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Hit the Ground Harder

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Yahtzee shows us why Just Cause 2 makes Newton spin in his grave.

"He doesn't even need [parachutes] to break his fall, because he can hookshot onto the ground and escape unharmed. That's right! The best way to survive smacking into concrete at terminal velocity is to smack into it slightly faster. Maybe it's a homeopathic thing."
Yahtzee on Just Cause 2 in Zero Punctuation

Oh no! You're falling from a huge height. Maybe your helicopter got shot down. Maybe you misjudged a jump. Or maybe you got knocked into the air by a huge enemy. The point is: You're going to pancake when you hit the ground and there's none of that oh-so-handy water anywhere! You don't have magic slowfall powers, you can't render yourself invincible, and you left your parachute at home. For most people, this would be the end...

But no, you're not like other people. You have a way to survive your immense fall. Make your fall speed even higher and smash into the ground at an even higher speed, to make the laws of reality fold in on themselves and escape from your situation unscathed, or at least, far better off than you would have been if you'd just let gravity take its toll.

This is usually just an oversight; if the game ignores velocity-induced damage for certain special moves such as activating a grappling hook or using an aerial tackle move, you just use that special move and bypass the fall damage code!


Video Games

  • Arx Fatalis: You often will receive no falling damage if you jump over the edge of a cliff instead of walking off it, due to glitches in jumping physics.
  • Dead Rising 2: It, along with Off the Record, has you take falling damage when you drop from high enough. Unless you use the double-leg drop kick/knee drop move, in which case you descend at least three times faster and take no damage at all, even though it should shatter your legs/kneecap by doing so.
  • Deep Rock Galactic: Scout's grappling hook can let you break a fall if you shoot it at the ground. The game tries to avert this trope a little by slowing down the reel-in at the end of a grapple, but it's hardly noticeable (and it wouldn't realistically help anyway).
  • Dishonored 2: The E3 trailer shows Emily surviving a fall of several stories by using her tentacle-like appendage to quickly reach the bottom of the stairs.
  • Dragon's Dogma: Zig-Zagged. You have some special falling attacks that will completely negate fall damage, but you also have moves that explicitly stop your momentum in the air... but do not change your fall damage at all. A common situation for new players playing as a mage is to learn the levitation ability, at some point finding a moderate cliff of some sort, jumping off, hovering just inches off the ground... then falling 3 inches with the impact force of a car crash.
  • Dying Light: There's a grappling hook part way through the game that trivializes most parkour sequences (except where it's disallowed), but can also be fired at the ground to completely negate fall damage.
  • Just Cause 2: It's, along with its sequels 3 and 4, one of the biggest offenders of this; a review of which gives us the picture and title quote, and for good reason. You can literally fall from a mile-high height and survive by grappling into the ground and survive with no health loss whatsoever. This is made particularly noticeable by the fact that Soft Water is completely and utterly absent, so you find yourself actually 'aiming' for the ground.
  • The Legend of Zelda: In some of the 3D games, Link can negate falling damage by pulling out his sword and performing a jumping slash when close to the ground to reset his velocity.
  • Pac-Man World 2: Fall damage is rare, but a Butt-Bounce will negate it.
  • Project M: This is the basis of Wavedashing and Wavelanding; using the directional air dodge to propel yourself straight into the ground allows you to act out of it faster than with an ordinary landing. It also works like that in Super Smash Bros. Melee.
  • Risk of Rain 2: Acrid is immune to fall damage when using their Caustic Leap ability. If an Acrid player finds themselves falling off the map or a high place, one use of this move can keep them safe from taking heavy damage.
  • Spider-Man: If any game has fall damage, chances are you can ignore it by web-zipping directly into the ground.
  • Steam World Dig 2: There's a grappling hook that, while exceptionally difficult to pull off without practice, allows you to completely nullify fall damage if you grab the floor.
  • Super Mario Bros. : Zig-Zagged when it comes to ground pounds. It varies between just resetting your momentum, to making you into a Nigh-Invulnerable comet that is the only thing capable of destroying certain blocks.
  • Team Fortress 2: In "Mannpower" mode, everyone has access to a grappling hook that pulls you directly at the surface you aimed it at. It negates fall damage both during the grapple and for two seconds afterward, allowing you to invoke this trope as much as you like.
  • Terraria: Gravity is by far one of the harshest forces in the game, which makes the mid-game Lucky Horseshoe (which cancels fall damage) very highly sought-after. But until you get one, you can always use your Grappling Hook/Ivy Whip to latch onto the ground and survive.
  • Warframe: You can avoid the landing lag of a 'heavy landing' by doing a Ground Pound or Sword Plant—you can't cancel out of the recovery animation of a heavy landing, which leaves you vulnerable to being shot or beat up by opponents, but you can cancel out of a slam into a slide, so the best move in these instances is to attack the ground (which will usually clear a small space around you) and keep going.
  • World of Warcraft: The game allows you to do this using abilities like the Warrior's Charge, normally used on the ground to run a short distance at super speed to attack an enemy. It still works in the air. Druids have access to a variant in Bear form as well, resulting in memetic "bear drops". Mages have a facsimile that is slightly harder to execute in Blink, appearing instantly on the ground if close enough. However if used too far from the ground, the blink will only reset their velocity while leaving them in the air to begin the fall anew. Starting in Legion Rogues have the grappling hook variation.