“A cult-classic reborn into a potential modern-day remaster revelation…”
Cryptosporidium-136 has been compromised. Activate Cryptosporidium-137! It’s 1959, and our destination is… the planet Earth! That’s right; the classic PS2-era alien action adventure game Destroy All Humans! is back to take another “giant step on mankind”. With a fresh development team in the form of Black Forest Games (Desperados, Giana Sisters) at the wheel and a cult fan base at its back, the edgy 2005 title originally developed by Pandemic Studios (ironic, but also the team behind Mercenaries) has been remastered in glorious HD for a modern 2020 audience.
Most aspects of this once quietly popular game’s remaster have merited outstanding results. Visually, the game looks incredible now, with little-to-no evidence that it ever looked any different. The stylisations of early 1960s America are delivered in a semi-cartoonish, mostly-realistic style, all of which is clean, glossy and benefits extraordinarily from smart and well-executed lighting. Grass and particle effects are particularly noteworthy positives, with the macro destruction mechanic of the game receiving a healthy leg-up as a result of the graphical upgrade. Whether it is day or night, or you are playing in calm or explosive surroundings, the look of the game never fails to impress.
Story-wise, Destroy All Humans! remains largely entertaining in nature. After his predecessor clone goes missing on a mission to Earth, Pox, the leader of the Furon species, send Crypto-137 to find his namesake and, well, Destroy All Humans! There is more at play than initially meets the eye, though, as Pox reveals that the human race actually holds Furon DNA in its genetic makeup as a result of “encounters” between the two species in the past. Pox and Crypto recognise this opportunity to save their near-extinct species from the brink and set out to extract the DNA from the humans. Naturally, they do not find the opportunity to do so unopposed. As the story begins to unfold, Crypto’s less-than-stealthy presence in the USA becomes “noticed” by a Men in Black-style government organisation. And so ensues a GTA-style “doing-bad-stuff-sneakily” adventure in which you also get to rain down destruction and anal probing on your enemies. It is not short of Michael Bay-style explosivity, action and excitement. What it does lack at times, however, is a delivery which holds up to modern standards…
Whilst the gameplay, which is coming up next, is enjoyable, the visuals are fantastic and the story is entertaining on the face of things, the should-be humorous delivery of the story was as much in need of an update for modern audiences as the game itself. Upon its initial release, Destroy All Humans! was intentionally edgy for its time. With culture having moved on by 15 years since then, though, the humour has soured somewhat further. There are a lot of edgy for the sake of being edgy jokes which remain unchanged since 2005 than land poorly or un-funnily now. Some of these are so blunt and unexpected that they do merit a giggle, but the delivery and content of the humour more frequently takes the wind out of your enjoyment as you make a concerted effort to allow yourself to laugh at it. Of course, there is an argument to be made for “staying true” to the original game, but at a certain point, if you are freshening up the experience already, there are certainly some other elements worthy of an update here too.
With the political correctness aspect of the game now covered, it is time to move on to the many pros and short list of cons which constitute its gameplay. Destroy All Humans! has a semi-open world format, with a variety of openly explorable (and destructible) locations set across the USA. There are linear missions to be completed by Crypto, but you are able to reign down destructions of your own accord, as well as in location-based challenges, to get the most out of your vast arsenal of weapons. From the self-explanatory Zap-o-Matic to the one I hope I don’t need to explain, the Anal Probe, Crypto has a number of deadly and devious options at his disposal to cover any given situation. His best weapons, though, are natural to his species. Psychokinesis (or telekinesis, if you like) is endlessly fun in the game, with the ability to not only lift and move people and objects, but also to launch them far into the distance at will. Reading minds can be handy too, but the ability to disguise Crypto as a human makes for some of the best humour carried over from the 2005 original title. Destroy All Humans manages to make these close-up interactions, both violent and manipulative, exceedingly entertaining and fun through your abilities and weaponry. It is clear that when the game was in the planning stages, the developers were intent on bringing their wild and witty concepts to players to have as much fun using them as they did thinking of them. This fun factor carries beyond Crypto himself, though, with his saucer being one of the highlights of gameplay.
Although moving Crypto’s saucer feels somewhat crude, the destruction which you can generate with this tank of a spaceship is as fun as it is wild. As previously noted, the game was in-part popularised by its macro-level destruction, with almost anything you can see on each map being destructible with a little force and effort. Some of the game’s challenges are purely based around this concept, with destroying as much as possible being the only goal. Hopping into the saucer suddenly transforms the gameplay from semi-stealthy, objective focussed play as Crypto to a more aggressive form where you are very clearly and powerfully on the front foot. Nuclear powered weaponry makes you deadly in the face of any foe on the ground, provided you don’t take damage too liberally. To the benefit of both forms of play, you can also spend hard-earned DNA at the Mothership to upgrade Crypto and the saucer independently at Pox’s lab. For the saucer, this includes upgrades with names such as a Superfluid Heat Exhaust or Nuclear Ulcerator for the Death Ray, along with similarly obscurely titled upgrades for the sensors, Repulse-O-Tron and so on. The theme of space-y names for upgrades carries over to Crypto, too, who has options on offer for both his weapons and his other abilities. Here, taking the Zap-O-Matic as an example, you can enjoy the merits of a Gortan Shock Multiplier, or perhaps an Iridium Arc Spreader if it takes your fancy.
Despite their over-the-top high-tech naming, the upgrades available in Pox’s lab do give significant benefits to Crypto and his ship and make for a simple, but useful progression system. The choice being at the heart of this allows you to play the way you want to, too. The predecessor to the aforementioned Iridium Arc Spreader, for example, is the Iridium Arc Splitter. This early upgrade to the Zap-O-Matic allows the weapon to chain to more enemies, dealing the most damage to your initial target. Similarly, the saucer’s Death Ray can gain the early benefit of the Nuclear Blister Inducer, which increased the duration of burning on the ground. The upgrades start off sweet and simple but soon develop into even more extreme alterations, but this gives you something to work towards on your quest for World Domination. It is a basic but workable and fitting system which is an easy pro of the game.
Whilst there is a lot of story content which could be shared and discussed at length within the depths of Destroy All Humans!, everything you really need to know has already been said. If you can get around the sometimes-jarring out-of-date humour, the game’s remarkable remaster holds up surprisingly well in the story, gameplay and especially in the design departments. It is perhaps now a more playable and enjoyable game than it ever was before, provided you can get you head around what was once considered to be solid comedy. A cult-classic reborn into a potential modern-day remaster revelation, Destroy All Humans! is well worth spending a fun and destructive weekend with. Expect to see the Destroy All Humans! 2 Remaster on the horizon in the near future.
Order Page: https://destroyallhumansgame.com/order-here/
Destroy All Humans! Demo on Steam: http://n.thq.com/kDm930qQJhu
Destroy All Humans! Demo on Gog.com: https://www.gog.com/game/destroy_all_humans_demo
Destroy All Humans! is now available on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One from your preferred retailer, and also available digitally on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The SRP of the PC version is €29.99 / $29.99 / £24.99 / ₽1.529, and the SRP for consoles is €39.99 / $39.99 / £34.99 / ₽2.799 (PlayStation 4 and Xbox One).
This review is based on the PC version of the game.
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Destroy All Humans!
The cult-classic returns! Terrorize the people of 1950s Earth in the role of the evil alien Crypto-137. Harvest DNA and bring down the US government in the remake of the legendary alien invasion action adventure. Annihilate puny humans using an assortment of alien weaponry and psychic abilities. Reduce their cities to rubble with your flying Saucer! One giant step on mankind!
Product Currency: GBP
Product Price: 34.99
Product In Stock: Not Available