Revenge is a dish best served on a disc and with a controller sitting atop the napkin. While the proper revenge in real life may be out of your hands, helping a virtual character right some serious wrongs is always satisfying. Our list of the 10 Best Revenge Games features some the best revenge stories you're likely to find in any medium. Like many movies, the central plot of many games are set into motion by the murder of a loved one and it is your job to navigate their next of kin to blood-soaked retribution. But, as it is with most things, it is always a bit more complicated. Each title on our list of the 10 Best Revenge Games will let you live out tragedy and enjoy some sweet satisfaction.
There are a few mild spoilers, so consider yourself warned.
There have been a lot of Tom Clancy games, but the most story-driven ones are always prefaced with Splinter Cell. Through the beginning of Conviction, Sam Fisher investigates the possibility that the hit-and-run death of his daughter might not be an accident. After being attacked by a group of hitmen, there is no doubt in Fisher’s mind that it was set up. From then on, it is a cacophony of bullets and a whole lot of sneaking until Fisher finds some answers. For helping a dad find some peace, Splinter Cell: Conviction lands a spot on our list of the 10 Best Revenge Games.
Sibling kinship runs strong in any fantasy world. You hurt one and you will always incur the wrath of the other. As the hero in Fable 2, Sparrow, you have the chance to enact revenge on the evil Lord Lucien who shoots and kills his sister Rose. There is nothing worse than the death of a beloved sibling, and the chance to give Lord Lucien what he truly has coming is a big motivator. Fable 2 offers you the chance to avenge your fallen sister and unseat a tyrannical lord. What could be more vengeful or satisfying?
Look at the title. We’re not even sure that it’s a real word, but that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you get to help Raiden exact some razor-edged vengeance on all the robots and cyborgs in his path. After being seriously injured in an attack, the new and improved bionic Raiden is out to punish those who hurt him and continue to destroy the world. Not only is Raiden out for revenge for the damage done to him, but for the lives of orphans everywhere. Raiden isn’t only ripping out cyborg spines for fun, he’s doing it for the kids too.
The death of a loved one is unbearable, but when it happens before your eyes, that is more than enough for someone to see red and embrace the darkness to help them enact revenge on their beloved’s killer. Jackie Estacado is made to watch powerlessly as the love of his life is murdered. What ensues is a darkness-fueled rampage where dismemberment is a mercy for anyone in his path.
Noir to the bone, the original Max Payne starts off with multiple bangs directed at Payne’s family. Fueled by flashbacks to the horrible crime scene, Max set out to find who committed these atrocities. The result is an adventure dripping with bullet-time action in dank subways and a story that set the bar on the PS2 for revenge.
Shenmue deserves a spot on many "best of" lists, but it lands a spot on our list of the 10 Best Revenge Games because of its classic plot point of a boy avenging his father. After Ryo’s father is dealt a fatal blow at the family dojo and dies in his son’s arms, Ryo sets out to track down his father’s killer by any means necessary. Shenmue is an interesting game to say the least and it was an ambitious game for its time. It still stand up as one of the best revenge games you’re likely to find.
You know, our list wouldn’t be complete without Ninja Gaiden. It was the first video game to relay its story through animated cutscenes and of course it had to be a story of revenge. Ryu Hayabusa journeys to America to pick up the trail of his missing father. What happens next is full of hardcore platforming action that will leave even the most seasoned gamer with a challenge. Ryu is out for revenge, but also to save the world.
Red Dead Redemption is a broad and sprawling game that encompasses so much of the prairie and the human condition back in 1911. The story of John Marston is simple: he must capture or kill members of his old gang in order to get his family released from the feds. His old gang members shoot him and leave him for dead, so it becomes about more than redemption; it becomes about revenge. The story of Red Dead Redemption is a complex dish that is very much served cold, even if it is out on the prairie.
If there ever was a game more clearly cut about revenge, then it would have to be Dishonored. Revenge is ever your motivation. From the loyal royal guard of Dunwall, Corvo becomes the savior of the princess and vengeful angel of death for the murderers of her mother, the Empress. Corvo's thirst for justice trumps all, even if it makes the city a bit more chaotic. It will take a whole lot of guards and weepers to keep Corvo away from his style of stealthy revenge.
The culmination of our list of the 10 Best Revenge Games is also one of the best open-world games ever created. Ezio is brought into the fold of master Assassins after his family is murdered. The death of family and quest for retribution is a common trope in revenge games, but Assassin’s Creed 2 does it so well that it could be easily mistaken as the origin of the cliches. What really makes the revenge narrative hit home is the amount of freedom you're afforded in the gameplay, because you get to enact revenge under your terms.