Viscerality—that is, actual 'viscerality' and not just game journalists using the word to describe anything fluidly violent—has been a part of videogames for as long as videogames have been capable of putting out detailed graphics.
Once upon a time, artists had to render each sprite frame by frame to depict violence and gore, but these days, games engines are more than capable of depicting it with the use of ragdoll physics and detachable skeletal models, along with a host of shaders and texture effects.
I've taken the liberty of not including many of the really older games which simply haven't aged well, but I've included a few surprises on that front.
Without further ado, here are the top 25 most violent, and goriest games of all time.
NeverDead is the latest game to come out of the insane minds of Rebellion, best known for their work on the Aliens vs Predator series, and Shinta Nojiri, famed director of many titles in the Metal Gear series. The whole game is based around the concept of reattachable body parts. The main character, who happens to be immortal, can lose his body parts only to reattach them as the situation requires.
#24 Dead Island
Dead Island may have wowed us with its touching trailer, but the family had absolutely nothing to do with the game—which mostly consists of beating zombies over the head with boat paddles and makeshift weapons.
#23 Fallout 3
Fallout 3 doesn't have the best animations, but it's violent as hell, especially when you shoot someone in slow motion and their head splits open like an overripe melon.
#22 Team Fortress 2
Team Fortress 2 is incredibly cartoonish in its violence, but once you've seen the Heavy with a demented grin and blood all over his face you'll never sleep soundly again.
Prey remains a shocking game to play despite being out for years. Everything in this game dies a horrible, gory death—even the children.
#20 Postal 2
What Postal 2 lacked in gameplay, it more than makes up for in gore. You can set people on fire and pee on them to put them out. I guess that counts as a gameplay mechanic.
Not to be confused with the Tears for Fears album, MadWorld is a Platinum Games title that stylizes its depiction of violence in a black and white world, and saturates with red blood.
Splatterhouse is a remake of the original Splattehrouse from 1998. This utterly violent game allows you to beat the hell out of monsters with everything from wooden planks to meat cleavers. Your arms can even be cut off and used to bat enemies.
In case you can't tell by the video, Harvester is an old game—a point and click adventure title with text input. But what it lacks in interactivity, it makes up for in gruesome FMV violence.
#16 Condemned 2: Bloodshot
Condemned 2 pits the protagonist against the homeless, all of whom have gone insane. Much of the game features bare fisted combat and melee, and is often gory. The game's context-sensitive environmental kills allow you to shove a person's head into a TV or kill them with a variety of other means.
In Prototype, the whole city is your playground for you to play in. If someone's standing in your way, just pick them up and throw them into a car.
The Wolfenstein remake was underrated and cast as being little more than another mindless FPS. But those who played it can certainly recall how violent it is. Shoot a Nazi in the throat and he'll clutch his neck until he bleeds to death.
You can shoot, splatter, and slice every enemy in Rage six ways to Sunday with your assortment of weapons. Killing the smaller enemies in quick succession with the wingsticks is nothing short of satisfying.
#12 Alien vs Predator 3
There's nothing worse than watching a man dissolve from the corrosive spit of an Alien. If living out Ripley's worst nightmare is what you're after, play this game.
#11 Left 4 Dead 2
If you thought the first game was violent, wait till you play the sequel. You can blow out chunks of the zombies who run at you en masse. Even with arms missing and their entrails hanging out of their bodies, they'll still grasp at you for a taste of your human flesh.
#10 FEAR 2
Not only is this game violent, it's also violent in slow-motion. It's also creepy, thanks to the appearance of Alma.
True to the comic book series, Punisher allows you to torture and maim your enemies—or at least threaten to, if you don't feel like being a complete badass.
#8 Dead Space 1 & 2
I've included both games as a single entry because they aren't too different in terms of graphical presentation and gameplay. Dead Space puts you in the role of Isaac Clarke, an engineer who has to face off against monsters made out of human corpses—or necromorphs—which you can kill in a variety of ways.
#7 Gears of War 3
Saw the bodies of the Locust enemies in half with the game's signature weapon—the Mk2 Lancer Assault Rifle, or chainsaw gun.
Bulletstorm's a game that doesn't take itself too seriously, and neither should you. Just sit back and enjoy the violence as you propel your enemies at spikes or simply kick them to death.
#5 The Darkness II
Dismember your enemies limb from limb with your two demonic arms or shoot them to death with the assortment of weapons at your disposal.
#4 God of War 3
Nothing says 'gore' like twisting a man's head off and using it to fire a laser—though the worst part in this game happens when you chain a girl to a giant piece of gear so she can be ground up in it and jam the mechanism with her mangled body.
#3 Mortal Kombat (2011)
Fatalities are the very definition of violence. The latest Mortal Kombat lives up to the series' tradition by allowing players to rip their enemies to shreds—literally.
#2 Soldier of Fortune
Soldier of Fortune is an old one, but it's one of the best. With body targeting, dismemberment and highly detailed animations, Soldier of Fortune remains one of the goriest games of all time.
#1 Manhunt 2
Strangle a man, choke him with a plastic bag, and jam a lead pipe into his face. You can do all of this, and more, in Manhunt. It's one of the few games on this list to actually earn a ban for its depiction of gore.