When we sit down to play some video games, a lot of the fun comes from feeling powerful. That sensation that you alone can swing the mighty blade and fell the great evil, or that you can take on a whole army with a pull of the trigger. There are plenty of weapons in video games that give you this sense of raw, awesome power, whether it be the BFG 9000 in Doom, or Cloud’s Buster Sword in Final Fantasy VII.
Then there are the disappointments. The weapons that look like they’re going to deliver on that same kind of power fantasy, but just fall short. Laughably, horribly short. Just like how we can’t all be winners in life, not every weapon can feel satisfying, efficient or even just fun to use. Sometimes a game has a roster of awesome destruction bringers, but one just isn’t up to snuff. Sometimes a weapon looks amazing, making you expect it to be your new favorite thing until you realize it’s apparently all style and no substance. Or sometimes they’re just incomprehensible messes in a game where everything else works fine.
Whatever the case may be, here are 15 Video Game Weapons That Should Be Strong, But Are Actually Worthless.
15 The Needler - Halo: Combat Evolved
On paper, the Needler’s premise is fun and fascinating: you shoot a bunch of pink needles that track their target and after enough hit, they all explode! Sure enough, if you’re just mowing down grunts on easy mode, then watching the little guys fly from pink explosions is great.
But if you tried to use the Needler in any serious fashion in Halo: Combat Evolved, you’d quickly realize it’s garbage. While it was great that the needles locked on, they moved laughably slow. It felt like you were shooting a stream of drunk bumblebees, and the lethargic cloud of pink death was easily spotted and dodged by any enemy with half a brain. This would be fine if the explosion was triggered by just a few hits, but you needed to land 7 shots in rapid succession to get the thing going, and since they were so easy to dodge, this almost never happened on harder difficulties or in PVP.
With its spiky neon design, the Needler is probably the most interesting gun to come out of the first Halo. Such a shame it was only good for some early level laughs.
14 Cloaking Device - Super Smash Bros Melee
Invisibility is a powerful ability in a lot of video games, allowing you to get the drop on your enemies or avoid them altogether. But you know where it doesn’t work at all? Fighting games. Thanks to the firm third-person perspective and the fact that usually multiple people are looking at the same screen, being invisible means that either everyone can still see you, or nobody can – including yourself.
Enter the cloaking device in Super Smash Bros Melee, which somehow managed to commit both sins. Grabbing it would cause your character to become invisible, except for occasionally sparking and revealing your location. So it was constantly compromising your location, and you can bet it’s eye-catching to every combatant to see a fighter blink in and out of existence.
When it was actually working, unless you memorized your character’s movement speed, you had no actual idea where you were, leading to many unintentional falls off the side of the map. It didn’t even prevent computer characters from knowing where you were; arguably the one boon that could actually reliably work from it.
Thankfully the cloaking device made itself invisible and never appeared again in the Smash series.
13 Hunting Rifle - Left 4 Dead
One of the things that makes Left 4 Dead fun is the sense that you need to watch your surroundings, keep moving and mindlessly gun down hordes.
The Hunting Rifle is the antithesis of that. Like any sniper rifle, you disregard peripheral vision in order to zoom in, you stand still so you can actually hit anything, and you meticulously pick single targets. Rare is it in Left 4 Dead when you can do that without getting blindsided by a hunter, boomer, or roaming mob.
It’s admittedly the best way to deal with pesky smokers in the game, but it’s never worth sacrificing the urgent progression, especially when the job of sharpshooting can just as adequately be done with the assault rifle. It can pump out good damage on a tank, but not as much as a nice spray of automatic shotgun.
Whenever you hit that third safe room and you have the chance to upgrade to the second tier of weapons, always leave the hunting rifle behind. Otherwise, you’ll be the one left for dead as your teammates with actually useful guns surge forward.
12 Hidden Gun - Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
In Assassin’s Creed 2, obtaining the pistol is a moment of triumph. Near the end of the game, you finally get a new technological gunpowder marvel and it allows you to instantly kill enemies at range! This something that's been impossible in the games thus far.
So when it makes a reappearance in Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood as the hidden gun, you’d expect it to be just as powerful and marvelous. Except that Brotherhood also introduced the crossbow, which then made the gun absolutely pointless. The crossbow did everything that the pistol could do, but it did it with a greater range and reliability.
More importantly, it did it silently. Sure, the hidden gun could be used in combat more seamlessly, but at the price of alerting the whole city with a thunderous boom. Not exactly a stealthy move in a game where stealth is 90 percent of the experience.
11 Beast Claw - Bloodborne
Beasthood is such an odd character stat in Bloodborne. Everyone assumed it meant that at some point in the game you could use it to become some kind of werewolf yourself, but all it really did was fuel some specific items that made you dish out more damage… but receive more as well. Because that’s what a From Software game needs: the ability to die easier.
One of said items was the Beast Claw, a gnarly punching weapon with a trick form that allowed you to enter a perpetual state of beasthood and made your off-hand monstrous and hairy. You could dish out attacks and gloriously rend flesh like a monster, but take damage like a pipsqueak. It looked cool and thematic, but any damage it could dish out was easily outdone by most competent character builds and upgraded weapons.
Even when the DLC gave your character a rune that made them more bestial and improved the weapon’s moveset, it still was never as efficient as good old Ludwig’s Holy Blade.
It looked bloody cool, but it was just a sure way to waste your blood echoes.
10 Chemical Thrower - Bioshock
The Chemical Thrower allows you to shoot streams of fire, ice, and electricity, which sounds like an amazing weapon… except that it’s in a game where you can already do all those things with literally your bare hands.
Yes, by the time you’ve explored enough of Rapture to get your hands on the Chemical Thrower, you’re already well acquainted with your Electro Bolt, Winter Blast, and Incinerate plasmids. Those all do the same thing that the Thrower does, but with the added benefit that they all use the same abundant Eve resource as opposed to scarce tanks of ammo.
The electro gel was useful against Big Daddy enemies, but even if the gun was upgraded, you would go through ammo so quickly that it hardly mattered. Why would you upgrade this gun to begin with? Power to the People machines are so few and far between in Bioshock that you’d always be better suited upgrading your tommy gun or shotgun.
Ultimately, while the Chemical Thrower has its uses, everything it can do can be done more efficiently by other things you get earlier in the game. It’s completely redundant, which makes it the most worthless thing in the game.
9 Green Shell - Mario Kart Series
Other than the Nintendo setting and characters, the thing that makes the Mario Kart series the games that they are is all the fun weapons you pick up from the mystery boxes. There’s the infamous blue shell, pesky bananas, and of course the ever reliable red shell, all of which can help you on your quest to get first place and ruin friendships.
Then there’s the green shell. Unlike its red cousin, the green shell doesn’t lock track any targets. It just sails off in whatever direction you throw it, likely hitting nothing or ricocheting off a wall and come right back to hit yourself. Maybe if it traveled faster than a grandma on a Sunday drive, you could time your shots and preemptively hit other racers with it.
Unless you are directly behind your opponent and and in a straight line, you won’t be hitting squat. It’s only good for the occasional Hail Mary or blocking another shell that’s about to hit you. When you’re sixth place and desperate for something to get ahead? Yeah, you’re better off chucking the green shells away and hoping the double question box actually gives you something decent.
8 Flamethrower - Dead Space
If you’ve seen The Thing or Aliens, you know how good flamethrowers are against horrifying aliens. When in doubt, you can always light your problem on fire and let the flames burn away all the evil.
Unless you’re playing Dead Space, where the flamethrower might as well be just a hairdryer for all the good it does. Its flames hardly phase the necromorphs at all, so they’ll still charge in and eat your face while you’re mildly charring them. Not to mention the damage it actually does is so insignificant and the rate it uses up all its ammo is so obscene, that you’d need to go through a whole tank to kill just the most basic enemy.
In a survival horror game, efficient usage of resources is crucial for staying alive, which means that when the going gets rough, this gun is never worth the time. Just stick to your plasma cutter, Isaac. Leave the flamethrowing to Ripley.
7 Klobb - Goldeneye 007
James Bond is the epitome of a power fantasy. He’s suave, charismatic, and he would win in any shootout you put him in. So when you take control of him in Goldeneye 007, you expect to be just as cool.
Only any feeling of coolness you’d feel would be instantly dispelled the moment you pick up a Klobb. The little SMG is notoriously bad, firing wildly inaccurately and any bullet that does land only ever does a paltry of the meagerest bit of damage. You might as well be just be firing cap guns, for all the good it does you. And it is possible to dual wield the little squirt guns, but doing so makes you even more into a wild bullet hose, devoid of any accuracy.
There are some rare moments when there are tons of enemies in narrow hallways that you might be able to hit something by spraying bullets. But in literally any other situation, you are better off with literally any other weapon in the game.
6 Giant’s Knife - The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
As the one weapon that can full-on break in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the Giant’s Knife is undoubtedly the most ineffective weapon in the game, despite looking like the biggest and most destructive. It would shatter after just four hits against an enemy, which makes even the most brittle of weapons in Breath of the Wild seem hearty and reliable. Those four hits would be twice as strong as what the Master Sword could dish out, but then you’d be left with a shattered hilt only as powerful as the Kokiri Sword, made even worse by the fact that you couldn’t block or spin attack with it.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, it cost 200 rupees a pop to fix your knife. Better hope you have the big wallet by then, because that’s a pretty penny to keep spending. Thankfully there’s an optional quest to forge the Biggoron Sword, which is what the Giant’s Knife should be. However, that just makes the Giant’s Knife even more offensive – it’s only there to waste your time and money.
5 Farron Greatsword - Dark Souls 3
You finally defeat the Abyss Watchers and get back to Ludleth of Courland at the Firelink Shrine. You exchange the boss soul to collect your sweet reward: the Farron Greatsword. You equip that bad boy and voila, you look just like the Abyss Watchers yourself! Swishing and slashing and slicing and dicing like an anime badass.
Then you try to swing it at an actual enemy. And you die. Again and again.
See, the Farron Greatsword has the coolest attack animations in Dark Souls 3, but the wind up for all of your flourishing strikes is impractically slow. Any enemy that knows how to dodge or has enough health and stamina to take the hit and keep going will just laugh at you, as after you complete your strike, your character is left wide open for a split second – perfect bait for a backstab.
Now admittedly with enough time and dedication, you can learn how to properly parry and alter your moves to stand a chance. But let’s be real, the appeal of the Farron Greatsword is its awesome spin-to-win attacks, and they just don’t work as well as they should.
4 The Torch - Super Ghouls N’ Ghosts
Super Ghouls N’ Ghosts is a relentless experience, with an endless stream of monsters coming after you and only two hits before you’re dead. You’d think that given those circumstances, a weapon that can ignite everything in a line of flame in front of you would be the best possible tool in your arsenal, right?
Well, the torch just loves to prove you wrong. Unlike the lance or daggers that can be aimed upward or thrown straight after you jump, the torch will always be thrown maybe an inch up before it falls to the ground and ignites. Any flying enemy will be immune to your futile efforts, and any boss with only one weak spot will require precision timing and arching to get anything done.
Worst of all, in Ghouls N’ Ghosts, you’re stuck with the same weapon until you find a new one – even after you die! So if you’re unlucky enough to grab the torch in, say, the elevator level where every enemy is above you, your entire run is all but forfeit. Better pony up more quarters and start all over again.
3 Guns - Dead Rising
It appears that in order to hit home the concept of using anything as a viable weapon, guns in the first Dead Rising were brought down in terms of their effectiveness. It makes sense from a mechanical point of view; players would abandon their hilarious teddy bear beatdowns if a handy Glock was a better option than anything else.
However, the end result is guns that are about as deadly as slapping somebody with a hunk of wood. They slowed your movement down so you could take aim, and unless you were lining up headshots, the zombies would shrug off the bullets like they were ping pong balls. In a game where there can be literally thousands of zombies lurching toward you at any given time, slowing down is the worst thing you can do.
Dead Rising was meant to be a silly game through and through, but the fact that a shopping cart was often a better tool for destruction than a submachine might be the silliest part of all.
2 No Land Beyond - Destiny
If there’s one thing that Destiny 2 needs to really improve upon from it's predecessor, its weapon balance. Case in point: No Land Beyond, a gun that was so hyped as the next need to have exotic weapon, but quickly became one of Destiny’s biggest jokes.
The big thing about NLB is that it could be equipped as a primary weapon despite being a sniper rifle. That meant that finally you could run around as a perfect scout endlessly headshotting every enemy in existence right?
No. Because the gun handled like a decrepit musket. It was still a sniper in terms of damage, but it had an obtrusive iron sight instead of a scope, meaning that you could hardly zoom in at all, not to mention the metal bar in the sights seemed like it was actively preventing you from hitting anything.
Not only that, but it had a horribly tedious bolt action animation that went off after every shot that took so long, it was quicker to glitch a reload animation than to actually sit through it. You would inevitably fall in the same loop of aim, fire, hit the shoulder, wait a year in battle time, fire again, probably miss, wait a year again and so on. So much for “becoming legend.”
1 Any Weapon Other Than the Blades - God of War Series
God of War is such an epic series, one where you’re slaying great beasts of legend and even killing deities on Kratos’ relentless warpath. Any artifact Kratos deems worthy of using should be one of absolute destruction.
Be honest, did you ever really use any of the weapons in the games other than the chained blades you start out with? Sure, you might have needed to use them in the same level you picked them up, but did you ever use the Blade of Artemis or the Barbarian Hammer outside of those moments where you’re all but forced to use them?
Probably not. The Blades of Chaos (or Athena’s Blades, depending on the game) are to Kratos what the Master Sword is to Link – there’s other weapons at their disposal, but you’re coming for the experience that’s on the cover art. Using them is so fast, fluid, and visceral that switching to anything else just feels clunky and unsatisfying. Not to mention that by the time you get other weapons, you’ve already upgraded the starting weapon so much and gotten so accustomed to its combos that using anything else puts you at a significant disadvantage.
It looks like in God of War 4, Kratos has ditched the Blades and picked up an axe instead. So let’s hope his new arsenal is full of powerful god killers and not a bunch of worthless inventory padding.
What useless weapon annoys you the most? Let us know in the comments!