Like a timeless character, weapons in video games provide us countless hours of unforgettable moments and pleasant company.
Whether we're waging war against hordes of terrifying aliens or exploring a dangerous subterranean utopia, a good weapon in hand can be your best friend and most trusted ally. You know a great weapon when you see one: the look, the sound, the name, the power. These qualities make the weapon special. However, when a weapon invades the deepest trenches of your memory, when you dream of holding it in your hand, when you use it as an instrument of destruction (and embarrassment) against your closest friends online and on the couch— that makes a weapon iconic, indispensable, and epic.
Swords, sabers, spears, and staffs. Guns, gadgets, grenades, and— “Did I just turn that guy into a chicken?” Here are 20 of the most epic weapons in video game history.
20 The Lancer - Gears Of War
The Lancer in Gears of War is the game’s primary assault rifle and one of the most recognizable weapons in gaming history. It’s synonymous with the game’s protagonist, Marcus Fenix, and is invaluable when it comes to obliterating Locust in the game’s campaign and online modes.
While being an excellent machine gun, the Lancer’s true claim to fame is its attached chainsaw. Its signature chug, its thunderous roar, and the brutal animations that come along with it make the Lancer the most exciting weapon on the battlefield. Even among well-timed sniper head-shots and grotesque shotgun disembowelments, there is nothing more satisfying than sneaking up on an unsuspecting player and letting that thing rip.
19 Blades Of Chaos - God Of War
When taking on the Greek Gods, one might consider using something extremely powerful... like, you know, “nuclear bomb” level of powerful. One may think a couple of daggers on chains would not be the best of idea, but for God of War’s Kratos, they do the trick.
The Blades of Chaos, though, were not just any old daggers on chains. In fact, they were forged by the God of War himself, Ares, in the darkest depths of the Underworld. Instilled with fire, they can be swung at the arm in vicious circles, setting enemies ablaze and carving a path for Kratos to continue his seemingly endless destruction. Always satisfying (and strangely beautiful to look at), the Blades of Chaos are truly a God-tier weapon.
18 Buster Sword - Final Fantasy VII
You know the old saying, “never bring a knife to a gunfight?” There’s one exception to the rule: the Buster Sword from Final Fantasy. It’s literally a five foot tall broadsword and there's nothing more epic than that.
The Buster Sword, to this day, is probably one of the most cosplayed video game weapons to ever grace the halls of your local convention. Its status is legendary, its appeal is lasting, and its influence is immeasurable— even its silhouette is recognizable against the slew of every other RPG sword to ever exist. Any Final Fantasy fan will tell you they’ve imagined it in their hands at some point. I just hope it doesn’t weigh too much.
17 Telekinesis Plasmid - BioShock
I can name 15 games off the top of my head that utilize a telekinesis mechanic (maybe I should write a list?), but none are as memorable as BioShock’s Telekinesis Plasmid. Out of every game I’ve played, BioShock’s use of the ability has been the most fun and the most utterly satisfying.
From hurling barrels at your enemies, to taking those same enemies’ deceased corpses and using them as mobile cover from gunfire, the Telekinesis Plasmid is also one of the most powerful and versatile plasmids in the game. And to add further to its epic certification, the power was literally harvested from demonic little girls and injected into your forearm… sounds bad, feels good.
16 Your Car - Rocket League
On California’s driving permit test, you’re asked a multiple choice question that looks something like this:
Speeding vehicles are most similar to a:
A. fun time
On the permit test, the correct answer is B. For this list, however, the correct answer is ALL OF THE ABOVE.
Rocket League is all about scoring goals and what better way to score a goal then to fly at hyper-speed into a defending car, literally demolish it into oblivion, and let the ball slowly roll in? Nothing! Make sure you follow it up by spamming “What a save!” until the other team starts cursing at you. It’s ruthless and it’s fun!
15 Scorpion’s Spear - Mortal Kombat
“GET OVER HERE!”
Did you read that in Scorpion’s voice? Did you imagine Scorpion reeling ‘em in? If so, you’re aware of one of the most iconic character + weapon combinations in video game history. If you didn’t, you probably love Sub-Zero and are just jealous.
Scorpion’s Spear in the Mortal Kombat series has been, and will forever be, one of fighting game’s most classic weapons. It has a clear influence on countless other video game weapons (including the Blades of Chaos from earlier on the list) and has proven to be exceptionally deadly. A simple combo of Back, Forward, X/Square will shoot the spear from Scorpion's wrist. If it lands in the opponent's body, Scorpion will drag his stunned enemy towards him, allowing the player to follow up with an unblockable combo. Coupled with the classic line of dialogue, this weapon is impossible to forget.
14 Minigun - Grand Theft Auto
The name “minigun” has never made a lick of sense to me. Because in any game where a minigun is present, it’s usually the largest weapon at your disposal and packs the deadliest punch.
Grand Theft Auto is no exception. In a game where you mostly run around destroying as many things as possible, the minigun is the best at it and the most fun to operate. It’s perfect for tearing through cars, tanks, planes, crowds, you name it. When that five-star wanted level eventually comes around, you’ll be glad you have this baby in your arsenal. Sorry, shouldn’t use “baby,” it just contributes further to the misnomer.
13 Keyblade - Kingdom Hearts
One might think an “epic” weapon would not be found in a Disney game, but alas, the Keyblade has proven its iconic status time and time again in the Kingdom Hearts series.
Although it plays like a standard sword, it still remains as one of the most unique weapons in video game history and, even for those who haven’t played the game, it’s one of the most recognizable. Its appeal is massive. At any convention, you’re bound to run into kids and adults, men and women— anyone wielding the Keyblade’s mighty power. Plus it can open doors and stuff!
12 Wabbajack - Skyrim
The Wabbajack is, without a doubt, the funniest weapon on this list. Anyone who’s played Skyrim has a Wabbajack story and a quick Google search will result in endless threads of folks reminiscing about its hilarious power.
The Wabbajack is a staff that allows the user to cast a spell with an unpredictable, random effect. Literally everything, from shooting a fireball to turning an enemy into a chicken, is within your power… you just don’t have any control over it. Maybe you’ll turn invisible? Maybe you’ll heal yourself? Maybe you’ll reanimate your enemy’s dead body and be forced to fight them again? The possibilities are (mostly) endless!
Step 1: Use the Wabbajack
Step 2: ???
Step 3: PROFIT!!!
11 Poké Ball- Pokémon
Stop. Before you even ask “is this even a weapon?,”consider the following:
What does it take to capture an animal? A net? A trap? Food and rope? Consider the time, the effort, the result. Now imagine a deadly animal. A deadly animal that breathes fire. A deadly animal that likes to fight. A gun? A cage? An army?
Now, let’s say you had a ball and this ball could capture this deadly animal, with minimal effort from you, and eliminate the threat entirely. Useful right? Now let’s take that same ball, imagine it does all of the previous thing, but also enslaves the deadly animal-- forcing it to do your bidding, which, is to fight other deadly animals.
You’re right. That’s not a weapon. It’s pure, epic, power.
10 Lightsaber - Any Star Wars Game
There is a single desire that unites all nerds across all cultures: the desire to wield an actual lightsaber. To feel its pulsing energy, to master its delicate form, to slice bread while simultaneously toasting it; it’s the ultimate nerd fantasy.
The closest anyone has come, so far, is by playing a Star Wars video game. From its most brutal in Force Unleashed to its most satisfying in the old Star Wars Trilogy arcade game, the lightsaber has been one of most played weapons in video games. It’s the defining laser sword, the inspiration for countless imitators who fail to even scratch the surface of its epicness. A world without a lightsaber is a world without some of our favorite video game weapons.
Have you played that Star Wars virtual reality demo? You haven’t? Duuuuuuuuude.
9 Energy Sword - Halo
“Energy Swords only” is a three-word phrase often uttered during couch games of Halo. When a weapon can fundamentally change a first person shooter into a no-holds brawler, you know you’re working with something that’s truly epic.
The Energy Sword is a melee weapon that is easy to use but difficult to master. It has two different types of strikes, one “long range” with a short refresh time and one short range with almost no refresh time. Balancing these two types of strikes makes for a unique melee weapon that results in many standoffs and lengthy duels.
Pro-tip: expert Energy Sword players use the control scheme “Bumper Jumper” in order to most effectively destroy their friends.
- source: Me (undefeated Energy Sword champion)
8 Baseball Bat & Hammer (Tied) - Super Smash Bros.
On a list of only 20 video game weapons of all time, we have to allow at least one tie. How could one possibly determine which classic Super Smash Bros. item is the most epic?
On one hand, the Baseball Bat is a devastating melee weapon that, if timed well, can result in a blow that will typically send opponents soaring out of the arena. Couple that with one of the most SATISFYING sounds in video game history, and it gives you this extremely effective and forever memorable weapon.
On the other hand, the Hammer is an unstoppable tyrant of death and destruction. The player who is lucky enough to grab it will begin to swing it swiftly and uncontrollably. Any opponent that makes contact with the hammer will be, in most cases, flung deep into space. Adding insult to injury, the weapon becomes a sport of hilarity and embarrassment because of the accompanying song that plays during its deadly crusade.
Sweet, sweet, memories.
7 BFG9000 - Doom
The BFG9000 has one big credential when it comes to its consideration for this list: “BFG” literally stands for “Big F’ing Gun” (you might say it with a little more gusto).
It’s a hulking gun that fires large amounts of green plasma at surrounding enemies. Ammo for it is always hard to find, so this gun is best saved for massive hordes and big bosses. With the original Doom being one of the pioneer first-person shooters of its day, the BFG9000 is considered to have paved the way for a lot of the giant, ridiculous, and hilarious weapons we’ve come to love in other video games.
Remember when The Rock called it the “Bio Force Gun” in the 2005 Doom movie? Neither do I.
6 Rock-It Launcher - Fallout
When talking about unique video game guns, it’s impossible not to mention the Rock-It Launcher from Fallout. The launcher uses everyday items as ammunition, including coffee cups, tin cans, basketballs, Nuka-Cola bottles, knives, and plungers. Almost anything you found was fair game, making the Rock-It Launcher extremely useful when ammo was scarce.
Plus, there’s a certain poetry to killing Mirelurks with a barrage of teddy bears in a post apocalyptic wasteland. I’ll take a stab at a haiku:
Oh, Rock-It Launcher
In private, I call you the
The Clutter Guzzler
5 Master Sword - The Legend Of Zelda
Does the Master Sword even need an introduction? An explanation? It’s the most epic sword of all time and is wielded by one of the greatest heroes of all time. It’s literally called the Master Sword. It’s referred to as the “sword that seals the darkness.” If that’s not epic then I don’t know what is. Easy Top 5 pick.
The Master Sword has become the most lauded weapon in The Legend of Zelda series, appearing in nearly all of its fifteen or so releases. It probably is featured on just as much promotional material as the Triforce is.
Does anyone need to be reminded of its reveal in Ocarina of Time? Link literally touches the thing and then ages seven years— that's real power. Spoiler? No, if you haven’t played it by now, you haven’t ever played an actual video game and should just stop here.
4 Golden Gun - GoldenEye 007
There is only one Golden Gun. Every golden camo, from every other shooter that has ever existed, is made of lies and deceit. The true Golden Gun doesn’t just look gold, it is gold.
First introduced to gamers in GoldenEye 007 for the Nintendo 64, the Golden Gun has been included in almost every James Bond video game since then and imitated in countless others. Its defining mechanic is simple: one-shot, one-kill. One could easily argue that every shooter that includes a “one-shot, one-kill” option in its multiplayer, or a gun with a similar effect, has been directly inspired by the Golden Gun and the original days of GoldenEye. It’s the most iconic pistol of all time, in games and film.
"One golden shot means another poor victim has come to a glittering end."
3 Blue Shell - Mario Kart
You’re in first place. You are inches from the finish line. Then, you get hit by a blue shell: an item that purposely chases down the leader— an item that rarely misses. You are thrown into the air, slowed to a crawl, as four other racers soar by untouched. You arrive in fifth place defeated, angry, and vengeful. That is the Blue Shell from Mario Kart. Insult, injury, injustice.
It is a weapon designed for pure evil. It is a weapon that is feared by those closest to victory. It is a weapon that makes you think “maybe I should just stay in second place as long as I can.” It is a weapon for those who live by the mantra: “it’s not enough that I should succeed— others should fail”.
And it’s the ultimate friendship ruiner. Epic.
2 Tactical Nuke - Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
There are a select few Call of Duty players who can achieve a 25 kill-streak. Those that can in Modern Warfare 2 are rewarded with the most destructive weapon of all time: the Tactical Nuke.
Upon calling in the Tactical Nuke, the game gives all players a ten second countdown and a bone chilling alarm. Then, after the countdown is complete, there are a few moments of slow motion. A few moments of silent contemplation. A tiny window to wonder what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil.
Because everyone is suddenly turned to dust by a nuclear bomb. And the game is over. A weapon that literally ended the game is more than worthy of the #2 spot. Fight me, n00bs.
1 Portal Gun - Portal
There are few weapons in video games that challenge the mind. Usually their function is simple: to kill via projectile. But every so often we are treated with a weapon that defies the basic principles of weaponry. A weapon so unique that most would argue it’s not even a weapon at all.
The Portal Gun or, more accurately, the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device, is that weapon. It creates two portals that allows the player and objects to pass through them like a doorway, no matter the distance between them. They can placed nearly anywhere: on the ground, on the wall, or on the ceiling. Using these portals, one can transport themselves or others wherever they please.
But is it a weapon?
In the game Portal, not really. Sure, you use it to destroy a couple of nasty robots and an evil super-computer, but it’s not really designed to be a weapon.
However, while contemplating this list, I had an epiphany. I imagined every game I’ve ever played and imagined how they would change with the inclusion of the Portal Gun. I imagined waging war against hordes of terrifying aliens or exploring a dangerous subterranean utopia. I imagined the endless creative destruction I would bestow upon my greatest enemies. In almost every instance of my imagination, the result was beautiful.
A weapon that sticks with you like that, through every video game you play, is truly an epic weapon. While the cake may be a lie, my love for the Portal Gun is honest and true.
So hurry up, Valve, and make the next one. It’s been like six years since Portal 2 and I want dessert.