Many things related to gaming are experiencing a bit of a resurgence. Adventure games are more popular than ever, tabletop games are on kitchen tables worldwide and with the popularity of movies like the Hunger Games, the game developing community has a love affair with the bow and arrow/crossbow weapon. Sure the bow has been a mainstay in many an RPG but when you think of shooters you normally think of guns. Over the past couple of years though there seems to be more and more games that allow players to use this archaic but effective weapon.
With that in mind, it’s time to look at our personal best of the best. Now, full disclosure, these rankings are purely based on the weapon itself, not the game as a whole. This should make sense, considering which game our fourth best weapon originates from.
4 – The Resistance Crossbow from Half Life 2
The Half Life games have left many things up to the player and the Crossbow is one of those things that is never questioned. Why would the resistance use this thing? Why not just use a less archaic sniper rifle? Easy, a sniper rifle can’t gruesomely pin enemies to walls or have them slide along the floor like they fell off a fast moving motorcycle. The crossbow in Half Life 2 manages to be satisfying to use but in a different way than other games. It’s a perfect combination of the great sound design with a sense of impact whenever it hits a combine soldier. While the gravity gun did over shadow pretty much every other weapon in Gordon Freeman’s arsenal, it doesn’t mean that weapons like this don’t have their uses. Yeah, it wasn’t that practical to use in Half Life 2: Deathmatch but those times when you killed an enemy player the same way you did in the amazing single player campaign… pure satisfaction.
3 – The Recurve Bow from Far Cry 3
In the many hours I spent playing Far Cry 3, I usually stuck with the same loadout. I had a silenced pistol to help me pretend I’m James Bond having a bad day, a trusty AK-47 for when things went south, a powerful SMG and to top it all off, the recurve bow. All of these weapons were a blast to use but the bow was my go to weapon. Anytime I got close to an outpost, I’d hit the designated key and get ready to take over a base in silence. Of course, if you wanted to leave some kind of impact, the explosive and fire arrows are more than up to snuff. Whatever Ubisoft does with the Far Cry series next, I just hope it keeps this awesome weapon.
2 – Lara’s Bow from the Tomb Raider Reboot
No matter when or where you use this bow there is an immense sense of gratification when it pierces the skull of one of Yamatai’s weird Sun Queen cultists. Right from the start as Lara’s first weapon you get to experience the joy of hunting and killing with this badboy. Of course as you progress through the game it gets all sorts of upgrades that allow you to shoot fire, blow shit up with napalm, shoot ropes to pull baddies off of ledges or set up aerial slides to guide Lara from one landing to another. If stealth is your game then this will be your most used weapon hands down in Tomb Raider.
1 – The Predator Bow from Crysis 3
Kind of weird that the best ranked bow in the list is in what would widely be considered to be the worst game on the list. Crysis 3, while not a bad title by any means, wasn’t amazing either. The same can’t be said however for the predator bow. While it was a desperate addition to try and make Crysis 3 not just look like a giant expansion for its predecessor and its introduction from the character Psycho sounded like an infomercial, god damn is it fun! The way it combines sounds and physics are almost the opposite of Half Life 2’s crossbow but in a good way. The instant you shoot one of the many deadly arrows of your choosing and the way the enemy comes to a halt as you can hear the projectile rip into them is as brutal as it is gratifying. The many options you have are also a nice touch. Being able to choose from four different arrows as well as the draw weight is a terrific feature, as well as being able to stay cloaked while firing. That last part doesn’t translate to the game’s multiplayer but it’s still useful and fun as hell to take down other players in just one perfectly timed shot. I’ll admit, I’m one of those people that runs out in the open in the Hunter mode, just so I can get killed and respawn with a maxed out suit and a predator bow.
What about you guys? Do you have any favourite archery weapons in games? And if you do, what are they? Let us know in the comments!