A big job requires a big weapon
But even in the lunatic world of video games, overkill is still a concern. But how do you guage whether your weapon of choice has tripped over the line between "Awesome" and "Flat-out stupid"? Simple. You just ask yourself if said firearm would be a genuine benefit on the battlefield, or just a weapon of mutually-assured mass destruction.
If your tool of choice allows you to absolutely, positively kill every motherflipper in the room and walk away clean, well done. Your weapon is calibrated correctly. If using it would more likely destroy the enemy, then yourself, then every one and every thing in a 300 mile radius leaving only a steaming crater filled with glass and charcoal, then watch out. There's a good change you have one of gaming's most ludicrously impractical weapons.
Crossbow (Half-Life 2)
A crossbow that fires super-heated, armour-piercing metal bars should be great fun. Even better should be one that that emits its red-hot iron ejections with enough force to leave a bad guys corpse dangling like a wet sock from a washing line. Half-Life 2s drawstring weapon of choice is both of those things, and it also makes a satisfying-as-cake thunk noise when it fires. So how in could it ever be a useless weapon?
Simple. That super-heating feature that makes the H-L2 crossbow such a devilish tickle to the homicide gland is also its greatest drawback. You see, the crossbows metal bolts are heated by an electrical charge that comes from an under-slung battery pack. The problem with this? The entire crossbow is made of metal and wood, meaning that if the electric jolt doesnt see the user involuntarily hurling it skyward before falling down into a pile of their own freshly voided bowels, the temperature of the weapon will see it permanently fused to the users skeletal structure before they can fire a single shot. Assuming the whole thing doesn't catch fire. And speaking of self-defeating arm-mounted tomfoolery
Ice Beam (Metroid Prime)
Shots from Samus frosty firearm are so cold that upon impact they causes their targets to become instantly encased in ice. So how exactly do they manage to get out of the barrel the weapon without freezing the inside of it solid along the way? If the ammo is cold enough to insta-freeze at distance, surely its even colder as it leaves the gun.
Indeed, given that metal has particularly strong temperature conducting properties, using this thing should freeze Samus' whole suit up, or at least chill it to the point of severe discomfort, giving her an instant full-body brain freeze and goosebumps you could grate cheese on. Yes, the heat-insulating Varia Suit might also protect Samus from cold, but consider her armours metallic outer materials. Consider the effect on their integrity if using the Ice Beam immediately after the flamethrower or red-hot Plasma Beam. Seen Alien 3? Yeah, that.
Lightning Guns (Various)
Controlling lightning is hard. Theres a reason that it doesnt come out of the sky in straight lines. Electricity is a prancing free spirit of an element, never happier than when its jumping unpredictably from point to point like a sugar-rushing ballerina. Albeit one whom no dance partner wants to lift, because her mere touch means an instant cardiac arrest and severe surface burns.
So what makes you think that your weaponised Van de Graaff will be in any way discriminatory in its targets? There is, after all, a sub-set of FPS lightning guns whose shots jump from target to target after scoring a hit. What makes you so special, Mr. Rubberpants? Even assuming the gun itself is made of an electricity-resistant material, the average FPS heros crazy 12-weapon arsenal is sure as hell packing a lot of metal elsewhere. Bullets, for a start.
Dark Matter Gun (Quake 4)
How many times must we tell you, kids? A black hole is not ammunition. It is made of gravity. You inherently cannot throw it. Quake 4s example is even more egregious that Mass Effect 2s, in that the shot it fires visibly drags along any environmental objects not nailed down.
Presumably in Quake 4s world, gravity only properly kicks in if occurring a safe distance from anyone it would inconvenience. In the real world, the damn thing would yank your arm off as soon as you fired it.
Gravity Hammer (The Halo series)
While were on the subject of assuming that the natural forces of the universe are on our side, lets consider the Gravity Hammer. Lets ignore for a moment the ludicrously top-heavy nature of the thing, which would surely make it less practical as a melee weapon and more useful for tying to the legs of unruly children in order to stop them from straying. Yes, lets ignore that and instead consider its damage output.
The Gravity Hammer generates kinetic charge, which it outputs as a violent 4 to 5 metre discharge field at the point of its impact. Said discharge is powerful enough to knock a motor vehicle so far that, upon landing, its driver will need to learn a foreign language in order to ask anyone around what just happened. Yet were expected to believe that the shockwave would have no effect on the wielder? No unfortunate kickback-related, user-mulching side effects, despite the fairly generous area of effect? Those mighty downward strikes would turn your shins to jam.
Peacemaker Carbine (Bulletstorm)
The Peacemakers standout feature is its secondary fire option. Under normal circumstances, the Peacemaker is simply an assault rifle, albeit one from the gratuitously penile-insecure school of weapon design. Fire up its special party piece however, and it fires all 100 bullets in its clip at the same time. The resulting shot is so hot that it instantly sears enemies down to the skeleton and reduces their bones to barbecue fuel a fraction of a second later. Based on all that we know about thermodynamics and human physiology, we can logically conclude that this effect means the shots temperature is somewhere between Really Frickin Hot and Boil your eyes just looking at it. Centrigrade.
The force of expelling such a shot would not simply make the weapon briefly glow, as it does in Bulletstorm. It would instead explode the white-hot liquid remnants of what was recently a gun all over the users big smug face.
Experimental MIRV (Fallout 3)
It's a rocket launcher. It fires mini nukes. With the emphasis on plural. Not only does the MIRV fire eight of the things at a time (pretty much guaranteeing to knock a real-life user flat with the force of the blast while also blinding them, frying their skin to a crisp and inciting a lingering death by radiation poisoning should they miraculously survive all of the above), but it will only fire eight at a time. Unless you keep a vast amount of nuclear ordanance on your person at all times, you can forget this thing being in any way useful on a regular basis.
Which, given what Fallout teaches us about radiation and giant scorpions, would probably be a good thing. (And yes we know Fallout 3 is just as much RPG as FPS, but this one was too good not to include)
Energy Sword (The Halo series)
The problem with an infinitely sharp sabre of bone-cleaving electron gas is that you have to be really, really sure where the edges of the blade are at all times. Spontaneous combat with this thing--hell, even carrying it across a room--would be nigh-impossible without inadvertently leaving much-loved bits of ones own thighs and knees behind on the floor.
As for the fact that the blades encircle the users hand with about an inch to spare, who made that design decision? Covenant Commander I-Hate-Fingers-So-I-Dont-Think-Anyone-Should-Have-Them-Any-More? And thats to say nothing of the risk of hurriedly picking the hilt up from the wrong direction and slicing your arm off at the elbow the instant you fire up the blade. Wed love to see the percentage failure rate for Covenant military training programs using energy weapons. The number of drop-outs due to dismemberment alone must be astronomical.
Plasma Guns (Various)
Remember that atmospheric resistance problem that made lasers a bit of a non-starter? Plasma beams have a similar problem, and compared to the range of a laser, theyre the energy weapon equivalent of a man standing sheepishly in swimming trunks having just got out of the sea on a cold day. A really cold day.
If you could persuade your enemy to get within a range of about two inches you'd be pretty much sorted. But only if you could intimidate them into surrendering with a nasty but very small burn...
SBC Cannon (Serious Sam)
Two words: Ammo storage. Also, unless you actually were Serious Sam, the recoil would break your spine.
Big Forgetful GamesRadar?
So, did we miss anything? Is there any FPS weapon you can think of that's more unweildy or potentially hazardous to the user? Let us know.
And while we're on the subject of silly weaponry, why not check out some of our other related content, like Fantastic video game weapons vs their real-life equivalents or The most ludicrously impractical RPG weapons.