I'm too lazy to compile a ten item list right now, and it's stepping a bit away from the FPS focus of the thread, but I really like the Unlabored Flawlessness from the Xbox Ninja Gaiden (Black), because it brings together several different elements that I love to see in game/weapon design. Here's
my rant a collection of hastily scrawled out notes about why I think it's so fly:
- For those who haven't played the game, the weapon I'm referring to essentially starts out as the most useless, obsolete piece of shit that you could ever attempt to wield (the wooden sword) , but becomes a special sort of hybrid of the game's sword and heavy weapon classes (the Unlabored Flawlessness) if you spend enough money on it. The real unique point of the weapon's final form, though, is that its attacks become insanely powerful if your health bar is almost empty, dealing more damage than any other weapon in the game.
You can buy the wooden sword from the first time you find a shop, but its useful form can't be assembled until several chapters later.
- There is an element of mystery to the weapon, and its purpose/value isn't at all clear right away; the steadily increasing price for wooden sword upgrades can build anticipation without letting the player know what the money is going towards, because until the final upgrade, the crappy wooden sword doesn't visibly improve in any way.
Indeed, first-time players who don't yet understand the game's combat system well enough to earn large sums of money through killing might never see the Unlabored Flawlessness at all until they replay the game with improved skills. Sinking thousands upon thousands of yellow essence (the game's currency) into seemingly worthless (and expensive) upgrades is much less persuasive than spending the money on health or other consumables, or on any of the game's other weapons which don't cost as much to upgrade, and which do offer immediate and visible improvements every time you upgrade them.
Even once the Unlabored Flawlessness is assembled (after upgrading the wooden sword seven times, more than twice the amount of upgrades available for typical weapons), its true power (the massive damage increase as player health becomes critical) isn't clearly spelled out for the player. It is hinted at though, by the glowing symbols visible on the weapon at low health.
- Its effective use can be considered an element of 'advanced' gameplay, by offering a huge reward (including the ability to kill even bosses in mere seconds) to those who have mastered the game's basic defensive/offensive balance and are able to avoid taking any damage. This is of course more easily said than done, since it's really easy to screw up and take damage in the game unless you are very skilled.
Harnessing the weapon's power forces the player to take risks; they sacrifice the safety buffer of their health gauge for the ability to become an unstoppable death machine. A single mistake will throw a wrench into that machine, though, and put it out of commission.
- Even for players afraid to intentionally hover at the brink of death all the time, the Unlabored Flawlessness has a special role as a last-ditch weapon; when the shit has hit the fan and you're left with 5% health in a tough fight, the huge boost to damage output gives you a fighting chance to recover, assuming you know how to use it.