Violence in video games has been a topic of conversation for quite some time. Many want to peg games as the cause for some truly atrocious acts of violence while others are adamant there is no link. Whether there is a link or not, we’ll leave that up to you to decide. So, for this riveting list, we're bringing you some of the most brutally violent video games, where the body count is high and the blood volume is suffocating.
Manhunt is a very disturbing experience. Not only do gamers play as the morally unsound death row inmate, James Earl Cash, they’re tasked with executing Cash’s pursuers in the most brutal of ways. Unlike other games that put killing in the spotlight, there’s nothing flashy or ridiculous about the executions. They’re simply downright uncomfortable to pull off. The game’s many acts of violence, including suffocating enemies with a plastic bag, cracking them in the spine with an axe, and decapitating foes with a machete, are gritty and unsettling. The game’s portrayal of violence is so real that even the Rockstar staff that worked on the game were uncomfortable while designing it. Manhunt quickly became a topic of public scrutiny, especially after being connected to the murder of 14-year-old Stefan Pakeerah.
Grand Theft Auto Series
It’s tough not to talk about violence in video games and completely ignore Grand Theft Auto. Rockstar’s popular series has been put under the microscope by the media and anti-violence campaigns many times for the unrestrained acts of violence that can be pulled off. The game’s open world offers gamers the possibility of simply spending their time running down pedestrians, slaughtering hookers, and blowing up cops without much of a game-changing penalty. The series actually promotes the in-game violence by elevating the excitement with cop, SWAT, and army chases when one causes enough mayhem.
It’s quite ironic. Postal 2 is one of the most violent games out there, but it can also be one of the most peaceful gaming experiences. This is made possible because all acts of violence, no matter how small or large, are the choice the gamer. Postal’s lead, The Postal Dude, is not some run-and-gun vigilante by nature – but if the person behind the controls sees fit, he can be a ruthless mercenary. With an arsenal of guns, knives, swords, and explosives, the people of Paradise, Arizona can be blown up and literally chopped to pieces. Postal even lets players urinate on the trail of corpses they leave behind. Sure, the game can be played peacefully, but where’s the fun in that?
The Mortal Kombat series has always been panned and applauded for its violence and Netherrealm Studios was sure to amp up the brutality of the classic fighter in 2011. The same blood-soaked combat was ever-present in the updated iteration, but now fighters were able to perform squirm-inducing X-Ray attacks. Each character has their own signature X-Ray attack and they range in pain levels, from snapping their opponent’s neck to uppercutting them right in the family jewels. Fatalities get even more uncomfortable thanks to the highly detailed looks of pain and agony on the loser’s face. The series, of course, is best known outside of the gaming industry for pushing the envelope and having a hand in the creation of the Entertaining Software Rating Board.
The God of War Series
Kratos is ticked. If you were tricked into killing your own family, you probably would be, too. With all of this pent up rage and anger, the Spartan warrior goes on a quest that leaves behind him a trail of dismemberment. Kratos dishes out violence to an abundance of mythological creatures and it’s his finishing moves that really aren’t for the squeemish. Chopping off limbs, ripping out cyclop’s eyes, and tearing off a diety’s head with his bare hands is just a small portion of Kratos’ favorite activities through all six God of War games. Expect a lot of stabbing, hacking, tearing, ripping, punching, and mutilating when Kratos enters a room.
In The Darkness, mob goon Jackie Esposito finds himself inhabited by a deadly demonic force known as “The Darkness”. The evil entity does some damage, but it’s not until the follow-up, Darkness II, where it’s penchant for violence truly shines. Two demonic tentacle arms tear through Jackie’s foe like butter. Context sensitive executions direct The Darkness to perform anguishing acts, such as pulling a bad guy’s spine out through his rectum or severing them in half with a quick tentacle whip. Firearms take a back seat to Jackie’s arsenal of demonic attacks.
If there’s one thing chainsaws are good at, it’s bringing the violence. In MadWorld, gamers play as Jack, a man who’s right arm was replaced by a working chainsaw. Thrown into a “Running Man’ styled game, the main objective is to survive, and to do so, Jack’s enemies need to die, sometimes, in the most painful of ways. Of course, Jack can use his trusty chainsaw to dish out the violence, but the world is outfit with an abundance of traps and hazards that are just begging to be used. MadWorld is all about dishing out violence and bloodshed and developer Platinum Games certainly did not shy away from that. What really made MadWorld stand out was that it released on the Nintendo Wii, a console known for being family oriented.
Gears of War Series
When you pick up a game that features chainsaws mounted on machine guns, you know you’re in for a good time. Gears of War may have come with a serious narrative, but there’s no denying that the play is little more than brutal fun. The human COG soldiers face off against the subterranean Locust forces using heavy hitting weaponry. Bodies literally get blown apart with well-timed shotgun blasts and grenades, but it’s the close quarters combat that showcases the games violence. From being sawed in half to being beaten with your own severed arm, there are plenty of uncomfortable ways to die in Gears of War. The series also brings back curb-stomping – and we’re not entirely sure if that’s a good thing or not.
The Prototype Series
Turn an everyday average Joe into a mutant with powers to turn his body parts into deadly weapons and you have yourself a formula for a massive bloodbath. Throughout the Prototype series, an open world setting lets gamers unleash a mess of chaos with giant claws, barbed tentacles, superhuman strength, and a plethora of deadly attacks. When the action kicks up, the world becomes littered with body parts and gore as a combination of melee maneuvers devastate everything in the protagonist’s path.
Bulletstorm is a silly little game with one purpose – give the gamer an array of funky weapons and let them go to town. Sure, there was a plot, but it was far from the focus of the game. From a machine gun that evaporates enemies entirely to a gun that fires explosive flails to a whip pull enemies so they can be blow apart or kicked into a variety of deadly traps and hazards. Bulletstorm focuses so heavily on the on-screen carnage that it awards players points for stylish and combo kills.