''Breakdown'' is a slightly obscure first-person brawler for the Xbox, released in 2004 by Namco. While it sold poorly and received mixed reviews, it's notable to genre fans and game historians for its high emphasis on using its perspective for storytelling potential. It's also unusual in that it's a first-person shooter made by a Japanese team for the original Xbox, which makes it a complete statistical anomaly. Interestingly, it was included in backward compatibility for both the UsefulNotes/Xbox360 and the UsefulNotes/XboxOne.

''Breakdown'' is a landmark game in creating what's now generally referred to as "immersion." You never leave your character's perspective, even when eating, drinking, fist-fighting, or ''throwing up''. Later games such as ''[[VideoGame/FirstEncounterAssaultRecon FEAR]]'' make frequent use of narrative techniques that first appeared in ''Breakdown'', with the ''[[VideoGame/CondemnedCriminalOrigins Condemned]]'' games in particular feeling vaguely like an unofficial spiritual sequel.

At the start of the game, you take on the role of an amnesiac soldier named Derrick Cole, who's trapped in a lab room being experimented on by unseen scientists. An unseen force attacks the complex surrounding the room, and Derrick is broken free by a woman named Alex. She knows him; he doesn't remember her. Derrick must escape the facility, which is being attacked by a mixed force of human soldiers and an alien race called the T'lan.

Slowly, both Derrick and the player learn that the entire situation was set into motion by the discovery of a mysterious alien civilization under Japan, code-named Site Zero. Derrick is the lone survivor of an experiment [[spoiler:with T'langen, a substance recovered from Site Zero,]] which gives him superhuman strength and speed. Now you're punching out aliens and fighting to prevent an alien takeover of humanity.

Then it gets weird.

!!Tropes present in ''Breakdown'' include:

* ActionGirl: Alex Hendrickson.
* AlienInvasion: First humans went after the T'lan. Then the T'lan came after the humans.
* {{Determinator}}: Solus.
* DefeatingTheUndefeatable: A major part of the story is to find a way to stop Solus. If one can take him to his word, nothing has ever managed to so much as ''push him back'' before.
-->'''Solus:''' A first. Solus, knocked to ground.
* DiegeticInterface: The game springs this on you halfway through, which is probably a nasty surprise to most players. [[spoiler:The game thus far has been you reliving your memories through a machine, and the HUD elements are part of the system.]] After that, all HUD elements are gone.
* DuelBoss: The [[spoiler:true]] final encounter with Solus has the two of you being just about equal in power. [[spoiler:The first final encounter seems to be this, but it's unwinnable.]]
* EverythingTryingToKillYou: T'lan aren't the only thing you have to worry about, even human soldiers, who should know better, do everything in their power to harrass you, even as you're fighting T'lan right in front of them. They leave you no choice but to kill them.
* FakeDifficulty: Aside from the waves of tough enemies, the jumping puzzles, especially near the end, get progressively more difficult, not just from the environment, but because of CameraScrew.
* GameplayRoulette: Sometimes ''Breakdown'' is an action game with you as a superhuman fist-fighting badass. Sometimes it's a first-person platformer. Sometimes it's a horror game.
* GunsAreUseless: Guns are actually reasonably effective against human opponents, although Derrick has some kind of religious objection to carrying spare clips. The real issue is that T'lan have a natural bioelectric field that repels bullets, [[spoiler:which Derrick can breach with his bare hands thanks to the T'langen injections.]]
** Grenades, building-demolishing C4 explosions, high-speed automobile crashes, and even ''nuclear weapons'' are all apparently completely and equally ineffective against T'lan shields [[spoiler: until after Nexus is destroyed and you can just drive through them like they're made of paper mache]]. Apparently the only weapons of any effectiveness at all are the Anti-T'lan lasers Gianni deLucca's men carry. [[spoiler:Even the laser does almost nothing against Solus.]]
* HalfHumanHybrid: [[spoiler:Derrick is the lone survivor of the Alpha Project, which makes him half-Tílan. Sort of.]]
* HopelessBossFight: Solus, particularly notable in that he is the only example in the entire game. All other enemies, including helicopters can be taken down (or, in one case, can be taken down as soon as you get a certain power-up), but all meetings with Solus ends with you either running away, or being defeated. [[spoiler:Even the apparent FinalBattle is this, as Solus' victory is a ForegoneConclusion. Only after awakening in the future and going back to the past can you actually face him evenly.]]
* HiveMind: It is suggested the T'lan are a collective, with only one being the 'head', for Nexus to act through.
* HyperactiveMetabolism: To restore health, grab and eat hamburgers and candy bars, and guzzle cans of soda.
* LaserGuidedAmnesia: Derrick has no idea who he is or what's going on at the start of the game.
* MindScrew: Derrick spends a lot of time in the early levels hallucinating wildly, including trips that seem to take him back in time, to completely different locations, or outside of his own body. Later in the game, [[spoiler:we find out that the opening levels are actually an incomplete record of Derrick's memories of the present day, fifteen years into the future. He isn't hallucinating; he's just using unrelated memories to fill in the gaps.]]
* NintendoHard: The infamous chase sequence stopped a lot of players dead in their tracks.
** The white room right before Nexus. Five waves of strong enemies await.
* NotQuiteDead: Solus pulls this [[spoiler: both times]] Derrick properly fights him.
-->'''Solus:''' Not finished yet.
* RunOrDie: The first time you encounter T'lan, Alex tells you to run for your life since you aren't able to hurt them yet.
* ScrewDestiny
* SetRightWhatOnceWentWrong: The second half of the game.
* ShoutOut: Like most things that came out of Japan around the turn of the century, many nods to ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' abound. The enemies are monsters with forcefields that came from an alien structure buried underground and the most humanlike one is a creepy white haired guy. Professor Stefania dresses ''exactly'' like Ritsuko Akagi and dies in a similar manner to her mother [[spoiler:at first]]. Oddly her pet cat, Casval, is named after Char's real name from ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam''.
* SkywardScream: Solus does this just before he goes down for the last time.
* SuperSoldier: Derrick is one of the first entries in the "deliberately created super-soldier" school of protagonist design.
* TheJuggernaut: Solus.
* ThirdPersonPerson: Solus. [[spoiler: Except for his LastWords.]]
* UnbrokenFirstPersonPerspective: A rare example of a first-person ''brawler'' which uses this trope.
* UngratefulBastard: Combined with TooDumbToLive. The uniformed human soldiers, in their entirety. Not only do they break into the lab to kill you, despite the fact that you signed up for and endured an extremely dangerous experiment to give mankind a fighting chance against the T'lan, but even if you kill the T'lan that are going after them, they still turn their guns on you, forcing you to kill them in self-defense. What's more, in the first half of the game, they lose the fight against the T'lan because they throw the foremost expert on fighting them off a cliff to her death. Civilians who get their hands on military tech are a different story.
* WhamLine: Should you manage to defeat Solus (which isn't easy even in the second half of the game), you get this little gem.
---> '''Solus:''' Remember... I... am just... Nexus'... Avatar.
* WholeCostumeReference: Stefania.
* WorthyOpponent: How Solus appears to see Derek by the time you're ready to fight him, if his statement when he knocks you down is any indication.
-->'''Solus:''' Disappointing.
* YouNoTakeCandle: During the rare scenes where Solus speaks, it is always in broken english. This is justified by the fact that Solus is the "avatar" of a completely alien existence, and it's a wonder that he can speak at all.