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The Top Ten Parkour Games of All TimeBy Adam Sinicki
Free running and parkour are technically 'underground' activities, and they still haven't quite broken into the mainstream despite lots of deals with shoe companies and appearances in lots of films. Many traceurs would actually prefer to keep it this way, and get annoyed at the commercialisation of something that's supposed to be all about freedom and breaking out of 'the machine'.
That said though, it is fun to see parkour in the media and it is undoubtedly a visual treat when you see someone leaping over buildings and rolling under low covers. Nowhere is this truer than in video games where we are looking for a bit of escapism and a chance to be an awesome superhero or warrior for a day.
Thus, for someone looking for a slice of digital parkour awesomeness there is an awful lot to choose from. Following then are the top free running games of all time for you to sink your teeth into.
The Top Ten Parkour Games
10. Crackdown Series:
Run around as a genetically enhanced mercenary who uses guns and parkour to take the bag guys... Don't mind if I do!
9. The Sonic Series:
It's not typically what people would consider parkour, and it's certainly not referred to as such making this a surprise as one of the top parkour games. However when you're sliding down railings and running down the sides of walls it really feels something like it. In games like Sonic the Headgehog on Xbox 360 it feels like what parkour could be if we could run at supersonic speeds and it creates the feelings of freedom and speed that parkour exists to satisfy.
8. Uncharted 2:
One of the most cinematic and fantastic game experiences that takes Tomb Raider and Indiana Jones style exploration into... uncharted territory (I know and I'm sorry). Includes a scene where you have to leap across the top of a moving train and plenty of incredible climbs that really have a sense of height and scale.
7. Free Running:
This has to be in there just because it's a game completely based on free running. Like Tony Hawks but for traceurs. Unfortunately though it's generally considered pretty sucky with a poor camera and clunky controls.
A game that uses parkour by name and which also makes it pretty cool. Who doesn't like being a genetically enhanced killing machine?
5. Ninja Gaiden:
Ninja Gaiden only has a few elements of parkour – such as wall running – and quite a few free running style wallflips and tricks. However what it does have it uses really well and combine this with actually amazing fight scenes and cut scenes and you can't go wrong.
4. Mirror's Edge:
Mirror's Edge is a very unique experience that has an incredible amount of promise though it sadly doesn't always capitalise on it. The idea is that you're a 'runner' who uses parkour to undermine a corrupt system (which very much echoes the spirit of parkour and free running), and it has a great minimalist design to reflect this concept. What makes the game truly interesting is the fact that it's played from a first person perspective and when it's really working it actually feels like you're free and hurtling through the air. It's lead to some pretty awesome dreams. The only downside is that it's not an open world, and can feel a little on rails. It also has a tendency to give me headaches...
3. Jackie Chan Stuntmaster:
Parkour existed long before anyone actually knew what it was, and I credit the man Jackie Chan with creating it in its earliest forms. This game pays homage to the guy as early as PSOne – going as far as to use motion capture and this makes it the oldest entry to this list of top ten parkour games. Add into the mix some of Jackie Chan's famous stunts (try doing parkour to catch an overhanging railing and avoid a truck for instance), great combat and humour (hit a man with a fish), and destructable scenery and you have a hugely underrated game. A game that, like it's star, is literally leaps and bounds ahead of its time.
2. The Prince of Persia Series:
Sands of Time was arguably the first game to utilise free running in a big way so it has to be one of the top ten parkour games, and really what made the gameplay so great (the magical gimmicks were always uninteresting to me). The games had cool animation, a great story and interesting puzzles. Unfortunately the latest few instalments have lots their way a little and the games were pretty linear to begin with.
1. The Assassin's Creed Series:
Imagine a completely open world where you can free run across all
the rooftops with ease, scale huge buildings and leap from the top of
them into haystacks. It's got incredible graphics, fantastic
animation and is a great game in its own right - one of the top parkour games and one of the best games in general. This has to be the
pinnacle of free running experiences in a game.