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5 of Gaming's Most Legendary Blades

A short list of all the deadly artifacts you'll ever need to save the world (and several others)

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Weapons in video games are an industry unto themselves.  The BFG 9000, the Quake rocket launcher, the wrench from Half Life—these are often discussed with as much (or more) passion and reverence than our favorite characters or most enduring moments.  It makes sense, then, that video games would be host to some of the coolest edged weapons ever imagined, and we thought it high time we cataloged some of the standouts.

5. Masamune (Final Fantasy series)

Named for Japan’s most legendary swordsmith, the Masamune appears in varying forms in almost every Final Fantasy game, and is very often the most powerful weapon available.  In most incarnations it’s a katana, as in the first game where it’s the strongest blade available, though it has taken other forms.  In Final Fantasy VII the Masamune is carried by Sephiroth and is a giant Nodachi which, purportedly, only he can wield.  It has also appeared as a weapon in the hands of the summon Gilgamesh and as a pair of katana fused at the hilt, and in many cases is enchanted with the boon of speed, granting the ability to cast haste or act first in combat.

4. Frostmourne (World of Warcraft)

 

In terms of sheer badassery, it’s tough to beat a weapon infused with the undying soul of an ancient Lich King.  Frostmourne is just that, pulsing with the wicked nether energies of its undead inhabitant and limned with killing frost.  When paladin-prince Arthas Menethil draws the legendary rune blade from its seat in the Frozen Throne, he merges with the Lich King and becomes one of Warcraft’s most powerful baddies.  Frostmourne deserves recognition because it’s not only an incredible weapon, it’s also a living being, and played a critical role in the rich, convoluted lore of Azeroth.

3. The True Dragon Sword (Ninja Gaiden series)

 

Once upon a time, in the Ninja Gaiden canon, the Divine Dragons, guardians of the fabric of existence, were betrayed by their youngest sibling and eventually destroyed.  Before they succumbed, however, they imbued one of their fangs with all of their spiritual essence and power, and thus was born the Dragon Sword, passed down through generations of Dragon Lineage ninjas and currently wielded by Ryu Hayabusa.  While the Dragon Sword is itself a powerful weapon, its true potential is only unlocked after the Dragon Eye is inserted into its hilt, at which point it becomes the True Dragon Sword and one of the most potent weapons in existence.  It is so strong, in fact, that if not wielded by a person of pure conviction and ultimate skill, it threatens to consume their very being.  Talk about a double-edged sword, am I right?  

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MOVING ON.

2. Soul Reaver (Legacy of Kain series)

 

Forged by the vampire lord Vorador and originally known simply as the Reaver, the Soul Reaver began its remarkable, complicated journey through history when it consumed the soul of the wraith Raziel.  While a blade that can devour souls and is possessed by a powerful wraith is pretty impressive, that’s only the tip of Soul Reaver’s awesome iceberg.  The blade also has the unique ability to tear rifts in space-time or even spin out whole new timelines when it encounters previous versions of itself or Raziel, and is the only weapon capable of destroying the Legacy of Kain universe’s ultimate bad guy, the Elder God.

1. Master Sword (The Legend of Zelda series)

 

A blade that needs no introduction and another sword with a powerful spirit dwelling within it, the Master Sword is one of gaming’s most iconic weapons, edged or otherwise.  Created by a goddess and then reforged into its current state by one of her most powerful servants, the Master Sword is commonly the only blade that can defeat the evil sorcerer Ganon, font of malice, princess abductor, and generally bad neighbor. 

 Like other sentient blades, the Master Sword has some agency in deciding who wields it, often only selecting great heroes that have undergone intense trials and suffered through setback and tribulation.  We also suspect it has a strong affinity for heroes dressed in green.

Originally Published May. 30th 2013

Columnist

Alan Bradley is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

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