So you might have noticed -or maybe you didn't- that we've been a little quiet on the review front lately. Current global events (we all know what I mean, right?) have caused a bit of a slowdown with the guys: with some working overtime, some looking for new jobs and others (i.e yours truly) just not feeling it at all.
With that being said, it seems that things might be looking up! We recently received a review code for the new Destroy All Humans game and I'm hoping you'll enjoy our little write up on it!
Now for those who don't know, this version of Destroy All Humans is a remaster of an older game, one that originally launched way back in the ancient times of 2005. It was a much-loved franchise at the time, with quite a few sequels, and is remembered fondly by many people who played it. It’s the first game in the series that has been remastered here, and they've included a few things to spice it up. The most obvious of which is a complete graphical overhaul, bringing the PS2/Xbox game up to the standard you'd expect of a current-gen title. That's not all though; they've also tightened up controls, tweaked how some things work, and even included some new content that was cut from the original release due to time constraints. The end result is a game that looks and handles better than the OG version but still feels and plays like a game from that time.
Tone-wise, the setting and story take a humorous approach to the invasion of Earth. It parodies many sci-fi movies and uses pop culture references in its story and mostly reminded me of the movie Mars Attacks in many ways.
Except for the fact that it is told from the point of view of the Aliens. You see, in Destroy All Humans you don't play as the defenders of Humanity. You will instead take control of one of its invaders, a member of am intergalactic race known as the Furons. The set up goes like this: It’s the coldest part of the Cold War, the US is at the height of its "Reds under the Bed" paranoia, with fears of nuclear annihilation and communism corrupting the youth being a constant. The opening scene for the game sets the stage by showing a missile test, with the military preparing to launch a rocket. Things do not go as planned though, the launch is ultimately a failure. Just as the missile leaves the launch pad, it crashes directly into a flying saucer: destroying the missile and forcing the UFO to crash land in what I presume to be the deserts of New Mexico. The military instantly swarms the crash site, and begin to search through the wreckage, only to be confronted by the gravely injured Furon pilot. Before he can defend his craft however, he passes out from his wounds and is easily captured by human forces.
This is where the story starts for your character. You step into the alien boots of a being called Cryptosporidium 137 (or Crypto for short) who has just freshly emerged from the Furon cloning chambers. He also happens to be the next in the line of clones that included the captured pilot. Furious that his previous incarnation was taken prisoner, he's raring to go down to the planet and show these apes who's the boss.
Before he does though, he's let into one of the Empire's most closely guarded secrets, and the real reason behind the invasion of the backwater planet called Earth.
The Furon race is slowly going extinct.
Their reliance on cloning technology has been their downfall, as each new generation is cloned, the source DNA becomes more and more corrupted. Most new clones are now "born" barely functional, with personality defects and intelligence deficits running rampant. At this rate the species will collapse soon, however, the Furon leaders have discovered a solution.
And it resides on Earth.
It turns out that millennia ago when the Furon species was young and first journeying through the stars, they sent out many vessels to explore the vastness of space. One of these ships visited our corner of the galaxy and, as lonely sailors are want to do, began to mix with the primitive population of ancient Earth.
As the saying goes "Earth girls are easy".
The result was that our race now has tiny traces of pure Furon DNA spread through its genetic makeup and, if the Furons can harvest it, they could repair their damaged cloning source and restore the race to its former glory.
Therefore Crypto’s mission becomes clear, not only must recover his predecessor from captivity and recover the stolen tech, but he must also harvest as much Furon source DNA from the natives as possible while doing it. It'll be up to you to infiltrate this backwater planet, harvest the humans, and ultimately save your species from extinction.
Which now brings us to the most important part: the actual gameplay. What type of experience are you going to get for your hard-earned cash?
Well, Destroy All Humans is a 3rd person action-adventure game that takes place in several sandbox-style levels, all modeled after various US-style locales. Each of these areas is split into two "modes", each with a different focus, and you can flit between them as you see fit. Once you've unlocked them, that is. Each area begins with a story quest first. Here you are given specific mission objectives to complete, utilizing a variety of abilities and weapons that will unlock and upgrade as you progress through the campaign. These objectives start simple: kill this character, scan that character, harvest the brains of another character, etc but it isn't long before things start to change up. Pretty soon you're given a holo-disguise, making stealth an option, alongside the ability to distract, and even take over the humans you'll come across. You'll get new weapons to play with, like disintegration rays and anal probes, and even get sections where you control your ultra-powerful UFO to wreak havoc upon the town and countryside. These story sections are very structured though, you'll be given a primary objective (and a few optional ones) but the way to carry it out is usually dictated to you. A little more freedom to decide exactly how to fulfill the objectives would have been welcome but ultimately I felt a little like I was forced down a pre-prescribed path that made improvisation a little difficult to do. Luckily you're also drip-fed a constant stream of new weapons and abilities each mission so, on your first time round at least, you'll always have something new to work with, helping keep things fresh.
Where you are given a lot more freedom however is in the sandbox mode. Once you've completed one story mode in an area, this mode unlocks for that location, and you can jump into it before continuing with the story. This is basically a free-roam mode where you can freely move around and do what you want, wreaking havoc with every weapon, ability, and saucer upgrade you've unlocked so far. The primary reason to do this is to harvest DNA, which allows you to purchase the upgrades for your weapons and your saucer. The main way to do this is simply to harvest it from civilians but there are other ways too. For instance, each area has a number of collectible Probes hidden around, each one providing a cache of DNA when collected. Each location also has 3 challenges that will unlock as you progress through the story, and these can be particularly tricky to complete even with higher level upgrades. The first of these is called "Abduction" and here the mothership will sweep a large tractor beam along a prescribed path and you'll have to use your telekinetic powers to throw chosen objects into the beam. This can be cows in one level, manmade objects the next, and so on. The next challenge is called "Race", where you'll chase a malfunctioning DNA spewing probe around a track, trying to collect as much spilled DNA as possible while also finishing within the time limit. Lastly, there's "Extinction" and this is a basic kill everything type of challenge. Wave after wave of enemies of varying types and weapon load-outs will attack you, and you'll gain a certain amount of points for each one you kill. Bonus points are given for killing in a certain way, which differs with each area but can include things like burning, exploding, disintegrating, and so on. As I said earlier, these challenges can be rather, well, challenging and will probably take multiple attempts to complete with a 3-star rating. This means a little replayability but once you've completed the 3 in an area and collected the probes, you've basically exhausted everything there is to do.
Now don't get me wrong, simply jumping into an area and creating pure havoc is still an option. You know, in GTA or similar when you just save and go crazy, attacking everyone? Well that's just as fun here, the wide range of Cryptos abilities and the relative OP-ness of them, are fun to use with everything controlling smoothly and effectively. Using the UFO too is great fun as you fly around firing death rays at buildings and using the tractor beam to throw cars and tanks around the level. It all provides that chaotic buzz you want in games like this, although certainly to a lesser degree than other open-world experiences. Unfortunately, though, the challenges, the collectibles and the havoc are all you really get. There’s nothing else on these maps, outside of a couple of hidden achievements, so the fun can be sped through relatively quickly. Those looking for a more packed open world with more little time-wasters to take part in will find themselves feeling unfulfilled. However if you go into it knowing what you'll get and remember this is basically a 15-year-old game, you'll certainly find enjoyment in Destroy All Humans.
If you played the original version of this game and remember it fondly, you'll probably find this remaster very likable. It improves on the original in every way with modern graphics, better controls, better handling, and even comes with extra content. For those who never played the OG version however it might not shine as brightly. They'll still find it fun, it's humor is still good, it's weapons and abilities are varied, and the general mayhem you can cause is still very entertaining. However, the game is still an old title at heart (and even has a disclaimer warning this when it boots up) and can feel a little bare compared to newer games. Once the short story is done, the challenges are completed and the collectibles are found, there's really nothing left to do and it might leave those who value replayability feeling a little disappointed.
Ultimately, Destroy All Humans is a fun little title that will delight those who are filled with nostalgia for the original franchise but might be less enjoyable to those coming in fresh. However, it's still a humor-filled game with a good main character and loads of fun weapons and powers to utilize. Certainly worth its price to fans and still worth a look to newcomers, this remaster proves there's still a lot of potential left in the franchise. While this game doesn't quite reach the dizzying heights it could have, it left me wanting more and hoping we see a truly modern iteration of Destroy All Humans soon!
*Note: A copy of the game was provided for the purposes of the review.
Final Score: 7.5/10
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