Earlier on our Rage 2 review, Mr Toffee talked about how awesome the weapons are in making your assaults on bandits and sci-fi bad guys all the more colourful and explosive. Smart Rocket Launcher, your Ranger powers, the Grav-Dart Launcher that reminds us of a more souped-up version of Crackdown 3‘s gravity-based weapon.

But if you want straight-up stopping power at close range coupled with a mid-range knockback “airbending” wind blast, nothing comes close to Rage 2‘s Combat Shotgun. Nothing.

It’s so magical and awesome, it’ll make even the most-jaded first-person shooter fan wet with delight at its buckshot-unloading prowess. In honour of this latest shell-unloading splendour where aiming is a suggestion, we decided to list down our favourite close-ranged boomsticks in video gaming’s violent history.

Doom’s Shotgun

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What better way to start this auspicious list than with the game that made this retrospective possible?

This classic brown-and-black vintage buckshot shooter gets the job done and comes equipped with a satisfying gunshot sound to kill imps and possessed humans. With its decent fire rate, that gun-cocking animation, and not to mention great damage output, gaming’s first-ever shotgun set the standard for close-ranged death by gunfire in an iconic fashion.

Doom 2’s Super Shotgun

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I am fine with a weapon having a terrible firing rate if it means I can deliver a loud booming shot of death at anything standing in front of me. All hail the thunderous roar of the black-clad super shotgun, slayer of Arch-Viles and the majority of Hell’s denizens in Doom 2.

Marathon’s Dual Shotgun

Two hands. Two pump action shotgunning action. No questions needed; just body bags.

Gears of War’s Gnasher

The Gnasher is a simple yet practical tool, especially when you’re playing a third-person shooter that revolves around you strategically taking cover and finding ways to roadie run for height/positional advantage.

Multiplayer-wise, anyone who wants to win will grab this baby shotgun and go up close for the one-hit kill and win. Suddenly, everyone’s playing “recover quickly from that dodging animation” to see who melees and shoots first.

Halo’s M90 CAWS/M45 Tactical

True to Bungie’s standard for making gunplay feel great, Halo’s classic combat shotgun is the perfect antidote for Flood and close-ranged threats.

The sound, the kickback, the melee attack that follows after if the victim is still alive: the M90 CAWS (or M45 for all you Halo: Reach fans out there) is the only reason Master Chief can finish the fight, then start it again in future sequels.

Bulletstorm’s Boneduster

Do you want a four-barreled shotgun that literally splits enemies into half with every shot it makes? And said shot is actually all four barrels unloading its shells at once in a horizontal spread that even breaks through cover? Of course you do.

That’s why games like Bulletstorm should be played; so that you can mix your shooting tendencies with some creativity. Line up your foes and whip them up into the air, then blast them with the Boneduster’s be-all-end-all shot.

Unreal Tournament’s Flak Cannon

This classic multiplayer weapon is not only good up-close, it also has shells that bounces off walls. You can get creative with it by firing at a corner to see what it hits. Its alternate fire also doubles the weapon as a grenade launcher that explodes flak fire from all directions.

Wolfenstein’s Akimbo Shotgun

It’s rather obvious that developer MachineGames was inspired by Bungie’s double shotgunning efforts in Marathon. All the better too; this was the only way to deal with most armoured Nazis in dystopian corridors. Let’s hope BJ Blazkowicz’s daughters have the same kind of firepower in their upcoming Wolfenstein title.

Doom 2016’s Super Shotgun

As if having Doomguy cock his shotgun in sync with the Doom theme intro isn’t enough, we have the joy of using this version of the Super Shotgun halfway in the game. It’s safe to say that this one nails all the criteria of a great gaming shotgun especially in a playground ripe with fleshy squishy demons.

Big damage with big thundering shot sounds for that lovely feedback. A decent reloading animation to compensate for its stopping power. And the fact that it complements the speedy nature of Doomguy who would rather just get up close and personal with Hell’s denizens. This is black beauty in close-ranged boomstick form.

Until Borderlands 3 shows us its shotgun collection, it’s safe to say that Id Software and Avalanche Studios take top honours for 2019’s best boomstick so far. What say you, virtual gun fan?

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