Tag Archives: guns

Borderlands 3 Finally Gives The Series Good Shotguns

Shotguns in previous Borderlands games could be great weapons to use, but even some of the better shotguns in the game didn’t feel satisfying in a fight. They were loud and did a lot of damage, sure, but they didn’t feel like powerful cannons of death. Borderlands 3 changes this and finally gives the series shotguns that are exciting and feel really powerful.

Shotguns in older Borderlands games were great weapons to pick if you planned to do a lot of close-quarters fighting or if you wanted a weapon to take out fast-moving creatures. If you got a powerful shotgun, you could even one-shot enemies and destroy them. That felt good. But most of the time shotguns just did a lot of damage. You’d see a health bar get lower and that’s basically all the feedback you got from shooting something. It worked, but it never felt like I was using a powerful 10-chamber-death-cannon. This is honestly a problem most guns had in Borderlands 1, 2 and The Pre-Sequel, but shotguns always stood out to me as needing more oomph.

Shotguns in video games have a long history of being awesome. The shotgun in Doom is one of the best guns in the game and has become an iconic weapon. The shotgun in Halo is incredibly fun to use and feels powerful and dangerous. GB Burford, a friend, and frequent Kotaku contributor, summed up shotguns in videogames by saying “A good shotgun makes you feel like a champion, capable of taking on the world.”

Less than 30 minutes into Borderlands 3 I found a shotgun after killing an enemy. I picked it up because I love shotguns in games and also it did more damage than my crappy pistol. But I wasn’t expecting much after playing years of Borderlands games. A moment later some Skags charged me and I fired my new shotgun. To my surprise, one of the Skags I shot flipped over and another flipped back. I felt incredibly powerful at that moment and started using the shotgun in every subsequent encounter.

It’s funny how one small addition can vastly improve something. Adding ragdolls and knockback to shotguns has made them my favorite type of weapon in Borderlands 3. I can blast enemies off tall cliffs. I can knock bigger and tougher enemies off their feet for a few seconds, buying me more time to run up and do more damage. Shotguns add a new tactical option to the combat of Borderlands 3 and I’m so thankful for it.

The shotguns in Borderlands 3 might be some of my favorite shotguns in gaming. This is a huge improvement over what were mostly forgettable weapons in the older games. It is also a nice example of how you can make guns stronger and better without just increasing the damage of the weapon. Even less damaging shotguns are still fun and useful because they can knock down enemies, stopping charges or slowing crowds. Add in some elemental effects and other abilities and you can easily spend hours running around, blasting everything sky high.

Later on, I found an area on Pandora where enemies would just keep spawning. I ended up spending far too long in that spot, running around and getting kills with my shotgun. One of the enemies dropped a new shotgun and it was even better than my current shotty. I quickly picked it up. I guess I’m starting a shotgun collection. Maybe I can fit them all into one massive shotgun and fire them at a boss? Gearbox, if you are reading this, take that idea for free.

Source: Kotaku.com

Gears of War Isn’t As Fun Without The Chainsaw Gun

Kotaku Game DiaryDaily thoughts from a Kotaku staffer about a game we’re playing.  

I love the Lancer from Gears of War. That’s the chainsaw gun. So I’m pretty disappointed that Gears of War 4, which I’m playing now to prep for the sequel, keeps taking my Lancer away.

I’ve loved the Lancer since the series’ original hero Marcus Fenix used it in the first Gears game. Within the lore of the game, it was designed by Marcus’ father, and it was so well-suited to fighting off the Locust horde (those are the meaty monsters that the human heroes fight in Gears) that it became standard issue for every soldier. If any enemy manages to get past the Lancer’s submachine gun fire, its wielder can then rev up the chainsaw bayonet and slice their foe diagonally from shoulder to hip, like a peanut butter and blood sandwich. It’s corny. It makes no sense (wouldn’t the chainsaw jam, like, constantly?). And it totally rules. I love it so much that I even have one of those massive plastic Lancer replicas sitting on my living room bookshelf. Why would I ever want to fight a battle in a Gears game without it?

My bookshelf: Marcus Fenix, Storm, Professor Snape, Samus, and … of course… the Lancer.

I’m finally playing Gears of War 4, which came out in 2016, so that I’m ready for Gears 5 next month. I hadn’t played a Gears game since Judgment back in 2013. Playing Gears 4 has been a delightful opportunity to revisit how satisfying the Lancer feels, both in shooting and in slicing. For the first third of the game, though, it’s bizarrely hard to get your hands on one.

The beginning of Gears 4 has a few flashbacks to the times when the Locust horde was more of a threat. In these instances, you get a Lancer, no problem. Even if you somehow lose it, there are plenty of them lying around. These battles play out the same way the first Gears games did; you slice up Locust baddies and rev up that old saw. It’s great.

In the present day of Gears 4, though, the Locust aren’t the threat they used to be—at least, not at the beginning of the game. You’re playing as Marcus Fenix’s son, J.D. He’s a former soldier on the run from government forces, most of whom are robots. You fight against a bunch of military androids, and you don’t get to use a Lancer to do it.

It sucks to kill these robots. It’s bloodless, of course, but also the guns you use don’t pack the same punch. The robots drop a variety of other weapons; the Enforcer that most of the units carry is a submachine gun. It’s no Lancer. It feels slower and less powerful, somehow—maybe just because there’s no chainsaw attached. Every now and then, in these early robot battles, J.D. will find a Lancer hidden in a corner. I treasured these moments, even though slicing a robot in half with the chainsaw is not as disgustingly satisfying as the bloody spray of Lancer-on-Locust.

Every time I got a Lancer, I’d hold onto it for dear life, using it in every possible situation. I used it to shoot at incoming helicopters. I aimed it at incoming sphere-shaped trackers. A shotgun is way better for those trackers, by the way, and a helicopter would probably go down easier with a rocket launcher. But whenever I managed to get the Lancer, I never wanted to switch away from it. (Editor’s note: Dear Gears 5 designers, I hope you’re going to have a moment where Maddy can chainsaw a helicopter in half. She needs that.)

In addition to making the Lancer hard to find, Gears 4 also kept taking my Lancer away. Whenever J.D. would reset in a new area, he’d go back to having a boring-ass, Lancer-free loadout. And that was after I could barely even find a Lancer in any area in the first place. At one point, J.D. and his rebellious friends managed to steal a special gun-building box from the government. You can walk up to this metal box and press X and then a menu appears with a list of guns you can make. I was so excited to steal this box. Guess which gun it can’t make? The Lancer. For heck’s sake!

Gears of War 4 definitely did this on purpose. The designers were just trying to delay my gratification. I know because, by now, I’ve gotten far enough in the game that J.D. has finally reunited with his very cranky father. And, of course, his father gave him a Lancer. That’s the Lancer that I intend to use for the entire rest of the game. They better not take it away.

Source: Kotaku.com

ESPN Delays Apex Legends Tournament Highlights ‘Out Of Respect’ Following Mass Shootings

This weekend’s planned airing of the EXP Apex Legends Invitational at X Games tournament on ESPN2 has been postponed by the network, “out of respect for the victims and all those impacted in the immediate aftermath of the shootings.”

The broadcast is meant to show highlights from the Apex Legends tournament that was held at X Games in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on August 2. Originally scheduled to air on ESPN2 this weekend, the show has been postponed for two months.

The news broke overnight when esports reporter Rod Breslau tweeted a news tip from an ABC affiliate station. (ABC and ESPN both being networks owned by Disney.)

While ESPN has not made an official statement, a source with knowledge of the network’s plans has told Kotaku that the broadcast will now air on ESPN2 on Sunday, October 6 at 5 p.m. ET; Tuesday, October 15 at 11 p.m. ET; and Sunday, October 27 at 4 p.m. ET.

The news comes following a similar move by retailer Walmart, which has pulled in-store advertising and displays for games that contain “violent themes or aggressive behavior” following this weekend’s shooting near a store in El Paso, Texas. The stores will still sell guns.

Update: 8/9/2017, 10:21 a.m. ET: This story was updated to include information about the initial reporting of this news.

Source: Kotaku.com

Why Video Game Headshots Will Always Be Popular—And Unsettling

Like a lot of people who play video games, I have spent decades aiming at digital heads. I have also spent a considerable amount of time during those years feeling uncomfortable about it. “Headshots” as a concept are, as Kotaku’s Stephen Totilo wrote in a 2010 report, ghoulish to the outsider, and essential to the gamer.

Over the past couple days, I started watching YouTuber Jacob Geller’s video essays on games. “Rationalizing Brutality: The Cultural Legacy of the Headshot” is a good example of why I find them compelling. Geller constructs well-researched videos exploring a topic contextually, pulling not just from video games but across media, history, and current events.

Content Warning: the video references and depicts graphic violence from both games and historical footage.

“Rationalizing Brutality” is an even-keeled examination of the very idea of headshots, one that traces humankind’s understanding of the location of the “self.” In both medical science and popular culture, the “self” was thought to lie in the heart, but eventually our conception of where “we” are in our bodies drifted upward to the brain. Geller, citing numerous games and scholarly papers like Amanda Phillips’ “Shooting to Kill: Headshots, Twitch Reflexes, and the Mechropolitics of Video Games” ruminates on the much-discussed role of the headshot in game design, as well as the way it has slowly become the primary depiction of death by gunshot in popular culture.

What makes Geller’s video good isn’t that it’s arguing for or against gun violence in games, but rather what it might mean to have a large body of popular entertainment shift in a direction that specifically valorizes the headshot.

Committing acts of digital violence does not lead to a desire to commit real violence, but art does influence understanding. And if our current understanding of the self is something rooted in the brain, what does it mean to have all this media where the destruction of a head, and therefore arguably the self, is the primary thrill? And what should we make of it, when, say, we read the news and see that a police officer has shot someone in the head, a target that no soldier or law enforcement officer is trained to hit, with extreme exception?

These are difficult, powerful questions, and as Geller’s video shows, questions that games can also help us parse.

Source: Kotaku.com

Why Video Game Headshots Will Always Be Popular—And Unsettling

A still from the E3 2012 trailer for The Last Of Us.
Image: Sony

Like a lot of people who play video games, I have spent decades aiming at digital heads. I have also spent a considerable amount of time during those years feeling uncomfortable about it. “Headshots” as a concept are, as Kotaku’s Stephen Totilo wrote in a 2010 report, ghoulish to the outsider, and essential to the gamer.

Over the past couple days, I started watching YouTuber Jacob Geller’s video essays on games. “Rationalizing Brutality: The Cultural Legacy of the Headshot” is a good example of why I find them compelling. Geller constructs well-researched videos exploring a topic contextually, pulling not just from video games but across media, history, and current events.

Content Warning: the video references and depicts graphic violence from both games and historical footage.

“Rationalizing Brutality” is an even-keeled examination of the very idea of headshots, one that traces humankind’s understanding of the location of the “self.” In both medical science and popular culture, the “self” was thought to lie in the heart, but eventually our conception of where “we” are in our bodies drifted upward to the brain. Geller, citing numerous games and scholarly papers like Amanda Phillips’ “Shooting to Kill: Headshots, Twitch Reflexes, and the Mechropolitics of Video Games” ruminates on the much-discussed role of the headshot in game design, as well as the way it has slowly become the primary depiction of death by gunshot in popular culture.

What makes Geller’s video good isn’t that it’s arguing for or against gun violence in games, but rather what it might mean to have a large body of popular entertainment shift in a direction that specifically valorizes the headshot.

Committing acts of digital violence does not lead to a desire to commit real violence, but art does influence understanding. And if our current understanding of the self is something rooted in the brain, what does it mean to have all this media where the destruction of a head, and therefore arguably the self, is the primary thrill? And what should we make of it, when, say, we read the news and see that a police officer has shot someone in the head, a target that no soldier or law enforcement officer is trained to hit, with extreme exception?

These are difficult, powerful questions, and as Geller’s video shows, questions that games can also help us parse.

Source: Kotaku.com

 Final Fantasy Gunblades, Ranked

Seriously.

Final Fantasy VII was the first game in the series to have guns. They added to the game’s modern and mature mystique at the time. Prior to that, the series’ weaponry was purely medieval, primarily focused around swords. But what if you could have a sword that was also a gun? Final Fantasy VIII answered by delivering unto players the gunblade, a device that has appeared in almost every Final Fantasy since.

Experts disagree on the precise number of gunblades that have appeared in the series since Final Fantasy VIII came out in 1999. Some don’t have names. Others are duplicates of existing models with a swapped color palette. Then there’s the age-old question of what satisfies the blade requirement. Something attached to a hilt? Any piece of sharp metal that can also shoot bullets? There are no perfect answers, but in my quest to be as thorough as possible, the only gunblades excluded from this ranking are the ones the Manikins wield in the Dissidia games.

By my count, then, there are 35 different gunblades that have appeared in the series so far. My extremely scientific ranking process includes criteria like how cool the gunblades look, the gun-to-blade ratio, and their practical stabby shooty ability. Here they are, ranked from worst to best.


35. Shear Trigger (Final Fantasy VIII)

Squall’s second weapon. The bullets do more damage, but the hilt looks like ass. No thank you.

34. Flame Saber (Final Fantasy VIII)

Someone thought a sword that looked like it was on fire would be cool. The logic was sound, but this gunblade was not. Points for color, but minus a bajillion more for using the same hilt as the Shear Trigger.

33. Cutting Trigger (Final Fantasy VIII)

Keeps the hairy red blade but ditches the Shear Trigger’s hilt for one that looks like an actual gun.

32. through 29. Razor Carbine, Edged Carbine, Lifesaber, Peacemaker (Final Fantasy XIII)

Despite coming out a decade after Final Fantasy VIII, many of Final Fantasy XIII’s gunblades look about as lethal as bent rebar. For some reason these four all look like barber’s tools. If Final Fantasy XIII had job classes and one of those classes was barber, the game might have been a lot better. Even so, these four gunblades still wouldn’t have been cool.

28 and 27. Hauteclaire, Durandal (Final Fantasy XIII)

If you’ve ever wondered what a can opener that could also spray bullets would look like, look no further.

26 and 25. Lionheart, Ultima Weapon (Final Fantasy XIII)

Although these both look the same as the Hauteclaire and Durandal, they have better abilities.

24. Omega Weapon (Final Fantasy XIII)

The best weapon in Final Fantasy XIII with a max strength of 508. Not 506 or even 507 but 508 big juicy units of monster-destroying power. Even with the cool name and boss stats, the fact that it looks like a pretzel made out of one of Maleficent’s horns holds it back.

23. Punishment (Final Fantasy VIII)

“Two is always better than one” is an old gunblade-smith saying, and Punishment gets that.

22. Twin Lance (Final Fantasy VIII)

The Twin Lance edges out its more powerful sibling Punishment because of better flavor text: “The Twin Lance is a gunblade forged with two blades. The two blades work synergistically to inflict severe damage.”

21 through 18. Gladius, Helter-Skelter, Organyx, Apocalypse (Final Fantasy XIII)

It’s sad but true that the weaker you go in the Final Fantasy XIII gunblade arsenal, the better they get. All of these switchblade-inspired firearms will serve you decently in a West Side tory brawl and also probably get you thrown on the TSA’s “no fly list” for life if airport security catches you with one in your carry on.

17 through 14. Blazefire Saber, Flamberge, Axis Blade, Enkindler (Final Fantasy XIII)

Simple, elegant, and each complete with a paint scheme that won’t make you want to shoot/cut your eyes out, this Blazefire-inspired line is the best Final Fantasy XIII has to offer.

13. Bradamante (Final Fantasy XIV)

This one will probably get me in trouble, either because Nael van Darnus’ gunblade is technically a gunhalberd or because it only made it to 19 on the list. Where do the bullets even come out? Who knows, and who cares—it’s a giant sharp pole with a trigger.

12. Weiss’ Gunblade (Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII)

The most minimalist of them all, Weiss’ gunblade is one of the most functional looking and lightweight. It reverses the traditional design dating back to Final Fantasy VIII and sticks the barrel on the top rather than the bottom.

11. Cid nan Garlond’s Gunblade (Final Fantasy XIV)

It shouldn’t be a surprise that the first Cid to wield a gunblade has one of the cooler ones. It feels straight out of the Gears of War universe with its gear-like teeth on the hilt. Unfortunately, no one has yet invented a gunblade where the sword part is also a chainsaw.

10. Heirsbane (Final Fantasy XIV)

Gunblades are way cooler than guns with bayonets because the gunblade formula, at its best, really tries to fuse the two things together. The gunblades the Garlean Empire uses, which Gaius van Baelsar also has and gave a fancy name to, are a perfect example of that distinction. Instead of putting something sharp on a gun, they make the entire gun sharp. Genius.

9. Ras Algethi (Final Fantasy XII)

Perhaps the most subtle iteration of the concept, Balthier’s Ras Algethi is never used as a sword, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the most beautiful gun-centric incarnations of the gunblade.

8. Genesis Copy’s Gunblade (Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII)

This gunblade, like its owner, was never given a name. Unlike its owner, though, it’s totally unique and awesome, like someone took the idea for a sawed-off shotgun, reversed it, turned it into a machine gun, and then turned it into a sword. Some people say Square Enix ran out of ideas when it started pumping out Final Fantasy VII spinoffs, and those people are probably right. This gunblade still rocks.

7. Lion Heart (Final Fantasy VIII)

While I’m not wild about replacing cold, hard steel with ephemeral glowy shit, the Lion Heart has one of the most hype gunblade names and is so powerful the hilt has like, two and a half cross-guards.

6. Hyperion (Final Fantasy VIII)

Seifer’s gunblade is the red light saber of gunblades and has probably been outlawed in 47 states. Enough said.

5. Thancred’s Gunblade From The Shadowbringer Expansion Trailer (Final Fantasy XIV)

This thing is like when you go to the sandwich Kiosk at a Wherever-You-Buy-Your-sandwiches and although you’d probably be best with just a standard turkey sub you instead drag your hand across the condiment screen until you’ve ordered so many extra fixings the computer cuts you off, except if the sandwich were a gunblade.

4. Overture (Final Fantasy XIII-2)

Who would have thought Lightning’s coolest gunblade wouldn’t actually appear in a properly numbered Final Fantasy but rather the two spinoffs almost nobody played? The Overture is one of the coolest-looking swords in the entire series, and the fact that it’s also a gunblade makes it that much better.

3. Godslayer (Final Fantasy XIII)

There’s one gunblade that’s never been discovered. A placeholder discovered in the game files for Final Fantasy XIII references a weapon called the Godslayer with power enough to match its namesake. It was probably just for testing, but also, what if it wasn’t? Some of the best gunblades are the ones we have yet to discover.

2. Revolver (Final Fantasy VIII)

Nothing beats a classic. Well, almost nothing. The mindfuck of putting a sword on the end of a gun was never better executed than with the series’ first gunblade. Sharp, wildly unbalanced, and without any way for the ammunition to actually exit, the Revolver transcends time, space, and our comprehension of them.

1. Gilgamesh’s Revolver (Final Fantasy XII)

Gilgamesh’s Revolver looks identical to Squall’s, except it replaces the etching of the lion on the side with a painted decal of a chocobo, which instantly makes it better.

Source: Kotaku.com