Content of the article: "The bows in Valhalla look AWFUL!"
tl;dr: Whoever designed the Predator bow visuals doesn't know what a bow looks like. Video rant
As an archer and archery coach who dabbles in historical archery, I occasionally spotlight video games to critique their portrayal of bows and archery. I've done previous videos on Origins and
, providing some education on the historical context of archery during the time period and discussing the gameplay features in the game.
I started Valhalla, and I was immediately floored at how bad the designs are for the bows.
Firstly, I understand that this is effectively a fantasy game. I'm no stranger to the AC series and I'm not a stickler for pure historical accuracy. I tend to see myself as OK with most creative licenses – I won't cringe too much when seeing people carry weapons on their back. So when I'm stumped at how bad the bows are, it's saying a lot about how bad it is.
Firstly, the Hunter and Light bows look fine. The Light bows are based off composite recurve designs from Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ironically, these are considered "Hunnish" bows, not the Hunter bow you start with). The Hunter bows, though fantastical in appearance, are based off the "double bow" or "Penabscot bow", named after the Penabscot tribe in North America. These bow types are unlikely to have been used by the Vikings. The bows that would have been used would probably be "longbows", though not the English kind.
The problem is with the Predator bows, starting with the "Recurve" Bow.
The first thing that got to me, as an archer, was that it clearly isn't a recurve bow. Recurve bows have a curvature that ultimately points way from the archer, like the Light and Hunter bows. The Recurve bow in AC:V is practically a straight stick. Not even a longbow, but literally a straight piece of wood. There is no curvature on the limbs. It's not even a bow.
To compound the design problems, the bow model is covered in metal plates. Not only does this add a stupidly unnecessarily amount of weight to the bows and slows the arrow speed in real life, the metal plates are placed over the working areas of the limbs, preventing them from bending and therefore not being able to function as a bow.
Because the bow is so straight and there is no tension at all, the string's placement looks completely wrong. The brace height (gap between string and bow) is far too small, so much so that it would be nearly impossible to pull back. Most bows of this kind would have a gap around 2 fists wide. This doesn't only give a mechanical leverage so that the limbs will flex when the string is pulled back, it prevents the archer from carving their own arm when the string is released.
There are smaller details such as the string being tied to ringlets at the limb tips instead of being looped around the tip itself, which would give more leverage.
Having picked up the second Predator bow in England, sadly it's the same deal with being a straight stick.
For non-archers who might not appreciate how bad it looks, imagine an axe, but the blade is pointed towards you, or if the shield was held with the boss facing you and the handle towards the enemy.
I know, it's a game, etc. Normally it wouldn't bother me, but you see Eivor running around with this ridiculous staff with an elastic string on their back all the time, and even with the other bows the string is pinched against the bow handle for some reason.
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