Movement systems in 3D games have evolved from basic platforming to full-on parkour, boasting free-form movements and animations.
Parkour is one of the most exciting mechanics in gaming, regardless of the genre or title it appears in. It offers an adrenaline rush while providing an adequate challenge at the same time.
Parkour systems in games differ wildly from one another. They range from methodical to traversal, where it is possible to not let the player's feet touch the ground at all.
With that said, here are the five best parkour-driven games available on the market today.
Note: This article solely reflects the opinions of the writer
Experience free-flow movement with the parkour mechanics in these 5 games
1) Ghostrunner (2020)
Developed as a two-studio collab between One More Level and Slipgate Ironworks, Ghostrunner is 2020's acclaimed cyberpunk game.
The game is set in a post-apocalyptic future, where humanity is housed inside a mega-shelter called Dharma Tower. Players have to take first-person control of a technologically enhanced superhuman called Ghostrunner and take down the traitorous Keymaster by climbing the Dharma Tower.
Armed with a sword and a grapple mechanic, players must jump and parkour their way across levels filled with platforming challenges.
Enemies will also try to slow down the Ghostrunner and must be defeated with a quick slice to the gut. Players should be careful, though, since the same one-hot death is also applicable to them.
The traversal is extremely fluid, particularly when paired with the dash, wall-running, and Sensory Boost slo-mo mechanics.
Ghostrunner is available on PC, PS4, XB1, Nintendo Switch, PS5, and XSX|S. Fans who have beaten the game at launch already might want to pick it up again for the latest Project_Hel DLC expansion.
2) Mirror's Edge (2008)
Launched all the way back in 2008, the original Mirror's Edge by EA is a beloved cult classic.
In a futuristic city ruled by an iron fist, an underground group called the Runners scurry under the authority's noses. Faith is one such member of the group. However, she is thrust into the light as her sister is framed for the murder of a powerful politician and must be rescued.
This was a game ahead of its time, both from a visual and gameplay perspective. While linear, its white-colored locales are often pierced with blues, greens, yellows, and reds, all lending a unique color scheme to the experience.
This is paired with a first-person, momentum-driven parkour system that allows players to jump, boost, drop and roll across obstacles seamlessly. While there is occasional combat (which is, frankly, subpar), the amazing traversal makes it worth it, especially during the thrilling chase set-pieces.
Mirror's Edge is available on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360
3) Dying Light (2015)
Released in 2015, Dying Light is an open-world zombie game like no other. With gameplay very much inspired by developer Techland's own Dead Island games, it features realistic parkour traversal.
The city of Harran is overrun with the undead following a virus outbreak. Global Relief Effort (GRE) agent Kyle Crane is dropped into the dead city to rescue documents from antagonist Rais and battle the threat of the Infected.
Another first-person parkour game, it relies heavily on a melee combat system to deal with zombie encounters. The world features vertical exploration, especially after acquiring the grapplehook. This further supplements the realistic traversal mechanics that lend a sense of weight to movement across rooftops.
Coupled with the stealth mechanics, it is Crane's best tool for survival, especially at night when the terrifying Volatiles roam the streets.
Dying Light was successful enough to receive a bigger-budget sequel, which was released earlier this year.
Dying Light is available on PC, PS4, XB1, and Nintendo Switch.
4) Marvel's Spider-Man (2018)
Announced in 2018 as a PS4 exclusive made by Sony's now-owned Insomniac Games, Marvel's Spider-Man is the ultimate Spider-Man game.
The game tells an original story about the familiar Peter Parker, who harbors his secret identity as the titular Spider-Man while working as a lab assistant. After the capture of criminal Wilson Fisk, a new threat called the Inner Demons begins their takeover of New York City.
As the iconic superhero, he must swing around the open-world city while dealing with baddies and managing his relationships with his close ones in the background.
While the combat, missions, and stealth are clearly inspired by the Batman Arkham games, traversal is this game's highlight. Using the web-slinging power, players can seamlessly soar between and above the tall buildings of NYC.
Wall-running and clinging is also a feature, lending further depth on how to tackle enemy outposts and exploration. It truly makes you feel like Marvel's witty web-slinging hero.
Marvel's Spider-Man is exclusively available on PS4 and PS5
5) Sunset Overdrive (2014)
Having another Insomniac title on this list just highlights how confident the developer is in their skillset.
Sunset Overdrive was released in 2014 for Xbox One as an exclusive. It is one of the more unique IPs of the past decade.
Set in the fictional Sunset City, the popular company Fizzco has released a new orange soda. Unfortunately, this ends up turning its consumers into mutants, throwing the city into quarantine. Boasting gunslinging and rail-grinding skills, the player must escape this forsaken hellhole.
The third-person parkour has a bit of a learning curve. However, once nailed, it is one of the finest parkour mechanics in gaming yet.
Players can chain together multiple movesets, like rail grinds, wall runs, bounce, etc. All of these combine to add to a Style Meter that makes the character faster and more powerful when paired with the chaotic combat system.
The concrete jungle of Sunset City has more than enough opportunities to keep the player airborne at essentially all times. While some of the game's systems can feel undercooked or overdone, it is wholly worth buying for the super fun parkour alone.
Sunset Overdrive is available on PC and XB1.