With E3 over and all the aftermath, aftershocks, and afterwords finally coming to a close I would like to examine a feature that is sometimes an afterthought(which for the most part it should be) but is never quite forgotten, and that is the idea of Destructible Environments, Players, Weapons etc...
While they never quite make or break a game some people consider them a very important part of the experience. I agree, but only only when used correctly, and in the right kind of game. It also brings up the debate of if all things should be destructible(Red Faction for example), or just some things that give special items or such(like God of War or Devil May Cry Series' for example). Is this Feature as important as good mechanics and a great story, No, but it definitely warms many a heart to hit a button and see a shitload of things burn.
Destruction and Destructibility is a idea that has been around for quite some time now, and usually is a staple of any kind of action game with an emphasis on 3rd person games. Some choose to embrace this concept (Mercenaries springs to mind, along with Motorstorm), while others hide behind excuses to why this was not included, yes I'm talking about you Gran Turismo the last major racing series to not have no damage at all to the fancy cars being raced.
1. Can be a good source of items, upgrades, health, etc...
2. Can be used for puzzles to make things less obvious
3. Explosions are cool
4. For racing games specifically, High speed crashes are fun especially when they actually influence the game or race
5. Makes cover systems more realistic by not letting you sit in one place
6. When the destruction is linked to the physics engine
1. Can get in the way of the action and make things harder
2. If the game is specifically centered around destruction other parts of the game can leave something to be desired.
3. Sometimes can cause slowdowns in a game that can't handle too much going on at once.
4. Annoying when only somethings can be destroyed in a game full of invisible walls
How to Make it Better
1. Gran Turismo gets a damage system.
2. Destruction used as a sort of strategy element and optional in puzzles.
3. Bigger explosions
4. Environments are actually changed by the destruction in a way that varies the gameplay.
With new games coming out all the time that feature destruction and havoc most notably and newest being Mercenaries 2. My hope is that destruction becomes not a bigger asset of games, but a stronger one.... read