I don’t know how I managed to make it to the fourth article without discussing the assault rifles, but they’re the bread and butter of the FPS genre so I can’t leave them on the backburner forever. The archetypical jack-of-all-trades, assault rifles are a community favorite and I doubt that philosophy is ever going away. They have respectable damage output, moderately fast reload, moderate accuracy and higher-than-average firepower, and the real question becomes: Now that you’ve decided you want an assault rifle, which one should you pick?
Both games have a super vanilla “literally no downside” rifle and an AK-47 (actually an AKM), which trades accuracy for firepower. Let’s talk about the vanilla rifle first. Left 4 Dead 2 inherits the M16 from its prequel, complete with the historically-inaccurate automatic fire. (Unless you’ve got one of the first models from Vietnam, the M16 fires in 3-round bursts.) Payday:The Heist has the AMCAR-4, known in real life as the M4A1. One of the early upgrades gives the AMCAR-4 a reflex sight which makes it almost a hybrid sniping weapon, hampered only by the low damage per bullet. It also suffers from relatively low ammo reserves.
I prefer the AK-47 in both games, and I’m pretty sure I hold a majority opinion. As I stated in my SMG article, I prefer to compensate for low accuracy instead of low damage, since there are usually a plethora of zombies/cops mugging me, not to mention L4D2 has the laser sight upgrade, which turns the AK into the best weapon in the entire game. Not to mention if I feel like sniping in Payday I’ll use my favorite gun the M308 instead. Even without a laser sight, the low accuracy can be a perk all its own; firing the AK while running turns it into something of an automatic shotgun.
Left 4 Dead 2 has one final rifle, the SCAR-L. It fires in 3-round bursts, despite historically firing in only semi or automatic. (Maybe you coulda switched it and the M16, Valve?) Not counting laser sights, this makes it the best rifle for long-range picks, and it even contains the high-clip slow-reload concepts of a sniper rifle. This can make it good for filling a sniping role without having to worry about the loss in team firepower that comes with a dedicated sniper rifle. But I really wish it came with an option to toggle it to semi-automatic, both because a semi-automatic rifle is currently an unrepresented weapon class and because I dislike using 3-burst fire.
You may be looking at the Payday arsenal and thinking I missed a weapon; well, I’ll be covering it in tomorrow’s article.