It blows my mind that it has been fifteen years since the original Destroy All Humans! released on PS2 & Xbox. After recently playing Neversong & The Last of Us Part II (which are great games, they just make you feel sad man), I was in need of a good laugh. Publisher THQ Nordiq and developer Black Forest Games definitely delivered on that front with this wonderful remaster. The demented journey of Crypto & Pox consistently had me laughing out loud. While the graphics get a much needed upgrade, they don’t stand out nearly as much as the gameplay and humor does. Destroy All Humans! is still a blast to play even after all these years. With a new coat of paint and quality of life improvements to gameplay, now is as good a time as ever to hop back into the shoes of a psycho alien hellbent on world domination.
In 1959, Cryptosporidium 137 landed on Earth to investigate the planet and search for his predecessor clone, Cryptosporidium 136, who disappeared in 1947 after Orthopox 13 sent him to Earth on a similar mission. Crypto is tasked with finding out what happened to his “brother” and must harvest human brain stems to prevent his species from going extinct. Playing as the violent, little grey alien Crypto (voiced by J. Grant Albrecht), our main goal is to wreak havoc upon the citizens of Earth and claim it as our own. We have access to weapons that shock, disintegrate and probe the buttocks of these poor people. It’s hilarious. Crypto’s “guy in the chair” Pox (who is voiced by Richard Steven Horvitz of Psychonauts, Invader Zim and many other things) is a joy to listen to. The writing is consistently great and his dialogue delivery is always on point and never gets old. I love it when he refers to me as a “little unbridled ball of aggression” when I’m purchasing upgrades or goes off on a tangent about fast-food. The story overall is pretty entertaining and has some great moments, harkening back to those cheesy alien movies of the 50’s, but it’s definitely the banter between Crypto & Pox that kept me invested.
Each mission (there are 22 total including the new bonus mission) involves either sneaking into some kind of military base, tampering with equipment like satellites or tesla-coils, or going full-on wanton destruction, but Destroy All Humans! never feels stale or overstays its welcome. What’s great is that some missions can be completed a number of different ways. Sure, you could use your Holobob technology (which allows you to take on the appearance of any random bystander you choose), in order to sneak into a military compound, or you could just go in guns-blazing. Sometimes you don’t have the choice and will immediately fail if you’re spotted, but most of the time the game gives you free reign with how you can accomplish a mission. Bonus objectives have been added to the remaster, so each mission encourages you to do something different like drown cows in a lake or only kill soldiers with explosives. This keeps things fresh and entices you into replaying a mission if you missed a bonus objective. There’s also a new mission that has been added to this remaster that I won’t spoil, but it fits well within this universe and is a welcome addition. Even after you’ve completed the main story, you can go back to each previous city or town to explore and take on challenges like Abduction, Rampage, Race or Armageddon. These will give you some much needed Furon DNA for character and ship upgrades, and you’ll need to three star these challenges in order to truly 100% complete the game.
The core gameplay is still as addictive as it was back in 2005. The original Ratchet & Clank released in 2002, three years prior to Destroy All Humans! and you can really tell where they took their inspiration for movement and gunplay. Crypto handles exactly like Ratchet does and this isn’t a bad thing. Since this is a remaster, another improvement is being able to do multiple things at once. You can use your jetpack while firing your gun, harvesting brains and picking up bystanders with your psychic powers all at once and it just feels so empowering. Being able to climb into your flying saucer and unleashing a death laser on a town while picking up cars with your abduction beam and tossing them around like little toys is a badass experience. There are slower moments like when you need to follow a certain NPC or scan the minds of X number of them in order to gain information, but most of the time you’re just blowing things up and it’s wonderful.
Being able to do multiple things at once during combat isn’t the only new feature added to the remaster. New abilities include mind-controlling humans to make them follow you around (if you control a soldier, they’ll fight alongside you). You can transmogrify things in the environment like crates and turn them into ammunition for your weapons. Upgrades have expanded big-time. In the previous version you could upgrade your ship and character 18 times. With this version, you can upgrade a whopping 66 times. You can also upgrade your suit so you’re able to dash or “skate” around the environment faster. Plenty of features have been added and nothing has been stripped away. Completing certain missions optional mission objectives and earning 100% within that mission will unlock new skins for Crypto and a vast art gallery for you to peruse. This is that occasion where the remaster is much better than the original.
Despite the graphical and gameplay upgrades being a much needed improvement, the environments definitely feel like they came straight out of the 2000’s (which makes sense since it’s a remaster). They’re large and varied, with you starting out in small towns, making your way to the giant Capital City where the President sits comfy in his White House. It’s just always so strange to remember that you could never go inside buildings back in the old days (I can’t believe I’m referring to PS2 & Xbox as the old days, my god). Being able to transition from outdoors to indoors wasn’t really a thing unless the game allowed you to do so, and Destroy All Humans! always likes to remind me of that. It doesn’t ruin the gameplay in any way, but it is a constant reminder of how far interacting with environments in video-games has come since then. Even the way buildings blow-up feels unnatural. It looks great, but it’s just a matter of you shooting at something until it explodes. I’m just hoping that there is a new Destroy All Humans! coming out in the future that takes full of advantage of the new console generations power. Could you imagine the detail and destruction you could cause with that new console tech? I get giddy just thinking about it.
Destroy All Humans! is still a ridiculous amount of fun fifteen years later. This remaster stays faithful to the original, retaining the core gameplay and humor while adding some much needed additions for an overall better experience. If this performs well, there better be a remaster for Destroy All Humans! 2. I would love to be able to cause some mayhem with a co-op partner. We haven’t seen a new game in the franchise since 2008’s Path of the Furon, but here’s to many more adventures with Crypto & Pox in the future. If there’s anything to take from this review, it’s this: WE NEED MORE DESTROY ALL HUMANS! IN OUR LIVES. – NVJ
Destroy All Humans! is available July 28th, 2020 for PS4, Xbox One & PC
PS4 review code provided by Evolve PR