Video games are a violent medium. We shoot, stab, slice, nuke, punch, bulldoze, swing, and skewer our way through baddies… and all for what? For the cathartic, sadistic pleasure of pretending to kill something without consequences? Well… yeah! It’s because of the same adrenaline rush we get from watching an action movie or reading a suspense novel; that same release valve that we get from seeing an action star pump an army of Nazis full of lead. Why is violence so satisfying? Who knows!
The point is this: video games let us kill a LOT of things with a LOT of different weapons, and some weapons are more iconic, powerful, or just plain awesome than others. Someone should rank those weapons!
As it just so happens, a bunch of the writers here at Culture of Gaming wanted an excuse to geek out over video game weapons and how brutally magnificent they are, so we did just that! We ranked the 50 best video game weapons of all time in a list that is definitive, unchallenged, and infallible. Whether it be because of power, pop-culture fame, or outright zaniness, every weapon on this list is gloriously destructive in its own way.
This is Culture of Gaming’s top 50 video game weapons!
50. The Penetrator (Saints Row: The Third)
JT Scout: No weapon even comes close to this level of silliness. The primary use of this strange device is as a prosthetic bat. Angry Joe has even shown himself buying the large “prop” for one of his reviews. This just tells you how strange and over-the-top Saints Row can be. For a dildo bat – no other word to describe it – you see it as it flops around as like in reality. It does some damage, but the humiliation that comes with that is far worse. This giant purple thing even makes an appearance in Saints Row IV.
49. Fat Man (Fallout series)
Omar Banat: You have rocket launchers, and then you have nuclear warhead-firing rocket launchers. The idea that anyone would want to use this weapon in a post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland is absurd. The power that you can have sitting on your shoulder is terrifying. I don’t even consider using this weapon in Fallout games unless I’m on PC and can enable god mode. The potential for blowing yourself up or even irradiating yourself is too much for me to handle. Luckily, this behemoth is equally as dangerous to your enemies, if not more. So, go out there and incinerate your foes to your heart’s content.
48. The Patriot (Metal Gear Solid series)
Omar Banat: Who needs a bandana with an infinity symbol sewn in when you can have a weapon with an infinity-shaped feed mechanism? This modded fully-auto assault rifle is the signature weapon of The Boss and can be used by Big Boss following the victory over his mentor.
That infinity-shaped feed mechanism gives this boss of a gun an unlimited amount of ammo. Even though the gun can be hard to aim for the untrained, in the right hands it can be the bane of anyone who opposes you. It’s not ideal for sneaking, but if anything goes wrong it can be a reliable tool to quickly get you out of a tough spot. Also, the fact that The Patriot can make short work of most of the Cobra Unit is enough proof that this gun by itself is an intimidating force.
47. Pandora (Devil May Cry 4)
Mike Solseth: Devil May Cry has been known for having plenty of over the top weapons like like a motorcycle that can transform into two giant clubs or a literal electric guitar. However, if we were to go with the epitome of the side weapon from the series, look no further than Pandora. Taking the form of a briefcase, this bad boy as 666 destructive forms such as a rocket launcher, a laser cannon, Gatling gun, giant shuriken and even a vehicle form that fires out rockets from all sides.
46. Soul Edge (Soul Calibur)
Mike Solseth: As great as it would be to throw both sacred blades onto this list, we had to pick between the two and went with the one which was the big driving point in the entire series: Soul Edge.
Known as “The Evil Sword,” Soul Edge grants the user seemingly unlimited power by offering the blade the souls of the fallen. While many have held the blade in their hands, the most well known of these users was the Azure Knight: Nightmare with it taking the form of a giant sword with a giant eyeball in it. The weapon is so evil that even the spirit inside, Inferno, took over the Armor of Nightmare to become its own being as it sets off to destroy Soul Calibur and destroy the world.
45. Nuke (Civilization series)
Jonathan Thornburg: In the video game world, most weapons are made to be used without regard to the consequences. In the Civilization series, the use of one weapon will immediately make anyone’s game infinitely more difficult as every other country become much more hostile towards the player. It’s obvious that the designers wanted players to treat the nuke with respect just like in the real world.
44. Tripcaster (Horizon Zero Dawn)
JT Scout: When this game was first announced, it looked interesting. Later, once I started playing, everything just blew me away. Most notably was the Tripcaster, which I still feel is broken. It makes sense to have, however it definitely resonates with Horizon fans. Place down many of these at once, even while being chased, and you can one-shot even some of the most difficult beasts. This has possibly become one of my favorite games of all time for a reason, and as much as this weapon feels broken, it’s still fun to use! It also makes an appearance in Monster Hunter: World.
43. Plasma Grenade (Halo series)
Anthony Dennis: The Plasma grenade is a staple of the Alien Covenant in the Halo games. These are one of the most powerful grenades in the game and can trigger a chain reaction when close to covenant weaponry.
When you see a grunt running at you with two grenades, get out of there. These things can kill you instantly and stick to any surface that they are thrown at. I would often use these grenades as a last-ditch effort to clear out numerous hordes of aliens and they would often come in handy when up against Brutes or Elites.
42. Pump (Dig Dug series)
John Hansen: Until writing this entry, I did not realize that Dig Dug had multiple games in its series, so here we are focusing on the original game. Easily the simplest and most unconventional weapon on our list. In Dig Dug you travel underground and must eliminate the monsters that lurk beneath armed with only a bicycle pump. When in range, you throw out the needle, and if it makes contact, three pumps will make the monster blow up like a balloon. Let’s not get an HD remaster of this.
41. Love is Blue (Bayonetta 2)
Mike Solseth: If there is a “Rule of Cool” about using handguns, it would be that dual-wielding pistols is better than having one. So what does that say when you have someone who can use four pistols at one time? This is where Bayonetta comes in and her lovely weapons: Prelude, Minuet, Toccata, and Nocturne. Otherwise known as Love is Blue.
Now while these weapons might not differ from Scarborough Fair in terms of power or abilities, these were the next evolution in Bayonetta’s default arsenal. By having two guns in her hands and two more on her feet, she can use a combination of melee strikes with the guns to deliver devastating combos. It might sound silly to think of how someone can shoot a gun from their heels, but it goes to show that a lady knows how to accessorize when it comes to killing angels and demons alike.
40. Dual Pistols (Tomb Raider series)
39. Saw Cleaver (Bloodborne)
Mike Solseth: There’s something special about weapons that can transform into other weapons, wouldn’t you say? While Bloodborne has tons of these trick weapons, none stand out as much as the “jack-of-all-trades,” Saw Cleaver.
It is a very versatile weapons that already allows for fast attacks while its transform state extends the cleaver to fight against mobs of enemies. Best of all, the weapon is a one-handed weapon, so you can still use another weapon in your other hand to help fend off attacks. It can be a hunter’s best friend when you are fending for yourself in a world where everything wants you dead.
38. Rocket Launcher (Resident Evil series)
Aidan Simonds: Your first journey through the Spencer Mansion is terrifying, to say the least. Stuck in an absolute mind trick of a building is bad enough, but throw in some zombies and you’ll always be on the edge of your seat. It doesn’t help that supplies are constantly low, forcing you to save those precious bullets for when it matters the most. You never feel safe in Resident Evil. That is, unless you’re good enough to get the rocket launcher. Getting that rocket launcher with unlimited ammo suddenly makes running through Spencer Mansion a blast, and it makes all the terrors found within child’s play.
37. Baller Pistols (Hitman series)
Anthony Dennis: When you think Hitman, what’s the first thing you think of? A stealthy Assassin sneaking through buildings, fibre wire in hand and pistols on hips. These “pistols” are actually Agent 47’s constant companions. With him on every mission and game cover for that matter, the Baller’s are super accurate and refined weapons capable of packing a punch in any situation
I would often use these in Hitman Absolution when in tight spots or to even trigger a stealth takedown. The silenced versions of these pistols are even more deadly and are ones to look out for when playing any Hitman game.
36. Palutena Bow (Kid Icarus series)
Ahmed Lulat: Made most famous by Smash Bros. Brawl and the hugely underrated, but one of my favourites, Kid Icarus: Uprising. The beautifully crafted weapon has a uniquely interesting trait in that the bow gains more speed and power the faster Pit is moving, giving way to a high risk/high reward situation. The weapon draws a strong parallel with the game its featured in, only being unlockable from speed running specific levels. Meaning you have to earn the right to harness the power of this speed dependant weapon. If you can then you are well on your way to mastering the game itself.
35. Homerun Bat (Super Smash Bros series)
Omar Banat: The deafening screech emitted by the Homerun Bat in Smash Bros., there’s nothing quite as rewarding in video games. In a series that focuses on chaotic free-for-alls, this weapon personifies that chaos. Line up for a swing and everyone in front of you scatters. Or you can play it smart and chuck the bat into a crowd of distracted fighters, then pick it up after it has cleared everyone out of the area. There’s no item in Smash Bros. that’s more feared than the Homerun Bat.
34. Folding Blade (Dishonored series)
John Hansen: The Folding Blade is Corvo Attano’s signature weapon in the Dishonored games. He holds it differently depending on whether he is aggressive or stealthy and when it’s time to put it away it folds up nice and quick to be the perfect concealable weapon. While Corvo prefers to use other means to dispatch of his more important enemies, the folding blade allows him to destroy the grunts of the opposition quickly and quietly. In the second game, it can be upgraded to get rid of clockwork soldiers and witches faster, which is appreciated with how annoying those enemies are.
33. Scorpion’s Spear (Mortal Kombat series)
Mike Solseth: When talking about one of the most iconic weapons from the Mortal Kombat series, none come close to the one that demands that you “Get Over Here!”
You would think someone being undead was already enough, but Scorpion goes one step further with his handy dandy spear (which is actually a Kunai on a chain). Just like his namesake, Scorpion can throw out the spear and should it latch onto someone, he can pull them in to deliver a powerful attack. The weapon itself might seem simplistic in design, but it can be rather deadly in Scorpion’s hands as later titles show how he can use it in a variety of ways, including setting his opponents on fire and other deadly combos.
32. Hammer of Dawn (Gears of War series)
Anthony Dennis: The Hammer of Dawn is by far the most powerful weapon in the Gears of War series. It is essentially a giant laser that is orbiting earth that uses the sunlight to target whatever the user is pointing at. Whenever you are in a sticky situation, break out the targeting device and wait 30 seconds. The satellite will do the rest.
I would often use this weapon during missions and it is quite often a necessity to use the Hammer of Dawn. The final boss of Gears of War 1 requires the use of the Hammer of Dawn to take him down. And that’s what I love. It’s subtle yet deadly.
31. M6D Pistol (Halo series)
Anthony Dennis: The first ever weapon used in all of Halo, the Pistol is still iconic to this day. As one of the most reliable and accurate weapons in the entire series, it may not look like it but the M6D still packs quite a punch.
This is still to this day one of my favorited weapons in all of halo and is still a staple in my loadout. This gun is fantastic for headshots on jackals and is super accurate in multiplayer. When the worst comes to the worst, the M6D will always have your back.
30. Ray Gun (Call of Duty series)
Matthew Garcia: An infamous line anyone has heard if they have played a game of Call of Duty Zombies. And even though it belongs in just that lone game mode, it is easily the most recognizable firearm in this series. There is nothing like having a semi automatic weapon that has a sound that is tailor made for it. On top of that, it it a viable weapon that can be viable in the late game, especially if you pack a punch it. All of this adds up to make one of the most satisfying guns in Call of Duty. And for that reason, it makes our list at the #30 spot.
29. Shovel (Shovel Knight)
Aidan Simonds: Shovels: not just for digging! Shovel Knight is a throwback to the NES days in many ways, right down to the choice of weapon of its titular hero. No, there weren’t any video games back that that focused heavily on shovels (give or take a Dig Dug). But with a pogo stick-esque ability similar to Ducktales, it is equally as effective at picking up enemies as it is at picking up dirt. It better be versatile, too, as it is the only offensive weapon our Shovel Knight can equip. It’s not like he’d need anything else, however.
28. Baseball Bat (Earthbound)
Ethan Braun: This is a bit of a unique entry. See, in Earthbound, you never actually see your weapons. Every first-person battle plays out to you through the text at the top, so the most you’ll see (or hear) of Ness’s oh-so famous bat is when you get a critical hit and the text displays “SMAAAASH!!” in a colorful, bold font (so satisfying). But no, the baseball bat is more famously known in the Smash Bros series as Ness’s side smash. It can not only reflect projectiles, but does a nice chunk of damage as well. Smash Bros has made it so that you can’t think about Ness without thinking about his bat. That’s the mark of an iconic weapon.
27. Celestial Brush (Okami)
Aidan Simonds: In a game as beautiful as Okami, there is no weapon more appropriate than the Celestial Brush. Few weapons are as versatile as this brush. While this is used in an offensive way (obviously), it has much more use than that. It has the power to destroy, but it also has the power to create. Whether you’re reviving dead plants or rebuilding broken bridges, the Celestial Brush is, in many ways, indicative of what Okami is. Okami can be dark at times, but it also shows the power of creation and creativity.
26. Whip (Spelunky)
Ethan Braun: The whip summarizes Spelunky in a single item. It’s surprisingly powerful, yet extremely short-ranged. Compared to Castlevania’s empowering vampire killer whip, Spelunky’s is much, much more limiting. It challenges you to dance back and forth with your enemy, pushing just close enough to swipe them with the whip, but not close enough to lose a quarter of your health. Just like Spelunky’s gameplay loop, the whip is difficult to use at first, but with enough repetition, it’s addictive and satisfying as hell.
25. Spread Gun (Contra series)
Ethan Braun: Of all the weapon types in the titular Contra series, the spread gun has to be the most satisfying. The three-way bullet-storm it spews is perfect for practically any encounter. Is there a massive Alien Tortoise blocking the way? Spread gun! Got a multi-level horde of soldiers barreling towards you? Spread gun! Are you blocked by an impenetrable wall and two turrets? Spread gun is the answer to everything. In an already-fantastic series of side-scrolling shoot-em-up, the spread gun added another level of chaos and over-the-top action. It’s only too bad the series has been on hiatus for so long…
24. Masamune (Final Fantasy VII)
Ethan Braun: The Buster Sword might be iconic, but the Masamune is threatening and menacing. From the moment we met Sephiroth in FFVII, his 68-inch katana filled us with a sense of dread. Like Sephiroth, the Masamune is cold, tall, steely, and soulless. When Sephiroth used it to stab the president of the evil corporation Shinra in the back, it stood tall in the air like a statue, displaying the triumph of assassination oh-so boldly. That one key moment was Sephiroth’s tipping point, the final peak before his steep descent into madness. It’s a brilliant moment, displayed by a diabolical weapon.
23. Arm Cannon (Metroid series)
Ethan Braun: In both Super Metroid and Metroid Prime, the arm cannon is Samus’s vanilla ice cream cone. At the beginning of each game, the arm cannon is nothing but a multi-fire laser gun, but as Samus makes her way through the depths of Planet Zebes or the surface of Tallon IV, it slowly becomes a multi-faceted tool. What was once a simple gun can now shoot three ice-beams at once (through walls), a charge beam, two missiles, and a grappling beam. Samus’s gameplay arc from a weak shell to an almighty bounty hunter is one of the most satisfying in video game history, and it’s all because of that arm cannon.
22. Rebellion (Devil May Cry series)
David White: The Devil May Cry series is stuffed with swords, but none more iconic than Dante’s signature ‘Rebellion’, a sword seemingly part made out of bones and a keepsake from its former wielder, Dante’s heroic father, the legendary Dark Knight Sparda. It’s particularly important as the sword that unlocked Dante’s full demonic potential and with that his awesomely destructive Devil Trigger ability. Lore aside, its symbolic of the series and one of the greatest weapons in the hack-and-slash sub-genre. Devil May Cry would not be Devil May Cry without badass swords, and Dante would not be Dante without Rebellion adorning his back.
21. Crowbar (Half-life series)
David White: The talisman of the one free man. Isn’t it strange how in a famous first person shooter series, it’s most recognisable and iconic weapon is nothing more than a simple maintenance tool? The Crowbar. When Half Life‘s nerdy hero wields any other weapon, he looks just like any other video game action hero, but when he wields that totemic red and silver crowbar, he is Gordon Freeman. Who, like me, didn’t let out just a little fanboy squee when the emblematic tool was returned to Gordon in Half Life 2? Thanks, Barney!
20. Metal Gear Rex (Metal Gear Solid series)
Omar Banat: Who needs a weapon to surpass Metal Gear when you can just have a Metal Gear? Rex may be one of the more boxy and bulky Metal Gear designs in the MGS series, but it’s still a force to be reckoned with. Otacon suited that thing out with impregnable armor and enough weapons to take on a small army. The mostly deadly of all those weapons being the rail-gun launched nukes. Also, if anyone has qualms about Rex beating out Ray, just remember who won the battle in MGS4.
19. Diamond Sword (Minecraft)
John Hansen: Let me paint a picture that could happen to any Minecraft player. It’s nighttime. You have been digging for resources for hours now. Your inventory is almost full. You hear zombies as you stand near a lava pit. Then you spot what you started digging for. A little patch of diamonds! You can finally make the ultimate weapon to protect yourself against the relentless mobs. The diamond sword is the most powerful weapon in Minecraft. It can also be upgraded using an enchantment table. Mobs and griefers will fear you when you smack them with a sword, and they catch on fire!
18. Lancer Rifle (Gears of War series)
Anthony Dennis: Gears of War as a series has many iconic weapons, but none as iconic as the Lancer Assault rifle. This gun is iconic from the fact it is a highly powerful machine gun and it also has a chainsaw attached to its front end.
Whenever I ran out of ammunition in game, I would often charge at locusts just with the hopes of using the chainsaw to take some down before being killed. Kind of like a last ditch effort to redeem myself. This gun will stand as one of the best weapons of all time in my book.
17. Leviathan Axe (God of War)
John Hansen: With Kratos getting a rework in the newest God of War installment, we needed a new weapon for our favorite anger management case study. There is not another weapon in 2018 that is as fun to play with than the Leviathan Axe. Throwing it at your enemies and then pressing the button to call it back is as close to throwing Thor’s hammer, Mjölnir, as we may ever get. The Leviathan Axe is as brutal and efficient as its wielder. Slashing through enemies and feeling the weight of the axe impact them is the single best experience in gaming in 2018.
16. Gunblade (Final Fantasy VIII)
JT Scout: When you think Gunblade, you think Final Fantasy, but would it not surprise you to find out where the concept might have come from? The Pistol Sword. Look it up, it exists. It gives you much more appreciation for the franchise and the middle-child of the three main-series PS One games. Later iterations of Final Fantasy have also implemented Gunblades, such as FFXII, XIII, and XIV. The Gunblade never misses, with 255% accuracy, also coming in various forms that add strength and new Limit Breaks. The first few minutes of the opening scene, you get introduced to Seifer and Squall’s Gunblades. They have numerous fights between each other using their respective Gunblades. To me, this screams Final Fantasy.
15. Hidden Blades (Assassin’s Creed series)
JT Scout: Who has not heard about this game, as well as seen the hidden blades in media? It’s so iconic of the series itself, being one of the most overly used weapons. They’re far too much fun, and it’s so satisfying to get a stealthy double-kill. Cosplayers implement this in their outfits as well, noting that it doesn’t feel complete without them. Whether you’re running from the law, jumping off buildings, or going 1 on 1, you’re never without a weapon. I’ve run through the whole Brotherhood game with nothing except these at my side. Even though some of the newest games have focused further on other weapons, the Hidden Blades still reign supreme in my books.
14. Vampire Killer (Castlevania series)
David White: The great heirloom of Castlevania‘s Belmont clan, handed down through the generations, bestowed with power and destiny, created to aid its honoured wielder in smiting the very incarnation of evil, Dracula. Though, when the series became more of an RPG platformer, this iconic whip would often be a default or even middling weapon until something more powerful came along. It’s also fun to wield, especially when Super Castlevania IV introduced the ability to attack in eight directions and rotate the whip by circling the directional pad. Yet despite being over powered by many other weapons in the series, the many heroes of the Belmont clan just wouldn’t be Belmonts without it, nor would Castlevania be Castlevania.
13. Hammer (Donkey Kong)
David White: If the classic song isn’t running in your head right now, then — in the immortal words of Reggie Fils-Aimé — what’s wrong with you? This little hammer is more likely to be recognized from Smash Bros., but without its original appearance in Donkey Kong we wouldn’t have the lovely 8-bit tune and ridiculous swinging motion we all know. Even though this walloper couldn’t be used on DK himself, it’s still impressive that it can completely obliterate a barrel with one manic swing.
12. Boomerang (The Legend of Zelda series)
Anthony Dennis: The Legend of Zelda’s Boomerang is an iconic weapon used in many games. My first experience with said weapon was Ocarina of Time. I would often use it as both a weapon and a handy tool to reach those hard to reach objects and enemies. Being an indigenous Australian weapon, it is a bit surprising that an item like this would show up in a Zelda game.
I would often use it to throw at those pesky hens and to also reach fleeing enemies. This item is still being used in the Zelda series to this day and you can even use it in BOTW.
11. Super Shotgun (Doom series)
John Hansen: The Super Shotgun is perfect for getting up close and personal with Hell’s demons. Making its debut in DOOM II, the super shotgun is a mighty double-barreled shotgun that packs quite the punch. It is brilliant for taking on multiple enemies in the older games and in the 2016 reboot is just as fun to play with alongside the fast controls. We cannot wait to get our hands on the super shotgun in DOOM Eternal which will now have a grappling hook that can attach to both terrain and enemies because we need to keep our options open on how we can go about ripping demons apart.
10. Energy Sword (Halo series)
John Hansen: Master Chief has wielded quite a few recognizable deadly weapons. None fill the opposition with more fear than the energy sword. The energy sword is a one hit kill in every standard situation with a quick lunge that has been the cause of many broken controllers. While any gun will have a range advantage over the sword in a battle, closing that gap will ensure one quick kill added on to your team’s score. Running around a map while cloaked with the energy sword is one of the best ways to make yourself feel like the Predator hunting its prey.
9. Golden Gun (Goldeneye)
Anthony Dennis: The Golden Gun from Goldeneye N64 is one of the most powerful guns in all of video game history. The 1 shot kill was invented by this gun and many memories have been had with friends and family 1 shot killing from all the way across the other side of the map.
This gun was such an over powered weapon that it was actually a blessing in disguise. Due to Goldeneye‘s shoddy controls, this gun would always give the wielder the upper hand in crucial situations and it always gave the wielder a feeling of invincibility.
8. Blue Shell (Mario Kart series)
Aidan Simonds: You’re in first place, on Rainbow Road of all tracks. You’re almost at the finish line, when suddenly, you hear it. That dreaded alarm. It’s coming for you. You do your best to avoid it, but unlike the shells of red and green, there’s no escape. Your best shot is slowing down to see if others can get caught in the crossfire, but is it worth the risk? The blue shell has become one of the most feared items in all of video games, as it literally has the power to bring someone from first place to last. While some may lament at the blue shell’s unfairness, it’s emblematic of the absolute chaos that Mario Kart is. Nintendo may have introduced a counter to the blue shell in the form of the super horn, it’s done nothing to diminish the fear of the blue shell. The fact that those in its path can also be hit by it now too makes this thing even more fearsome.
7. BFG9000 (DOOM series)
David White: “A horrible hallway scouring weapon”, one that “turned everyone you aimed at into puddles of gore”. So read the design document for DOOM‘s BFG9000. This monstrous weapon encapsulated what DOOM is all about, utter destruction, the joy of laying waste to droves of attackers, flooring demonic enemies by the handful, and feeling like a total badass when doing so.
The BFG9000 is the holy grail of DOOM weapons, one that excited all players from the moment they became aware of its existence. And as soon as players obtained its oversized, bulky, near unwieldy metal shape, they likely held on to the weapon, until the opportunity to display its power presented itself, a room full of enemies unaware of their impending annihilation because you the player have your hands on a titan of FPS butchery, the BFG9000.
6. Gravity Gun (Half-life 2)
David White: How can you not appreciate a gun that lets you flatten enemies with a car tyre, partition them with a circular saw, embarrass them with a well aimed toilet or render them unconscious with literally another gun? The Gravity Gun, or rather, the Zero Point Energy Field Manipulator, was a great demonstrator of the physics capabilities of Valve’s Source Engine, when it first appeared in Half Life 2 it quickly became a fan favourite. And yes, while Half Life 2 would still be great without it, it is the game’s most famous weapon and easily one of the genre’s most fun.
5. Blades of Chaos (God of War series)
Omar Banat: The Leviathan Axe may prove to become Kratos’ next iconic weapon. Yet, The Blades of Chaos still reign supreme as one of the best video game weapons of all time. Their trademark jagged blades and chains not only gave this weapon a distinctive brutal look, they also helped Kratos rip and tear enemies so viciously that it would make the Doom Slayer blush. The violence these blades impart is gorgeous. The long chains allow Kratos to swing them around freely into wonderfully linked combos.
They were a gift — or more like a curse — from the God of War, Ares, saving Kratos from imminent doom on the battlefield. They turned certain defeat into a decisive victory for his fellow Spartans. Kratos only had to pay the small price of losing his family and becoming a mere pawn of the Gods.
Eventually those same blades were used to help take down Ares in their epic final battle. Any weapon that enables a mortal — even one as powerful as Kratos — to take down a god is well deserving of a spot in the top five.
4. Buster Sword (Final Fantasy VII)
Ethan Braun: From a gameplay perspective, Cloud Strife’s Buster Sword isn’t all that special. Not only is it the first weapon Cloud gets, it’s also one of the weakest in the game. Anyone who’s ever wanted to finish FFVII has had to ditch the buster sword within the very first few hours. But in a grander context, the Buster Sword is much more than its weakness in battle. Just the aesthetic of the Buster Sword alone is enough to make it stand out – it’s massive, girthy, and hard-hitting. And for every impactful cutscene in FFVII’s incredible story, that dang sword is hanging on Cloud’s back.
Perhaps it speaks to FFVII’s legacy that, in a series with more than fifteen entries, we still remember a sword from a single entry. 20 years later, Cloud Strife and the Buster Sword are inseparable in the gaming community’s collective memory. So much so, that when Cloud “stormed his way” into Super Smash Bros in 2015, Nintendo displayed his flagship weapon loud and proud in the trailer. And now that Smash Ultimate is out, Cloud and the Buster Sword will continue to live on for years and years to come.
3. Mega Buster (Mega Man series)
Ethan Braun: The Mega Man series is all about versatility. You bounce from stage to stage, killing robot masters and taking their abilities as you unlock more and more weapon types. By the end of any Mega Man game, you’ll have evolved from a lowly, lemon-shooting sentient to an almighty arsenal-wielding robot over-lord. But at the base of this wide range of weapon types is Mega Man’s own humble Mega Buster.
Similar to Samus Aran’s arm cannon, the Mega Buster serves as a base shell designed for modification. In the opening stage, it’ll have nothing but the ability to shoot pellets. But then it expands in power. Items like the metal blade or fire wave turn the Mega Buster into an unstoppable killing machine, capable of attacking enemies in nearly every direction. It provides for a kind of tactical platforming that not many other games in the genre can lay claim to. And that’s precisely why it’s one of the greatest video game weapons of all time.
2. Keyblade (Kingdom Hearts series)
Aidan Simonds: There may not be a more “video game” weapon than the Keyblade. In what other media would an oversized key be the weapon of choice? Having both the extravagantness of Square and the whimsy of Disney, the Keyblade is, in a way, the essence of what Kingdom Hearts is. The Keyblade is a jack of all trades, yet also the master of everything it does. It not only is an effective melee weapon, but it can also produce magic of various kinds. There’s also the fact that it has the power to lock the “keyholes” of each world (essentially a world’s heart) and unlock pathways between the worlds. It also can be used as an actual key, just for good measure.
That all may sound confusing, but if you’re a Kingdom Hearts fan, you’ll understand all of this. I’d also be remiss to not discuss the sheer number of different Keyblades you can equip across the various games. The Keyblade is not only one of the most unique video game weapons, it’s also one of the most customizable.
1. Master Sword (The Legend of Zelda series)
John Hansen: There is no video game weapon more iconic than the Master Sword from The Legend of Zelda. Link has been wielding this weapon since his debut in 1986. Also known as The Blade of Evil’s Bane, the Legendary Sword, and the Sword that Seals the Darkness, the Master Sword is as important to the Zelda series as the Triforce is. It never breaks, and with full health, the wielder can fire out blasts of energy to take down enemies from far away. While getting hold of the weapon changes with almost every game, it is still the number one weapon for taking on Ganon, and our pick for the greatest video game weapon of all time.
And that, ladies and gentleman, is our infallible list of gaming’s greatest weapons! Did we miss anything? Were there any outliers that should have been swapped out for the tail end? Or are you one of those weirdos that thinks that the Portal Gun is a weapon? Let us know!
Thank you very, very much for reading our list. For all things related to video games, stay tuned to Culture of Gaming.