Yes, it's a shotgun list. No, we won't be doing rocks or paper next. You can put that line back in your little joke sack. If I see any of you besmirching my thoroughly researched and vigourously typed article with such a low-hanging jest, I will take one of the following mortality transmission devices, be it the double barrelled murderspout of Doom 2 or the loud-mouthed body vaporisor of F.E.A.R, and I will demonstrate their crimson purpose.
Sit down. Here are the best shotguns in video games.
Super shotgun - Doom 2
The meaty standard all video game shotguns would inevitably follow. Doom's first pump-action shotgun was a chunky, satisfying blower-away of bad beings, itself a stupendous machine of bloodletting. But the sequel established the double-barrelled Super Shotgun as the true king. It is old reliable, a weapon you keep using throughout the game, even as others accrue in your infinite pockets. The cher-clunk of its reloading should be included in the gold disc of a Voyager spacecraft, as both a testament to good sound effects and as a warning. This is the venerable elder of digital death-dealers and you should treat it with respect.
12 Gauge Shotgun - Half-Life 2
Imagine getting struck by a flock of birds. But not finches, not little birds. Or maybe, yes, lots of little birds, you know, finch-sized, except they all weigh as much as a seagull. Or like, a young albatross. Listen, the point is you're being sprayed with dozens of pips of furious physics and slumping to the floor dead. That is what happens to Combine soldiers and zombie shufflers in Half-Life 2 when you blast them with this bird boy, uh, I mean bad boy. What is WRONG with me today?
12 Gauge shotgun - F.E.A.R
Oh, wait, this is clearly the 12 Gauge you want. My mistake.
Shotgun - Spelunky 2
The sawn-off pellet sprayer of the Spelunky games is an artificer of chaos. Shots will go wide and strike allies, or accidentally smash ghost-imbued pots. Shopkeepers will feel a stray ball entering their purview and whip out their own shotgun, full of raging keenness to return the favour. This firearm arrives in your hands and all grace and decorum departs. It is the quintessential risk-reward item and it will be the death of you, even when you're the one holding it.
Arashi - XCOM 2: War Of The Chosen
Crit show or shit show - how will your day battling aliens go? Combined with the ridiculous perks of the Ranger character, this sci-fi shotgun will make you a destroyer of worlds, dice roll permitting. It's the best shotty of the bunch (cue grumbles of disagreement) and it's got a 10% critical hit chance to ruin an extraterrestrial's life. Soldier, I like those odds. Fire!
Romero 77 - Hunt: Showdown
It takes three full seconds to reload the Romero 77 shotgun and you must reload after every shot. Do you know how many ways a person can die in the space of three seconds? Experts are divided, but research suggests a lot. In Hunt: Showdown, all the weapons are designed to be oldy-worldy, cantankerous and beautiful, deadly but stubborn. The Romero might not be the best weapon in this multiplayer arena of tension and monster hunting but it is a fine example of a powerful shotgun that not only retains its classic shell-juggling downside but pushes that flaw to stressful, panicked extremes.
Shotgun - Resident Evil 2
In a city where un-decapitated (capitated?) zombies can rise again, there is a deep yearning for firearms capable of blasting off heads. The shotgun is your friend in this. Shells are harder to come across than regular 9mm bullets but that makes every shot feel important, every anti-pate paroxysm an act of gory relief. A reminder that great video game weapons require great fodder, and that the dwindling ammo in your pocket is just as important as the tube that spits it.
Sovereign - Cyberpunk 2077
Say what you like. The double barrel shotgun in Night City is a brute and I spent the whole game with one. It just made things "pop", you know?
Mozambique - Apex Legends
There is something comical yet workmanlike about the Mozambique that makes it valuable to this slip-n-slide battle royale. I don't mean valuable as a weapon per se, but valuable as a unifying force of mediocrity. A kind of painful but essential joke. Just as one stunned schoolchild in Battle Royale gets the paper fan, some unlucky player is always left holding the Mozambique after a misplaced drop and a hurried scramble. Sure, good players can make brutal use of it. But for most, this unassuming pistol-shotty is only marginally better than using your fists. It has become a universal joke in Apex to ping it as you pass by, pointing out the weapon to your teammates to the exclusion of all other guns.
The Memezambique does not have heft, glamour or reliability. But it has virtues just as important. Culture, reputation, character, function. First-person shooter designers often talk about how each weapon must have a specific "role" upon which no other weapon intrudes too heavily. That is why the Mozambique, for all its detractors, has never been removed from the Apelegs menu, nor buffed to the point of being truly desirable. Its role is to be a sub-par gun, a desperate better-than-nothing to trade up from. It is not an impressive weapon, but it is dutiful to its role in a way the Mastiff or Peacekeeper are not. Every time you do not pick up this gun, it is doing its job. It is the only shotgun on this list that does not need to fire a single shell to serve its function. That is true power.
One Off The List from… the best songs in games
Last time we hummed along with the 10 best songs in PC games. However, one of these was not harmonious to your ears. It's...
Eyes On Me from Final Fantasy VIII
"Eyes on Me," says song destroyer "ejiAlice" with firmness. "Because I don't like it."
Done. Poof. It's off the list. This is honestly all it takes. I am a fickle goblin. See you next time. Remember: No "10 best papers" or "13 worst rocks" jokes, I'm warning you. If you do this I will ask the most witchy person I know (hello aunty) to put a hex on you. Although this is against her moral code, she will summon the will for it out of a deep well of clan loyalty. Do not doubt her.