The best hack and slash games can take hours of your time. They are equal parts engaging and frustrating.
Players often crave these games because of their addictive combat systems. Combat tends to be fast, frenetic, and challenging.
Most modern hack & slash are RPGs, A-RPGs, or have RPG elements. As a result, we see our characters grow in power to deliver increasingly devastating blows. That’s one of the best parts of these games.
The hack & slash genre takes its cues from the Dungeons & Dragon tabletop game. Still, the genre has been evolving ever since old-school 2D scrollers. For example, Blizzard’s PC dungeon-crawler re-defined the genre by adding RPG elements like skills and levels.
Top 10 Best Hack and Slash Games
My choices take into consideration Metacritic audience scores and personal taste. I’m leaving behind games that are too old, as you wouldn’t be able to play them.
Diablo III: Eternal Collection
Release Year: 2012 (2018 for Nintendo Switch)
Platform: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Windows, Nintendo Switch
Genre: Hack & Slash, Dungeon-crawler
Diablo III debuted in a very rough shape. It was full of bugs, glitches, and performance issues. Worst of all, though, is the glaring lack of Diablo features fans loved from previous entries.
Most of the series’ core systems were simplified, “streamlined.” The resulting game was faster, more explosive, and less complex. It’s not the kind of experience Diablo fans were looking for, but casual players might enjoy it.
There’s some good to its decisions. The game is easy to pick up and understand. However, it still has a wide difficult system for every experience level.
And after many years and the Reaper of Souls Expansion, Diablo III has gained critics’ praise. Fans are not eager to play it nonetheless: it holds an average 7.5 audience score on Metacritic.
That said, the Eternal Collection features Diablo III, the Reaper of Souls Expansion, and the Necromancer bundle on its volume.
If you have a console, you could also try the Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition. It brings some interface and controller upgrades for ease of use. Also, there’s an enhanced edition for Xbox Series, which features performance upgrades like frame rates and lighting.
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix, Platinum Games
Release Year: 2017 (2018 for Windows)
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Windows
Genre: RPG, Hack & Slash
Nier: Automata is a unique game. Personally, I wouldn’t say I liked it the first time, but it has become one of my favorite games after a second playthrough. It’s when I discovered the game’s complex ending system.
There’s a new ending for each time you defeat the game, five of them. It’s a feature that makes sense within the plot. After you’ve seen all of the endings, you’ll finally achieve the canon story-arc.
The setting is a post-apocalyptic world. There’s a war between androids, human remnants, and alien invaders. You play as 2B and 9S, two androids fighting for the human’s cause.
Aside from its massive storyline, Nier: Automata delivers an RPG hack & slash combat system. You unlock skills, tech, summons, and mechas to fight at your side.
Few games have caught my attention because of their story. The list is short for me, and it might be for you. Titles like Fallout: New Vegas, the Mass Effect series, or The Witcher 3 are examples.
I’m not alone in this. Nier: Automata is one of the few games with a higher audience score than a critical score on Metacritic. That’s because it’s genuinely innovative and crazy.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Publisher: Ninja Theory
Developer: Ninja Theory
Release Year: 2017 (2019 for Xbox One and Nintendo Switch)
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows PC
Hellblade is farther from the hack & slash genre than any other game on our list. However, its 88 Metacritic score was enough for us to include it.
The Ninja Theory indie title has an unusual nature. It mixes the titular genre with countless puzzles, a daunting story arc, and action-adventure exploration.
At its core, it’s a simple game. It enhances immersion by minimizing UI elements. Instead, it focuses on sounds, clues, and instincts.
The game has two unique gameplay. The combat part features 3D hack & slash swordplay. You have light and heavy attacks, parries, dodges, and charges.
The second part of the game is exploring and solving puzzles. Senua can use a Focus ability to enhance her senses and find the path forward.
Aside from these elements, the best part of Hellblade is its story. It follows a Celtic warrior on her journey to reach Helheim to face her inner demons. I don’t want to spoil anything, so play it!
Publisher: Runic Games
Developer: Runic Games
Release Year: 2015
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows, macOS, Linux
Genre: Hack & Slash, ARPG, Dungeon-Crawler
Former Diablo developers created the Torchlight series. Torchlight II debuted in 2015 as “Diablo 2’s spiritual successor.”
The game takes place in a fantasy world. You choose from a rooster of four classes, and each one feels unique and explosive.
Its plot follows the destruction of the Torchlight town. The Alchemist is the ultimate enemy, and he’s leaving a trail of destruction as he searches for a cure to an illness that’s driving him insane.
It has all the elements we love from the original Diablo, most of which disappeared in Diablo III. Right down to the music, Torchlight II feels familiar to genre fans.
On top of that, the combat is easy, fun, and challenging. Each class is distinguished from the next and offers various ways of progressing.
The single-player campaign takes you to randomly generated dungeons to explore and gather loot as you progress the story. Other elements include a weather system, day cycles, and customizable appearance. Additionally, it has a multiplayer mode. You can play the campaign on a 6-player party, either locally or online.
Devil May Cry 5
Release Year: 2019 (2020 for new-gen consoles)
Platform: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Windows
Genre: Action-adventure, Hack & Slash
Capcom’s Devil May Cry 5 is the fifth entry of their action-adventure series. It debuted to great success and praise from both fans and critics.
The story happens five years after Devil May Cry 4. It follows Dante, Nero, and V, three warriors with demonic powers.
You travel towards Red Grave City, and you can alternate between these players during your playtime. Each one features different weapons and a different playstyle.
They have various techniques, moves, and animations to deliver one of the best and most frenetic action gameplay in modern gaming.
The general gameplay features a range of attacks, dodges, and parries to combat monster waves. As you progress the story, your characters can unlock further movements and buffs. That means you’ll require to master the increasingly complex control system to defeat increasingly difficult enemies.
Overall, the entry feels like a perfect evolution from its previous iteration—an easy pick for our best hack & slash games lists.
Bayonetta 2 (& Bayonetta 1)
Developer: Platinum Games
Release Year: 2014
Platform: Nintendo Wii, Nintendo Switch
Genre: Action-adventure, Hack & Slash
Bayonetta is a decade’s old game. It represents the best hack & slash game for the Wii U, a platform that doesn’t have many choices. It still holds value today.
Notably, it cemented the action-adventure hack & slash formula. We’re talking about the sequel, Bayonetta 2, which is also a Nintendo exclusive.
Gameplay is about fast and difficult combat. You control Bayonetta as she fights against demonic and angelic forces. She uses a combination of gunplay, melee, and dodges to defeat her enemies.
Bayonetta can also use skills to weather down her enemies and grow in power as the game goes on.
All in all, Bayonetta is Nintendo’s answer to the Devil May Cry series. However, both games in the series are quite short. They take about 10 hours to complete.
If you don’t have a Nintendo console, you may play Bayonetta 1 instead. The first game is currently available for PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, Windows, Switch, PS4, and Xbox One.
The Game is a masterful blend of action-RPG, open-word, hack & slash, and stealth combat.
Sekiro won many awards, including Game of the Year titles and Metacritic’s “must-play” denomination.
You’ve probably heard of this title many times in your life. If you haven’t played it, please do.
The plot follows a Japanese shinobi, Wolf, trying to avenge the samurai who kidnapped his master.
Hence, it has a classic “lost ronin” archetype, a story-trope we’ve seen in many movies. Recently, Cyberpunk 2077’s secondary character Goro Takemura (the one you follow during the main quests), serves as a “lost ronin” as well.
As I said, gameplay blends many elements of successful video-game genres. Everything you do, though, requires timing, concentration, and strategy. There’re skills and skill trees to grow in power over time, as well as additional progress paths.
Nevertheless, you’ll never stomp your way through the game. It’s always dangerous, exciting, and challenging. The same is to say about exploring the gorgeous world FromSoftware created. Its great storytelling rides on lore, details, music, and set design.
Dark Souls III (& Demon’s Souls Remake)
Publisher: Bandai Namco, FromSoftware (Japan Studios for the Remake)
Developer: FromSoftware (Bluepoint for the Remake)
Release Year: 2016 (2020 for the Remake)
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Windows (the Remake is only on PS5)
Genre: Open-world, Hack & Slash, Soulslike
I could list any Souls game in this article, even if the series belongs to its own genre, “Soulslike.” The one I choose is the Demon’s Souls Remake. However, you could try out Dark Souls III, which is fairly similar.
FromSoftware created Dark Souls III. It’s the third entry of the Souls series, and it shines as the best. The game mixes action-adventure, open-role, and RPG elements with challenging and punishing combat.
The saga explores the dark and wide Lothric realm. Your character must travel the world to protect the Age of Fire against the rise of the undead.
It’s the most challenging hack & slash game in recent memory. Every monster takes time, timing, and strategy. Thus, defeating the game feels like a gamer hiatus.
Then, the PS5 exclusive Demon’s Souls Remake brings back the original game with the technical improvements of the new console.
Bluepoint Games is the new developer. They delivered an ambitious remake that uses the PlayStation’s hardware to deliver the best experience we’ve seen on a Soulslike game.
Publisher: SuperGiant Games
Developer: SuperGiant Games
Release Year: 2020
Platform: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Nintendo Switch, Windows, MacOS
Genre: Roguelike, Hack & Slash, RPG
SuperGiant Games is a beloved indie developer. Previously, they achieved success with Bastion, a gorgeous hack & slash title with a great plot, amazing music, and hand-painted scenarios.
Hades follows the best formula and uses the best ideas of the studio’s previous games. Then, it uses a Greek mythology setting with hand-painted scenarios, gorgeous music, amazing characters, and an engaging plot.
This is a “rogue-like” game, which means you try and fight your way out of a series of maps to complete the game. Every time you die, you lose everything you’ve collected aside from “collectible” items.
Back in the game’s “hub,” you use these collectible items to unlock minor upgrades for your characters, like extra life regen or new weapons.
Aside from simply improving your character, you also get to spend your time talking with the NPCs. It’s a surprisingly engaging part of the game.
More importantly, you play as the son of Hades, and you try to escape the Underworld to find your mother. You are then immortal, and so every time you die adds something else to the narrative. A heads up: you have to beat the game many times before completing the story arc.
Its roguelike combat is as good or better than the narrative and the music. It’s fast, punishing, and evolving. As you progress down the maps, you receive powers from the Gods, and there are plenty of options to choose from to make every run feel different.
God of War
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Santa Monica Studio
Release Year: 2018
Platform: PS4, PS5
Genre: Action-adventure, Hack & Slash
We discussed plenty of top-tier hack & slash games, but God of War takes the cake.
The latest entry of the PlayStation Exclusive series is one of the best games in recent memory. It’s easily the best title of the entire Sony PlayStation catalog.
I’m not saying you should skip the rest of the franchise. By all means, play them if you can. However, if you could only afford one, go for 2019’s God of War.
God of War excels at everything it tries. It’s an action-adventure hack & slash with a strong character-centric narrative. Then, it packs the fantastic, raw, and rude combat mechanics of the franchise. Both parts are equally fantastic.
You play as Kratos, obviously, as you travel with your son. The journey takes you to a far-away mountain, where you intend to scatter your son’s mother’s ashes.
However, Kratos, the Spartan warrior who killed the Greek Gods, has many enemies. That’s good for you, it’s amazing. Every battle, every weapon, and upgrades feel like the moment you open a cold can of beer (or soda, if you’re underaged).
Overall, it’s a must-play PlayStation 4 game. Also, God of War is the best hack & slash game.
We left behind some popular ARPG dungeon-crawlers. We think those are not what people are looking for within the “hack & slash” genre. Still, you can read our reviews on Path of Exile, Last Epoch, and Wolcen.
Also, we need to highlight Ubisoft’s Immortals: Fenyx Rising. It has an average 75 score on Metacritic, and I find it perfectly enjoyable.
The game features have a Greek Mythology setting. It follows an open-world / hack & slash formula where you gather collectibles pay for your upgrades.
That’s it for our list. If there’s a hack & slash game, you love that we missed, please share it with us!