Parents or certain mainstream media outlets may take a jab at video games for the violence, but we gamers tend to love it. The biggest releases of every year are often rated M. Look at last year with Doom Eternal, The Last of Us Part 2, Ghost of Tsushima, and Cyberpunk 2077. The beauty of it is that you can find all sorts of different flavors for people who may not want to spend their downtime killing noobs in Call of Duty or gunning down zombies in, well, also Call of Duty. As a player who likes grittier, more graphic content, this is my jam.
Since my psyche is beyond saving, I decided to share my interest with any reader who might also have a concerning love for mayhem in virtual worlds. This list is 11 video games that have the most satisfying violence out there. Of course, I could go on and on about it, but let’s put a limit on it, or else we might go too crazy.
11. Doom (2016)
Doom 2016 and its sequel Doom Eternal revitalized the IP into a heavy metal listening bloodthirsty juggernaut. With its fluid movement and dangerously brutal combat, id Software delivers one of the best FPS games ever, which says a lot as the studio made the genre, to begin with. Elevating the formula in a way that does not reinvent the wheel but refines it as Doom Slayer runs through anything and everything in his way with a gnarly arsenal. Whether it is the BFG that turns demons into goop or the chainsaw to rip and tear through bodies of the hellish ghouls, there is a way to make pristine facilities on Mars into slaughterhouses.
10. Gears of War
Okay, you could count the whole franchise here, but I want to focus on the first Gears of War. It was a game-changer for me. My first Xbox 360 game. For its time, this was the next level for gaming in terms of graphics and gameplay. While it looked incredible for 2006, I had never seen anything with detailed gore like this. Sure, I had played Halo, Resident Evil 4, and Serious Sam, but nothing to this extent. Seeing blood fly onto the screen while looking significantly better than any GTA game at the time or watching people get cut in half with realistic-looking guts was horrifyingly awesome.
I played so much of the first three entries of the Xbox flagship shooter. Not only did it have solid multiplayer, but the brutality got me to stick around. It makes every kill hit the perfect beat. While others will not phase me anymore, but any wet sounding headshot or person getting sawed in half by a Lancer never gets old.
9. Left 4 Dead 2
To this day, I still play Left 4 Dead 2. An excellent zombie co-op shooter that is addicting and challenging, yet mindless as my buddies and I go around shooting up a storm against hordes of the undead. While most of the special infected don’t blow into pieces, except for the Boomer exploding, the mess you leave behind comes from the normal infected. The dismemberment, even for a game released in 2009, not only holds up well, but it puts to shame most that try to hop in the same boat.
Certain guns can do kinds of carnage that others can’t. Meanwhile, the introduction of melee weapons is another playing field as you slice and dice with a katana or mow down anything in your way with a chainsaw. Either way, you may need an umbrella.
The animations are what does it for me. Heads exploding, limbs flying through the air, or blowing open stomachs, there is a ton of ways you can rip apart your hungry enemies. Sometimes when I don’t play for a while, I am flabbergasted at the gore, and I am all here for it.
If you want a samurai cyberpunk game, then Ghostrunner is for you. Not only did it have some of the best music from last year with its electronic score that bumps so hard, but it also has the gameplay to accompany it. Fast fluid movement with a sword that cuts through enemies like butter. It has the classic chopping off limbs and heads or cutting people completely in half, but it goes beyond that to make it click. The sound design has that ring to it that injects that bit of dopamine into my system every time. Hearing the swipe of my sword and the wet sound of enemies’ flesh is disturbingly pleasing.
7. Marvel’s Spider-Man
A weird entry for a list of video games with satisfying violence, but Spider-Man‘s combat is superb. Insomniac knows how to deliver fun movement and combat. That is the formula to most of its games, whether you are talking about this, Sunset Overdrive, or Ratchet & Clank. Swinging around never gets old, especially when punching dudes into the air and webbing them up is thrown into the mix.
I am a huge fan of superheroes, mostly through films like the Dark Knight trilogy or the MCU. Having an opportunity to make me feel like a superhero for the first time since the Arkham games was a treat.
6. God of War (2018)
Admittedly, the GOTY winner of 2018’s Game Awards and countless other shows, God of War, was my first entry into the franchise. The setting of Norse mythology and being a mix of a sequel for longtime fans and partially a soft reboot for newcomers like me was the motivation I needed to go through that door to walk in Kratos’ shoes.
What I did not expect was one of the best weapons in video games, the Leviathan Axe. I felt like Thor swinging and throwing Mjölnir. Chopping down Draugrs or bringing giant trolls and ogres to their knees. I felt like a superhero without being one from DC or Marvel. On top of the epic battles, I got to experience the best Dragon Ball Z styled fight in gaming from the first brawl with Baldur.
5. Dark Souls 3
It was tough to choose between From Software’s megahits, but I had to close my eyes and throw a dart to pick one whether it is any Souls game, Bloodborne, or Sekiro, these are all fantastic games with a level of captivating combat that is unlike anything else. So, choosing the third Dark Souls was difficult, but it is my favorite of the bunch, plus I am replaying it for the hundredth time, but this time I am on PC.
Blood spewing out of my foes, sound effects like the booming chime of backstabbing or parrying, or simply defeating a boss is a level of joy that cannot be matched. Every triumphant moment is as rewarding as failure is defeating. That is the magic of these games, especially Dark Souls 3, which to me hit the formula in a way that resonates more than release by the studio.
4. The Last of Us Part 2
Violence in any medium has a range of how it can make one feel. Left 4 Dead is an insane level of blood and gore in a presentation that does not make me cringe that the potential pain people might be in. The Last of Us Part 2 is difficult as the brutality is a part of its poignant message but also makes the gameplay that impactful.
Hearing people’s gargle blood or scream in agony is a haunting experience. Naughty Dog knocks it out of the park by walking on a fine line of making the violence in this video game to be gripping yet making me question my actions as I go through Ellie and Abby’s stories. It is one of the many reasons why I think it’s a brilliant masterpiece.
3. Killing Floor 2
Essentially a modern Left 4 Dead without the campaigns, Killing Floor 2 does something different with its bloodshed. Sure, it has bodies burnt to a crisp or limbs flying around being blown off by a shotgun, but while the corpses despawn, the blood does not. Playing through wave after wave of death will make any map red and slippery. It changes the aesthetic entirely as a clean white room will turn into a gateway into Hell.
If you play this one, make sure you have some non-slip or slip-resistant shoes.
2. Hitman (2016)
Nothing like unleashing your inner psychopath like playing Hitman. In this case, I am referring to the 2016 reboot, but really I am thinking about the entire trilogy that recently wrapped up. IO Interactive perfected the formula across all three entries, and it all started five years ago.
Having a big sandbox full of toys of mass destruction or silly instruments of potential harm is delightful in the most disturbing of ways. Going around in a clown costume with a sword or dressing up as a waiter who is serving poison cocktails, your playstyle will be met.
It never gets old replaying levels as I tend to try out all sorts of ways to eliminate my target. Sometimes, the casualties are quite high as I like to go around trying to kill everyone on the map. That is my time for mindless fun.
One of the lesser-known entries as I want to end on a game that deserves your attention if you like medieval PvP games like Chivalry. Mordhau has the best dismemberment I have experienced in my life. The combination of the juicy sound effects and detailed animations makes each kill jaw-dropping. When my friends and I get together to play, we constantly are in awe when bashing each other’s heads to pieces or slicing people’s limbs cleanly off. You know combat is good when you go “oooohhhh” out loud to yourself or to other players.