Destroy All Humans! Remake Review – A Nostalgic Probe

    Title: Destroy All Humans!
    Developer: Black Forest Games
    Release Date: July 28, 2020
    Reviewed On: PS4
    Publisher: THQ Nordic
    Genre: Action-Adventure

In 2005 gamers everywhere invaded the Earth in Destroy All Humans. The game put players in control of the Alien threat, so instead of saving the world, you were tasked with taking it over. This formula was enough to hold gamer’s attention over four different entries but, after 2008, we haven’t seen hide nor hair of Destroy All Humans.

After 12 years, it seems like THQ Nordic believes its time to bring this series back and remake the first entry for a new generation of potential fans. In many ways, this invasion-adventure simulation acts as a perfect distraction from the mundane. Still, the aged gameplay mechanics might be probed into the formula a little too deep to ignore.

The year is 1959. The Furons, an intergalactic species of warlords, have set their eyes set on Earth. After the prominent alien soldier, Cryptosporidium-136, is captured by humans, his clone, Cryptosporidium-137, is sent to save his brother and possibly take over the Earth in the process.

If you’ve ever seen a science fiction movie from the Cold War era, you know what to expect in Destroy All Humans. The game perfectly parodies these often-cheesy flicks leading to many hilarious moments. It mainly plays up the fear of communism generally felt in the 50s and 60s, leading to some genuinely laugh out loud interactions.

In many ways, Crypto is a particularly lovable character. His incredibly sarcastic remarks and disdain for all of humanity never failed to make me smile. His dedication to the mission at hand is also commendable, given all the obstacles in his way.

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Destroy All Humans takes place over 20 missions in five semi-open world areas. These explorable sections aren’t massive, but they don’t need to be. Each of the missions presents players with a whole new way to approach a given area; some send Crypto on a revenge-fueled rampage while others are more focused on stealth.

Destroy All Humans is admittedly at its best when players are given free rein to destroy as much as possible. Going on these rampages makes the game feel like a much wackier Grand Theft Auto and is perfect for mindlessly blowing off steam. Killing wave after wave of foes is incredibly satisfying, especially after you gain access to Crypto’s full arsenal. All of the alien classic weapons and abilities are here: a disintegrator ray, telekinesis, an anal probe; pretty much every way you’d ever want to take down humans as a little grey man are available, and they’re all incredibly fun to use.

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UFO combat might be my favorite part of Destroy All Humans. While I can get some satisfaction out of taking down enemies on the grounds, blowing up massive buildings Independence Day style always brought a smile to my face.

Though I loved just about every mission revolving around full-on combat, the aforementioned stealth missions are where things begin to feel a bit stale. A good amount of time is spent sneaking around disguised as a human to obtain an item or gain intel. This is a cool idea, in theory, but it ends up being much more tedious than it should be. While in human form, Crypto is incredibly limited in what he can do as his movement speed drops significantly, so these missions quickly became my least favorite part of the experience.

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While Destroy All Humans has more or less the same gameplay as the 2005 release, the graphics are noticeably different. The game’s graphics got a complete and total makeover and looked significantly better than the original. Environments are colorful and as fun as ever to mindlessly destroy. Crypto and Pox’s updated 3D design also looks great. Little details on their character designs show how much love and care went not only into the entire remake.

An unfortunate side effect of the remake being so faithful is that you can tell this is a game from 15 years ago. Many parts of the experience feel dated, such as the upgrade system and semi-open world areas. Something about the upgrade system feels so unrewarding as the actual upgrades you receive come off as insignificant and unnoticeable.

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After finishing all of the missions in a given area, it opens up for free exploration. The only problem with this is that there really isn’t much to do in these areas, aside from four challenges and senseless destruction. As I’ve mentioned multiple times in this review, going on rampages is fun but can get old quickly without a real objective. After finishing the four challenges in each area, revisiting them is pointless.

Destroy All Humans is also relatively short compared to most modern games. While some may consider this a negative, I actually think this works for its benefit. There are so many 60 to 100 hour games on the market nowadays that sometimes it’s nice to be able to finish a game in a little under ten. Destroy All Humans knows what it is and doesn’t ask for more out of players than it should.

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Destroy All Humans is a faithful remake of a great action-adventure series from our past. It brings the series to a new generation while retaining its classic quirks and gameplay systems. In many ways, this works, but not without noticeable systems appearing dated. That said, I was happy to have the chance to get beamed up to invade Earth once more.

A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Jake Yoder

Lover of all things gaming, anime, film and theatre. Shonen anime/manga enthusiast.