Destroy All Humans! (2020)

Remakes are a funny thing that have developed a lot over the last few years. Originally the intent was just to provide a graphical and technical upgrade to games that were older and could use the love but now it seems to almost be another attempt at making the game in the exact vision that the original developers had in mind. With this in mind we talk about the remake of the beloved cult classic PS2 game Destroy All Humans! Will this be an update that shines the game through or will it just be another graphical overhaul? Let’s see.

The story of Destroy All Humans focuses upon the alien Crypto, a clone of the Furon Empire who has been tasked by his commander, Pox, to perform a variety of tasks in order to subjugate the human race and harvest their DNA so that they can attain the necessary dormant Furon genes within humanity to restock their clone banks and save their race. The game is set in the 1950’s America and as you might expect this comes with the stereotyped behaviour of anti-communist sentiment, big hairdos, small skirts and lots of screaming about ‘Little Green Men’. Due to this the game is very much wearing it’s comedy tone from the start and it certainly helps to counteract all the horrible things you will be doing to these poor humans. Crypto and Pox are both fun characters to listen to and their banter makes up most of the game’s dialogue however the other characters in the story aren’t nearly as interesting and basically just serve to be stereotypes and cliches in order to add to the game’s humour. The remake doesn’t really add anything new to the story aside from a brand new mission taking place between two other missions which felt very natural, so much so in fact that the first time around I didn’t even realise it was a new level. Needless to say the game titled Destroy All Humans isn’t trying to say anything interesting, but it’s a goofy story about 1950’s aliens regardless and that might be all you want from it.

Peeeeewwwwwwww!

Presentation wise the game is a mixed bag. Obviously the game has been visually upgraded and looks much better than the original. Environments have a lot more colour and a cartoonish visual style really helps to make the game seem more vibrant. I also love the detail on Crypto and his equipment as it all looks suitably campy retro and dangerous, exactly what you would look for. I also adore the soundtrack as it again uses stereotypical 50’s alien music straight from a b-movie horror flick to really bring you into the atmosphere. However, the audio mixing in this port is really strange and buggy at times with dialogue being late in cutscenes or background music simply not playing at all. Character models however are my biggest gripe as it’s clear that the style was intentionally going for those extremely creepy looking exaggerated 50’s political-era comic strip looks but it just ends up making most of the characters uncanny valley levels of creepy and their animations look stiff and unnatural, like they are indeed all just wearing giant plastic masks. It’s a visual upgrade over the 2005 title of course but it’s some of the visual design choices that I find questionable over the actual upgrading.

Gameplay-wise this is pretty much a complete representation of the original game with a few new additions. This is a mission-based sandbox game in which you beam down to a location, follow tasks that may involve on-foot combat, stealth and flying saucer combat and after completing all the missions in an area you can freely explore each location to complete side missions and get more DNA points to upgrade Crypto and his saucer. Weapon variety is great and the amount of abilities that Crypto has at his disposal makes him feel like a god at times. The gameplay however rather uniquely for a remake has had many improvements in order to bring it up to modern speeds such as being able to use multiple powers and weapon abilities at once, having a psychic skateboard ability that lets you essentially sprint and unique new upgrades to make your abilities more varied and powerful. This is quite different to most remakes that aim to keep things as samey as possible so I applaud the devs for actually updating how the game plays in order to make it more enjoyable. They also included brand new side-objectives in each mission that you can complete in order to unlock artwork and skins for Crypto. These help to add some difficulty to the game and I enjoyed completing all of them which is good as at times the game can feel a bit like a cakewalk. The missions themselves are quite varied and while they can end up feeling a bit short and I really wish there was an option to restart at a checkpoint rather than starting the whole mission again I definitely enjoyed my time with the missions and their new side-objectives.

Poor cow

Aside from the visual design choices I mentioned earlier the only other real problems I had with this game were technical ones. As I mentioned before the audio mixing can be a bit choppy and this is also prevalent when they use voice lines from the original game as they definitely feel out of place at times with their strange pacing issues. I also found a couple bugs which hindered my progress such as one that prevented me from completing a side-objective as the game wouldn’t register me killing a soldier with a grenade. Finally the draw distance has some issues as I saw plenty of foliage and building details pop-in as I moved towards them very jarringly which made the game less visually impressive than I initially thought, luckily it didn’t detract from my experience too much.

Overall then this is definitely a successful remake of Destroy All Humans! The devs knew exactly what to change in order to make it more enjoyable play in this day and age and while there were some technical and visual design problems it was still a tonne of fun to play and most definitely brought back some childhood memories. Definitely check it out if you’re looking for a fun sandbox game in which you play as the bad guy, I certainly wish there were more of those around nowadays.

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