Unlocking stuff is what we love doing here at Gameranx. Whether it’s cool guns, new abilities, powerful characters, or whatever else — if you can unlock it, we want to get it.
And we’re not talking about boring collectibles here. Notes? No thanks. This is all about the really good stuff. The weapons, vehicles, and other stuff we really have to fight to earn. The Rocket Pistols, Miniguns, and fastest cars of 2021 — that’s what we’re after. We’re ranking the best stuff we unlocked. Some of it is secret. All of it is optional. Everything is what we need.
Unlockables are bigger than ever in video games. Now that Loot Crates are out and Battle Passes are in, multiplayer games are back on the unlockables train. And all the biggest games gave us the option to unlock cool stuff — but only if you knew where to look for it. Other games like Resident Evil Village are overwhelmingly packed with weird weapons you have to complete special conditions to unlock. There’s almost too much! And that’s just the way we like it.
The Best of 2021:
The Scorpion Gun [Halo Infinite]
The ultimate weapon isn’t really a weapon at all in Halo Infinite. Is it a glitch? A mistake in Easter egg programming? Or is this a genuine Easter egg? We have no idea and we don’t care — the Scorpion Gun is awesome, and it is the only way to conquer Legendary Difficulty for the rest of us bad-player plebs. Want to beat the campaign with all the cheat Skull effects active at the same time? The Scorpion Gun is the only way to roll.
The Scorpion Gun is named after the famous Scorpion Tank for a very obvious reason. The invisible weapon has infinite ammo, and each time you pull the trigger, you launch a Scorpion Tank shell. Naturally, this makes the Scorpion Gun the most powerful weapon in the game. There’s one drawback — you can’t drop it. But, as long as you don’t drop it, you can carry this gun through the entire campaign. I love messing with this thing, and if you’re a Halo Infinite player, you owe it to yourself to try unlocking it at least once.
Here’s how to get the Scorpion Gun. Seriously, it is really easy.
LZ Answerer [Resident Evil Village]
Resident Evil Village is packed with content in its chunky 12~ hour campaign. The game is so packed, you can’t even get all the guns until you play the campaign twice… and then there are even more guns to unlock after that. There are almost too many cool guns, so we can’t talk about them all. The S.T.A.K.E. Magnum is hilariously ostentatious. Same goes for the over-sized series staple the Handcannon, which is a wrist-breakingly big revolver.
The Rocket Pistol deserves honorable mention, but for my money the best of the bunch is the LZ Answerer. This awesome weapon lets you cosplay Darth Maul in RE8. That’s right. The LZ Answerer is a spoof of the double-sided lightsaber. Not only can you slap enemies around with energy beams, but you can also heal yourself. Now that’s one ability I wish more lightsabers utilized.
To unlock the LZ Answerer for purchase, Ethan has to complete all Mercenaries maps with SS Rank. Learn about the LZ Answerer and the rest of the hilarious unlockable guns here.
Sooga [Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity]
Sooga is the big burly companion that serves Master Kohga of the villainous Yiga Clan in Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. From the moment I saw this giant-sized red ninja, I knew he’d be a playable character someday. And I was right! It requires completing a hidden quest in the second DLC expansion for Age of Calamity — who even knew there would be secret characters to unlock in a mini-DLC episode?!
The simple explanation goes like this: to unlock Sooga, you need to play a specific mission and save all the allied officers. Because nothing is ever that simple, you actually need to complete tasks in a very specific order so you can get behind a gate and rescue an easy-to-lose ally. Getting Sooga is a delightful surprise, and as a big fan of ninjas big and small, I had to unlock him immediately when I found out.
Koenigsegg Jesko [Forza Horizon 5]
The best vehicle in Forza Horizon 5 is a must-have for two reasons: 1) you can use it to easily farm in-game currency with a fun highway trick and 2) you can get it for free instead of paying an exorbitant price. The Koenigsegg Jesko is a really good, really fast car. With the right upgrades, it can go even faster. Faster than anyone would ever want. Previous iterations of the car in previous games were also some of the best until paid DLC add-ons kicked it off its perch. Will the same thing happen to the Koenigsegg Jesko? Probably. But until then, I’m going to enjoy speeding around Mexico in German-made luxury.
Sieker 1 Emetic Pistol [Hitman 3]
Hitman 3 is an extension of Hitman and Hitman 2 — all the games are connected through the same menu system. The file size of all three games together is even helpfully consolidated, making all three a pretty manageable 60 GB~ on SSDs. Why am I talked about all this? Because the best unlockable in Hitman 3 can only be unlocked in Hitman 2. It’s so good, we’ve discussed it before. And you’d really never know it unless you really, really know Hitman.
The Sieker 1 Emetic Pistol is unlocked in the Haven Island level. This special pistol doesn’t kill people. It doesn’t even knock them out. Instead, it shoots a pellet of silent emetic poison that makes people sick. When people get sick in Hitman, they go to the restroom (or the nearest other suitable location for barfing) — pulling bodyguards off their patrol or breaking the regimented path of a target completely, making just about any Silent Assassin run a total cake walk. Why poison people’s food when you can carry a poison launcher in your pocket?
RYNO 8 [Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart]
The biggest gun in Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is also the year’s best repository of Easter eggs. The RYNO 8 isn’t only a devastating rocket launcher. This weapon summons objects from alternate dimensions to crush your enemies — and that includes tons of stuff from Sony titles. You can drop Sly Cooper’s van onto enemies or crush bad guys with a giant robotic dinosaur from Horizon: Zero Dawn. There are a ton of references here and upgrading gives you even more. That means more opportunities to point and yell at your TV Screen. Remember Jak and Daxter?!
Getting the gun takes time and effort. You’ll have to find all the spybots in the game — learn all the locations here. This is a worthwhile reward for all your exploration, and the best iteration yet of the RYNO. Like the RYNO guns we keep unlocking, the Ratchet & Clank games keep getting better.
Just Ice Traps [Orcs Must Die! 3]
Here’s one impossibly powerful weapon you really don’t have to unlock. You do unlock it, but you’ll unlock several as you play through the campaign. The real unlockable here is realizing the hidden power of ice traps — the deadliest tool in your Orcs Must Die! 3 arsenal.
Orcs Must Die! 3 is a tower defense game, where you build complex passages of traps to splatter entire armies of orcs trying to raid your HQ. There are multiple elements you can employ, and the game really doesn’t explain what every element actually does. Fire sets enemies on fire and causes damage over time. Sure, that’s understandable. Ice temporarily slows down or stops enemies completely. That seems good, but what makes it so unstoppable?
Ice doesn’t only slow down enemies. When iced-over, enemies are more vulnerable to damage, including more ice damage, which in turn makes them even more vulnerable to damage, and so on and so forth. You can stack ice damage on enemies to keep them permanently locked down and ready for a finishing blow from your trusty crossbow. Ice keeps on giving! Pair with arcane magic damage and every fortification becomes unstoppable.
Unless you’re fighting enemies immune to ice. That’s what the arcane is for… which also makes enemies more vulnerable to ice. Nice!
Salve-Maker [Bravely Default 2]
One of the best jobs in Bravely Default 2 is also entirely optional. The Salve-Maker sounds lame on paper — it’s a job that uses items better. That sounds crummy compared to an unstoppable Berserker, or an unstoppable Shieldmaster, or powerful Red Mage. Seriously, everything sounds cooler than a Salve-Maker. And yet, the Salve-Maker is one of the best classes precisely because they’re good at using items.
The Salve-Maker can unlock the ability to improve healing item effectiveness permanently, and they can use a single item that heals the entire party. They can also combine healing items to create even better healing items. Basically, if you’ve got a little money, you can infinitely heal your party without having to worry about pesky MP. You can also revive your entire party easier than any magic class. Those support skills make the Salve-Maker invaluable in the end-game. I don’t know what I’d do without their ability to revive 3 party members at the same time.
Learn more about unlocking the Salve-Maker here.
Snoopy Car [Hot Wheels Unleashed]
Loot Boxes have fallen out of favor in video games. We’ve come a long way since the Loot Box fiasco of Star Wars: Battlefront 2. Gaming has now entered the Fortnite era of unlocking stuff through Battle Passes — which, looking at Halo Infinite, isn’t a perfect solution. It is a huge improvement over pure randomness.
When a game like Hot Wheels Unleashed comes along, we’re almost nostalgic for those spinning digital boxes that give us random stuff. Nobody expected Hot Wheels Unleashed to be as good as it is, and the Loot Boxes really aren’t that bad. You can buy anything you want from the DLC shop, but you can also spend in-game currency on random Loot Box rolls. And if you’re extremely lucky, you can get the holy grail of Hot Wheels Unleashed… the Snoopy Car.
The Snoopy Car is a Legendary vehicle showcasing the lovable Snoopy riding his doghouse with wheels. He isn’t the best car in the game. He isn’t even the rarest. But for my money, Snoopy is the gosh-darn cutest car in the game. And no matter how many rolls I tried, I couldn’t get it. We got multiple Super Treasure Hunt vehicles before Snoopy!
The Really Good Gun Store [GTA: Vice City Definitive Edition]
The return trip to GTA: Vice City Definite Edition has been a bumpy one. The Definitive Editions for GTA3, Vice City and San Andreas were plagued with bugs at release, and they’re still a little iffy. Even with all the issues, I still enjoyed my return trip to Vice City. In re-establishing my criminal empire, I also forgot about an old unlockable quest — unlocking the best gun store in the game. To get gear like Miniguns and Rocket Launchers, you’ll have to perform special side-quests for a specific guy. Help him out enough, and you’ll unlock his compound. This is one of those old-school unlockables I love to see, so we’re putting it back on the list this year.
That covers some of our favorite unlockables in video games. And I didn’t even get to talk about my favorite gun, the PP29 from Battlefield 2042. There’s always next year. Let us know which unlocks you loved the most in 2021!