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Everything Breaks

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With the advent of fully destructible environments in modern computer games, sometimes the game world's destructibility gets taken a bit too far. Since everything seems to collapse as soon as anything touches it, planning vehicle paths, especially in Real-Time Strategy games, becomes crucial if one doesn't want to lose other potential benefits of the scenery, such as (following the previous example) cover for infantry.

Related to Die, Chair, Die!, Everything-Is-Smashable Area, Rewarding Vandalism.


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  • BattleTanx. You're in control of a squad of tanks in post-apocalyptic cities. Why not just tear through the buildings standing between you and your targets?
  • Broforce: any structure that is held up by supports (and not just scenery) will collapse as soon as you upset them. This causes all sorts of mayhem, as what falls down is not always innocuous large blocks will splat your characters, explosive barrels will blow up, gas tanks will be ignited... et cetera. On the plus side, the bad guys are vulnerable to the same damage...
  • Metal Warriors: Levels are filled with destructible walls and floors, some of which require heavy weapons to destroy and others will break under your weight.
  • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed introduces some new destruction technology called Digital Molecular Matter (or DMM) in which objects will break more realistically (glass shattering, wood having some bend/break to it and splintering realistically etc.)
  • Rengoku: The second game introduces a lot of destructable obstacles like crates, pillars and sliding doors.
  • Robot Alchemic Drive has arenas full of buildings that can be toppled. The player is discouraged from being overly destructive, and is given monetary incentive to minimize damage to the city.
  • In Noita, every pixel is simulated and can be affected by the player character's weapons.

    Action Adventure 
  • This is the entire point of the LEGO Adaptation Games. When in doubt, break everything. After all, everything is (literally) Built with LEGO, they can put it back together again easy.

    Artillery Game 
  • In all of the Worms games, pretty much everything is destructible. This is important for attacking enemy worms and providing cover for yourself and your team.

    Beat 'em Up 
  • The X-Men Legends series allows almost all walls to be broken, although a majority of the walls just break to reveal sheet metal behind the breakable section of the wall. Occasional system crashes can occur if a character like Iceman using a huge Area of Effect attack (Iceman's was a volley of ice projectiles) inadvertently breaks too many wall panels at once.

    First Person Shooter 
  • Ace Of Spades combines Minecraft's destructible, blocky world with machine guns and explosives. Half of a match might be spent tearing down and rebuilding the stage to your liking while trying to avoid enemy fire (which also damages blocks).
  • Battlefield: Bad Company likes to show off your ability to reduce buildings to withered husks of their former selves. Bad Company 2 goes a step further, allowing you to actually make buildings collapse completely, as opposed to just blowing out the walls.
  • Most of the scenery in Medal of Honor: Allied Assault's tank level is destroyable, except for the remains of buildings you already blew up. The rest of the game inverts the trope: other than shooting oil barrels and making their contents leak out, you can't so much as knock over a bottle.
  • Red Faction's engine allows for 100% destructible environments, and had a physics simulator that can deal with the resulting chunks going everywhere. The early levels let you carve freely through the rock like a 3D version of Worms, leaving no safe place for campers in multiplayer maps. Sadly, its level design all but completely ignores this potential, and the game was also passed over by the modding community.
  • In Russian voxel-based shooter ZAR, almost every weapon will make permanent dents, craters or trenches where it hits ground, useful for creating cover since you can't usually survive without it.

    Hack and Slash 

  • The Wii game Boom Blox lives on this trope. The entire game has constructs of various types of blocks. Your goal in most of the game is to destroy the buildings using as few items as possible (baseballs, cannonballs, etc).

  • The offroad tank racing game, Tread Marks, has fully destructible terrain. Most weapons leave small craters which can make some tanks very unstable when moving at high speed. Nuclear missiles leave massive craters over a hundred meters in diameter, scorching the ground to pure black and often digging down to the (indestructible) water level that lies below the terrain. The map "Armageddon" has a volcano shooting a near-constant stream of nuclear missiles at random players, causing the once relatively smooth map to turn into a nightmarish hellhole within fifteen minutes. The Flower Power missiles and the Dirt Ball gun work like nukes except in reverse - rather than leaving craters, they create hills.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun is notable for the fact that, as well as civilian buildings and so on being destroyable, the terrain itself can be permanently changed in shape by explosions. This feature vanished in later games in the series.
  • Company of Heroes features many destructible map items, namely walls and buildings. Planning the paths of heavier vehicles, such as tanks, which can knock walls over, is required to avoid destroying structures which could potentially serve as cover for infantry. Conversely, armoured vehicles can be used to create new paths and entry points for infantry.
  • Dawn of War 2. Start with the Company of Heroes example. Remove 'heavier'. Or, for that matter, replace the word after 'heavier' with 'infantry'.
  • EndWar requires the player to keep their infantry in cover if they want them to survive - Artillery and Tanks can blow up cover with enough time and effort, though, which is lethal to whatever might be hiding inside.
  • Again, everything that isn't terrain can be demolished in the Soldiers: Heroes of WW2 series. In the latest installment, Men of War, anything can be shot up, blown up, or run over. Makes street fighting easier when you've got tanks; either blow up a wall to expose the enemy, or just drive the tank through the building until it collapses.
  • Everything one sees in World in Conflict maps, apart from the terrain, can probably be destroyed (and even the terrain can still be cratered by carpet bombing). Trees, buildings and powerlines get knocked over by tanks, nuked by artillery, struck by bunker-busters, hit with napalm, nuked, etc. Some of the missions feature "defend this town" objectives, which often end, even when the mission is successful, with said "town" consisting of a few dozen rubble piles. This is remarked on by the voice-over in one of the interstitials, discussing how the US was forced to drop a nuclear bomb on a town they were supposed to protect. Like with Company of Heroes, this fact is important to Infantry units which are easily killed outside of cover. There are even tactical aids available for the sole purpose of depriving infantry of cover, although they are certainly fatal to units hiding in that cover as well.
  • Everything (well, except unique items and stairs) in DRL can be destroyed, as soon as you get your hands on the rocket launcher. And if you set off a nuke, the whole level becomes erased of everything, including you (unless you are invulnerable when it goes off).

  • Shattered Steel, a voxel-and-polygon based mech game, allows you to make permanent craters everywhere with explosive weaponry. It is possible, for example, to dig a hole big enough to trap most non-flying enemies.
  • In Star Fighter, a flying simulator for 3DO, RISC OS, and PlayStation, you can destroy nearly anything, burn trees and melt ground with your lasers.

    Third Person Shooter 
  • John Woo's Stranglehold has some of the biggest amount of property damage ever seen in a game. The game fully expects this, and gives you a report of how many millions of dollars of damage you've done in the level.
  • Earth Defense Force has completely destructible environments. Any given mission will likely end with several city blocks being leveled, and there is no penalty for wanton destruction.
  • Simultaneously downplayed and exaggerated by Control. The game takes place in a mid-century office building — with desks, computers, chairs and filing cabinets — that is being taken over by a supernatural entity called the Hiss. Player Character Jesse Faden not only has a Swiss-Army Gun that can change firing modes and regenerates ammo automatically, she has telekinesis and can pick up all of those objects and fling them at the enemy, bathing them in splinters, explosions and showers of paper (and framerate lags as the game engine tries to keep up with the particle effects). You can't actually smash your way through walls, but the sheer amount of destructible environmental objects, and resulting physics moments as they bounce off each other, more than makes up for it.

    Turn Based Strategy 
  • Justified in Crush, Crumble, and Chomp! Since you're playing a gigantic monster, the entire city is a destructible sandbox.
  • Silent Storm features this, along with a huge array of WWII grenades. It's actually possible to screw yourself by blowing up and collapsing all the staircases to the upper level of a building containing a Plot Coupon. Moral of the story: don't use heavy grenades indoors.
  • With heavy enough weaponry, one could destroy almost anything in the XCOM series of games. Buildings, fences, walls, space ships, corpses, you name it. Especially impressive considering the first one was released in 1994. In XCOM 2, units will take fall damage if you blow out floors from underneath them. It's not unusual for entire city blocks to be reduced to rubble when XCOM shows up. Or just from the idle patrol routes of the ADVENT Humongous Mecha, which goes through obstacles rather than around.

    Western RPG 
  • In Freedom Force and its sequel Freedom Force vs. the 3rd Reich, almost every object in the game can be destroyed. This includes crates, trash cans, trees, lamp posts, dumpsters, cars, and buildings (usually every building). On most levels, the only thing that can't be destroyed is the terrain. Most objects can also be picked up and thrown by strong enough characters. Things like lamp posts, telephone poles, and small trees can be also be wielded by characters as giant clubs.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Not every inanimate object in Deus Ex is destructible... but everything that is all gets destroyed in the same way. Cardboard boxes—wet cardboard boxes—will shatter if damaged.
  • Mercenaries allows the player to blow up most buildings. The sequel allows the player to blow up anything.
  • Minecraft. Everything, from walls to dirt to solid rock can be broken. The only substances that don't count are fluids (like water and lava) and bedrock.
  • Red Faction: Guerrilla, in contrast to the original game, doesn't have destructible ground. However, the structural integrity of buildings actually matters, and buildings would simply collapse when the designers put them into the game world before hiring architects to design them.
  • Vangers is this in a world Made of Plasticine. Not literally.
  • Space Engineers has a dedicated collision engine and showcases its use very heavily in advertisements: ramming a ship into another ship will cause (impressively modeled) damage. In addition, the asteroids in the game are able to be mined completely.


Video Example(s):


Economic Boom

The entire space center is violently demolished, seemingly at the tip of a hat.

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Main / EverythingBreaks

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