Whether it’s an overpowered sword, gun, or ability, video game weapons come in all shapes and sizes. These lethal tools of destruction allow players to inflict massive amounts of damage against the AI as well as other players. However, some weapons are naturally much better than others.
To celebrate the fun and excitement that comes from using the strongest weapon available in any game, we’ve created this list highlighting the most powerful video game weapons. We’ll be ranking them from least powerful to downright broken and including games from every generation. If you would like to receive more gaming recommendations, consider reading through our other curated lists:
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Hidden Blade – Assassin’s Creed
The Hidden Blade is not only the signature weapon of the Assassin Brotherhood but a relic of history, dating all the way back to the Achaemenid Empire. Its presentation has evolved over the course of the series and is frequently adapted to better serve different characters’ fighting styles, such as Shao Jun’s Hidden Footblade from AC Chronicles: China, or Shaun’s Shock Blade from AC: Syndicate.
Its primary function is to kill targets quickly and quietly with consistent results. A lightweight design ensures the user remains agile and is able to avoid enemy suspicion until the target has been eliminated. Although its retractable mechanism makes the Hidden Blade one of the best portable stealth weapons, we imagine it must be a nightmare to try and slip past metal detectors.
Blue Shell – Mario Kart
By this point, the sound of a spiny blue shell racing towards you at mach speeds has become baked into the mind of anyone who’s played Mario Kart. Making its debut in Mario Kart 64, the Blue Shell would go on to become one of the most abhorred item drops in the series for having very little use outside of screwing over whoever’s currently in first place.
The Blue Shell has been reworked over the years and now functions slightly differently as of Mario Kart 8. The item is no longer unstoppable following the introduction of the Super Horn item; however, it now travels directly on the race track, knocking out any player who dares to block its path. Its reduced potency is the only thing preventing us from making it higher on this list.
Striker Handgun – Hitman
Inspired by high-powered revolvers typically seen in old western films, the Striker is a handgun equipped with a muzzle brake as well as armor-piercing magnum rounds which offer increased damage and can penetrate multiple enemies if aimed correctly. It also happens to go against every rule of Hitman as it’s one of the loudest and most easily detectable weapons in the game.
Still, its usefulness and badass appearance simply can’t be ignored. Players can unlock the weapon by completing certain tasks in The Dexter Discordance Escalation in Hitman and the Hokkaido Escalation in Hitman 2. Additionally, a unique golden variant of the pistol named El Matador can be found in Santa Fortuna.
Prismatic Hammer – The Outer Worlds
Besides having one of the most hilarious weapon backstories, the Prismatic Hammer is a versatile two-handed melee Science Weapon with the ability to cycle through four different elemental properties: shock, plasma, corrosion, and radiation. However, due to a workshop accident, its manual switch is rendered useless, forcing the wielder to swing it in order to flip through each damage type.
This weapon becomes extremely useful once the player has raised their Science level to 80, granting them access to all elemental damage types while retaining the hammer’s special knockdown effect. While swinging it around like a madman to cycle through different elements is already pretty satisfying, charging up the Prismatic Hammer’s power attack releases a blast of energy capable of hitting targets from a distance.
AWP – Counter-Strike
Previously known as the Magnum Sniper Rifle, the Arctic Warfare Police (AWP) is one of the most devastating sniper rifles in Counter-Strike. Although its abysmally low fire rate, molasses-slow reload speed and reduced movement while equipped may lead you to believe the AWP is not worth the time nor effort, pull the trigger once and you’ll witness firsthand how superb its stopping power is.
The gun’s design is based on a variant of a law enforcement sniper rifle manufactured by Accuracy International of the United Kingdom. While its look has been tweaked over the years, the high-powered bolt-action sniper rifle still retains its reputation for being the best “high risk, high reward” weapon in Counter-Strike.
The Service Weapon – Control
In Control, players are given only one weapon for the entirety of the game’s story; luckily, it happens to be a shape-shifting firearm. The Service Weapon is a supernatural handgun capable of seamlessly switching between five different forms: Grip (standard pistol), Shatter (shotgun), Spin (rapid-fire SMG), Pierce (sniper), and Charge (rocket launcher).
Despite its jack-of-all-trades design, this handgun is extremely selective when it comes to choosing its owner. Proving whether you can wield the Service Weapon is a matter of life or death, as the test involves a game of Russian roulette where the pistol gets to decides whether or not you’re worthy.
Heavy Bowgun – Monster Hunter: World
Monster Hunter: World includes 14 different weapon types, with at least one option tailored for every kind of playstyle. Among them is the Heavy Bowgun, a powerful artillery weapon which sacrifices mobility in favor of dealing high damage to a devastating degree.
While it may not be as easy to use as the Light Bowgun, the HBG is an absolute beast when it comes to breaking monster parts quickly as well as keeping them staggered. The weapon can be further improved by installing various mods and possesses exclusive access to unique, high-damage Wyvern and Cluster ammunition.
Scorpion’s Kunai – Mortal Kombat
If you’ve ever played a Mortal Kombat game, chances are you know exactly what’s about to happen anytime Scorpion utters the phrase, “Get over here!” This iconic catchphrase is a huge indicator that Scorpion’s about to fling his harpoon-like Kunai blade at someone’s body and reel them in for either a big hug or a major whooping, but you should probably expect the latter.
It’s a pretty powerful move as far as fighting games are concerned since once Scorpion hooks you you’re pretty much at his mercy until the reel animation is finished. However, you can prevent Scorpion from pulling it off in most games simply by blocking. While the character’s look gets updated with each new game, the potency of his Kunai remains just as deadly as it was in the early ‘90s.
Golden Gun – Goldeneye 64
This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning one of the earliest OP video game weapons: the Golden Gun. Inspired by Ian Fleming’s novel, The Man with the Golden Gun and the James Bond film of the same name, this pistol has appeared in a number of 007 games, most notably Goldeneye 64.
Rumored to have been built using only a pen, a lighter, a cigarette case, and a cufflink, the Golden Gun is both a rare and extremely powerful handgun, capable of stopping most enemies dead in their tracks with just a single bullet. However, this comes at the cost of having to reload between every single shot, making it a bit impractical to use, even for a smooth-talking spy.
Ray Gun – Call of Duty Zombies
Not many guns are as iconic and combat effective as the Ray Gun from Call of Duty. Belonging to the category of powerful and fictional “Wonder Weapons”, this atomic-powered handgun first appeared in the Zombies mode for Call of Duty: World at War and can still be obtained as recently as Black Ops 4.
Originally only obtainable via Mystery Boxes, it quickly became the most preferred weapon for Zombies due to its ability to perform one-shot kills until rounds 18 to 22. This coupled with a generously large ammo capacity and splash damage on impact made it one of the most potent guns in the franchise.
Sting Ray – Splatoon 2
The Sting Ray is a special weapon from Splatoon 2 which causes the user to fire a continuous laser capable of shooting through walls and most obstacles on a map. While this comes at the cost of limited movement while aiming and turning, these simply aren’t enough to contain the Sting Ray’s insane damage-dealing potential.
To set up the Sting Ray, you first have to fill your Special Meter by spreading ink around the map and getting kills. Once it’s ready, position yourself in a safe spot near your teams spawn. Activate your special and aim that bad boy anywhere you think enemies may be gathering at for maximum squid carnage.
Home-Run Bat – Super Smash Bros.
You want to talk about pain? Let’s discuss how much hurts to be on the receiving end of a fully-charged swing from a Home-Run Bat in Super Smash Bros. Whether it’s the OG game or the most recent Smash Ultimate, this baseball bat is guaranteed to ruin your day unless of course, you’re the one swinging it.
While it functions like other battering items in Smash, the Home-Run Bat has the distinct property of completely altering a character’s forward smash. Upon performing a forward smash, characters will wind up and perform a potent swing with the potential to instantly KO an opponent.
Ultima Weapon – Kingdom Hearts III
When ranking Kingdom Hearts III’s keyblades, there’s one weapon which manages to stand out for not only being the most overpowered, but also the most difficult to obtain. The Ultima Keyblade can only be acquired near the end of the game and requires the player to synthesize a variety of rare materials. However, at 13 Strength and 13 Magic, it’s well worth the effort.
It has the highest stats of any keyblade in the game and features the abilities Combo Boost and Air Combo Boost, making it the weapon of choice for maximum melee damage. What’s more, its Ultimate formchange grants access to even more abilities such as Teleport, Combo Master, Leaf Bracer, Second Wind, Withstand Combo, MP Hastera, and Overcome, granting additional Strength and Magic when fighting a tough opponent.
Leviathan Axe – God of War
Kratos may be better recognized for ripping Greek gods to shreds with his dual Blades of Chaos, 2018’s God of War soft-reboot saw the ash-gray Spartan donning a new weapon: the Leviathan Axe. While it’s attack speed may not be as high as Kratos’ old blades, it has the unique ability to be recalled, similar to Thor’s hammer Mjölnir.
The Leviathan Axe also happens to be just as deadly as you’d expect from a weapon worthy of being in the God of War’s arsenal as it can easily chop through an enemy’s head, launch their body into the air, and is also great for chopping trees.
BFG 9000 – Doom
The BFG 9000 is one of the most well-known video game weapons around, appearing in other id Software games and even mimicked by other first-person shooters. However, it’s most notable for being the ultimate tool of destruction in the Doom games, capable of firing massive balls of green plasma at a rate of 40 cells per blast.
It also happens to be the most physically large gun in the game, with most iterations depicting a model too big to be fully displayed on screen without the use of a camera editor. While obtaining this weapon is no easy feat, typically requiring the player to solve a series of puzzles before it can be acquired, fire it into a room of demons and you’ll see why it’s worth the trouble.
Master Sword – The Legend of Zelda
Arguably the most iconic video game weapon to ever be created, the Master Sword is easily recognized by just about everyone, even people who don’t play games. However, this list isn’t about the most iconic weapons but the rather the most powerful, so let’s briefly go over the Master Sword’s most notable accolades in The Legend of Zelda.
First, Link was able to use it to travel back in time in Ocarina of Time, eventually defeating Gannon. Second, in Wind Waker, the sword is powerful enough to turn the Evil King into stone after being crammed right into his head. Third, in Skyward Sword Link uses the blade to seal away the power of evil for good, with some assistance from Fi. Last but not least, it’s the one and only weapon in Breath of the Wild with infinite durability, making it the ultimate end game weapon.