Thursday 29 August 2013

Nerf Elite Barrel Break Review: Why its Great.

"Shot guns? What like guns that fire shot?"
"Oh you must be the brains of the operation! Yes, guns that fire shot."

Vinnie Jones in 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels'

The Barrel break has been around for ages, I'm fully aware of this but with NERF running headlong into 'Mega' blasters and grabbing girls by the ponytail, it is far too easy to leave great blasters on the 'Yesterday's News' pile when they still have much to offer. This is one of those reviews. After you read this review. Go and play the PC classic 'Doom II' immediately. If, for some amazing reason you where just playing Doom II then stopped to read this review. Please read it, then go back to playing. For those who dont know what Im talking about. Shame on you. Look it up, download it and play it, you'll thank me.

What is interesting, is that Doom II, as the name implies, is a sequal. The game changes where vast (quicker speed and loading times, better AI, soooo much more pixelated gore), but the only new gun was the double barreled 'Super Shotgun'. Why? Simply put the games creator, John Romero, wanted a double barreled shotgun in the original game but the code was too basic to show it re-loading realistically. So when the sequal arrived, so too did the gun he wanted to see.

"You're trying to say you like DOS better than me, right?"

So lets recap. The creator of one of the greatest games ever made, added only one new weapon to the sequal of his masterpiece. Simply because it looked good. which brings me smoothly onto my subject for this review. The Nerf Barrel-Break.

Not the most powerful blaster but man it looks good.

Now it can be argued that all NERF blasters fall under that dynamic, but the Barrel Break is so much more unique than anything else on offer right now.

Consider a Venn diagram of NERF blasters with every range and style that Hasbro has made thus far. In one circle you have 'Pistols' where the darts are loaded in the front or via a rotating Barrel. In another circle you have 'Clip fed' (no explination needed) and in the final circle you have 'Vortex', which while not conventional (which is probably why I like them so much), they have blasters which fit into circles one and two. Now. can you add the Barrel Break (hence forth BB for this review) into any of those catagories? The answer, he said smugly, is no. It cannot be classed as clip fed, yet it is not front loaded either, and it certainly doesn't fire disks. The BB's loading mechinism is unlike anything else on the market. It emulates the feel of the gun (yes, I have to use the 'G' word on this one) its imitating. Other NERF blasters have this effect, (look no further than the Maverick, Spectre, Strongarm or new Hammershot to see an imitiation of a six shooter from the real world), but no other blaster does so with as much style and 'blatant-ness' than the BB, putting it into a class all of its own. Unique in every sense of the word. True, its not the most powerful, but a 'shotgun' is a close range weapon at the best of times. If you want distance, this is not the blaster for you. It's short range, two dart firing impact and attention grabbing design make it a perfect difference maker in the heat of battle. As an added bonus, since it is slightly more adult looking it is also perfect for the friend or sibling who thinks playing with blasters is 'silly' and/or 'immature' (we've all know one).

 Now there is the updated version, or should I say, 'versions'. The NERF 'shotgun' has had an Elite series update twice, another unique virtue. One is the Rough-Cut, which is a completely new design, and something which I will be reviewing in the near future. The second is a straight update on the original. The only modification being the abilty to shoot Elite darts. Meaning someone up there, (in NERF/Hasbro's head office) likes it. Very much indeed.

The Elite version of the BB is a perfectly fine, if not a little basic. The Elite darts work well with the BB's loading mechinism, and seem to fit a little more snugly into each chamber, as the tips of the old N-strike darts tended to catch and snag the edges if re-loading quickly. the Distance the darts can reach easily agrees with the box art (15-20ft) but as I mentioned earlier, this is a little irrelevant. This blaster is best used in close quarters! My only main gripe is that it is, yet another, shameless repaint. and no others extras have been added to make your money seem more worthwhile. It would have been nice to see an Elite Version of the Tactical rail dart holder, but I am aware that few people kept those on the original either.

By now, many of you are probably thinking, "Why is this handsome man writing a review of a blaster that has been out for so long?" Well, the answer is two-fold:

  1. UKNerfWar hates it and cannot explain why, meaning he hates it for no reason. I can prove why I do like it, and therefore I win the discussion by default. I also like proving him wrong as many times as possible.
  2. The Barrel Break was one of the first blasters which re-kindled my life long love of NERF. Seeing it at Toys 'R' Us, grabbed me by the eyes from the moment I saw it. I have always been a fan of NERF, but other than the 1st gen. Maverick I brought while on holiday in Gibralar, I had not really been too drawn to the N-Strike range. Buying it and trying it out, showed me how far they had come and enticed me to buy others in the range. It also made me look forward to what Hasbro would bring out in the future. If anyone asks, 'which blaster should I get my friend/father/brother/babysitter/priest/etc for there birthday/wedding/silver anniversary/etc', it is always high on my suggestion list. It convinced me to buy more and with time, and I think it can easily get them hooked too.

If you dont have one. Get one. Elite or Original, both are great. No other blaster feels or fires like it. Now, go and play Doom II. I've already told you twice!


Follow me on twitter @BadFormPeterPan


  1. I've used one, and can't stand the damn thing. However, unlike UKNerfWar, I have my reasons!
    1. I hate the reload method/time. Too slow and clunky for me
    2. Aiming - I've always hated the whole 'free hand' aim. I NEED a stock. And shooting from the hip sucks.
    3. It will always be a gimmick, not a useful blaster.

    Like I said before, this is my opinion from using one in a LARP event, during combat. I just can't stand the damn thing.

  2. You make a very good case MerryUnBirthday but I have to say, I'm still not convinced. It's not that I can't think of a reason why I don't like it, it's because there are too many to list.

    It looks badass and is fun to use but unfortunately it's just too slow and clunky to be effective during games.

    Thanks for the review mate.

  3. I loved your take on the BB, but unfortunately it is still a wall hanger/prop. Compared to the shot gun epic ness that is the rough cut its just a pointless faff.
    It is one of those blasters that you wish was better or properly updated, it deserves better, imagine the same layout but a bit bigger and using two sledge fire shells at a time, then I'd think about using one.

  4. I was just playing some DooM 2 the other day...