Best Hack and Slash Video Games for Nintendo Wii, Playstation 3, Xbox 360

The hack & slash genre of gaming is often underestimated by critics, yet it can very easily tear up the sales charts. Those devoted to the genre adore it for its fast-paced combat, massive battles, strategic elements and cooperative game play. For those looking for the best hack & slash games for the Nintendo Wii, Playstation and Xbox 360, read on.

Samurai Warriors 3

Console: Nintendo Wii

Co-op: 2 Players; Local, Online

Rating: 10 Wandering Swordsmen out of 10.

This incredibly addictive game, exclusive for the Nintendo Wii, was a huge leap forward for the series. Long gone were the tedious missions, awful voice acting, and unappealing gimmicks. Samurai Warriors 3 took everything gamers love about the series and put it in one package. With tons of replay value, extremely varied characters, and highly polished combat, the game cemented itself as a must-have Wii game. The blend of strategy and RPG elements are extremely well executed, and the co-op is highly addictive. If you’re one of the 100 million who own a Wii, do yourself a favor and get this game.

Dynasty Warriors 6: Empires

Console: Playstation 3 & Xbox 360

Co-op: 2 players; Local

Rating: 9 Last-Minute Defections out of 10.

It probably won’t be a surprise that the standalone Dynasty Warriors 6 isn’t on this list. Its terrible character designs, awful Renbu combo system, and clone-filled roster saw to that. Thankfully, Koei did a great job on its Empires follow-up. The cast was again diversified, the combat was polished, and the game play was vastly improved. Plotting and executing the conquest of China is extremely fun thanks to the innovations made to the Empires formula. The expansive custom character creation is the best the series has ever seen, and the greater freedom allotted in the main game is welcome. The greater focus on strategy over brute force is among the best choices made with the game design.

Warriors Orochi 2

Console: Xbox 360, Playstation 2

Co-op: 2 Players; Local

Rating: 6 Epic Crossovers out of 10.

It is a shame that the Warriors Orochi series never seemed to reach its full potential. This crossover series, featuring the combined roster of Samurai Warriors and Dynasty Warriors, should have been amazing. Instead, it was just pretty good. The what-if scenarios are a lot of fun and there’s plenty of replay value to be had, but too many flaws hold back the game. The limited Xbox 360 hardware struggles to properly play both Warriors Orochi 2 and its predecessor. The graphics constantly stutter, pop-in is rampant, and slowdown is frequent. It’s impressive that despite the faults of the Xbox 360’s capabilities that Warriors Orochi 2 is still worth a purchase.

Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes

Console: Nintendo Wii

Co-Op: 2 Players; Local

Rating: 8 Fewer Wandering Swordsmen out of 10.

It’s no secret that Koei is the king of hack & slash titles. It will probably come as a surprise then that Capcom managed to snag a spot on this list. While some regard the Sengoku Basara series as a shameless clone of Samurai Warriors , they are entirely different beasts. Both are based on the Warring States period of Japanese history and feature many of the same characters, but beyond this is a world of difference. Koei’s Samurai Warriors games are more about massive battles, strategic game play, and remain true to the source material. Capcom’s Samurai Heroes games take themselves less seriously, favor action over strategy, and take considerably more liberties with history.

This brings us to their latest title, known as Sengoku Basara 3 in Japan. After the failed attempt to bring the series over with Devil Kings for the PS2, Capcom wowed Wii owners with vibrant visuals, highly polished combat, extremely original character designs, and the addition of sorely needed co-op. Despite having considerably fewer characters and game modes compared to Samurai Warriors 3, Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes is still a ton of fun. If only they did as good a job as Koei portraying Mitsunari…

Dynasty Warriors: Mobile Suit Gundam 2

Console: Playstation 3 & Xbox 360

Co-Op: 2 Players; Local

Rating: 10 Red Comets out of 10.

Next to Samurai Warriors 3, no other hack & slash title has been more addictive than Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2. With explosive combat, massive battles, top-notch visuals, and an immense playable character roster, the upcoming sequel is going to have a tough act to follow. The source material really shines through as you traverse the battlefield and face-off against giant, destructive mobile suits. There’s really nothing to compare it to; this game took a beam saber and carved its place in hack & slash history. The original is just as fun, albeit lacking sorely in content compared to its sequel.

Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce

Console: Playstation 3 & Xbox 360

Co-Op: 4 Players; Online

Rating: 7 Playful Pandas out of 10.

It is fitting that this Koei game is the last on the list. What started out as a fun but disappointing PSP game would later become a fun but disappointing PS3 game. With game play elements borrowed from Dragon Ball Z and Monster Hunter Tri, what could possibly go wrong? The game play is fast-paced and fun, there’s plenty of replay value, and the visuals are highly impressive, so what’s the problem? Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce broke the cardinal rule of hack & slash games: It offered no split-screen co-op. This damning fault would leave an unsightly blemish on an otherwise great game. Oh what could have been…

Honorable Mention :

Dynasty Warriors 7

No More Heroes

No More Heroes: Desperate Struggle

Samurai Warriors 2: Empires

Samurai Warriors: Katana

Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors