Title: Destroy All Humans!
Available On: Playstation 4
Developer: Pandemic Studios
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Release Date: November 1, 2016
Where To Buy: Playstation Store
Bringing back beloved games from the past has both its pros and cons. The pros are that people who loved them before get a chance to relive them and experience all the nostalgia involved with that. The cons are that they can sully the idealized memories we hold with the reality of how badly some video games age. With Destroy All Humans!, there is a little bit of both.
Destroy All Humans! was originally released for the Playstation 2 in 2005 and has been brought back on the Playstation 4. It is a port as opposed to a full re-release, but some of the graphics have been cleaned up and trophies have been added. Overall, the game does not feel like it’s aged very well.
You play as a Furon (alien) named Crypto who is guided by the brainy Pox (voiced by Richard Steven Horvitz who was Invader ZIM) in a quest to take over America and harvest as many human brain stems as possible. The story is cheeky and clever, using tropes from 1950s America to their full effect. Almost all the destruction you cause is attributed to the commies or reds as you see through the front page of a newspaper after any mission you complete. You deal with government agents in black suits who attempt to keep alien existence under wraps while also acquiring specimens and technology to research.
The gameplay is pretty satisfying as you run around with four guns that each offer unique ways to destroy filthy humans – a disintegrator, an anal probe, a Zap-o-Matic and an ion detonator. You can also hop in your flying saucer and fly around dispensing of human creations with its four unique weapons that make buildings crumble with ease. These allow you to spread death and destruction to your heart’s content in a myriad of ways.
The best parts of Destroy All Humans! are the times when you’re force to use stealth, holobobbing yourself (creating a hologram of a person around yourself to blend in) and infiltrating events and meetings. The times where you take the form of a public figure and try to quell public hysteria by using typical cliches to explain away alien disturbances were especially fun. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen enough and I wish the stealth elements were capitalized on more.
The missions offer some pretty good diversity in the way you approach them that gives you a chance use all of your abilities. On top of the aforementioned mechanics, you can use your mental abilities to hypnotize people into doing things, throw anything you can see and scan people’s thoughts, which had both practical and comedic effects.
Overall, the campaign is pretty short and I was able to finish it in around 8 hours. Each of the six areas in the game is a mostly destructible sandbox that contains side missions. The sandbox aspect itself will not serve to impress modern day gamers, but it is tons of fun running around and causing mayhem. The side missions don’t have much substance and consist of the same few objectives like destroying humans or buildings. Besides that, it doesn’t hold much else and the replayability is pretty low. With the added trophies, however, completionists have another platinum to try and add to their collection.
The lack of checkpoints in the story missions can lead to some frustration. With many of the missions stacking multiple objectives, failing one of them causes you to start the whole thing over. This can be particularly painful when you do the wrong thing interacting with a person of interest or die by accidentally touching the water (Signs was on to something). In a game that doesn’t use difficulty as one of its draws, this just felt like arbitrarily lost time.
There is an upgrade system that gives you three enhancements for three weapons of your weapons (anal probe excluded) plus your telekinetic abilities. Each one adds a nice power spike, but overall, they didn’t feel necessary for completing the game and the way they are unlocked doesn’t make you feel like there’s any customization with how you play.
The humor in Destroy All Humans! is the main charm of this game and while it can often feel outdated, I did chuckle to myself a lot. The voice acting is able to pull off the comedy most of the time, but other times it felt a bit too corny. Crypto sounds like he’s doing a bad Jack Nicholson impression, which feels like it was trying too hard. But the cliches are easy to forgive through the all-in charm of the story, and it amuses throughout. The sound, look and feel come together well to form good presentation.
Graphically, the game received a little bit of a facelift, but nothing drastic. It looks cleaner, but retains all of its old-gen aesthetic and to modern eyes will look pretty bad. The worst part is the multitude of graphical glitches that makes the game hard to look at sometimes. The most frequent one was half of my health bar flashing completely out making it difficult to tell if I was damaged or not in the middle of a battle. On top of this, the pop-in is horrendous, sometimes with objects not popping into view until you’re right on top of them.
I found Destroy All Humans! very amusing and had a decent time playing through it. However, I can’t say that it aged well. With old-gen graphics, a short campaign and little replayability, the $19.99 price tag feels a bit steep. There are just too many games in today’s market that offer much more for the same price. To anyone who never played the original, I can’t recommend buying this game, as without nostalgia, it feels empty and underwhelming. To people who have played the original, unless you absolutely loved it, there aren’t any additions that make it worth going back to experience again.
- Gameplay: Fun Weapons, Enjoyable Stealth Aspects
- Graphics: Cleaned Up, But Still Major Pop-in Issues
- Sound: Decent Voice Acting Hits Comedic Notes
- Presentation: Comes Together Well for ’50s Parody Feel
- Fun Gameplay
- Cheeky Humor
- Outdated feel
- Horrendous Pop-in Issues
A fiction writer and journalist living in Los Angeles who enjoys all things gaming and film.