If you hand me a shooter, I’m going to instantly judge it by how potent and useful the gun’s shotgun is. Video game shotguns are the ‘weapon’ for first-person shooters and, to me, always deliver the most satisfaction. Like real life, shotguns are closed-range weapons and deliver a powerful burst of gunfire.
Using a shotgun is a lot like gambling, and that’s why they are so satisfying in video games. The slow rate of fire and massive recoil most games give shotguns make it painful when you miss, but oh so satisfying when you don’t. With that in mind, what video games do the best job with shotguns? Keep reading — here are what we think are the seven best video game shotguns.
Unreal Tournament — Flak Cannon
The Flak Cannon is part shotgun and part grenade launcher. In the tight confines of the Unreal Tournament levels, the Flak Cannon rules. It’s quick, fires a visible and easy-to-see shot cone, and packs a great alternative fire mode. When it comes to speed and aggression, it’s tough to go wrong with the Flak Cannon.
Flying around corners and from floor to floor results in a quick-moving environment that requires fast-twitch reflexes. Much like real life, the shotgun excels in these situations. The Flak Cannon could often kill an enemy in a hit or two at most, depending on armor and health. The firing rate was rather fast and made the flak cannon a pest to deal with.
Plus, the pleasure of launching a flak grenade and killing the enemy behind cover is oh so satisfying. The Flak Cannon isn’t one of your traditional video game shotguns, but it’s a blast to use.
Titanfall 2 — SA-3 Mozambique
Titanfall 2 was a sadly underrated video game with an amazing single-player campaign. Sadly EA has eaten the franchise, and we might never see a Titanfall 3. The SA-3 Mozambique is described as a Pilot anti-personnel weapon. That’s a rather apt description for a weapon that fires three shotgun shells at one time.
The SA-3 Mozambique is a unique video game shotgun with an appropriate name. The famed Mozambique drill involves two to the body and one to the head. The Mozambique barrels are arranged, two at the bottom and one at the top. In the game, this video game shotgun is absolutely devastating at the closest of ranges.
The SA-3 Mozambique looks like a pistol and lacks a stock or long barrel, but don’t let that deceive you, and it’s one of the more unique video game shotguns out there.
Halo — M90 Close Assault Weapon Shotgun
I absolutely dominated Halo 2 with the M90 shotgun. This eight-gauge pump-action, tubular magazine-fed blaster was my favorite weapon, and I used it quite well in smaller levels. It’s on the more realistic side of video game shotguns but retains a unique sci-fi design. As an eight gauge weapon, it fires a blast of 0000 buckshot. Each pellet is a .38 caliber projectile, and like a good shotgun, it tears through the enemy’s flesh.
In the first Halo, the speed pump maneuver saved my ass in the Library and allowed me to tear my way through the flood on Legendary. In the highly mobile Halo multiplayer, it was perfect for catching running enemies, ambushing, and taking down those bastards wielding the swords.
A neat feature is that the tubular magazine loads from the top and not the bottom. This would seem to make reloads a bit more efficient and quicker. Plus, the reloads look cooler to the player, and looking cool is half the battle, and that’s why the pump has to be racked so inefficiently.
Cyberpunk 2077 – L-69 Zhuo
Cyberpunk 2077 was released as a giant mess, but it’s slowly smoothed out a bit. I’m a pretty big fan of the world, and I enjoyed beating the game. As usual, my build used shotguns…like a lot. The game has lots of cool shotguns, but the L-98 Zhuo is easily the most unique. The L-69 Zhuo was a ‘smart’ shotgun. Meaning rather than just point and click, the weapon ‘locks on’ to the enemy or enemies.
When the shooter pulls the trigger, a blast of shot fires but can track onto the bad guy. This allows the user to target a multitude of targets and fire with some awesome accuracy. The shot pellets track the threats independently, and the user can cling behind cover and lead fly without ever exposing themselves.
This is barely a shotgun. It uses 8 barrels to fire eight gyrojet powered projectiles at the threat. The built-in radar makes it easy to take down threat after threat without needing to dig into your health potions. As far as video game shotguns go, this might be the most extra shotgun ever.
Fallout New Vegas — Riot Shotgun
I have hundreds of hours in Fallout New Vegas, and I typically carry a few different weapons. I’ll almost always have a Riot Shotgun on me. New Vegas has a good mix of open areas and closed-in dungeon-like areas. As such, once I get into a vault, cave, or factory, I’m packing the hard-hitting Riot Shotgun.
The Riot Shotgun is a semi-auto shotgun that’s fed from a 12 round drum. At close range, it dominates against most threats. The Riot Shotgun excels against a wide variety of threats because of the wide variety of ammo types.
New Vegas did shotguns perfectly, and you could use a variety of ammo types. This includes buckshot, slugs, dragon’s breath, flechettes, NO. 4 buck, and even electronic slugs that stopped robots dead. The Riot Shotgun and its ammo combination make it one of the best video game shotguns.
Rage 2 — Combat Shotgun
Combat Shotgun is about the lamest name in this video game shotguns list, but don’t let that stop you from appreciating the Rage 2 shotgun. Even though it’s one of the earliest guns in the game, you’ll use it for your entire playthrough. Rage 2 allows you to customize your weapons through various upgrades, and you can make it a high-capacity long-range shotgun or a quick reloading, fast-firing model.
Beyond the customization, the Combat Shotgun can use both buckshot and slugs. From the hip, it blasts buckshot, but when you aim down the sights, you automatically switch to slugs for long-range power. You’ll knock down mutants, kill punks, and fend off sandworms well with the Combat Shotgun.
Rage 2 is an underrated game, but it’s so much fun to run through the world of Rage and decimate enemies with the Combat Shotgun.
My Personal Favorite Video Game Shotgun — Doom Super Shotgun
Doom, especially the modern Doom games, is all about movement, speed, and firepower. Sure the BFG 9000/10000 are cool, but the Super Shotgun has always ruled. Admittedly it’s a bit normal compared to most of the guns on this list. In the original game, it’s a sawn-off double-barrel shotgun that fires both barrels at the same time.
By the time Doom Eternal comes around, the Super Shotgun is still a double-barrel but is a lot different. The Super Shotgun in Doom Eternal packs a meat hook that allows Doom Guy to drag himself to the bad guys. It takes close range to a different level. The Super Shotgun delivers immense firepower, even against the biggest and baddest of demons.
Doom’s SSG has always delivered the seminal shotgun experience. It’s powerful and potent and rips and shreds enemies. Is there anything more satisfying than killing multiple fodder demons with one blast? I don’t think so. (But if you disagree, feel free to read my more in-depth treatise on the Doom Super Shotgun.
Video game shotguns almost always stand out among the tropes of full-auto rifles, handguns, and rocket launchers. They can be fun, painful, and powerful. Video games can often get creative with the shotgun, and with that in mind, I’m asking you, what’s your favorite video game shotgun and why? Let us know below.