There’s something to be said about a solid running animation in a videogame. Considering that most games involve movement, it’s easy to take for granted what really good movement feels like in the heat of play. But it’s very easy to mess up the way it feels to actually move about in a virtual world. That said, I’m going to go through a few of my favorite movement animations in games.
Main Character — Xenoblade Chronicles X
The original Xenoblade was a slog to get around in. It truly felt like Shulk and Co’s movements were slower than the actual animation, making it look like you were sliding across the ground. Xenoblade 2 fixed this, upping the movement speed overall. But it’s Xenoblade Chronicles X that remains the leader in the trilogy when it comes to movement. Your character’s standard run was brisk and speedy, but it was the full-on sprint that took the cake, letting you hoof it through the game world without losing a breath. It also could be chained into an immensely satisfying jump that let you cross chasms with ease.
2B — NieR: Automata
Surprise surprise. Every animation in NieR: Automata is absolutely bonkers. 2B’s movements have a weight to them that make her feel real, while still being responsive enough for you to feel like you have complete control over everything she does. Hell, even her walking animation is good! Platinum knows how to pick ’em. This won’t be the last time they’re on the list, either.
Cole — Infamous 2
It makes sense that Infamous is on this list, considering Sucker Punch created Sly Cooper, one of the better platformers of previous generations. All three Infamous games felt great to move around in, but Infamous 2 gets the edge here for the fantastic ice powers you can get, which make moving around even more exhilarating.
Bayek — Assassin’s Creed: Origins
Ever Assassin’s Creed game has great movement in it, so I decided to just pick one of the more recent ones. Origins was a great game overall, but I especially enjoy how Bayek’s weight shifts through the sand as he walks and runs out in the desert. The way holding the control stick in one direction leads to him eventually sprinting at full tilt is also intuitive after a few minutes of practice.
Hunter — Bloodborne
I don’t know what it is about Bloodborne in comparison to other games From Software has created, but it’s the one with the movement I loved the most. It just felt tighter and easier to control. It’s also one of the few games on this list where moving backward is just as important to me as moving forward. The way you can go back and forth on a dime to control distance between your enemies is why I decided to put Bloodborne on this list.
Link — Breath of the Wild
The Link in Breath of the Wild is a spunky little guy, and that shows in his running animation. The way his armor and weapons clink and clank against him in the usually silent Hyrule gives the animation even more character. I’m also not usually a fan of stamina systems, especially when it comes to running in a game, but I’m willing to let it slide for the simple fact that Link’s sprint feels much faster in Breath of the Wild than it does in Skyward Sword, which has the same concept, but worse.
Noctis — Final Fantasy XV
Regardless of how I feel about Final Fantasy XV as a whole, I can say pretty confidently that it feels good to simply run around in the game’s world. I don’t know how Noctis doesn’t get tired running in all that black in the middle of the midday sun, but I’ve learned not to ask questions when it comes to this game. Either way, there’s an exaggeration to Noctis’ run that makes simply running around all together satisfying, especially when coming up on a gang of monsters you’re about to crush.
The Traveler — Journey
It’s a good thing it feels good to move about in Journey, considering running is just about the only thing you do in the game. I don’t mean that in a negative way, of course — Journey is an amazing game, and the way the Traveler shifts and slides through the sandy dunes of its world make exploring entertaining, even in the most vast stretches of landscape.
Raiden — Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
Oh hey, Platinum’s here again! The ninja sprint that Raiden does in Revengeance feels so good in action. It’s also a useful gameplay mechanic, letting you move automatically above or around objects to focus on fighting your enemies as opposed to getting stuck on geometry. Plus Raiden looks great doing it the whole time. And the way electricity gets stamped on the ground when he takes steps…it might be time to do another playthrough of MGR, everyone.
Amaterasu — Okami
Some say Okami is too long of a game. I say those people are incredibly wrong about everything and should reconsider their life-choices. Besides the fact that the game is amazing the whole way through (eh…give or take the first thirty minutes), it also feels amazing to dash about as Ami. The way flowers sprout behind you is such a unique stylistic touch, and the fact that they turn gold when going at your fastest speed is a level of detail that would help Platinum — then Clover Studios — make a name for itself later on in the game industry.
Look at this guy. Look at him go.
Ok that’s all of them!! If you have a favorite animation of any kind in a game, post it here, or @ it my way over on mastodon, @eightbitsamurai!
Mint is a writer and designer living in Denver(ish) Colorado. He likes Philly Cheesesteaks, eclectic music genres, awful Horror Movies, and sleeping because he is always tired. He doesn’t know why this is in 3rd person, but he’s heard it makes you sound more sophisticated, so he’s sticking with it.
He is currently writing “The Freelancers,” a novel about gay kids with psychic powers.