9 Brilliant Video Game Mechanics That Are Criminally Underused

Why wasn't Shadow of Mordor's Nemesis System in more games?

Shadow of mordor

The list of video game mechanics is very long, and yet, over the years developers have formulated their own niche collection of staple tropes and "ways of playing". Shooting, jumping, punching, turn-based combat, the list goes on. Whilst developers are keen to jump on mechanics that everyone is familiar with (and that are safely bankable) there are some that go underused - almost criminally so.

Some mechanics are often left by the wayside for seemingly no reason despite their brilliance. And whilst it may be difficult to implement some of the following across a wider variety of titles, there are games that did so in the first place, making a killing in the process.

The following examples are often the crowning glory of the games that pioneered them, and yet they are left unused by the wider industry. Some were even once a staple of video game culture, but were lost because developers mistakenly assumed the public was done with them.


9. Grappling Hooks - Just Cause

just cause 3
Avalanche Studios

Now this might seem a little out there, but a lot of games could benefit from a grappling hook. It's one of the most fun ways to get around in a game. You need only look so far as Just Cause to see that it makes travelling in vast open worlds exciting and fun. In games where cars and walking are the go-to mode of transport, a grappling hook can open up the gameplay.

Even in games that aren't as open world, grappling hooks can make everything better. Take Uncharted: the fighting mechanics in that series were pretty well developed in Uncharted 2 and were perfected by Uncharted 3. However, Uncharted 4's introduction of the grappling hook shook it up in a way that no one expected.

Grappling hooks as a mechanic can make movement in a game fun. There is just something about swinging around and jumping from place to place that can make any game more immediately enjoyable. Spider-Man 2 was a pretty barebones game, but was heralded as excellent simply because of how fun it was to swing around.

Now, web shooters are a little different from a grappling hook, but the principle is the same: Grappling hooks in games are just great.


I like video games, writing and writing about video games. Expect sarcasm and the dry wit of a Brit. And the occasional rant of a unhappy Scot. You know... the usual.