Reloading a gun can be one of the most harrowing and intense situations in a video game. While you can swing a sword or a first over and over, you need to reload a gun before you can use it again, once its clip has expired. That makes you vulnerable to all attacks, unless you give up your ability to reload in order to get a melee attack in. In any case, I decided that today's blog would look at some of my favorite reload animations in gaming.


I would like to say this list is really generated from games I have played; I know that there are some cool ones in Crysis, Battlefield, Call of Duty, and other games, but I wanted to be more personal with this list. I'm allowing for repeats on this list across the same game, and same series, but I think I do have a bit of a variety. One of the entries is even one that some of you may question as to it being present, but this is my dumb list, and it will stay my dumb list.

10. M249 Squad Automatic Weapon

While machine guns aren't always the best choice for every situation in a shooter, they can be fun to mess around with. When I was still getting into more mature titles a couple years ago, my real start with first-person shooters was the original Half-Life series. I played Opposing Force, one of the expansions for the first Half-Life, a little bit after I did the first game, and the introduction of a belt gun was one of the most noticeable changes for me. I know that this game isn't the most pretty one, but watching Shepard open it and replace the belt was a new experience for me then.

9. Chemical Thrower

I'm a pyro by nature, so acquiring a flamethrower that also shot out freezing liquid and electric gel was pretty exciting for me in BioShock. It also seems organic, with the steam that comes out of it, and the weird sort of burlap covered body. When Jack reloads it though, he twists one lever, pumps the body part a couple times, and twists back the lever. It just makes the thrower seem like this old, antique weapon. But then, it shoots liquid nitrogen and also gel that shocks people. Regardless, seeing that animation was great every time.

8. OverWatch Standard Issue Pulse Rifle

The Pulse Rifle from Half-Life 2 stands as an alternate to the SMG that Gordon acquires in the game. It's a cool gun because it's alternate fire is sending out spheres that cause enemies to instantly disintegrate, or just sustain a heavy amount of damage. When Gordon reloads it, it doesn't require any input by his part, except what I assume is pushing some unseen button. The barrel has a portion that is open, and you can see the clips changing inside it. I liked this one because it's quick, and also speaks of how far-advanced the Combine are.

7. The Needler

I've only played a couple Halo games, with the original Combat Evolved being one of them. Even though I don't seem like it, I am a fan of the original game, because it does have fantastic multi-player. Probably one of the coolest weapons in the game is the Needler, which fires several homing needles at your foes. When you reload this Covenant weapon, there's a short pause, and then all the holes in the gun (seen above) have more needles push out of them. It's always a cool thing to say, and coupled with it being a fun gun to use, makes the Needler a worthy entry on this list.

6. Javelin Gun

Dead Space has several amazing weapons. and a couple of them were the actual inspirations for this list. One of these weapons is the Javelin Gun, which shoots javelins that knock back Necromorphs or pin them to walls. One thing I like about its reload animation is the audio done with it. As Isaac pulls back the clamp, there's this ejection sound, and then when Isaac shoves in the new clip, there's this satisfying click, followed by another great click when Isaac rearms the device.

4. Tediore Weapons

One of the most unique brands in the Borderlands series is Tediore. Described as being the Walmart of the Borderlands universe, Tediore's weapons are all cheap, and so when they run out of a clip, you simply throw the weapon away and a new one spawns into your hand. One of the most satisfying things in Borderlands 2 was getting a second wind after missing all my shots with a Tediore weapon, and then killing an enemy with the explosion from the gun I threw.

4. Pulse Rifle

The Pulse Rifle is my second favorite weapon from the Dead Space series, because it's your best bet for clearing a room full of enemies quickly, and also it has a fantastic animation for reloading. However, this animation only happens in Dead Space 2. The entire barrel of the gun will pop down, and the empty cartridge will eject out. Simultaneously, Isaac brings down a new cartridge into the spot, and then knocks the barrel back up. The speed of this is very noticeable, and also is a noticeable difference over Dead Space 1 where Isaac messed with the gun with his arm blocking the view of the actual animation.

3. Resident Evil

Okay, so, for those people who weren't around for the PlayStation 1 life cycle (aka me), picture this: you're in a dark hallway or alley, and the zombies are advancing toward you. As you aim in their direction, praying for a head shot, you realize your clip is about to be empty. You pause the game, and move toward the icon for the ammo of the gun you're using. You then highlight that item, press "combine", and combine that item with your gun. Now, you have a full clip, and saw no real animation in the actual game itself. However, there's something about combining the items that just feels satisfying to me. Also, if you want to think about it being an animation, you can think of how satisfying it is to see the number go from zero back up to how large the chamber is of that gun.

2. Plasma Cutter

Another Dead Space entry, and the main inspiration for this blog, is the Plasma Cutter, again specifically from Dead Space 2. In the second game, Isaac's Plasma Cutter is made from a tissue laser and a flashlight he quickly puts together, which means he reloads it a different way, or maybe he just does it differently because he's gotten used to using it as a weapon. Regardless, the way he does it in Dead Space 2 just screams amazing to me. All at once, Isaac pushes in a new clip, and the other one gets ejected. He does this by pushing on the top of the cutter, and tilting the cutter back so that the ejected cartridge doesn't hit him.

1. Revolver Ocelot

Revolver Ocelot plays a big part in the Metal Gear universe, and seeing him as a young major during the Virtuous Mission and Operation Snake Eater was one of the best things about Metal Gear Solid 3. When you first fight him as a boss, he's started using revolvers instead of normal handguns, per the suggestion of Naked Snake, and his reload animation is amazing. He'll stand out in the open, taunting Naked Snake, and will quickly punch in each bullet into its chamber. He's a great character, and considering that his skill with a revolver is what he comes to be known by, it's important that he have a great reloading animation to make that characterization work.

I know that this was a narrow list, but I think I got a diversity of platforms, and even genres to an extent. Do you have a favorite reloading animation? Was including Resident Evil bogus? Leave your thoughts below, and I will see all of you tomorrow!