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10 Best Uses of the Bow and Arrow in Video Games

hanzo bow

While many developers implement high-grade military or futuristic weapons into their games for gamers to enjoy, others prefer to take a more traditional approach. And one needs only look to the upcoming Horizon: Zero Dawn to discover one of the most popular archaic, yet still incredibly useful weapons available: the bow and arrow.

As gamers prepare to launch in Horizon: Zero Dawn’s impressive open world tomorrow, we at Game Rant wanted to take a look back on the games that have provided the most fun and engaging experience with a bow and arrows. Here’s Game Rant’s 10 Best Uses of the Bow and Arrow in Video Games.

11 Lara Croft in Tomb Raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider Pre-Order Bonus Includes Chicken Bombs - Lara Croft Flaming Arrow

There’s no doubting that 2013’s Tomb Raider reboot has been a resounding success. The darker take on the iconic treasure hunter has breathed new life into the franchise, and given gamers a reason to root for a tough, courageous, and realistic female protagonist.

In both Tomb Raider and its sequel, Rise of the Tomb Raider, players have access to a bow and arrow as a means for taking down enemies. While the bow Lara Croft uses is nothing fancy, it’s effective in its ability to quickly and quietly drop hordes of bad guys. In fact, the bow and arrow is such a fun weapon in the games that many players prefer to use it over the more powerful guns and bombs they have access to.

10 Prophet in Crysis 3

crysis 3 bow

Even those games that launch into the future can’t seem to get away from the awesome, raw power of a bow and arrow. There’s something special about pulling back on the string and letting an arrow fly that makes it more meaningful and personal than pulling a trigger.

At least that’s the feeling in Crysis 3, where one of the most impactful weapons is a futuristic bow and arrow called the Predator Bow. In Crysis 3, players can fire the Predator Bow while cloaked and without costing energy. This makes the weapon a crucial tactical choice when stealthily moving through each missing. Additionally, players have access to different kinds of arrow tips, from carbon to electro to thermite, which give players a range of options when taking on enemies.

9 Garrett in Thief

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Going back in time, to the fictional dark fantasy world of Thief, players once again quickly discover the quiet and versatile qualities a bow and arrow can provide. Where some games focus players on using a bow and arrow to defeat enemies, Thief gives a broader range of options for players to enjoy.

While the bow can most certainly be used to take out the bad guys, it’s also a crucial tool when progressing through the game’s maps and missions. Players have access to water arrows to reduce light, fire arrows to create light, rope arrows to quickly move across impassable areas, noisemaker arrows to diver attention to a certain area, moss arrows to quiet an otherwise noisy area, and other options that allow for a vast number of experiences and gameplay options.

8 Ellie and Joel in The Last of Us

ellie last of us bow

The Last of Us is undoubtedly one of the most well-respected PlayStation-exclusive titles, and one of Naughty Dog’s most successful creations. The unique story, impressive environment, and haunting final twist put the game at the top of many gamers’ list of favorite titles.

In The Last of Us, players are forced to hunt for supplies to build weapons and defenses that can be used against enemies. With limited resources, silent gameplay is crucial for success. Fortunately, the game’s bow and arrow allow for plenty of quiet, deadly moments that make players feel both powerful and stealthy. Both Ellie and Joel make use of the weapon, allowing them to quickly and quietly dispose of enemies en mass.

7 The Last Dragonborn in Skyrim

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With the release of The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim Special Edition, gamers can once again enter the world of Skyrim to take on dragons, dungeons, and chickens. One of the most useful ranged weapons is the bow, which when used correctly and by the right class, can easily be one of the most deadly weapons available in the game.

Skyrim stays true to the classic nature of the bow, allowing players to progress its power and abilities, without tossing in any frilly additions. Rather, players use the weapon over time, improving its abilities and finding newer, better upgrades, until they’ve claimed the top-tier bows and arrows available in the game.

Set Your Sights On The Next Page Of Beloved Bow & Arrow Users

6 Tal’Set in Turok

Turok bow

Who would have thought that a simple bow and arrow would be such a useful weapon when hunting dinosaurs? Apparently, the makers of Turok. Despite the fact that there are other weapons more capable of dropping the world’s most terrifying creatures, it seems the bow and arrow quickly becomes a favorite.

Whether it’s because Turok players prefer a challenge, or want to feel like they’re defeating this large, violent animals with their own raw power, the end result is the same. The bow and arrow in Turok is fun, challenging, and incredibly rewarding.

5 Link in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

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Link has always been a big fan of the bow and arrow, and with good reason. In the various fantasy worlds and realms of The Legend of Zelda, it’s the more archaic, albeit magical, weapons that allow Link to progress in his journeys.

In Ocarina of Time, players must seek out the Fairy Bow, which has many useful properties for players to engage throughout the game. Like others in this list, the Fairy Bow has multiple tips, allowing Link to make use of fire, ice, and light arrows. Each has its own special purposes, beyond simply killing targets or engaging Crystal Switches. The bow and arrow is easily a staple in The Legend of Zelda franchise, and will be for many years to come.

4 Wander in Shadow of the Colossus

wander bow

When players enter the world of Shadow of the Colossus, they take on the role of Wander, a young man with a clouded past. On his quest to resurrect a girl named Mono, Wander must defeat multiple Colossi, or great beasts that inhabit the world.

From the beginning of the game, players are expected to learn and master their skills with the bow and arrow. As they progress, players will engage with numerous Colossi that can only be defeated when players use their bow and arrows effectively. Over time, the bow becomes more powerful and accurate, allowing players to take on bigger, more dangerous Colossi as the game progresses.

3 Sheva Alomar from Resident Evil 5

Sheva Alomar bow

The Long Bow is a special weapon in Resident Evil 5 available for use with Sheva Alomar. It's a weapon reserved only for those players who take the time to complete the game, fully upgrade a particular rifle, and then purchase the bow for a hefty price.

Interestingly, once players acquire the bow, they won’t have any later or aiming cursor to help them use it. Rather, players must learn to rely on physics and experience to determine where the arrows will fly and how best to use them to kill enemies. That said, the weapon has unlimited ammunition and gives seasoned Resident Evil fans a fun challenge that will easily test their skills in the game.

2 Hanzo in Overwatch

Overwatch 'Speed Runs' to Lowest Possible Rank - Hanzo

A list of bow-and-arrow users in video games wouldn’t be complete without Hanzo from Overwatch. The bow-wielding character quickly became a favorite for defensive players and offers a unique take on the art of bowmanship.

Those most adept with Hanzo’s abilities can create impressive gameplay moments as they scale the walls to great heights, only to rain down destruction using the bow’s fragment strike capabilities on unsuspecting players. Or Hanzo can be a supportive character, using the bow to decipher enemy locations and call them into teammates. Overall, Hanzo can be a powerful defensive player when used well, and has the ability to help shift a match into a team’s favor.

1 Other Bow and Arrow Heroes

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There are undoubtedly many more video game heroes and characters whose use of a bow and arrow would make them prime candidates for this list. Aloy from Horizon: Zero Dawn is an incredibly strong candidate, but since the game has just launched many of those amongst us have yet to lace up the boots as the newest bow and arrow user.

Who would you include as an iconic bow-and-arrow using video game character?

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