Whenever a new first-person shooter releases, we pick up our conversation around PC Gamer HQ about what video game guns we love most. How did Far Cry 3’s bow compare to Crysis 3’s? Which game has the best Magnum-style revolver in a game? We’re continually interested in the design of the ballistic and energy weapons we bring into shooters—the mechanics they’re imbued with and the particle effects and animations that express their personalities.
As celebration of the inventive designs and as a representation of our collective tastes, we’ve assembled a list of the best video game guns. See the criteria list below to get a sense of how we judged; if your favorite rifle or SMG isn’t here, lobby for it in the comments. We’ll update this list over time as we encounter guns we like in new FPSes, or as we revisit old games that spark new opinions.
• How fun the gun is to use today is weighted higher than its historical impact (both of which are weighted higher than nostalgia). Rocket jumping grew popular in Quake, but if we were to recognize Quake’s rocket launcher as one of the best guns ever, are we celebrating how fun the gun is to use or just its cultural significance?
• Must be a weapon: the Gravity Gun (Half-Life 2) and the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device (Portal) are gun-shaped devices that we love, but in the interest comparing apples to apples we’ve excluded them from consideration