I have some mixed feelings about the new Destroy All Humans! Remake. On one hand, it is a game that holds a very special place in my heart, and I’ve really enjoyed the time I’ve spent with it after so many years away from the franchise.
On the other hand though it’s kind of hard to ignore that this is a remake of a now 15 year old game, and a new coat of paint doesn’t really distract from the fact that some of what this game has to offer doesn’t really hold up all that well in 2020.
For those new to the series, Destroy All Humans! is the story of Crypto 137, who arrives on planet Earth to search for his clone/predecessor who disappeared a few years before the beginning of the game. His main mission is also to harvest Human DNA in an effort to ensure that the Furon race does not go extinct.
!950’s America during the Red Scare is a very interesting setting for a game, especially for one with aliens, and there’s a certain charm and humor here that I’ve sorely missed. This setting also allows for some absolutely over the top scenarios to take place over the course of the story.
It’s good seeing Crypto back in full form after so long, and my god have I missed the tone of his delivery. His boss Orthopox also sounds fantastic, and just like before, outshines our protagonist any time he gets to speak.
It does suck a bit though that the voice acting is ripped straight out of the original 2005 release of Destroy All Humans!. Because while it is still great, you can tell while listening to it that the quality isn’t quite up to modern standards. I also would have liked some slightly more relevant commentary from our alien friend in 2020, but it is what it is I suppose.
As the member of the mighty Furon race, Crypto has access to a wide variety of technologically superior abilities and equipment, all of which can be utilized by the player in large open world areas to devastating effect.
First and foremost among his arsenal is the trusty jetpack that allows players to reach extreme heights and glide. In the remake the jetpack has been improved a bit, allowing for much more fluid traversal with some new movement upgrades.
Then there are the incredibly Sci-Fi weapons at your disposal, which range from the electricity chaining Zap-O-Matic, the skin melting Disintegrator Ray, the head popping Anal Probe and the utterly devastating Ion Detonator. These weapons still feel as great as ever, and being able to use them in tandem with the PsychoKinesis ability is a very welcome addition to the remake.
Speaking of PsychoKinesis, it’s still an incredibly fun ability to use. Being able to fling NPCs and items in the world will never not be entertaining, and thankfully this feeling extends to all of Crypto’s Mental Abilities. Whether it be assuming their form or hypnotizing humans, all of the abilities feel useful both in and out of missions.
What doesn’t hold up all that well however is the flying Saucer gameplay. It’s absolutely serviceable as it is, but it just feels a bit bland and boring compared to the ground combat. It’s fun hopping into your vehicle to cover large distances and engage in the occasional combat sequences where you level entire city blocks, but it just gets a bit too repetitive after a while. Different Saucer weapons keep the gameplay interesting for a while, but it just doesn’t compare to the fluidity of ground combat.
Mission structure is also mostly the same as it was in the original release, and that’s also a massive letdown. The first Destroy All Humans! never had stellar mission design, and apart from a few changes, they’re exactly the same here, and they get repetitive relatively quick. This isn’t going to be a huge problem for returning fans, but it’s going to be a much more annoying issue for newer players.
New to the remake is the addition of different challenges to each of the 6 unique areas you visit in the game. These revolve around killing, abducting and just basically doing more of what you did in the story missions, but with a greater emphasis on difficulty. These not only provide a bit of replay value to each location, they also provide you with resources to upgrade your weapons and abilities.
The most major improvement in the Destroy All Humans! Remake is obviously the visuals of the game, and boy is it an upgrade. Compared to the original release this remake is like a completely different game. The muted color palette of the original has been replaced with a much more vibrant color scheme that goes tremendously well with the 1950’s aesthetic of the game.
Players will also notice that the game looks significantly more cartoonish then before. This does wonders for the beautiful open maps, destruction and Crypto himself, but it kind of makes all of the NPCs in the game look a little goofy. I can’t say that that doesn’t go with the tone of the game though.
In conclusion, this is a fantastic remake of one of the most beloved games of all time and I had a blast playing it. It’s still as charming as ever, with visuals that far surpass what we saw in the original release. The gameplay is fluid and hectic, and the suite of weapons and abilities at your disposal are still as fun to use as ever.
But I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: A remake of a game should not always copy ideas from the original beat for beat. And while Destroy All Humans! does slightly improve upon the core gameplay, the mission structure is a massive letdown. I’ve played though it with nostalgia as my motivator, but not everyone else will feel the same way about it.
Destroy All Humans! is out now on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and the PC. It was developed by Black Forest Games and published by THQ Nordic. This review covers the Xbox One version of the game.
The review code was provided by the publisher.
Destroy All Humans! Review
Destroy All Humans! Remake is the nostalgic return of a franchise that has stayed dead for far too long. Not everything about it holds up in 2020, but it’s still a great remake either way.