are one of the most respected developers when it comes to hack and slash games. Just take a gander at some of their previous works and you'll see exactly what we mean. Not only are they responsible for the likes of Devil May Cry, but also DeadRising and Street Fighter. All three of these have proven to be major players in the hack and slash world — and Monster Hunter is just another staple on the throne. The monsters may be a little more threatening than your average army of paper soldiers — but the fact we have to hammer our controllers in order to succeed — we think it's worthy of wearing a hack and slash crown. But what do you think? Is Monster Hunter: World eligible for the silver medal?
1. God of War
Okay, so it might not be strictly hack and slash — but it definitely contains all the right ingredients to be classed as one — even if only slightly. Of course, God of War shifted directions completely when it redefined the series with more well-rounded plotlines and character development. Mindless gore was soon replaced with heartwarming moments between two people, and every little detail was transformed to be more fitting with the new genre that Santa Monica Studios wanted to dabble in — except for one slight thing, of course. The button-mashing combat that quite simply defined all previous entries to the series. Thankfully, that was left untouched — and we're seriously grateful for that. And so, while God of War evolved for the greater good — the staple ingredient to the series still shun bright in the best-selling hit. Phew.