The arrows follow an arcing trajectory, similar to the way they do in real life. At range, the player must aim higher to hit targets.
Arrows travel significantly slower than bullets, requiring the player to lead moving targets at range.
The range, reload speed and draw speed of the bow can be upgraded at workbenches.
The bow is first found in Bill's Town with the remains of an encampment. During the Lakeside Resort chapter, Ellie uses a different bow for hunting deer and later fighting the Infected. It was later revealed that Ellie had scavenged the bow from a dead cannibal during the events of Left Behind.
In an environment where ammunition is scarce, reusable projectiles such as arrows make the bow an essential survival weapon. However, arrows have a chance of breaking and causing the player to lose them. Arrows deal more damage to enemies that are unaware of the player's presence. When human enemies without armor as well as Runners and Stalkers are unaware of the players presence, one single shot is normally all it takes to kill them, provided it's in the body or the head. Unlike other foes, Clickers require headshots to be killed in one hit. This has about an 80% chance of breaking the arrow, however. Bloaters do not take damage from arrows.
Like suppressed weapons, the bow is invisible on the radar; the sound of arrows bouncing off the environment can be heard, however. Unlike all other long weapons, the bow costs 3 loadout points, putting the cost in-between suppressed weapons and unsuppressed weapons. Players start off with seven arrows if it is not upgraded; as with singleplayer, arrows may sometimes be recovered after firing.
If the user aims with the Bow for an extended period of time, the user will begin to shake, making it gradually more difficult to aim. Letting go of the aim button and then aiming again resets the shaking effect.
A single arrow can break armor; it takes two arrows to the body or one to the head to down unarmored enemies, and takes one shot to execute downed enemies. The Bow is a very good choice for stealthy players, but it takes good aim and skill to successfully hit moving targets.
The Bow is identical in terms of damage to the Hunting Rifle, and can be considered a silent alternative that fires faster but is trickier to aim, so it is suited to medium range combat more than long range. Once it has its second upgrade, due to the fire rate being so fast, it can even rival the Tactical Shotgun if the user is skilled.
Even if players don't use the bow as their long gun weapon, they can still pick up arrows; this can be used strategically to deprive enemy bow users of recoverable ammunition.
|Reload Speed||Allows you to reload the weapon faster.|
|Range||Increases the range of the weapon.|
|Draw Speed||Allows you to draw the weapon faster.|
The bow is a nearly silent weapon. The arrows are reusable, but have a chance of breaking. They can break when striking an infected in the head, and always break when they hit Bloaters, regardless of where it hits. Use it for stealth kills and judge when an arrow might be more effective than a bullet. The bow does less damage to enemies who are aware of the player's presence.
In Factions MP, the bow's biggest weaknesses are its slow projectile velocity and its draw speed. Against moving targets, arrows must be shot so they lead into the target, even at relatively short ranges. The bow also has to be fully drawn before it is fired; shooting earlier will release the arrow, but the arrow will not deal damage to its target. This makes it very difficult to use the bow against enemies with fast-firing weapons such as the Burst Pistol and Rifle. A good way to fight with the bow up close is to shoot at the target and then sprint sideways, repeating as necessary. This technique also works with other weapons that down in two shots, such as the Tactical Shotgun and the Hunting Rifle. The bow is also difficult to use at longer ranges, as the shaking from aiming too long and the slow speed of the projectile makes hitting moving targets much more difficult than with the hunting rifle.
Due to the arcing nature of the arrow's trajectory, on rare occasions, when the player is taking cover or sticking to a wall, the arrow can make contact with the wall and waste ammunition. However, this can be used as a advantage since when shooting at certain precise angles, the arcing trajectory can allow the player to shoot at a foe even while they are in cover.
Also, thanks to its unique aim-down display, the player can tell where enemies are even through a Smoke Bomb's cloud. To do this, the player must move the reticle around until the display shows a green dot at the end of the trajectory, meaning that the arrow will make contact with a enemy if fired.
- In a gameplay demo, Ellie asks Joel if she can use the bow and claims that she is experienced with it. This event occurs in the full game in Bill's Town on top of a white delivery truck which Bill appeared to use as a make shift look out post. Joel denies her the use of the bow possibly because he doesn't want her to have to kill anyone or anything. This can be interpreted multiple ways because of him saying to Ellie shortly after her request for him to give her the bow "How 'bout we just leave this kind of stuff to me."
- In Factions MP, after killing enemies that are downed with an arrow, the arrow will remain hovering in the air even after the body of the enemy has disappeared and spawned elsewhere.
- The bow and the flamethrower are the only weapons in the game that aren't used by the enemies against Joel and Ellie in-game, although a cannibal briefly uses the bow on clickers in the Left Behind DLC.