Call them what you like, there’s a potent, identifiable strand of action games that over the years, have come to exemplify overblown, characterful, anime-infused action.
Think Devil May Cry, the original God of War before 2018’s reboot – literally any and everything Platinum Games have ever done. The genre tends to involve combo multipliers, enemy-launchers, in-air flurries and eyeball-straining finishers; the moment when you clear out a particular arena of goons coming with a shower of particle effects, a one-liner quip and a victory screen. Likely with you punching the sky in unison.
This genre is what Escapist’s Yahtzee Croshaw named the “Spectacle Fighter”, and you likely already have a standout favourite, but this burgeoning grouping of titles is rammed full of the purest gaming experiences available, with all being recommendable.
Unbelievably tight controls, connections between player and character that encourage experimentation – the genre’s propensity towards tough difficulty curves requires a level of attention and skill that makes it one of the more rewarding in all of gaming.
Knock the difficulty down and you have a ludicrously enjoyable genre that actively wants to show off as much as possible, but either way, everything we’ve got across the last almost twenty years is more than worth celebrating.