For a majority of video games, weapons are one of the, if not the only, way to interact with the world. The best weapons are the ones that have three things: unique/iconic design, fun to use, and some reason for that weapon to exist. That last part is not only the rarest but also the most important. It gives justification for the player to be using that weapon within the context of the world.
Just swinging around a sharp sword with pretty colors isn’t enough. Give me a reason to put my faith in this object. Why is it important? Does it have a history? Is it cursed? It all matters, and here are some of the best examples of purposeful and iconic weapons.
Master Sword – The Legend of Zelda
The Master Sword is one of the most iconic weapons in video game history as it the signature weapon of one of the most famous modern heroes. The sword can only be wielded in its full power by someone who it deems worthy of its power (and that is 10 times out of 10 Link).
The Master Sword is not only a symbol of progression in the story but a symbol that you as the player have become worthy enough to seal away the darkness terrorizing Hyrule unless you are one of the crazy speedrunners who just go straight to Ganon in Breath of the Wild and ignore its existence altogether.
Lancer – Gears of War
The Lancer in Gears of War was one of the things that made the franchise stand out from its peers in 2006. The brutal chainsaw automatic rifle is an intimidating presence in anyone’s hands, let alone the buff soldiers of Delta squad. It could tear through Locusts from mid to close range, no problem.
Not to mention the psychological terror that it could impose on some of the weak-minded grubs. In a world as desolate as the Gears series, you need to imagine some pretty terrifying weapons to stay alive.
Plasmids – Bioshock
There is no better example of weapons fitting seamlessly with its fiction than the plasmids in Bioshock. Plasmids were created as a way to do any task from the beekeeping, Insect Swarm to the cigar lighting, Incinerate! There is a plasmid for every occasion, and the team at Irrational Games even made these appear in the audio logs and marketing within the game.
They shed light on their purpose as a capitalist accessory unfettered by government interference and how that lack of regulation has also created a society in the throes of illness and addiction as a result. Plasmids are a double-edged sword, and that makes them all the more intriguing.
Blades of Chaos – God of War
Kratos is one of the most tragic characters in gaming, so it is only fitting that his weapons are an extension of that fate. The Blades of Chaos are chained swords that are attached to the wielder’s forearms until Ares allows them to be removed. Of course, these blades become available through the aid of of benefactors like Athena but their connotation remains the same: chains that link Kratos to the bloody past.
They are powerful weapons that help to remind Kratos every moment of his life of how he came to be on his path in life and what he must do to avenge his family. Kratos swings the blades with deadly accuracy and power with the power to challenge even the mightiest Gods and Titans.
Mehrunes’ Razor – The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
There are 16 Deadric Artifacts in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. While they are not all weapons, they all hold some significance in the lore of Skyrim’s world. Each one guarded by their Deadric Lord, and none of them are as satisfying to obtain as Mehrunes’ Razor.
The dagger is initially split into pieces that must be tracked down and restored at a sacrificial altar. The final piece to joining the pieces back together is to spill blood in the name of Mehrune’s Dagon. Once accomplished, the Dragon Born will have one of the most dangerous little knives in the game. It’s a fun little quest that makes the player confront their own morality when confronted with the promise of power—a very Bethesda quandary.
Hidden Blade – Assassin’s Creed
From Altair and Ezio to Bayek and Eivor, the hidden blades can be obtained in almost every single Assassin’s Creed game. They are the legacy of the franchise and represent the evolution of the assassin organization within their own implementation. Once the wearer had to cut off a ring finger in order for the device to work after Leonardo Da Vinci improved the design, that sacrifice became unnecessary.
The hidden blades not only are iconic in their sleek design, but they also allow the protagonist assassin to perform some impressive moves such as stealthily administering poison or jumping from a rooftop to take someone’s life. Though they are not as prominent in the franchise as they once were, they helped to establish an identity for the series early on.
Gravity Gun – Half-Life 2
The Half-Life series is science fiction and stars a theoretical scientist, so it needs to have some jaw-dropping future tech. The gravity gun was introduced in the long-awaited sequel to half-Life and used what was then the brand new physics engine developed by Valve.
The gravity gun could catch enemy projectiles out of the air and throw them right back at the Combine threat or simply move objects around and create a seesaw. The world of Half-Life became a lot more intractable after its inclusion. Not to mention the horrifying methods that you must partake in during your stay in Ravenholm.
Fat Man – Fallout 3
A game about life after nuclear war set in D.C. with the music of Roy Brown singing “Butcher Pete” coming from your wrist as you slink through the rubble patrolled by genetic monsters is begging for some ridiculous weapons to be included. The Fat Man is the perfect addition.
A giant mechanic sling slot that shoots mini-nukes with the “woosh” and then a mini mushroom cloud after the light disperses. It is appropriate, destructive, and, in some cases, absolutely necessary to survive in the Capital Wasteland.
Plasma Cutter – Dead Space
Dead Space sets itself apart with its terrifying enemies and unique shooting style. The objective is not to aim for the head or center of mass like most other shooters at the time but instead to shoot for the limbs. This introduction was famously made with the plasma cutter in a back maintenance room as Isaac Clark faces down his first necromorph foe.
The plasma cutter can shoot a line of plasma in two directions: vertical or horizontal—the perfect weapon for aiming for arms and legs. Originally designed to make cutting through metal a breeze, Isaac sees its potential in dealing with this new foe, and it quickly became the series’ poster weapon.
Diamond Sword – Minecraft
I used to play Minecraft all the time before the concept took the indie world by storm and oversaturated the market like brilliant ideas tend to do. And while at the time I played, there wasn’t an “end” like there is now, I did have my own little objectives to complete. One of those objectives was obtaining diamond.
Diamond meant safety and brought with it a certain level of satisfaction. A diamond sword was something to be feared, especially by those in your group that didn’t have one quite yet. The discovery of steel while everyone else is still in the stone age.