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Ultimate weapons should be more than just a trophy

Since when did ultimate weapons become a trophy?

Aren't ultimate weapons a glorious thing? You work so hard to get these cool, epic weapons that can kill almost anything with just a few hits. They are usually loaded up with cool effects, too - some may shoot world-destroying lasers, or some may get stronger as you lose health. Other ultimate weapons are so powerful (like the scarab gun from Halo 2) that you end up killing yourself because the power is too much. (Or you accidently looked down and pulled the trigger.) I may have 'accidently' killed my allies a few times with that one.

Yet, lately I can't remember going for an ultimate weapon. It seems like the very idea has faded into the shadows of the gaming world. I mean, yeah a lot of games still have ultimate weapons, but they don't have the ultimate weapon. 

The thing I loved about ultimate weapons (in games that had them) is the fact that they helped you progress through the game. Not only that, they were one of the most difficult things to acquire. Getting an ultimate weapon used to be one of the most rewarding things to do in a game. Sure, you often weren't be able to get the weapon itself until you were 75% done with the game. But at least you still had 25% of the game left to play with it! 

Not to mention that ultimate weapons would usually bring their own unique element to the game. For example, in Zelda Majora's Mask, there is the Fierce Deity's Mask.

The mask transforms you into a god-like form of Link that allows you to shoot giant energy waves with a swing of the sword. How often do you see that in other Zelda games? You can only get this mask for the final boss fight, but at least you get to have a fun epic battle with it.

Nowadays, when a game has the omega cool weapon of all time, it is treated like a reward for beating the game.

When I say beating the game, I mean beating everything the game has to offer. My greatest example is Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance

KHDDD drop is one of my favorite games of all time. Despite being on a hand held system, the game had an amazing combat system and a fun story. However, my one complaint about it was timing for the ultimate weapon. 

I mean, look at this thing!

The ultimate weapon in KHDDD is one of the coolest-looking keybades ever. I was so excited to try out this epic keyblade as soon as I got it. However, when I finally equipped the keyblade that I shed tears and blood for, I looked around for something to try it on. 

There was nothing.

I had absolutely nothing left to do in the game. All the secret levels were beaten with the max score ranking. Every secret was collected or completed. All the ultimate skills were obtained. The strongest allies I could get in the game were in my party and maxed out. Most importantly, all the bosses were dead. 

To get the ultimate keyblade, you have to beat the secret boss. But to unlock the secret boss, you have to beat everything else. So by the time you get this awesome keyblade with stats that turn you godly, you have nothing to slaughter but a bunch of cannon fodder that you have already been murdering for the entire game.

I was left wondering: what was the point of this thing? Was it supposed to make me feel special? Is its sole purpose to sparkle and mock me about the fact that there is nothing left worth using it on? What's the point of an ultimate weapon if I don't even get to use it for something serious in the game?

What's the point of going for an ultimate weapon when it really is just the ultimate trophy? 

The worst part is, I couldn't even bring the keyblade to new game+. That's how it has been for a lot of games I've played lately. You get the ultimate weapon at the very end, but you can't bring it to new game+. 

So you're left with an epic weapon, wondering why the heck you went through so much agony to get it if it serves literally no purpose. Was it for the achievement that I will forget about in 5 minutes? For that superior feeling that will fade in 30 seconds when I realize I have nothing left to do?

You ask the weapon: where the heck were you when I was dying 5,000+ times against a single boss? Then the weapon looks at you and says, "Laughing in the end game watching you die 5,000+ times."

Super helpful, keyblade. Thanks. 

I get that ultimate weapons can be seen as an ultimate achievement, but leave that rewarding feeling to the little achievements that come with every game these days. The ultimate weapon should be a tool that the player earns, which will help them with the game. It should not be treated as a reward for beating it.

I remember some of my favorite games always had these long interesting ultimate weapon quests. Now, the ultimate weapons I see feel like they were just tossed into the game. Just so the player can feel special holding it.

Don't you miss the days of old when ultimate weapons served a purpose?

When you went on a grand quest to unlock an amazing power? I do. I miss the kind of games that made the ultimate weapon worth getting.

Despite this new trend of making ultimate weapons pretty much useless, I hold out hope every time I play a game. I ask myself: where is my Excalibur that will allow me to shoot giant laser beams? Will I be able to use said laser beams for any actual purpose?

More often than not, the answer is no. And that's just disappointing 

Published Aug. 16th 2015
  • Jackson Ingram
    Contributor
    As I was reading your headline, KH DDD was the first thing that popped into my head, haha. I'm glad I'm not the only one who felt like this. Like, after I beat Julius as Sora and Riku, there was literally nothing left to do. It's such a departure from KH2 and BBS, both of which were just dripping with extra content.

    Plus DDD was the first time I had actually obtained the Ultima Weapon in a KH game! I so overhyped it.

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