Action and shooter titles are swamping the market at the moment, but there seems to be a general lack of satisfaction beginning to creep in with the humble FPS. Blowing people up is no longer enough; players who want to vent frustration need to be able to blow stuff up as well. With this in mind, more games have focused on the difficult design task of incorporating destructible environments with varied success. This isn’t exactly a new innovation however, so join us as we consider the best of the past and present of destructible environments in gaming.
One of the first games that really brought fully destructible environments to the fore, Red Faction was a revelation with its advanced Geo-Mod physics engine. Not content with just letting destructible environments act as a cool visual flair, Volition made sure that it became a central element of Red Faction’s gameplay. The original Red Faction stands out as a legendary innovator within the shooter genre because of this.
Described as “gun porn” by its creators, Criterion’s Black served as an early foray into the cinematic FPS. With all the explosions, conspiracy theories and gruff speaking agents of a hollywood action flick, Black featured some cool, if limited destructible environment features. The environments weren’t totally there, but you never forget shooting down a door with a shotgun on the first level.
Far Cry 2
Do you know the one thing that’s better than blowing up a small fortress? Setting the thing one fire! With impressive wind and fire physics, Far Cry 2 managed to complete this holy trinity of carnage by including partially destructible environments. Few things are as satisfying as setting a small bush on fire, only for the wind to carry it towards your targets and smite them with the primal power of flame. Who said violence couldn’t be beautiful?