In broad strokes, games offer various mixes of several rewards: story, challenge, spectacle, and loot. We’re here today to talk about the last bit, and the loot-grinding games which are most easilyt defined by the stuff you get from killing enemies over and over hoping to get an item you want or need. Gear progression is everything, and these games have it in spades.
Don’t worry, however, even grind-heavy games tend to have a good dose of story going on to motivate you forward, and quite a few also make sure that the loot looks cool as hell to make you feel good about using it in a raid for another piece you need for your masterbuild.
Below you’ll find a hefty list with quite a few excellent, fun, and exciting (often all at the same time!) loot-grind games you absolutely shouldn’t ignore if you’re keen on this kind of playstyle. We’ve included PC games, console releases, one or two 2022 titles for a fresh coat of paint, and plenty of games which have proven grind-worthy over the years.
|Developer:||People Can Fly|
Outrider takes you to the planet of Enoch, which despite appearing Earth-like actually endures vicious, mutating energy storms.
The lucky part is that thanks to them you receive devastating superpowers instead of dying gruesomely like others. The specific story is best experienced on your own time, we’re here to talk about loot and grind, and Outriders does have plenty of both.
First of all, you absolutely shouldn’t sleep on the Legendary items, because not only are they powerful, but also look incredible. Second, even items you don’t like might bear a mod that could extract from them to apply to something you DO like. There are many mighty builds you can discover just by mixing and matching legendaries, mods, and your own powers.
The Ascent is set up perfectly to enable and encourage grinding for hours.
It’s a twin-stick shooter action RPG, which means not only plenty of enemies to blast apart with your weaponry, but also progression system built around finding new weapons and upgrades for your character. It’s the kind of game that makes two hours pass before you even notice.
The story and setting themselves are quite fun too. The game takes place on an alien planet whose corporate overlords, The Ascent Group, have fallen, throwing the colony into disarray. Now in order to protect your home district you must deal with several factions, push against gang invasions, and generally keep things as orderly as they can be. But hey, at least your gun’s working.
Relying on hack and slash games when looking for good loot grinds is always a safe bet. Especially when the gaze falls of games as good as Grim Dawn.
The wealth of loot you might collect is staggering, and you could spend long, long hours chasing the perfect combination of traits and affixes to complement your build. And all that to carve enemy hordes even faster!
The story puts you in a world at the brink of human extinction because humans found themselves between two warring extradimensional factions. All that remains are small scattered enclaves. It’s a great setup, and good pretext to explore the ruined world and use your spectacular abilities to unleash destruction upon monsters and collect loot they dropped.
Remnant: From the Ashes
Remnant: From the Ashes puts you in the unfortunate shoes of people who didn’t die when the apocalypse was happening and how have to deal with monsters and bizarre phenomena on a daily basis.
Your mission is to open portals to procedurally generated realities and venture within, seeking resources and answers, while also fighting back against the gruesome abominations.
You’ll also find a lot of cool loot to assist you in future excursions, and plenty of resources to spend on upgrades and boss weapons. While Remnants… takes some inspirations from Souls games, it’s much more co-op oriented, so grinding for the mods you need or the resources for crafting can be made even more fun. After all, it’s the apocalypse, you’ve got to stay together, eh?
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands
|Genre:||First person shooter|
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is a full-blown spin-off from possibly the most beloved DLC to Borderlands 2: Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep.
It goes all-in on the Dungeons & Dragon pastiche, which means that if there’s one thing you should expect is a lot of vicious enemies and an absurd amount of procedurally generated loot for you to collect. It’s the true D&D and Borderlands way.
In keeping with the fantasy theme, in addition to regular guns you will also be able to find melee weapons, amulets, and magic rings, all conferring usually useful boosts to your combat performance. Oh, and instead of grenades you get spells. Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is a fantastic game, and it’s clear it really loves its own aesthetic. Just looking at the map shows a charming creativity.
Path of Exile
|Developer:||Grinding Gear Games|
What could be a better game to open such a list than a game considered by some the killer of the legendary Diablo. Its developers are adequately called Grinding Gear Games.
Path of Exile is a free-to-play H&S online game where you will travel the land of the damned, Wraeclast, as one of many who got exiled for minor and major sins. One of the most innovative things in terms of looting is the orbs that serve the purpose of both currency and enchantment items.
Of course, you also collect tons of useful equipment pieces, as well as skill gems, which you can slot in to gain access to powerful abilities. In fact, finding an item with the slots you need to plop in the skills is one of the game’s core elements, and you’ll spend a lot, A LOT of time constantly improving and refining your build based on the gear you get and modifiers you roll and reroll.
Path of Exile is free to play game.
Diablo II & Resurrected
|Release:||2001-06-27 / 2021-09-23|
|Genre:||Hack and Slash|
Since we’ve already mentioned Diablo, let’s add this legendary franchise to the list.
From all games of the series, Diablo II, especially with its expansion pack Lord of Destruction, earned probably the most praise, thus making its way here. The game features a quite complicated loot system – items can come in different rarities and can have random attributes.
They can lose durability over time, forcing you to repair them. Equipment items can belong to a set and if you somehow manage to find or trade for the entire set, you will be able to get an additional completion bonus while wearing it. It’s worth noting the presence of runes that can be used to further enchant the equipment, and some of the runes are available only on the hardest difficulty level.
After long years of waiting, Diablo IV is well underway, and from all we’ve seen, it’s going to be return to form in all aspects, revitalizing the series when it eventually releases.
|Genre:||Action & Shooter|
The entire Borderlands franchise is definitely worth trying out if you didn’t already, but if there’s one that’s truly time-tested and player approved, it’s Borderlands 2.
This game perfectly shows what a game would look like if you took a hack and slash and turned it into an FPS. Huge world, tons of achievements to earn, a multitude of side quests, increasingly-difficult monsters and bosses, epic and humorous narrative, and of course – the randomized looting.
Looted items in Borderlands 2 are mainly weapons. They can come in different rarities including legendaries and may have various effects, depending on the manufacturer. For example, Vladof weapons have a high fire rate while Jakobs offer unparalleled damage. Of course, if you’d rather play something much fresher, Borderlands 3 is absolutely worthy of every bit of attention, with a cool new cast and a grander scope than its predecessors.
It shouldn’t be surprising that yet another game on the list is a good old hack and slash.
After all, grinding proved to work best in these kinds of games. Torchlight II improved on virtually every aspect of its predecessor, and the looting system was no exception. As you kill your enemies you will find a variety of usable equipment and consumable items split into different rarities including the Legendary.
Legendaries are one-of-a-kind items and have their own unique names and pre-defined statistics, making them not only powerful things to use in combat but also a valuable addition to any item collection. Once you finish the game you can start an NG playthrough for even more loot. Or if NG gets tiring after the third prestige, why now take a look at Torchlight III for a slight change of scenery?
Now let’s forget about H&S for a moment to make the list more up close and personal.
It’s hard to choose between Destiny or Destiny 2, but for the sake of simplicity let’s take the second one as it is more recent. The game strikes a perfect balance between raiding, fast-paced gunplay, and grinding for loot and is best described as an FPS with MMO elements and a truly staggering gun collection.
Destiny 2 allows you to participate in various PvE and PvP activities that will reward you with some sweet items you can use to become more powerful and progress further. Though time-consuming, completing an entire item set is a satisfying experience. Over the years it also received several large expansions and updates, helping the game grow to massive levels and introducing a stupidly huge number of unique, powerful weapons for you to strive for.
Monster Hunter: World
|Developer:||CAPCOM CO., LTD.|
If you’re up to a challenge and always had a dream of becoming a professional monster hunter hunting the most dangerous creatures in the world, then you should definitely try Monster Hunter: World.
The gameplay revolves around hunting monsters alone or in groups of up to 4 players online. Killed or captured monsters can then be turned into materials for a new sword or a snazzy hat.
Over time you’ll gather enough to build specialised loadouts, allowing you to hunt even more powerful monsters – a standard looting cycle. An interesting gameplay mechanic allows you to increase the chances of getting materials you need by breaking or cutting off monster bits. It turns out it’s easier to get a piece of a tail if you cut it off.
Monster Hunter World was greatly improved in the Iceborne expansion adding a higher difficulty and a ton of new gear and mechanics. There’s also a lighter, more breezy half-sequel. Monster Hunter Rise, with its own grand expansion, Sunbreak.
|Developer:||KOEI TECMO GAMES CO., LTD.|
This game is a true gem and a must-play for anyone interested in Japanese history as it is set in the fictionalized version of Japan during the Sengoku period.
You will play an Irish samurai, William, tasked with pursuing the dangerous sorcerer. As you play you will find tons of usable items, from equipment to consumables you can use to temporarily boost your strength.
Equippable items you find during playing have various different statistics, allowing your hero to grow stronger as he progresses the story. For example, armors have different defense ratings and will offer different protection against certain types of damage. There are also various types of weapons, allowing you to use the one that fits your playstyle best.
Nioh lived to get a successor, Nioh 2 acting as a prequel and featuring a different cast of characters, but the same wealth of loot and mechanics to dig into.
In Darksiders 2 you will play the role of Death, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
As you play you will be able to learn powerful attacks, gain experience levels, invest points into a skill tree, which covers both melee abilities and necromantic summons. We’re playing Death, after all, scythe and undead both yield to his command.
But it’s not enough to face the biggest challenges and even Death will need powerful items in order to defeat demanding opponents – thankfully enemies drop tons of useful pieces of equipment you can use to make your character stronger. In addition to “regular” magic weapons from several classes, you can also find Possessed gear, which gets more powerful if you feed it other items. It might even gain the consumed items’ magical properties!
Warframe is meant to be played online and it lets you play as a member of the ancient Tenno warriors, awoken from centuries of cryosleep.
The gameplay focuses on fast-paced encounters seamlessly mixing gunplay, melee combat, and superpowers commanded by the titular Warframes. There’s also a significant parkour element, which makes the game incredibly fast and spectacular.
Completing missions and killing enemies rewards you generously with powerful mods you can apply to your gear to make your warrior more efficient on the battlefield. You’ll also find blueprints for more warframes or otherwise unavailable weapons, but getting your hands on some of them can be, well, quite a grind: many only drop for bosses, others from enemies only spawning on specific high-level missions.
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing
|Genre:||Action & Shooter|
For the final position on the list let’s get back to the isometric H&S genre in the form of The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing.
Here you will be able to explore the gothic-noir 19th-century Easter Europe as a son of the legendary vampire hunter, Abraham Van Helsing. Over three games you’ll hack and slash untold hordes of mutants, arcane abominations, bandits, and other problems, for various plot-justified reasons.
During your journey you will be aided by the ghost of a noble, if snarky, Lady Katarina who will provide you with additional inventory space, pick up loot for you, and even help out in a fight. Her most useful ability, however, is that you can send her to sell your excess loot, and you will really need to, quite often. Don’t be mistaken by the title, these games have more humor than horror.
Loot is recyclable, pick it up
This concludes out list of loot grinders, games you could spend untol hours in, collecting heaps of random loot in hopes of finding exactly the item you need to complete your masterfully designed build. Hopefully you’ve spotted a shiny that perfectly matches your playstyle and theme preferences, be it a futuristic FPS, a medievalesque hack & slash, or something else entirely. Grind on.