Your Favorite Traversal Mechanic in Games

  • Exploration is so important in many games, and more often than not, the traversal mechanics have a great role in keeping us engaged and excited to tackle various objectives and obstacles in the game's world. With that, I have a simple question for y'all: what's your favorite traversal mechanic? It could be riding a horse, or a specific vehicle, or anything that pretty much helps you move around the world.

    There's a lot of great mechanics that comes to my mind, but I want to mention just one since I'm hoping you guys will answer as well. My favorite's probably any kind of short range teleportation powers, like Blink in the Dishonored games, or Keqing's ability in Genshin Impact (which made me think of this topic in the first place, currently playing it!). I just like the idea of teleportation a lot, and with these short range powers, they add so much flexibility to my approach in these games, but also still maintain a good level of challenge since you need to use them just right in order to get the most out of it.

  • I always enjoy momentum based swinging, like Pixeljunk Eden, Umihara Kawase, or what most people here would probably know, Spiderman. I think I just like momentum in general though, because I've always loved platformers and moves like the Long Jump in Mario. Strangely though, I don't hate the opposite, like old school Castlevania where your jump trajectory is decided as you actually jump. There's a different kind of satisfying challenge that offers, but I do have more "fun" with games where you can adjust your momentum midair.

  • @mbun I also like those old school Castlevania trajectories, they can get really insidious at times but they really add a lot to the unfriendly nature of the castle's design and vibe. I don't necessarily want that to make a comeback or anything like that, midair movements are just too fun to experiment with, but it's a cool thing for sure.

  • Say what you want about Final Fantasy 15 but I never got sick of warp striking about. I also loved Dying Lights Parkour system you actually had to think about what you're doing and plan out your route.

  • Banned

    Dishonoured blinking is fun, especially in the DLC with Daud where it freezes time.
    The swinging in the more recent Spiderman games is almost zen like.
    InFamous games have particularly great movement mechanics. Half the fun I have when I play those is pretending the floor is lava and seeing how long I can stay in the air.
    The series is dead, but Tribes has some of the best movement in a game ever. Perfectly sliding down a hill and timing your boosters just as you crest another is just... pure bliss. Capping a flag at max Sanics and booking it back to your base before the enemy even knew what happened was a gaming achievement few can truly understand.

  • @el-shmiablo man, the parkour/climbing in the inFamous games are so good. It's like the main reason collecting the blast shards were so fun. Also, I remember getting the electric rail grind power in the first game and just using the train railway to move around the city, I felt like I was a mini train and it's awesome.

  • Yoshi is best traversal mechanic :3

  • Breath of the Wild gliding feels extremely good, but I'd argue it was preceded by Mario Kart gliding so maybe I should go with that...
    Also shout out to Mass Effect 2 and 3's vanguard charge/slam ability. Just excellent audio-visual design.

  • Also a big fan of Blink.

    All things dash in Mega Man X 1-3 - particularly dash jump and dash wall jump feel awesome.

    2D Bionic Commando grapple hook.

  • I gotta go with the combo system in Tony Hawk series. It's basically as buttery as ever in the latest THPS 1+2 and I think the combo system is basically the best thing in platforming / movement next to the Super Mario games.

    It's approachable for average joe players but it also has this combo-meta for really great players. Wallies give you massive height, grinds speed you up, SPECIAL gives you a massive boost to speed, height, hangtime, and more. It's just this perfect mix of fluid movement that requires skill to keep going.

    Watching "Pros" combo is like wizardry.

    Youtube Video

    The argument against the combo system I'd make is that it pretty much ruins the magic each level brings when you play it for the first time. The first two games are about finding items, discovering hidden areas, and finding difficult gaps. As you master the combo system, you're basically spitting in the face of the game itself. The better you get at combos the more you become like a hacker in COD who shoots automatic rockets out of his sniper rifle - the game just becomes different. You go from the level seeming large and full of secrets to like massacring every ledge, wall, and object in a matter of seconds.

  • @dipset I was going to say the grinding in Tony Hawk - but only at speed.

  • The grappling hook in Just Cause always felt quite neat-and it's multi-purpose too as you can tether enemies to explosives and generally encourages creativity.

  • For short distances:
    I absolutely never got tired of swinging in Spider Man. I actually didn't even know there was fast travel until I was close to platinum'ing the game, and even then I think I only used the fast travel once or twice.

    It takes a while to get, but in Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2, the glide and super glide are super rewarding once you have them.

    Definitely agree with @E_Zed_Eh_Intern that the slide in the X games rocks. I mostly played the PS1 games until recently, but there's a certain mastery of learning to always jump with your finger on the slide button to get a maximum amount of jump and movement speed that takes a while to get good at, but feels so good once you're mastered it.

    The back slide in Symphony of the Night is one that comes to mind. One of those that I don't actually think makes you go faster, like the roll in Ocarina of Time, but you use it all the time anyways. In Symphony though, once you get the bat power (with the fast glide spell) and jump power, using those in tandem to move around the castle like a pro feels so cool.

    As far as longer distances though:
    The regalia in Final Fantasy XV is such a nice thing. I know it's not 'fast' necessarily, but it really adds to the road trip vibe of hanging with friends, listening to your favorite music and looking at the sights. I also love chocobo riding in any Final Fantasy game, and the airships as well.

    Hollow Knight has the Stag who also has a personality and a story attached. I loved unlocking new places in the game and talking to this old Stag as he reminisced about the old days when the places were bustling. It fit the sad, melancholic mood of the game so well.

    Speaking of bugs, I always thought riding that big bug in Morrowind to fast travel was super cool.

    I didn't really need to travel too often in Donkey Kong Country, but I used to visit Funky Kong just to listen to that song he had when you used his barrel jet.

    I've also always like Ocarina of Time's distinction between short and long travel. You have Epona for short distances around the kingdom, but the Ocarina to instantly travel to corners of importance. Using the Ocarina also gives each location a song attached to it which gives it a character and feeling you'll remember and memorize, so it never feels like you're detached from traveling around and are always thinking about where you are and are going.

  • @jdincinerator grapple hook and wingsuit, super duper.

  • Wing suit in any game. I wing-suited all over Far Cry 4 (last one I played).

  • @happygaming You can get an upgrade in 5 where your fast travels drop you from a helicopter. That plus wingsuit is also both a joy and a boon.

  • The dash button in Undercooked is insanely satisfying too. 90% of the time it feels just right then 10% of the time I spaz out right into lava.

    It's got that nice risk vs reward factor.

  • @jdincinerator I remember playing JC2 for the first time and being blown away by how powerful that grappling hook is. You don't even need vehicles, just use the momentum of the grappling hook and the parachute, and you're good.

  • @happygaming you bringing up Far Cry 4 reminds of the small helicopter that was in the game. Flying around with that while drive-by-ing enemies with the sawn off shotgun is ridiculously fun.

  • @bam541 my brother and I played co-op on that one Christmas and we would fly around in the helicopter with a grenade launcher and blast Flight of the Valkyries while we just blew bases up. Great vehicle.