Video Games: Hack-And-Slash and How It Influenced Me

Hack-and-slash games are my favorite sub-genre type of action video games. They offer challenging, real-time combat in an often sleek and stylish package. It’s always a breath of fresh air whenever a 3rd-person action game that doesn’t involve staring at a reticle in the middle of your screen is released.

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With the release of Devil May Cry 5, I wanted to take a look at a couple of hack-and-slash games that I’ve played over the years that shaped me as a gamer. This list is in no particular order and is in no way comprehensive. They are just a few games that I’ve had the pleasure and privileged to play. This list is just for the purpose of sharing why they are so special to me.

Ninja Gaiden 2

Ninja Gaiden 2 I believe was the first 3D hack-and-slash game I remember owning on my Xbox 360. The game is a 360 exclusive and I was proud to own the console because of it.

It had everything I would’ve ever wanted from an action game at the time; Slick combat, tight controls, an extensive moveset that went beyond combat applications into solid platforming elements, great level design, tons of enemy types to dispatch of and a difficulty curve that was hard as all hell. True to its humble beginnings as a tough Nintendo Entertainment System game.

Even the easiest difficulty is tough, making its message incredibly clear: If you want to beat it, get better. This game is the reason I don’t play any action game on a difficulty lower than normal anymore. I can thank it for that.

Bayonetta

Hands down the best sixty dollars I’ve ever spent on a video game. Bayonetta made me happy to favor a genre that doesn’t get much love from the industry as a whole.

Featuring some of the most satisfying combat on this list, Bayonetta’s impressive moveset is as alluring as it is incredibly deadly. Boasting a sizable arsenal of weapons and enough hair to make Rapunzel jealous, Bayonetta uses her long locks as a conduit to summon infernal demons to aid her in destroying her angelic opponents.

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There was something special about the game that gave me goosebumps the moment I popped the disc in. Bayonetta is nonstop action from start to finish. It was the first game I ever actively went out of my way to unlock everything in. Every achievement, every weapon, every accessory, every challenge, every difficulty, and I loved every minute of it.

Dante’s Inferno

Based on the 14th-century poem by Dante Alighieri, Dante’s Inferno takes what is often argued as the greatest depiction of hell in literature and puts it into video game form. Visceral Games did a great job in doing so.

Traveling through the nine circles of hell as the titular Dante on a quest to save his lover, Beatrice, is one of the better journeys I’ve experienced in a video game like this. Granted, the developers had a lot of good source material to work from. I think the interpretation was well-done though

The combat in Dante’s Inferno isn’t exactly amazing by all accounts. It plays it safe with an easy and sparse list of combos to memorize and a number of magic spells to work with. Simple but effective enemy mobs and a number of good bosses keep the game challenging. It’s one of the first games I played that actually made me actively think about how to use all the tools and resources available during any given level. It also allowed me to appreciate any game afterward that forced me to do so.

Little Fighter 2

This game is more of a beat-em-up than a hack-and-slash as most characters in it do not carry weapons exclusively. Although, I find both titles to be synonymous with each other as modern-day hack-and-slash games grew from 2D beat-em-ups.

I played heavily on PC during the days when my console access was limited. The platform wasn’t seen as the be all end all “master race” and was actually shunned by most big-name developers. In order to get my fix of the action-style games I was missing, I had to turn to freeware.

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Little Fighter 2 is a beautifully crafted love letter to old-school beat-em-up games. It was the fighting game that my cousin and I would play for hours together and never get tired of. Little Fighter 2 had a simple, but fun combat system. It was a game that got me through the tough days of not owning a console then.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2

Oh, how I wish the Star Wars franchise of video games continued in this direction. It was hard to decide between this and Star Wars: Episode 3 for the Nintendo DS. I chose this game because even though Disney now says the expanded universe is no longer canon, it’s still important to give games like this attention.

The Force Unleashed 2 is a solid hack-and-slash game, albeit a very short one. It’s got to be the closest a Star Wars game has ever come to making you feel like you were a competent light saber wielder and force user.

Similar to Dante’s Inferno, The Force Unleashed 2 doesn’t feature the most complicated moveset for Starkiller, but the wide range of abilities he has at his disposal more than makeup for it. From the Jedi mind trick to force lightning, to grabbing missiles out of the air and sending them back at your attacker, it was a blast to see the variety of ways you could annihilate your opposition.

The length of the game I thought was more of a benefit than a disappointment too. It gave me more resolve to go back and beat it over again on higher difficulties. It was the first time I ever had the drive to do so in a video game.

Leave a comment below on what some of your favorite hack-and-slash action games are and how they affected you as a gamer!

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