|RELEASE DATE||July 28th, 2020|
|PLATFORMS||PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC/Steam|
|DEVELOPER||Black Forest Games|
So, I’d intended to mention that this review was sort of a work in progress – but I was tired after being up for 20+ hours writing it and forgot. The review is now 100% completed! Finished up the game itself and added in some more of my final thoughts to the overall review. Enjoy!
Destroy All Humans! isn’t a game you really play for the story – much like the countless sci-fi space invader movies it unabashedly apes – on top of Crypto’s Jack Nicholson-like personality and voice (Which remains nearly unchanged from the original game – like most of the audio/story in the game.)
The plot follows Cryptosporidium-137 – sent to Earth after his former clone/brother, Cryptosporidium-136, crash-lands his saucer and gets captured by the US military.
His mission is two-fold, however – not only is he sent in to recover the fallen Furon, the Furon race is also degrading. Their methods of continuing to live – via cloning themselves, making them virtually immortal – are beginning to degrade in quality. The human race, however, has pure Furon DNA locked within it – and Crypto needs to collect as much of it as he can (Playing into the core mechanics of the game.)
Like I said – the story’s not really why a person plays a game like this, although the plot here is actually good and tons of fun to play through. It’s also nearly word for word exactly the same as the original game.
The audio on the dialogue seems higher quality, but the lines themselves remain largely unchanged (For better or worse – some of the humor is a bit…dated, and it’s a little hard to say for sure if it’s because the game is parodying the time – or if the writers actually find it funny. There’s a warning about this before you start the game, though – so maybe it’s the former.)
It’s paced well enough – and much like a game like Mercenaries, serves its purpose of being a driving force to keep playing well. The writing is clever and sharp – and the biting satire feels ever-so-relevant when reflected against today’s current on-goings in the US.
That said, it’s also a plot that, in no way, takes itself too seriously at any given time. It never dips into melodrama except for times when it’s intentionally overboard.
This is one of the main areas where the game sees some of its biggest changes.
Destroy All Humans! is not just an up-ported version of the original 2005 game – that already exists on the PS4 as a PS2 classic. No, this is a full-on retooling of the original game running on Unreal Engine 4.
Note that I said retooling and not remake. It’s not a remake – not really. The visuals have been massively overhauled, but the core of the game remains largely the same as it was. Character designs have been tweaked/changed, and the art style updated a bit, but dialogue, missions (With the exception of a “Lost Mission”) and overall gameplay are the same as they were in 2005.
As I said – not really a remake as they haven’t really changed the core game – but it also definitely isn’t the exact same game as before.
I especially appreciate some of the smaller details added in – like the little…I don’t really know what you would call them, but the little breathing holes on the back of Crypto’s head and neck. It’s a really cool little detail that wasn’t there originally and breathes some new life into Crypto’s design.
Honestly – I don’t really have anything bad to say regarding the technical side of the game. It runs well (Though I do wish it ran at a full 60FPS at all times, instead of just in menus. Would look much nicer then.), sounds great and loads fairly quickly.
This is the main place that sees some of the biggest changes overall.
While the core gameplay loop is nearly identical to the original (Go on missions, get human brains for DNA, use DNA for upgrades, do challenges for more DNA – rinse & repeat), the game’s controls have seen some much needed tweaks.
It actually feels like a game that would have been made today. I played the original game not long before getting the code for this one, and believe me – those controls do not hold up well.
You no longer need to lock-on manually – simply aim and fire. As long as your target has the little yellow circle on them – you’re locked-on. You can still lock-on if you want to (With the left trigger), to make aiming your PK abilities a little easier – but you don’t need to.
There are a lot of weapons and abilities to use, and most of them are a lot of fun to play around with. Even the Anal Probe.
And that’s not a sentence I thought I would ever have to say again, after the first time I reviewed the original back in 2007.
If there’s one place I feel the game struggles – and it always struggled here – it’s in the stealth. It doesn’t feel fully fleshed out and frankly, feels a bit useless overall and kind of drags the game down when it has to be used.
The Holobob could be more fun if it gets fleshed out a bit more, and maybe made a little more useful/integral than just “have the right skin to get in this restricted area”. As it stands, it ends up being just that, and never really evolves to more. It’s a little disappointing that it isn’t more useful.
It is, by far, the weakest overall part of the game.
However, because it’s not really integral to the main game too much, it doesn’t end up dragging things down too much or detracting from just how fun Destroying All the Humans™ actually is. Mind controlling Majestic agents as you probe civilians and throw explosive barrels with your telekinetic powers is a blast. As is going to town in your saucer and just razing the different maps to the ground with your Sonic Booms and Death Ray.
The game is called “Destroy All Humans”, after all. It would be terrible if the destruction part of things were boring.
As far as the core gameplay loop is concerned – it’s fun, if a bit basic (The original game is from 2005, remember? Games like this weren’t exactly too complicated at the time.).
You pick your mission from the main map and enter a self-contained, small sandbox map for that city. You can also choose to freely explore any map in the game and wreak havoc or complete challenges like races or Armageddon – in which you try to cause as much damage to the map as possible.
There are also some bonus objectives added in to most missions for a little bit of an extra challenge and reward. They aren’t hard to complete, but might require replaying missions later with new upgrades.
Upgrades are plentiful, for the most part, so you’ll have something to work towards – even though a lot of upgrades are just “increase how much ammo this gun carries” and “increase the amount of targets the gun hits”. The more unique upgrades that add effects to weapons tend to be saved for the end of upgrade paths.
All-in-all, it’s a fun game to play.
Making use of all of your abilities (Various tools of destruction – like the anal probe or disintegrator ray – as well as various psionic abilities, to make enemies follow your commands, distract other enemies or even just straight up explode their heads for the delicious DNA locked in their brains.) to wreak havoc on the pitiful humans is an absolute blast – and it’s a perspective you rarely get to see in games. Usually, you’re playing a human fighting the aliens – never as the alien invader.
It’s refreshing – just like it was back in 2005 – to play on the side of evil for once.
There are a total of 6 open-world sandbox maps to play in – each offering up challenges to complete (More on those later) and unlocking as you complete the story.
I remember when I reviewed the original – a review that is lost to the annals of the internet long past – I made mention that it felt like there wasn’t much to actually do in the game when compared to Pandemic’s other game at the time, Mercenaries.
And it’s pretty much still true. There’s not a ton of stuff to actually do in the game outside of a handful of challenges for each map and the bonus objectives that were added in. There are also collectible drones you can pick up for additional DNA.
There’s a little bit more here now, due to trophies/achievements being part of the game – most of which are very, very straightforward and easy (And much simpler than they were in the original game’s up-rezzed ports – gone are the super grindy “Collect All Probes” and “Assume 40 Identities” trophies. Just complete all of the challenges with 3 stars, and complete all of the new bonus objectives and you’re pretty much golden. Everything else should come naturally.). I don’t see it taking too long to 100% the game.
The difference is mostly with me now. I, honestly, appreciate shorter, less densely packed games these days. The kind of game that’s fun, doesn’t take 700 hours to complete for no real reason and isn’t overloaded with objective markers and icons on a map within 20 minutes of starting.
If that sounds like the kind of game you would enjoy, then I can certainly recommend Destroy All Humans! to you.
I’ve definitely enjoyed my time with this re…master/tooling/semi-remake. Just like I did with the original – if you can get past the lackluster stealth, it’s a fun little alien abduction sandbox game.
The stealth itself doesn’t really hurt the overall game, but it can be a little unfun when you have to use it because it can kind of feel like it’s fighting against what the game actually wants to be.
Other than that, I can’t really find any fault with the game – it makes the original control scheme more modern and playable, makes the original visuals more colorful and detailed, a lot like the Shadow of the Colossus remastering from Bluepoint. It’s a great improvement to the original game – though it’s entirely possible it might not be different enough for some, which I can totally understand.
I will say I’m pretty disappointed that this one doesn’t have a big, dumb “Remastered” title like the other THQ re-releases recently (You know – “Re-Mars-Tered” or “Re-Reckoning”). “One Giant Step On Mankind” is a great title, but it’s not dumb enough!