It’s back to the B-movie inspired roaring 1950’s with Black Forest Games remake of the cult classic PS2/Xbox era game, Destroy All Humans. Destroy All Humans: One Giant Step On Mankind for Switch is a port of the Unreal Engine 4 powered remake that’s already graced PS4, Xbox One, PC and Google Stadia.
As the game itself states when started, the visuals may have changed but the story and gameplay remain exactly the same. And to this statement, the game stays extremely true. So while the visuals have been given a massive overhaul, the gameplay and story still remain firmly rooted in its original design mechanics.
Taking on the role of a psychotic alien – Crypto by name, annihilation by game – of the Furon Empire, it’s your job to soften the Earth into mush for the new alien overloads to come in and harvest human DNA while searching for the location of a crashed and captured the previous clone of yourself. Throw in the ever-present threat of 50’s Anti-Communist propaganda, shoot first and ask no questions soldiers and the snazzy dressed, but not so bright played for humour MIB agents from Majestic 12 and your chaos inducing alien self has his hands full.
Across six locations you’ll be performing a series of quests that, while having a snarky tone to them, usually end up being the same repetitious events. Story quests though are usually small and take part in small portions of each area’s maps and can be completed quite quickly. Each mission usually has optional objectives to complete at the same time, such as blowing up a MIB car with explosives before they reach a destination, which helps to add some variety to the mission structure.
Once you’ve completed a mission, the area opens up for free roam mode which is full of probe droids to collect and challenges to accomplish.
Crypto has a bunch of weapons in his arsenal to use such as a Disintegrator Ray, Zap-O-Matic (lightning gun), Anal Probe, Ion Detonator, telekinetic powers to throw people, and things around with, and a holobob, which lets you disguise yourself as a human. The holobob is the one piece of equipment that will see the most useful as you navigate the missions and free roam levels. Getting seen by a human inevitably brings the law running to you guns akimbo and once they’re on your tale, it’s difficult to shake them so disguising yourself is the way to go. Most of the missions usually require you to skulk around like this to complete your objectives with fail states linked to been seen which is as frustrating as it sounds.
Occasionally you can jump into your Saucer to lay waste to swaths of buildings and army goons and weapons, but the Saucer – which goes a long way to adding fun and variety to a rampage – rarely gets used much.
Despite the old school and repetitive design, the game can still be quite fun to play. Making a humans head explode to grab the floating brain and spinal column for DNA always remains fun, while a rampage across primary coloured 1950’s white picket fence homes can be fulfilling. The carnage you can inflict feels like a great reward for the rest of the time you’re plodding around unnoticed as a slow, lowly human.
DNA that you collect and earn as experience goes towards upgrading Crypto and his weapons, such as making the Zap-O-Matic chain lightning to secondary targets or increasing ammo count and weapon recharge times. Upgrading your arsenal makes all the difference in later levels when contending with the army, the MIB, giant killer robots, and tanks at the same time. And who doesn’t envy the thought of killing someone with a well-placed, telekinetically thrown cow?
The game’s sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek humour may prove divisive to some. Comedy, as they say, is hard to do but more often than not, it brought a smile to my face, especially listening to the random thoughts of the human fodder when you read their minds. Some of the jokes certainly haven’t aged well though.
Visually Destroy All Humans on Switch is where this port falters drastically for me. The art direction itself, the B-Movie 1950’s design and feel, is great but it’s let down, unfortunately by an abysmal resolution and lower-quality assets. There are lower resolution assets in play from the character models to the textures to the static meshes, and the amount of detail in the world is much lower than in its big-boy versions. There’s far less foliage in this edition for instance. The resolution itself is definitely below the handheld 720p standard and, when there’s more onscreen happening, drops even lower to the point that I had difficulty in making out what was shooting at me.
Destroy All Humans on PS4 etc. is rather pretty, in fact, one of the best visual remasters around, and while the Switch’s downgrade isn’t game-breaking, when compared to the quality of ports the machine already hosts to, it’s just very disappointing as the hardware is capable of so much more than what Destroy All Humans is putting out.
Despite the games, disappointing resolution, and sometimes clunky mission design, Destroy All Humans is still a fun time, especially on the go.
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Developers: Black Forest Games, Black Forest Games GmbH
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, Google Stadia, Xbox One
This review is based on the Nintendo Switch version of the game which can be purchased here for £34.99
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