There’s no weapon in gaming quite like the humble axe. Whether they’re wielded by the player or in the hands of the enemy, axes have been chopping their way through every corner of gaming.
They may not be as flashy as bows, swords or guns, but a sturdy axe can make a world of difference. From Dark Souls to The Last of Us, axes are the reliable and deadly bulwark of a player’s melee arsenal. Axes can also be an invaluable survival tool, as demonstrated by games like Minecraft and Rust. From mighty battleaxes to trustworthy survival weapons and beyond, here are the best axes in gaming.
9 Fireaxe – Left 4 Dead
First person melee can often be a gamble, but Valve knocked it out of the park when they first introduced close combat weapons in Left 4 Dead 2. The fireaxe is a particular highlight among the game’s wide variety of melee options thanks to its chunky sound design and the series' signature gore engine.
Things only got better when the original Left 4 Dead levels were ported to Left 4 Dead 2, which finally allowed players to chop their way through the original game’s tighter spaces.
8 Bearded Axe – Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
Even in a series all about staying stealthy, sometimes it just feels good to cut loose with a giant Axe. Before Assasin’s Creed: Origins redefined much of franchise’s gameplay with more RPG elements, combat was used sparingly. Ezio and the other original protagonists did as much sneaking as they did fighting.
When a fight did break out, few weapons were as glorious as the range of great axes the games had on offer. The Bearded Axe, seen in Brotherhood and Revelations, was easily obtainable from nearby guards and could be thrown into oncoming enemies. While axes are still common in the newer entries, it’s hard to say if they’ll ever feel as good.
7 Ancient Battle Axe – Legend of Zelda: Breath of Wild
The robotic Guardian Scouts encountered throughout Link’s journey through Hyrule will often wield these glowing ancient battle-axes. Defeat the guardian, and you’ll have access to one of the game’s most powerful weapons, and that’s just the base form.
As is unfortunately the case for all of Breath of the Wild’s weapons, the Ancient Battle Axe will degrade over time and eventually break. Thankfully, more copies of the axe can be crafted at the Ancient Oven in the Akkala Ancient Tech Lab.
6 Diamond Pickaxe – Minecraft
Not all axes in gaming are used specifically for battle. Some can be used for constructive purposes, such as Minecraft’s Diamond Pickaxe. One of the game's most recognizable items, the Diamond Pickaxe can be constructed using three diamonds and two sticks.
Diamonds are a rare commodity in the game, so any weapons created with them can be a satisfying addition to your toolkit. The game is called "Minecraft" after all, so it makes sense that one of its most iconic weapons would simultaneously be its best mining tool.
5 The Separator – Brütal Legend
Eddie Riggs, the world’s greatest roadie, cleaves and crushes his way through the heavy metal-inspired world of Double Fine’s Brütal Legend with the help of The Separator, a mystical axe infused with the power of ancient darkness.
The Separator helps the player cut down swathes of demonic forces and is perfectly complemented by Eddie’s other weapon, a magic guitar that sets foes alight with sick riffs. The dozens of licensed metal songs that can be heard throughout the game only add that much more spectacle to each of The Separator’s hefty blows.
4 Hatchet – Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus
One of the best parts of the new Wolfenstein trilogy is its emphasis on gory first-person melee takedowns. Developer Machine Games started players off simple with a satisfying knife that could be thrown and dual-wielded in Wolfenstein: The New Order, followed up by a blunt lead pipe in Wolfenstein: The Old Blood. The New Colossus’s hatchet brought B.J. Blazkowicz’s melee skills up a notch with gleefully gratuitous melee kills.
Ironically, all three are technically supposed to be stealth weapons, with the throwable hatchet and knives designed to be an alternative to silenced weapons. But try as Machine Games might, it’s hard to qualify sneaking up on an unsuspecting nazi guard and cleaving their arm off as a “stealth takedown.”
3 Wuuthrad – Skyrim
Collecting all the fragments of Wuuthrad from the Silver Hand will grant you access to this gargantuan two-handed axe. One of the most powerful weapons in Skyrim, Wuuthrad is especially deadly to elves. This makes sense considering that the axe is decorated with the face of a screaming elf.
Wuuthrad translates to “storm’s tears” in Atmoran, which is a reference to its forging out of the tears of grief from its owner and legendary warlord Ysgramor. An arrow to knee sounds much more appealing than a wounded Wuuthrad.
2 Golden Axe – Golden Axe
The Golden Axe series wouldn’t be complete without its namesake weapon. The legendary Golden Axe is a key plot motivator throughout the series of campy beat 'em ups. Apart from hitting things, which it does nicely, the axe has a variety of powers ranging from giving the wielder invincibility to giving life to inanimate objects.
The Golden Axe was forged during an apocalyptic battle at the dawn of time, and is normally seen in the hands of series antagonist and shorts advocate Death Adder.
1 Leviathan Axe – God of War
God of War fans were initially skeptical when the Blades of Chaos were nowhere to be seen in the initial reveal of the fourth entry in the series. The flailing twin blades had been seemingly replaced by a cumbersome ax, but players would quickly realize that it was a change for the better.
Everything about Kratos’s Leviathan Axe feels fantastic, from the crushing combat finishers to the immensely satisfying way it comes right back to you after being thrown, à la Thor’s hammer. It also serves a narrative, having once belonged to Kratos’s recently deceased wife Faye.The Blades of Chaos do make a return later in the game, but it’s hard to say if they were truly missed.
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