EA SCOUT the last line of defense for buying on Steam's Early Access
by Johnathan Irwin
previewed on PC
Seek And Destroy
I don’t know about you, but 2020 has felt like the universe is on a warpath against humanity. As we fly through the vastness of space, everything seems to be coming unraveled on our little sphere of existence and we’re just along for the ride. But it hasn’t all been bad, in fact many silver linings can be found right here within the game industry. From large titles to hidden gems, 2020 has been rolling out the hits to thunderous applause. Among the ranks though, hides a game that proves that good things come in small, destructive, and absolutely hell raising packages.
I first caught wind of Tuxedo Labs’ Teardown months ago on social media and was impressed by the premise. At the time it was a fairly simple heist game with an emphasis on getting the goods and getting out as quickly as possible. But, it’s a game built entirely around destructible voxels making it an absolute playground of chaos. It’s grown quite a bit since the first time I’ve seen it, and now in Steam Early Access it even has itself a fun campaign, a robust sandbox mode, and even the tools for players to design their own playgrounds of destruction if they so wish. Today I’d like to talk a bit about my experience with the game, namely centered around one early campaign mission and then just playing around with the nearly infinite possibilities the game offers. Put on your hardhats, grab your explosives and sledgehammers, and lets get into Teardown.
Without revealing spoilers, the campaign revolves around a demolition company that has fallen on rather hard times. Working out of a less than glamorous warehouse, struggling to make ends meet, the time comes to start looking for opportunity in less than legal places. A few jobs later, you’ll find yourself in a delicate balancing act between crooked cops, shady politicians, and greedy business owners. They can make you a very rich man, or they can bring you down with the swing of a gavel or a hammer.
In one particular mission, the player is tasked with recovering a number of GPS devices spread throughout a local marina. Under normal circumstances you’d be able to take your time and sneak around, but Teardown is anything but normal. These devices are all mounted to special alarms, and the second the first one is disconnected you’re on a timer of 60 seconds. If you’re not out before the clock hits zero, you’ll be caught red handed and you’ll have failed your mission. The first time I took a crack at this mission, I eyed the map and figured surely with a fast enough vehicle I can grab them all, and I failed miserably. Back to the drawing board, I had to be methodical.
First I had to narrow down my targets. There was one on a fishing boat, one on a speedboat mounted to a trailer, one on a small boat in drydock, one on a pontoon, and one nestled in a swanky office in the marina’s main building. After trial and error, I eventually took a crack at the mission that put everything in place just perfectly, and you can see how that turned out below...
It was a rush. The amount of planning that went into less than a minute of action, and it comes in a way that gives players creative agency that many games just don’t allow. My way wasn’t the only ‘right’ way to do it, it was just the way that I came up with. You can see across YouTube and Twitter as different players come up with different solutions to the same problems throughout the campaign, some of which are even impressing Tuxedo Labs themselves.
Hardwired... To Self Destruct
While the campaign arguably offers up the main course with its series of destructive problem solving missions, the sandbox is where many people may find themselves spending a lot of their time. Revisiting levels you’ve unlocked in the campaign players have entire maps at their disposal to cause havoc and mayhem, although due to technical limitations it’s very unlikely you’ll bring down the entire level because eventually you will have massive framerate drops no matter how godly your PC is. That being said, you can quickly restart and try something else the moment you please it. To show off the destructive possibilities of Teardown, I decided to make these unsuspecting dock cabins as well as a handful of cars and a fishing boat as my target. What better way to carve through them than with a sleek luxury yacht? Watch the video below for the results.
Destruction, beautiful destruction. At a cost, of course. At its highest point of destruction, Teardown dropped to a painfully slow 8fps. In most games, that would be a death sentence. Given that this is early access, and very clearly a labor of love, I’m hoping overtime to see this improve substantially. Do I think it will run at a silky smooth 60fps or higher during a moment like this? Most likely not. But given what Tuxedo Labs has offered up so far, I do think with further optimization we’ll get out of the single digits and somewhere around 30fps or higher somewhere down the line; my fingers are crossed tightly.
That being said even at 8fps, the chaos left in the wake of a yacht and then a fishing boat tearing through several houses and seeing them collapse into the water in a rather realistic fashion rather than relying on scripted sequences or pre-determined points of destruction is a sign of a next step in destruction coming to the gaming world. Red Faction brought destruction into reality, Battlefield revitalized it, and Teardown is the first steps into a new frontier of what gaming teams can do for the destructive side hiding in all of us with a little effort, a lot of technical know-how, and a sledgehammer.
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There are no guarantees - but we'd bet our own money on this one. If you're going to take a chance with yours, odds are good this one will deliver.