With huge new titles such as Fire Ring Incorporating hack-and-slash elements and many more titles designed to fulfill the power fantasy of fighting powerful enemies in melee, there is an enduring popularity of the game style. For many gamers, nothing beats button-mashing, melee combat.
As a result, there is a wide range of very popular hack and slash titles, some are completely traditional hack and slash games, and others add style to other genres. Players at Ranker collectively voted on which of these games stands above all others as the most popular.
10/10 Devil May Cry 5 (2019)
The latest mainline in the titan of hack-and-slash games that is devil may cry series, Devil May Cry 5 just adds more polish and smoothness to a combat system that always emphasizes style. Just by bringing back Dante and Nero as playable characters, the new title won over fans, but there are many other great things about Devil May Cry 5.
While the hack-and-slash gameplay that tasks the player with combining abilities for style points is very familiar, the different playable characters in the game with different weapons and fighting styles keep things fresh. DMC 5 may not have achieved the same iconic status as previous games in the series, but it was still an instant genre classic.
9/10 God of War (2005)
While it may be overlooked more often these days in light of the recent franchise reboot that focused a little less on hack-and-slash melee combat, the original god of war from 2005 remains one of the most popular titles for hack-and-slash fans. Put the player in Kratos’ shoes, god of war pits the player against some of the most formidable creatures from Greek mythology.
Initially armed with the Blades of Chaos, twin blades attached to Kratos with chains on his wrists, the player gets all his power fantasies to wreak havoc on monumental enemies with quick combo-based attacks. With God of War: Ragnarok coming this year, now is also a great time to watch the very first one again god of war game.
8/10 Ninja Gaiden II (2008)
The second 3D title in the long-running video game series, Ninja Gaiden II stepped everything up from its predecessor with more total violence and gore than ever before. While some titles lean more towards RPG or action-adventure genre elements, Ninja Gaiden II is a game with an almost single-minded focus on destroying enemies, big and small.
However, that doesn’t mean the game doesn’t have an engaging plot, which takes its master ninja protagonist Ryu Hayabusa across continents and into the underworld in his quest to stop the resurrection of Archfiend Vazdah. A stalwart of the genre, many fans will be happy to see one Ninja Gaiden the title remains among the most popular hack-and-slash games.
7/10 Diablo II (2000)
Already made an ARPG classic in the form of the first one Diablo game, Blizzard North followed up with a sequel that ratcheted up the intensity. Although there are many games that Diablo titles now, gamers who wanted some fast-paced melee combat alongside a dark fantasy plotline couldn’t do much better than Diablo II in the late 90s and early 2000s.
Diablo II brought satisfying hack-and-slash combat to an engrossing ARPG story, but there was a depth to the gameplay that means the player doesn’t just need to key mash, although there are options for that. A remaster came last year in the form of Diablo II: Resurrectedbut the original experience still wins out with many fans.
6/10 Bayonetta 2 (2014)
While many of the other most popular hack and slash games have had a chance to stand the test of time, Bayonetta 2 is a relatively recent follow-up to the absurdly over-the-top Bayonetta. Mixing stylish combat against a variety of enemies with epic cutscenes that cannot belong to any other game series, Bayonetta 2 is the perfect sequel.
The titular protagonist is now one of the most iconic hack-and-slash heroes and also happens to be one of the most fun to control with addictive combos and iconic moves that leave the player feeling exceptionally powerful. It is no surprise that a third Bayonetta games are on the way this year that could also become a classic.
5/10 Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition (2015)
Devil May Cry 4 puts the player in the role of both Dante and a new character, Nero, on a mission to stop the franchise’s protagonist, and this unique premise led to one of the series’ best and most polished experiences. IN DMC 4Nero uses his powerful Devil Bringer arm to fight, which means new mechanics for hack-and-slash fans to sink their teeth into.
In 2015, Special edition was released which meant not just a remaster, but a massive overhaul of the game. As if the original wasn’t already one of the best entries in the series, the new edition brought an insane amount of new additions and improvements, including three new playable characters.
4/10 Bayonetta (2009)
The game that introduced the world to Bayonetta, a powerful witch who skillfully wields her guns in memorable combat that still feels fresh today, this title holds a special place in the pantheon of hack-and-slash greats. Bayonetta was created by Hideki Kamiya, who also directed the original devil may cryhad a track record of great, classy fighting.
Kamiya and the team delivered more than anyone could have expected Bayonetta And whether she’s using her weapons to dispatch her enemies with ease or summoning demons to do the job for her, the gameplay is almost always exciting. With an enhanced Windows port in 2017, the game secured its place as one of the most popular games in the genre.
3/10 Devil May Cry (2001)
With 5 main titles and an upcoming TV show based on the video game franchise on the way, it’s fair to say that the first devil may cry the game started a phenomenon in the early 2000s. Although the game itself has aged somewhat, it’s still clear to see why Devil May Cry won so many fans to its incredibly stylish gameplay concept.
While many games had included smooth combat, devil may cry put it front and center and reward the player with style points for executing ambitious combos. The game set a trend that has been at the heart of many hack-and-slash games ever since, which is part of the reason why it remains one of the most popular more than two decades later.
2/10 God Of War II (2007)
god of war is arguably the best hack-and-slash series, and for many fans it peaked with the release of God of War II in 2007. Everything that made the first game great is turned up to 11 in this follow-up title, with even more cinematic violence and insane combo chains to pull off against formidable foes.
IN God of War II, Santa Monica Studios produced a hack-and-slash game that even non-action fans couldn’t dislike, and the game is a beautiful ode to over-the-top combat with an enjoyably liberal approach to the mythology it draws from. Even compared to the ambitious reboot, God of War II holds up excellently.
1/10 Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening (2005)
A prequel to the first devil may cry, the third main game in the series explains some of the origins of the series’ protagonist and his infamous shop. While that doesn’t necessarily sound like the most interesting setup for an action game, Devil May Cry 3 is a masterpiece of hack-and-slash gameplay that only improves upon the previous titles in the series.
Switching between fighting styles as Dante is as satisfying as ever, and the game almost requires the player to aim for the best ranks. Devil May Cry 3 represents not only the top of devil may cry series, but also the pinnacle of hack-and-slash gaming, remains the most popular choice for the best game in the genre more than 15 years after its release.
NEXT: The 10 best fighting games of all time, according to Ranker