Gamefront 2010: Most Violent Games
Since the beginning of time, gamers have loved violence, and game designers have loved giving it to them. Since the advent of modern hardware and software, that violence has been more realistic than ever, serving up immaculate HD limbs, blood splatters, and giblets flying in every direction. We at GameFront take a certain ghoulish glee in all the carnage, and we’ve put our heads together to bring you the most violent games of 2010.
Fallout: New Vegas
Fallout: New Vegas certainly can’t touch some of the games on this list when it comes to inventiveness, or when it comes to volume of blood spilled. Played a certain way, however, Obsidian’s offering can be violent with the best of them. Disregarding the game’s extensive questing and exploration sections, and focusing on the action, the violence is about VATS. I don’t know what the breakdown of players is — some may love it, others hate it — but I use the targeting system extensively, because it reminds me of the first two Fallout games’ awesome turn-based combat. And when I walk into a room filled with hostiles and I start cuing up headshots, I know what’s about to ensue: a solid minute or two of melting, frying, reduced-to-ashes, all-the-limbs-flying-off-and-bouncing-off-the-ceiling abattoir action. Sure, almost all of the animations were present in Fallout 3 also, and the game engine doesn’t make them look particularly convincing, but let’s be honest — is there another 2010 release that features a “decapitated head cam?”
Phil Owen’s Pick
This game is not violent in the “oh s–t there is blood and guts errwhere” kind of way — I think maybe three people die in the whole game, even though you’ll probably fight 10,000 different people. No, this game is just violent in the “I can’t walk ten feet down this crowded street in the middle of the day without somebody trying to kick my ass for no reason” kind of way.
Yakuza 3 is an open-world game, and you can wander around the streets of whatever fictionalized Japanese city you find yourself in. But walking down the street is perilous, because no matter where you go, there is some guy standing on every street corner who will chase your ass down and awkwardly tell you to put up your dukes because he doesn’t like that I’m older than he is or for some other equally stupid reason.
So if you play the game for a while, you’ll discover that probably 90% of the fights in the entire game are like that, which means 90% of the fights in the entire game don’t even figure into the plot, — not even a little bit — because at no point does Kazuma consider moving his orphanage someplace less violent.
Love the series? Planning to pick up Yakuza 4? If you do, take advantage of our full walkthru
God of War 3
Ron Whitaker’s Pick
Kratos has always been a violent sort. He’s killed gods, titans, and innocents with equal abandon, and God of War 3 allows him to continue his bloody rampage. This time, he’s methodically wiping out the gods of Olympus.
He eliminates Poseidon from the back of a titan and rips off the head of Helios to use as a freakin’ flashlight. He even returns to the caverns of Hell to eliminate Hades, and while he’s there he kills Hephaestus, after he’s scored with his wife. Kratos also kills Hera, indirectly killing off all plant life in Olympus itself.
To traverse chasms, he grabs onto harpies and repeatedly stabs them to get them to fly his way. Large trolls and minotaurs are controlled by stabbing them — the spray of blood forces the monsters to do his bidding. All in all, Kratos’ trail of blood and destruction in 2010 is wider (and bloodier) than it has ever been before.
Mark Burnham’s Two Cents
Ron already pretty much nailed it here, so I’ll just add a few of my standout GoW 3 moments of brutal violence. I’m never really fazed by violence in games, but these moments in particular were pretty rough:
- When Kratos punches Hercules in the face so many times his face gets all gnawed down to a gaping hole, and his teeth are all shattered and stuff.
- When Kratos gouges out Poseidon’s eyes.
- Whenever Kratos rips out a Troll’s eye.
- When Kratos rips off that water horse’s jaw in the beginning.
- When Kratos tears off Hermes’ legs.
Phil Hornshaw’s Pick
I got to play Splatterhouse this year, and if you’re looking for cartoon violence and buckets of stylized monster blood, go directly to your nearest Best Buy and buy that game. If you want your violence to be pixelated and meaningless, with all the purpose and realism of a plastic model kit, Splatterhouse is also your best bet.
Meanwhile, when I think of games that were violent and it freaked me out a little bit, I have to go with Limbo. Like Splatterhouse, Limbo is often merciless in its violence, with characters getting crushed, liquefied, dismembered, run through, and hung. But the similarities end in the banality of method.
Where other games revel in violence, Limbo uses its intensely painful-looking deaths as a way of adding additional disquiet to an already spooky f–king world. Walking along in the forest, accidentally stepping in a bear trap, and suddenly seeing your head go flying as the steel jaws snap closed wasn’t just violent — it was disturbing. In all the right ways.
For me, the best use of violence in a game is for throwing the player off his or her axis. Sure, tearing arms off guys and beating them with them can be fun once in a while, but it’s not as shocking as it was when, say, Scorpion tore off his own face in order to finish his opponents with a burst of flaming breath. Limbo touches a nerve by contrasting youth, innocence and beauty with really morbid, painful-looking deaths.
Nothing this year was as delightfully creepy as watching a Limbo character, brain slug attached to his skull, throw himself into a lake and drown — except for knowing that you had the same fate in store. And while making enemies bleed profusely and die horribly is fun, dragging a body out of a pool of water and using it to solve a puzzle, and feeling your skin crawl as you do it, is much, much cooler.
Phil Hornshaw’s OTHER Pick
Okay, okay — it’s a gimme, I know, but you can’t talk violence this year without Splatterhouse, and as I mentioned under Limbo, there’s a ton to go around. The game is conceived in violence, and it does get pretty imaginative in its eviscerations. Most of the time, you’re just punching things into a pulp, and that’s fine, but every so often you get to perform Splatterkills, and they are all….absolutely…ridiculous.
The Splatterkills are quicktime events, and they all end horribly for whatever monster you’re committing them against. A common one has you ripping off an enemy’s arms while you press your foot into his back. In one you crush a skull between your palms. There’s even a Splatterkill where you punch a monster in the ass, reach in there and tear out its intestines.
The whole time, the enemies are spraying fountains of blood in every direction, all spiffed out and cartooned up to give it more than just a campy horror movie vibe — and there’s a truckload of that — but also a bit of super-bright cel-shaded style.
You know, looking back on Splatterhouse, I’d come to think the violence in it wasn’t all that interesting, but as I write this up I realize that it does touch a nerve, being over-the-top and hilarious in many ways. Prying open the jaws of a evil little monkey-sized reptile-gremlin and ripping its lungs out has a certain…panache, maybe. At the very least, it speaks to something kind of primal that makes me grin uncontrollably when thinking about dismembering hellish monsters. And then using those cut-off chunks to kill other monsters.