Red Faction: Guerrilla breaks a lot of things. Buildings, bridges, walls, cars, trucks, smokestacks, monuments, people movers, mining derricks, power plants, you name it. Something else Red Faction: Guerrilla breaks is E3.
Okay, "broke" might be a bit too strong a term. But it certainly presents new challenges to my willing suspension of disbelief. After over twenty hours of playing time with a game so shrewdly built around the idea of breakable objects, it's a bit strange to see demos of other games where rockets bounce harmlessly off buildings and trucks don't plow through houses they hit. It's like going back to black-and-white TV, a big clunky iPod, or manual steering.
For example, during a demo of the impressive-looking Just Cause 2, you're supposed to fly a helicopter to a casino formed by two high-rise buildings. A sky bridge stretches between the buildings. Someone is trapped in the middle of the sky bridge, and you have to save him from attackers coming from both sides. Naturally, during the demo, the producer hovered along the sky bridge and fired rockets at the guys stepping onto it to attack the guy in the middle.
Until as recently as a week ago, I wouldn't think anything of this. But Red Faction: Guerrilla had conditioned me to expect the rockets will shatter the ends of the sky bridge and send it plummeting down to the ground, where it will break into a hundred chunks of concrete and jagged rebar, killing the guy I'm supposed to protect. Instead, some glass shattered and that was it.
This happened constantly at E3 during demos of action games. Why doesn't that explosion level that wall? How come those grenades don't knock over that watchtower? Why is your tank unable to simply roll through that buidling? For a game so good at tearing things down, there's a lovely bit of irony in the fact that Red Faction: Guerrilla also raises the bar.