Festive Features #3 - Top Five Best Bows of 2013

Festive Features #3 - Top Five Best Bows of 2013

Written Saturday, December 21, 2013 By XBA Staff

It’s that time again. As Christmas nears and the year draws to an end, we’re taking a look at the last twelve months and picking out some of the aspects we’ve enjoyed most (and least) in 2013. Our Festive Features are back!

This time out it’s bows. Video games’ obsession with all things arrow-flingy continued apace in 2013, with loads of titles falling over themselves to offer up the ultimate in strung-flung action. From classic fantasy, to historical epics, sci-fi and gritty modern realism, no setting was free from merderous twanging. Below, you’ll discover the ones we enjoyed most.

Tactical Crossbow

Sam Fisher's stun pistol is all well and good if you're going for a non-lethal playthrough in Splinter Cell: Blacklist, but nothing beats the Crossbow for versatility and outright style. With it you can launch noisemakers, EMP chaffs, sleeping gas and sticky shockers, but it's combining the Crossbow's projectiles that provides the most fun.

Fire a noisemaker into a puddle, then follow up with a sticky shocker to electrify several guards at once, subduing them non-lethally. That's the way to do it. Tearing through Blacklist with the Crossbow almost beats smacking bad guys in the back of the head. Almost. The Crossbow is one of Splinter Cell's finest weapons, making us wonder why it took so long for Ubisoft to introduce the weapon to the series in the first place. We're happy to say it takes pride of place in Blacklist.

Hawkeye’s Bow

Hawkeye’s bow is already an icon. Thanks to the comics and the movies, the super-archer’s flip-out arrow pinger has already made a place for itself in popular culture. Its representation in TT Games’ LEGO Marvel Super Heroes may not develop that legend, but it’s used in some really fun ways to add variety to the title’s gameplay.

The key to this is its abilities outside of combat. Yeah you can use it to reduce minions to little tinkling plastic studs, but it also plays an important role in the game’s light puzzles too, its multifaceted nature unlocking paths that the other core characters simply can’t. One of the best things about LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is how well it treats its source material, repurposing it to fit the series’ trademark gameplay. Hawkeye’s bow continues this fine tradition.

Lara's Bow

Katniss Everdeen has a lot to answer for. Every since the Hunger Games protagonist exploded into the international consciousness, female characters and bows have gone hand in hand. It’s the accessory of choice to complete any outfit. So, what better weapon to give explorer-and-adventurer-in-training Lara Croft then? None better, that’s what.

By the end of Lara’s origin story her bow is capable of everything from blowing stuff up, to pinging out zip wires, discovering new areas, skinning animals and good old fashioned bad dude murder. It’s Lara’s most important tool for survival, without which she would either still be stuck on that island or worse. That’s why it deserves a place on our list.

Predator Bow

Is there a bow on this list that looks more badass? Splashed all over the promotional material for Crysis 3, grasped by the posing Prophet, this collapsible arrow-chucker really looks the part. It’s just as cool in-game too, with the first-person perspective offering a chance to look straight down the arrow shaft and into the eyes of your victim.

But it’s not all about aethetics. You can arm the Predator will all kinds of ammo, encompassing carbon impact tips, electro arrows, super thermite tips and an airburst fragmentation tip. With the possible exception of our winner, it’s the most powerful bow on the list. You can use it and remain cloaked too, making it extra deadly. The Predator Bow is true to its name. One hit kills? Eff yes.


Even in its uncomplicated vanilla guise, the crossbow is a beautiful piece of uncomplicated engineering, designed to fire bolts at high velocity into faces. How could you ever hope to improve upon such a design? The answer is to introduce a Roman Candle firework into the equation. Obviously.

Once again Dead Rising 3 displays its unique brand of ingenuity with the Blambow, a crossbow with an explosive twist. Fire Arrows can also be fired from Nick Ramos' homemade crossbow contraption, but the Blambow is one of the ultimate expressions of Dead Rising 3's overblown tools of zombie slaughter. There are numerous better weapons in Dead Rising 3, but the Blambow is the only firearm for us, edging out the Z.A.R. by a hair's breadth. Blam!


User Comments

Forum Posts: 5382
Comment #1 by LickableLemons7
Saturday, December 21, 2013 @ 09:06:49 PM
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But...but...Blood Dragon! That bow looked sexy!

"It’s a bow. Seriously, if you need a description of what a bow does, maybe you should stop playing. Maybe read a dictionary. People who don’t know what bows are get shot in the eyeballs. "But a bow isn't the future", you're whining. That's why we put neon on it, because neon is the future. Hence, this is a bow of the future."
— Data Console

Forum Posts: 79
Comment #2 by _Nosferatu_
Saturday, December 21, 2013 @ 09:17:53 PM
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Tomb Raider should have won this.

Forum Posts: 868
Comment #3 by Hurricane Of 87
Saturday, December 21, 2013 @ 09:43:24 PM
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#1: Ziplines are ropes in the sky...why aren't they called skyropes?!

Forum Posts: 2038
Comment #4 by XoNiNjAlEoNoX
Saturday, December 21, 2013 @ 09:48:51 PM
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@3 because they're made of steel

Forum Posts: 229
Comment #5 by TH3 XB0X G3N1U5
Saturday, December 21, 2013 @ 11:21:15 PM
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I'm sorry, but this has to be the dumbest top-five countdown. I clicked the link just to make sure I read the title right.

Forum Posts: 118
Comment #6 by Jackalus88
Sunday, December 22, 2013 @ 10:43:13 AM
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@5 It's called having fun, 'G3N1U5'

Personally, I'm looking forward to using Lara's bow again, next month on Xbox One.

Forum Posts: 80
Comment #7 by Kroesis
Sunday, December 22, 2013 @ 07:13:51 PM
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I have a fondness for bows, as such I'm a novice archer myself. Also if a game has a bow, or an archer/ranger class, I'll use it. So this was a neat list that was of interest to me.

Forum Posts: 8
Comment #8 by Nattzz
Sunday, December 22, 2013 @ 09:16:42 PM
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I enjoy using bows in games if the option is there. I remember in RE5, once I unlocked Shevas bow, it's all I used :P

Can't wait for Tomb Raider on the XB1, that bow is awesome, too ;D

Forum Posts: 1903
Comment #9 by Nitnoid
Monday, December 23, 2013 @ 10:27:08 PM
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I gotta agree with @5. Dumbest by far. I thought it meant "bow", as in, "take a bow". Meaning, swansong to a trilogy or something. Dumb...

Forum Posts: 404
Comment #10 by banej
Wednesday, December 25, 2013 @ 06:02:20 PM
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Tomb raider should have won this.

Forum Posts: 3463
Comment #11 by Jack Frost
Thursday, January 02, 2014 @ 08:41:58 PM
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So, Hawkeye can fire bolts that become little swing poles for acrobatic characters.

While this certainly is helpful, once you get into Free Play with flying characters, you'll never use Hawkeye again.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #12 by FranLudlamter
Wednesday, January 08, 2014 @ 05:31:34 PM
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