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Destroy All Humans! (PS4) Review

THQ Nordic are currently on a roll in terms of remastering and remaking classic games which have a cult following. A few weeks ago we got Spongebob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated, Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning is out in a few months, and today sees the release of Destroy All Humans! (which sadly doesn’t have a catchy sub-title). Instead of simply applying a new coat of paint, what we have here is a faithful 1:1 remake in a new engine, with cut (and new) content seamlessly restored – satisfying both returning and new gamers to the franchise.

Although published by the mighty THQ Nordic, Destroy All Humans! was developed by Black Forest Games, who previously developed the console port of Titan Quest and the popular action-survival game, Fade to Silence. Despite a new developer stepping in and providing the remake of this cult classic, the team have done an awesome job of modernising the gameplay and visuals whilst keeping the core-gameplay and humour of the original release intact.

So, as someone who has barely touched the PS2 original since I bought it on the PS4 a few years ago, did I enjoy the latest remake from the studio which owns almost every IP on the planet? Let’s find out…

Destroy All Humans 1

Perfectly sets the tone for the rest of the game

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Aliens are real, they’ve been to Earth before, they will return in the future, and there may even be some out there right now! No, I’ve not been watching the X-Files, it’s the concept behind Destroy All Humans! This new ‘foreign’ species is called a Furon, a little green grey man from outer space. Cryptosporidium-136, one such creature, was casually monitoring the Earth when they got in the way of a military rocket, causing their ship to come crashing to the ground, leaving the poor thing fatally wounded. So, as you’d expect, the military abducts him and covered-up any evidence of the event.

Confused as to why they’ve not heard back from 136, Cryptosporidium-137 (Crypto for short) was sent to Earth in order to investigate what had happened and to bring his cloned brother back – a command he received from Orthopox [Pox] (the one in charge). However, whilst he’s looking for his ‘brother’, Pox tasks Crypto with providing samples of the human race and other species which live upon the Earth in order to further their research and provide resources so that they can continue to clone their own species.

The game will explain why the humans are vital in this process so I won’t go into more detail – if you’ve not played the game before, it’s rather bizarre!

Spanning multiple sandbox-like locations, Destroy All Humans! will have you abducting people, blowing things up, morphing yourself into human-form so you can walk around unnoticed, and even shooting anal probes up everyone’s bottoms! The story itself is very silly and slapstick, ensuring you’re laughing out loud every time Crypto gets annoyed and starts doing his own thing, but the gameplay is solid and you wouldn’t even believe this was a remake of an older game (most of the time) due to how well it holds up once a few things have been modernised. 

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Destroy All Humans 2

Yes, his head just exploded and I harvested his brain. Not sure why it’s green though…

Gameplay
Destroy All Humans! is a third-person action-adventure title, it’s also got a decent selection of progression and levelling-up abilities for you to unlock and purchase. As such, despite starting off with hardly any powers or decent weaponry, you’ll soon have a wide variety of options at your disposal, allowing you to return to previous levels (should you wish) and dish out more carnage then you could the first time.

The game itself has two main gameplay segments, ‘On Land’ and ‘In The Air’. On Land, you’ll be walking, skating, or hovering around, using weapons such as the aforementioned friendly Anal Probe, the electrifying Zap-O-Matic, the toasty Disintegrator Ray, and a shocking Ion Detonator. Each weapon has it’s strengths and weaknesses against various enemies, requiring you to switch and alternate accordingly. In The Air, you have the firepower of your UFO, the Death Ray which does exactly what it says on the tin, the nuclear Quantum Deconstructor, the loud Sonic Boom, and the Abducto Beam which lets you pick up objects (and people) then chuck them around!

Depending on what your current mission entails, you’ll be either in your ship blowing literally everything up as you fly around, dodging the onslaught of missiles, or you’ll be on the ground infiltrating the humans by either camouflaging yourself as one of them or going in guns-blazing, hoping you hit them before they hit you! I found there to be a good balance between the two styles as it seemed to alternate frequently so the gameplay always felt exciting and varied. After completing the new Destroy All Humans!, I went and played a little of the PS2 classic (on the PS4) and I can honestly say that I found it really hard to play that version after playing the much more modernised one – both in terms of the visuals and the controls.

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Also, the developers have recreated a lost mission and seamlessly inserted it within the game. 

Destroy All Humans 3

DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Side Missions
Each mission not only has the main goal to aim for but they also all have side missions for you to try and achieve as well (similar to older Assassin’s Creed games). This led to a number of retries and replaying the missions via the chapter select for me as it’s not always clear what you have to do. One such requirement – which I’ve still not done – is to electrocute scientists using a Tesla Coil. Now, I think it means shoot it with my Zap-O-Matic and watch as the Coil shoots out lightning and burns the enemies to a crisp, but I tried that and it wasn’t registered. Another tells you to use grenades on enemies but fails to tell you that you can pick up the ones they throw at you with your psychokinesis powers, then throw them back. That took me much longer than it should have to figure out…

Walk among the humans
I loved this mechanic, you can freeze a human in time, make them vanish, then take over their identity so that you can walk among the other humanoids unnoticed. Although this concept makes it sound like a stealth-based process, it’s more simplistic than you’d think. Taking over a body drains a meter which, if it depletes, results in everyone seeing you for the small grey alien you really are. However, you can easily keep it topped up by reading the mind of any human or animal nearby. This is a simple concept but it’s made even better than each time you read someone’s mind, you’re given a one or two-lined comment from the person you’re ‘probing’ the mind of – often resulting in some rather humorous phrases.

As you progress through the game, you’ll begin to unlock other abilities, such as mind control. You can have enemy agents follow you around, shooting anyone who gets in your way whilst you stay undercover, or simply tempt people back to your ship so you can abduct them. It makes a change from just running in, shooting everyone, then running back out again – although I did that fairly often as well.

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I began to really enjoy the game once I had access to all of my weaponry and unlocked the various abilities of each. This made the challenges a little easier and more satisfying to complete, some even require you to max everything out first as it’s simply impossible to achieve the goals you’re given with only the base level items. Speaking of which…

Destroy All Humans 4

Social distancing cinema!

Challenges
Once you’ve completed the main game (or if you just want to have a break from the story), you can take part in various challenges which unlock as you fully complete all the story elements within each location. These are comprised of races, Armageddon – in which you must cause as much damage as you can from your ship, Abduction-based, and Rampage – similar to Armageddon but you’re on foot. Although these extra segments aren’t required to progress in the story, you’ll earn a lot of upgrade points if you beat them and you’ll also unlock one of the two trophies I personally don’t yet own.

That’s right, I’ve had the game for about two weeks and there are only two trophies I don’t yet have – getting three stars on all challenges and completing all side-missions within each story mission. Why haven’t I got these? Because they both frustrated me so much, I had to take a break from the game for a while. After doing a quick search today, I’m sure nobody will have any issues as people have already uploaded guides and hints on how to efficiently get over a million points by destroying the landscape, and how to harvest enough dead Men in Black without dying yourself, but I found these really tricky when playing the game blind. 

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I know that when some companies remake or remaster games, they tend to keep the same mechanics or completion criteria, even if the criteria was a little strict and unfair previously. I’ve not played a lot of the original game so I don’t know if these were in there and how tricky they were, but I felt like some of the challenges were a pain in the arse. I’ll try them again, now I’ve seen there are guides on them, but I shouldn’t have to resort to looking up how to do something due to it requiring a perfect run (I’m also looking at you Superliminal).

Destroy All Humans 5

I ‘may’ have threw him too hard…

Technical
Visually, Destroy All Humans! looks fantastic. The entire game has been remade from the ground up, so the presentation is very modern and polished. However, I did experience a few frame drops every now and again, feeling the game slowdown and jerk a little when the action on screen got quite intense. I’m playing on a PS4 Pro, so can’t speak for other consoles, and although I could feel the drops, it never really impacted my enjoyment and the game never crashed or had any issues with the save data, so this never really bothered me. 

In terms of the upgrades, the developer didn’t just make a 1:1 copy of the original game. They increased the number of in-game upgrades from 18 to 66, you can do multiple actions whilst jumping around, you can now use a skateboard to get around faster, they added in a mission which was originally cut, and more. As such, even if you’re a die-hard Destroy All Humans! fan and played it to death on the PS2, you’ll still find this game refreshing and ‘new’ to play.

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I believe the music and voices are all taken directly from the original game (I couldn’t find anything to say otherwise). As such, I was very impressed with the quality of voice acting and the music which was used – it all fit the game perfectly and really helped to bring Crypto alive.

You can also unlock various concept art within the game as well as different skins. I chose to play the game as a cow-skinned Crypto, but you can also wear the suit from the original game if you choose. There’s also a DLC pack you can buy right now which gives you a few more costumes, such as a clown! I’m tempted but I think the cow will be fine for me.

Official Trailer:

Final Conclusion:
Destroy All Humans! is yet another game to add to THQ Nordic‘s pile of brilliant remakes and remasters. The humour may be crude but the presentation is very polished, with a number of mechanics and abilities upgraded and expanded upon rather than simply being a 1:1 remake. If you’re not having fun shoving your probe in everyone’s bottom, you’ll be letting out a maniacal laugh as you tear cities and country buildings to the ground. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the challenges but there’s enough content in this faithful remake to keep you entertained for at least 15+ hours. Great for both fans of the original (with its new content) and newcomers to the franchise.

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A copy of the game was kindly provided for review purposes

Destroy All Humans!

£34.99
8.5

Final Score

8.5/10

The Good:

  • - Very faithful remake of the classic game, but with added content and updates
  • - The humour is right up my alley, I love the crude and slap-stick comedy
  • - Alternates gameplay styles to keep the gameplay fresh and exciting
  • - The voice acting is great, especially Crypto
  • - One of the best remakes of a PS2 game I've seen this gen

The Bad:

  • - I personally found the challenges to be a little too strict
  • - Some mechanics are side-missions aren't explained fully
  • - There were a few performance issues on the PS4 Pro
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