Ever since the early days of games like Death Race in 1976 which required you to gain points for running people over. Or 1993's Mortal Kombat's finishing moves that caused teenagers to fall over in fits of giggles at the sight of someone's spine being ripped out, video games have been pushing the envelope in terms of graphic and visceral violence.
As modern day games are getting more and more advanced, the visuals are becoming almost as important as the story and —in some cases— the gameplay. As graphical power increases, so does the ability to shock the viewer. The more power, the more they are able to draw audiences into a scene, and make them feel like they're experiencing the act of violence being committed in front of them.
More than ever, developers are able to create visceral scenes of violence that can both satisfy and shock at the same time. This can be due to the way a game's narrative can draw gamers in and create emotionally charged scenes which can be both horrific and visceral — or they can be tongue-in-cheek schlock like the Mortal Kombat series. Here we take a look at 15 of the most visceral deaths in gaming.
The Dead Space series was one of the most effective and atmospheric survival-horror games from the last console generation. The first two games, in particular, were an amazing blend of the films Alien and Event Horizon. Just like those two sci-fi films the game was dripping in atmosphere, and it wasn't short on the gore factor. Many of the Necromorphs you will encounter are disturbing and grotesque on every level, but the most visceral scene came in the form of the Noontech Diagnostic Machine in Dead Space 2.
The machine was designed to access information within a person's brain by inserting a huge needle through their eye. During the scene, the player has to maneuver that huge needle into Isaac's eye, as he starts to panic. If the needle is unsuccessfully lined up, or Isaac's heart rate is too high, the entire machine will thrust through his eye and into his face killing him.
There were quite a few moments of brutality found in the first two Bioshock games, but there was a slow build to these moments especially when you consider how you dispatch the game's protagonist Andrew Ryan. However, in Bioshock Infinite the gloves come off early — during the game's opening scenes.
The creative Sky-Hook is used both as a method of transportation and as a pretty vicious melee weapon. We're introduced to the weapon when the protagonist is being threatened by the police early in the game. To overcome the threat, the lead character distracts both officers with a ball and rams one of them face first into the device's rotary blades, which effectively chews the victim's face off.
Wolfenstein: The New Order is a successful reboot of one of the longest running series of first-person shooters ever made. The series began in 1981 with Castle Wolfenstein primarily as a stealth game, and The New Order brought this element back and ramped up the violence in its take on an alternate history where the Axis Powers (the game's version of the Nazi's) won World War 2.
There are many moments in the game which can make you feel a bit squeamish, but the absolute most brutal scene in the game is in the first chapter. The game's antagonist, Deathshead, forces you to choose between which one of your companions gets tortured and has his brain forcibly ripped out. It's quite a disturbing scene, if not for its brutality, but in the disturbing visuals and torture scenes which are inflicted as a result of your own choice.
Friday The 13th The Game is the most recent game on this list and is a Kickstarter project based on the horror movie franchise of the same name. It was released on Steam, PlayStation Network, and Xbox One. While the game is still in need of a bit of polishing —especially in terms of connection issues— it is still a lot of fun.
The most fun can be had when you're playing as Jason as opposed to the "Councilors," because it's your mission hunt down, stalk, and kill every one of them before they can find a means of escape.
There are many brutal and violent ways that Jason can dispose of his victims in the game. One of the cruelest is sneaking up behind one of the "Councilors" near a fireplace, and shoving them face first into it and holding them down with his foot as they squirm and slowly burn to death in the fire
Resident Evil 6 is considered one of the weakest games in the survival-horror series, but it is widely agreed upon that the Leon Kennedy stages are the best the game. It should go without saying then that the most gruesome death scene in the game and one of the nastiest seen in any video game is during an encounter with the creature known as Bloodshot.
The Bloodshot pushed Leon up against a spinning meat grinder, and in order to escape, the player must get through a fiddly quick time event. If you fail, you're treated to a pretty gross scene where the Bloodshot is so determined to force Leon into the grinder head first it follows Leon in, finishing with them both becoming minced meat.
The 2010 horror beat-em-up Splatterhouse was a reimagining of the 1988 side-scrolling action game of the same name — which was a loosely inspired by the Friday the 13th films. The game had a troubled development with Namco shutting down the original team halfway through development, and suffered as a result. Despite the issues, the game had a decent story and original art style, but more than that, it was extremely vulgar.
Perhaps the most extreme of these vulgar moments is when your character Rick finishes off a creature by literally ramming his fist up the thing's rear end, and giving it an anal prolapse of diabolical proportions.
The first and second Manhunt games are perhaps two of the most controversially violent ever made. Manhunt 2 in particular needed to be censored upon release with its uncut version only available through some clever hacking.
In a scene, most likely inspired by the Hostel films, you'll find a prisoner being tortured in a chair by a man in overalls and a mask. Getting your character to sneak up and grab the man from behind, leads to a scene where your character will impale the torturer on the chair with his own tools and knives until you finish him off by shoving his own drill his throat. It's a violent scene, but it's also pretty satisfying to pull off since the guy deserved to get a taste of his own medicine.
The God Of War series is loaded with brutal and gory scenes, it's a series that clearly prides itself on being the ultimate violent mythological power fantasy, by making you feel like you're in control of the most powerful and violent characters in Greek mythology universe.
This is never more evident than in God of War 3 where Kratos is violently destroying each and every one of the Greek Gods that betrayed him. Helios in particular who is regarded as the embodiment of the sun, has his head torn away from his neck, prompting the player to hit the L1 and R1 buttons to gain more leverage as you slowly watch Helios' skin rip open.
The Evil Within was a return to the classic survival-horror themes made popular by the Resident Evil series, and, in turn, was directed by the series' creator Shinji Mikami. The Evil Within was loaded with disgusting, vicious, and evil monsters but the most disturbing came in the form of Laura.
If you're unlucky enough to put the protagonist Sebastian into the situation where Laura gets the upper hand, you'll witness a scene where she easily overpowers him and proceeds to flatten his face to into a headless mass. It's an extremely brutal scene made slightly more disturbing by the way Laura takes a close look at her handy work afterward.
The character Quiet is probably the most controversial Metal Gear Solid character ever conceived, which is a shame because she was incredibly well captured and realized on an artistic level, but her skimpy outfits, and figurines with squeezable breasts certainly raised a few eyebrows when she appeared in Metal Gear Solid V.
She does have some memorable moments though, and one those moments is enough to make anyone wince. The scene shows a terrified soldier running away from Quiet, who's hunting him down, in an attempt to stop him from spreading a virus. It's the way the Quiet has to kill him that makes it so vicious. The game's realistic scraping and cracking sounds as she's ramming the blade through his teeth, will have most gamers covering their eyes and ears simultaneously.
The Last Of Us is a great action-horror game with many memorable scenes both horrific and emotional. The scenes where a villain called David kidnaps Ellie to try and force her into being his lover, which is disgusting enough in its own right, but because she refused him he decided he's going to kill and eat her.
In an intense scene, Ellie manages to escape David's men, but he catches her himself, and attempts to assault her. Thankfully, Ellie manages to break free and absolutely destroy David in a frenzied attack with a meat cleaver. It's a visceral, but satisfying, scene that showed that Ellie was strong willed enough to save herself, and giving David exactly what he deserved.
Until Dawn is a PlayStation exclusive horror game, which takes a very different —yet effective— direction with the genre. Instead of going the usual route of being in control of one solo character the game gives the player the choice of controlling the outcomes of several different characters.
One aspect that made the game stand out so much was the realistic graphics. The photorealistic visuals helped create more horrifying death scenes in the game, and the most of terrifying of them all was when one wrong choice could cause one of the characters named Jessica to get her jaw slowly ripped off by the Wendigo. The scene is all levels of nasty as you watch it all unfold in front of you with its realistic and gory effects, topped only by its sound design.
Despite the fact that there's never been a tree in sight, the chainsaw has been in every single Doom game. It's by far the most up close and brutal weapon to use in the series, and in the 2016 reboot, the chainsaw is more gruesome and visceral than ever in all its high definition glory.
The chainsaw is an incredibly effective weapon that requires different bars of fuel depending on the size of the demon. A smaller enemy would require one bar, while a larger enemy would require three, and the bigger the enemy the more bloody, and nasty the kill — but so much more satisfying.
There could probably be an argument that the fatality finishing moves in Mortal Kombat could fill the list from to top to bottom, but there's one fatality, in particular, that's quite possibly the most visceral.
The "Tasty Treat" Fatality from the character Mileena. Which once activated, begins with her ferociously tearing open her victim's abdomen while they are still conscious. The poor soul will try in vain to crawl away, further separating their own body, as Mileena feasts on their insides. It takes quite a bit effort to be most ferocious finishing move in the Mortal Kombat series, but Mileena is definitely the reigning queen of the kill.
The Sniper Elite video game series has gained a lot of hardcore fans over the years due to its focus on tactical combat and stealth. The game takes itself quite seriously in its setting and the strategic game mechanics are very well executed. Although, one of its biggest selling points is the very Mortal Kombat-esque X-Ray kill shots.
Each and every kill gives you a satisfying and up close and personal view of your bullet piercing your targets heart, eyes, and lungs. Although, the kill that will probably be remembered the most is the exploding testicles shot. There's nothing quite so cringeworthy as watching a mans nether-regions explode in slow motion — yikes!