5 video games with grapple hook mechanics
Traversal in video games is something every developer wants to do right. It is such a basic aspect of video game development that it is sometimes taken for granted. Some of the best titles available today pay tremendous respect to how the player moves and explores their world. It is not a simple matter either.
With games that are becoming larger and larger in terms of both size and scope, there is a need for better traversal methods and to better navigate the world the developer wants players to experience.
Grapple hooks in video games are extremely hit and miss. This is a mechanic that seems simple. However, it has to tie in with the gameplay and not just be a side mechanic.
This can work at times, but when implemented as a gimmick, a lot of the impact is taken away. Video games with a good grapple hook rarely deviate from keeping it in the spotlight. Here are some of the best grapple hook mechanics present in video games.
Note: This article is subjective and reflects the author's views.
Top five video games with good grapple mechanics
1) A Story About My Uncle
The first entry on this list is also the smallest in terms of playtime. In terms of narrative, A Story About My Uncle is surprisingly about the protagonist’s uncle. It follows a short and simple plot that is magical and whimsical.
It captures what a game should be, first and foremost, fun. The video game was released in 2014 by Coffee Stain Studios and is told through the guise of a bedtime story being narrated to a small child.
The game is best described as a first-person platformer, and it takes the player on a magical adventure. The game has amazing grapple hook mechanics, and platforming feels challenging but fair.
A Story About My Uncle ties in the story and narration very subtly and players are encouraged to pay close attention to what the game is trying to tell them. It might be an old video game, but the grapple hook mechanics truly set it apart from the others.
2) Batman: Arkham City
The Arkham video games are iconic. Video games based on classic characters from comic books will always be hard to make. Developers have to meet fan expectations and make a good video game, and with a character like Batman, they could not slip up.
When Arkham City was first released, Rocksteady improved on their formula for Arkham Asylum and made an open-world game that is arguably one of the best Batman stories written.
Arkham City is set in a cordoned-off part of Gotham, which has been turned into a giant prison complex with sinister plans. As the Batman, the player must uncover the truth behind Arkham City and stop any evil plan hatched by the various villains.
Mark Hamill's Joker is one of the best characters in the series, and Hamill's voice acting is truly iconic. The game follows a linear narrative, but it does leave the player wanting more.
As the Batman, players have access to some of the best tech and gear available. From remote-controlled batarangs to smoke pellets, the game attempts to explore everything in the players' arsenal. Players must pair combat and their tech together to beat their foes for maximum effect.
The grapple hook truly stands out. The Batman never goes anywhere without his trusty grapple hook, and the game ties this in exceptionally well. Players can use the grapple hook to get out of sticky situations and get to a better vantage point.
It also helps in traversal and combat. Players are encouraged to test out everything available to them, and the grapple hook is the most fundamental gadget of all.
Batman: Arkham City is a fantastic game that genuinely encapsulates the character that is Batman. It is a fantastic video game that any gamer can enjoy.
3) Just Cause 4
When it comes to making a game about toppling regimes, the Just Cause series takes the cake. Step into the combat boots of Rico Rodrigues, a South American hero who takes names and topples regimes.
The open world of the game has been beautifully realized, and it feels immersive. The different sub-areas have unique elements, and the island nation feels as chaotic as ever.
The story follows Rico Rodrigues on another mission that ties in with the story of the past games. The characters take a back seat to the gameplay as that is what shines throughout.
The narrative doesn't feel forced, and players can take their time exploring every corner of the map. This is made extremely fun and easy with the game's trademark style of traversal.
Game mechanics have been polished to a tee. The game series has come far from the original Just Cause, and it shows how Rico moves around in his environment. The grapple hook is present, and it is a classic.
With freedom of movement and traversal being at the forefront, it's not hard to see the grapple hook's potential. Players can use the grapple hook in many wacky ways that do not feel entirely out of place.
The game feels and plays like a 90s Hollywood action movie, and it gives no restraints on how players want to play. Just Cause 4 is one of the best in its class, and it shows.
4) Halo Infinite
343 Industries have had minor success when it comes to the Halo games. Recreating the magic that Bungie introduced with Combat Evolved and attempting to reach a newer audience, they seemed to have lost their way. With Infinite, the hype was immense.
Fans were fed up with the broken promises and bland gameplay that had not been innovated in a long time. 343 Industries needed a sure-fire hit to get the fans on their side, and they have pulled it off with some success.
Halo Infinite is a pretty good game. The game is an open world. It has Master Chief in his iconic Mjolnir armor, taking place on a Halo Ring. What else could fans ask for? The game has not disappointed, and with multiplayer being entirely free to play, they seemed to have reached the wider audience they were planning on.
The story follows Master Chief on an epic quest to dismantle the Banished’s machines of war and ultimately save countless lives. Master Chief is one of the most beloved characters in gaming, and they have given his character the justice he deserves.
The main focus might have been the open world, but they went a step further and added a cool grapplehook. This might be one of the best grapple mechanics in gaming, and it just feels buttery smooth.
Almost everything in the environment is interactable, and the grapple hook works here. Players can snatch up explosives off the ground and grapple onto a moving vehicle to commandeer it. The possibilities are endless.
It does feel a little trivial at times, but it has very few low points with a game this fun. Halo Infinite is finally something fans can enjoy, and 343 Industries has certainly pulled it off.
5) Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
This last entry is one of the most critically acclaimed games of the previous decade. The team at FromSoftware has always known how to respect player intelligence and let them figure it out on their own.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is a beast when it comes to difficulty, but it is never unfair. The game has some of the best hand-to-hand combat mechanics ever designed, and no other video game since has captured the same since.
The story of Sekiro follows a disgraced Shinobi who has lost his honor and, tragically, his arm to unfortunate circumstances. Saved by a hermit who gifts him a prosthetic Shinobi arm, he must journey across the lands of Ashina to protect his ward from the clutches of a nationalistic lord.
The game is not linear at all, it takes many branching paths, and like most of From’s games, it has multiple endings. The Shinobi prosthetic arm is a heavy focus in the game. It is the first Soulsborne title with enhanced verticality in combat and traversal.
The Shinobi prosthetic is equipped with a grapple hook and other tools that the player finds along their journey. Players must learn how to use these tools in combat to get the edge over their opponent.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice has won the 2019 Game of The Year award, and rightly so. The video game is nothing short of a masterpiece. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but with enough patience, players will learn its core motto, ‘Hesitation is defeat’.