Destroy All Humans! PC Review
Cryptosporidium-137, the tiny aggressive alien, has finally returned to our screens bringing cheesy one liners, bovine annihilation and a thirst for total destruction with him. Destroy All Humans! is back on consoles but instead of a brand new adventure, we have been gifted with a remake of the original PS2 game. The return of this old classic proves that these kinds of games still have a place in the heart of gamers even 15 years after they first debuted. Admittedly I have never played the original game and so the nostalgia goggles are off for this review!
The game begins with a missile launching into a UFO which contains Crypto-136, an alien that came to earth to extract human brain stems. In the aftermath of the collision he is badly injured and has lost contact with the mother ship. Now we turn to our little gree- I mean grey friend Crypto-137, under the instruction of his Furon superior Orthopox (nicknamed Pox), to rescue his brother and make the humans pay!
During the missions you are let loose in six open world areas with multiple destructive and sometimes intrusive weapons, abilities and a flying saucer at your disposal to ensure that you get the job done. You can even take on the appearance of a filthy human using your trusty Holobob to sneak your way into society unnoticed. By collecting DNA that you obtain by destroying humans, completing missions and finding the scattered Furon probes you can upgrade these tools as you advance through the game. To make your job harder, there are unique enemies (Majestics) in the game who can disable your abilities if you come within range which makes using the Holobob even more difficult.
When you begin the game you start off with nothing and slowly, as you complete tutorials Pox provides you with weapons and abilities when you need them. The tutorial is very clear and helpful but even up until I completed all the missions, I don’t feel like it ever ended due to the low difficulty of the tasks set. The story missions got repetitive very quickly; most required you to sneak into an area or kill some humans which at first was fine as that’s the name of the game, however they didn’t add anything to the mix in the later levels so they all felt similar. The pacing of the game was unusual, having three bosses in total to fight but instead of being spread out after each revelation in the story, they were all tacked onto the end in a boss rush. This was a shame because fighting bosses was the most enjoyable part of the story missions and had I not had to grind all the way through the missions to get to them, would have helped the pacing immensely.
The difficulty of the story missions is the main thing that lets the game down; most of the missions can be accomplished while getting shot at so there wasn’t any point in sneaking around if you don’t have to. The stealth missions could’ve utilised some of the abilities like the Follow Me command to move Majestics around so you aren’t noticed. Instead you can walk right past them before they have time to disable your Holobob and continue your mission unaffected. Saucer missions also involved mashing a button that regenerates your shields so that you can’t die removing any challenge. A game being easy is not always a negative if you are a casual player or want a game you can pick up for a few hours and play, Destroy All Humans! is perfect for this. However, the option to increase the difficulty or more challenges would have been a nice addition.
My favourite part of the game was definitely the side missions that you unlock in the exploration mode. The different types are: Armageddon (destroy objects in your saucer), Abduction (throw objects into a beam of light), Race (race to the finish line), and Rampage (destroy objects). These were leagues more challenging than the story or optional missions and forced you to utilise all your abilities and weapons to make sure you achieve three stars.
An addition I would have loved to have seen is an enhanced mini map; simple dots show yours and enemy locations, but the level boundaries are never shown. You only know where you cannot go when you travel to an area to shoot an enemy causing Pox to continually shout at you to return. For example, I flew over to blow up a tank but because it was “out of bounds” the mission was automatically failed despite the game telling me to go to that area with a mission icon. It would have been an easy addition to add the boundaries to the map with a simple line.
The developers at Black Forest Games did a great job at deciding what to change and keep in the remake. The graphics are highly improved but don’t take away from that goofy Destroy All Humans! style. They also adjusted the controls for the game so you can jetpack, move, shoot, lift objects and extract brains all at once making the controls feel very smooth and easy to pick up. New optional missions make for a more enjoyable yet challenging experience and adding more upgrades and weapons gives you more reason to complete everything. Overall Black Forest Games have done a great job at modernising an old classic.
Destroy All Humans! was never trying to be a masterpiece back on PS2 and it still isn’t one now, however it is a fantastic remake and if you are a fan of the old game I don’t see why you wouldn’t love this. People have begged for a return to this franchise but I’m not sure a remake was the way to do it; I truly hope they reboot this franchise for newer consoles.