Archery Popshots | Rise of the Tomb Raider
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Archery Popshots | Rise of the Tomb Raider

August 14, 2019


In the first instalment of the rebooted Tomb
Raider, we saw a young Lara Croft use a bow to fight mercenaries and a death army. In
Rise of the Tomb Raider, we see a young Lara Croft…use a bow to fight mercenaries and
a death army. Huh. While Rise of the Tomb Raider doesn’t exactly
break new ground with its gameplay mechanics – in fact, featuring the exact same weapons
as the first, for us lovers of archaic weapons in modern combat, the bow is back! You can be forgiven if you get the feeling
of déjà vu. We see Lara once again stranded and alone, and the first thing she does is
put together a bow made out of bunch of sticks. This emergency tool is used to hunt, and is
soon replaced by the recurve bow that is now her trademark weapon. As the game progresses,
Lara is able to swap out to the modern compound bow or a horn bow, and various bonus packages
unlock alternate skins. Unlike the previous game, the selection of
bows is more varied – though not significantly game-altering. While the previous game had
a linear progression anchored on the bow being upgraded, all functions are applicable to
all bows, which means you only need to use the base recurve to get through the entire
game. What has changed, however, is the differing stats between each bow type. Compound bows
are more powerful but slower to use, while the recurve bows are faster but weaker. The expanded crafting system also gives the
player more options to upgrade their weapons, with unique upgrades for different weapon
types. As with the last game, the actual upgrades are fairly tokenistic mentions that make some
sense in increasing speed and damage, and one really shouldn’t look into the “how”.
Just think of it as action-game tropes rather than realistic mechanics. Once again, the bow sees extensive use as
the main puzzle-solving tool. Very early in the game, Lara regains use of rope arrows.
Apart from creating ziplines for easier navigation and pulling down barriers, there are many
more puzzles that involve some creative thinking and timing. This is actually one of the more
unique gameplay elements of Tomb Raider made possible using the bow, something that other
gun-slinging adventure games don’t really capture. It makes each crypt a unique challenge,
making you observe the environment more carefully to come up with the right solution. The game also introduces climbing arrows.
Shot into soft wood and rock surfaces, these arrows act as a platform for Lara to climb
onto and leap from, and are easily identifiable. An optional upgrade allows her to plant the
arrows by hand, allowing her to traverse these surfaces without having to lay out a path
of arrows. There are also a number of special arrows.
Poison arrows create a cloud that instantly kills most enemies, and stuns the really strong
ones long enough for you to pepper them with arrows. Explosive arrows do just that, with
optional cluster bomb upgrade, and fire arrows, which…honestly don’t do much in this game. The combat application of the bow has been
expanded significantly in this instalment. As with the previous game, Lara starts with
the bow but soon acquires the pistol and rifle, giving players plenty of options. Combat,
for the most part, is a fairly straightforward affair – aim for the head and win, and early
on the bow doesn’t seem that useful, given its single shot and slow follow-up. That said,
it is the only inherently stealthy weapon, making it ideal for sentry takedowns, until
you acquire the silencer upgrades for the other weapons. A number of upgrades make the bow much better,
if not the best combat weapon. Lara soon learns the ancient technique of…uh, holding a spare
arrow in the bow hand. And late in the game this gets upgraded to…two arrows. While
it sounds underwhelming, this does allow for rapid follow-up shots, making up for one of
the original weaknesses. Things really take a powerful turn when you
unlock the double and triple-shot skills – ESPECIALLY with the headshot upgrade. By zooming in and
charging the shot, Lara is able to tag two and later three targets, automatically hitting
all targets within a small cone. The headshot upgrade means all arrows will automatically
hit the head for an instant kill, unless they are wearing helmets. This…is actually way too strong. The fact
that you just need to wand over an enemy, even a single enemy, for a guaranteed headshot
kill makes combat a walk in the park. I love bows and archery, but damn, this really makes
the other weapons useless. Apart from some combat sequences that push you to use shotguns
for close quarters, or the heavily armoured Deathless army that takes multiple headshots,
every group of enemies is wiped out with the multi-shot skill. Just…holy crap. This is awesome. Yeah, so, obviously I’m going to nitpick
on a few things. I shouldn’t need to say this, but sometimes people do draw the wrong
conclusions from video games. Anyway, the multi-shot thing has to be mentioned as implausible.
It’s just too good, and you can’t aim two or three arrows and guide them into heads
that easily. That’s beyond even Assassin’s Creed levels of smart-arrow. While it is possible
to shoot multiple arrows from a bow, the effect is more akin to a shotgun, and each arrow
has reduced penetration due to the energy being divided. As previously mentioned, you can’t put cluster
bombs on an arrow and expect it to fly well. Putting Greek fire on a wooden bow with fur
lining and drawing the flame to your hand is really not good for you or the bow. Poison
cloud arrows…I suppose could actually work if you have a way to turn your poison arrow
into a cloud. Real-life poison arrows are based on the arrow point being coated rather
than creating a big smoke cloud. And climb arrows are just outright impossible.
With enough grip strength, it may be possible to jam an arrow into a wooden board and use
it as a handhold, but to support the weight of a person standing and jumping on it? It’s
a nifty gameplay mechanic, but don’t try this in real life. Just remember that this is a game and it’s
all about the gameplay, so don’t get too nasty about this. I’m totally fine with
being able to do unrealistic things in a video game. As a game, Rise of the Tomb Raider takes the
new formula and…kind of repeats it with a colder setting. Not necessarily a bad thing,
but nothing too amazing. For the subset of us who like archery and video games, it’s
an interesting and creative adaptation of the bow mostly for puzzle-solving rather than
challenging combat. If anything, combat is a little too easy with the new skills. If
you’re a toxophile gamer, this entry is worth checking out if you’re into the Tomb
Raider franchise. Thank you all for watching. This is NUSensei,
and as usual, always aim for your best.

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  1. Fk you shoulda told me thus earlier, completed it on hardest difficulty with the single shot rifle lol. It was pain, never though this can be that easy lol.

  2. I was surprised this was rise of the tomb raider instead of shadow of the tomb raider. I really hope you cover that one cuz I feel it's much more interesting and there is a lot more emphasis on it. Seeing how there are sections of the game where they lock your ability to use only the bow. Also I really like how it's all traditional bows as well, no more compound bow. It was always weird to me that you could modify a compound bow out in the wild.

  3. The compound bow is slower?

    Someone on the dev team has been at the shooting range waiting for the compound shooters to finish their end I see.

  4. Interestingly enough, this game reignited my interest in bows. Which led to me finding this channel.

    At a young age I made various attempts at making bows/arrows, both out of coat hangers and rubber bands as well as making rudimentary ones out of wood.
    I eventually bought a very cheap bow that barely was more than a toy, but I used that on and off for years. But falling off a bit in the recent years.
    I always wanted a more expensive and "real" bow, but could never justify spending the amount of money needed for what I wanted. Which was ideally a compound, which also interested me out of a technical and mechanical perspective.

    Nowadays I've finished school and started working, so now I actually have enough money to, with some effort, justify spending some on a serious bow.
    But, as my bow usage had fallen off and I hadn't used the one I had for a few years the thought of doing so didn't occur to me.

    Until this game. The process while playing it was essentially at some point: "Oh man, I really like bows, especially compounds" then a few seconds went by and "Oh shit! I can actually buy one now!".
    Then some time of deliberating and research happened, and now I've been a happy owner of a Bowtech Fuel, and the related equipment, for 4 months or so.

    It just came to my mind when I realized I was watching a video about a game on a channel, and subject, that that game initially led me to

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