Just about fifteen years ago we were all introduced to a little title called Destroy All Humans! For the time it was an okay game and it caught the eyes of many. Some of those that it caught the eyes of had to be some of the decision-makers over at Black Forest Games and THQ Nordic, as we are back with it again here in 2020. Not in the way of another sequel or spin-off, but a full remake of the original Destroy All Humans! to fit better in with other titles on the PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Is it a game that truly needed this or one that could have been left out of the remake surge? That is why we are here to give you our review of how this one panned out and if it is worth your time and money.
In 1947 over in the Midwest and west of the United States, there was an alien crash that was covered up. Time jump to 1959 and the aliens responsible for this crash have made it over to Earth to figure out what happened to Crypto-136. This time dispatching another clone in the long line to investigate and find out where the planet has evolved too with the hopes of reclaiming DNA to help out their species. As humans always seem to do, they have mucked things up and the government has stepped in. Now this Crypto wants to seek some revenge and kick off a campaign that will indeed Destroy All Humans!
One of the things I was hoping for to be a bit more rock-solid in this version of Destroy All Humans! had to be the controls and combat mechanics. Times have evolved and it would make a bit more sense. Sadly, it is not as solid as one would expect and there seems to be quite a bit of accidental targeting in the game. Not something that is too harmful unless you are going for a specific way of playing in Destroy All Humans! That is, when you are targeting an item to be used it is easy for the game to switch over to another target that will have their brain burst out instead. With the stealth missions that can be a nightmare and end the whole thing. In other missions, it can destroy a bit of planning due to a technical glitch that should not be happening. Again, not a game-breaker, but something that irritated me to no end in some missions.
Another bit that carried over from the first demo I played for Destroy All Humans! to the full release here, is the awkwardness and underuse of the saucer in the game. Sure, there are some uses for it here, and in some missions, it is required. When I saw that there was an entire upgrade tree for the ship, I thought things may have been mixed up to give some kind of greater importance to the ship. Sadly, that only seems to come in when doing the challenges in Destroy All Humans! and not the core of the game. In fact, I think I only ever upgraded my ship to make some of these challenges a little easier to accomplish and never for any reason in the core game. Something I found was needed for Crypto's weapons constantly. I am still not sure why this was not the case for something that was given a whole second half of character progression. This could have been how I played the game, but it seemed like something was wasted here.
As far as remakes go, as well, Destroy All Humans! did so many things right. I will go into more on that below. The weird choice to reuse the original dialog from the 2005 title that only had the quality improved was a poor choice. It always felt off and weirdly removed some of the nostalgia for the original as I played. It was part of the game that always seemed to grind on me when looking at how everything else looked and felt much better. It was a weird choice to make for Destroy All Humans! but the older voices and dialog could have been punched up a bit to fit the better visuals and motion in the game. Most of the humor and words could have been the same, but they could have replaced certain parts that made this version feel a bit dated instead of fresh and new. I am looking at you cheering crowd of three people instead of the dozen or more we saw…
Right out the gate for Destroy All Humans!, I have to say that Black Forest made the perfect choice in remaking all of the visuals and animations for the game. Including the cutscenes and exposition segments. Too many remakes are out there that only kick up the gameplay assets and it always is a huge detractor for me. Given that all of the scenes in Destroy All Humans! were made in-game, it all felt like something that could have been made today and not specifically a remake. This even carries into the upgraded motion capture and other animations that the team could have just simply ported over with new character models on top. Hells, they did such a great job with all of this that I actually took the time to look at the unlocked art in the game where they placed the original assets next to what was in this version of the game so I could take in a bit more of it all.
Even though I griped on it a bit above, I also have to say that replaying missions and doing the challenges in Destroy All Humans! was also a blast to have here. That is not to say that the core campaign was not a whole lot of fun, but usually these kinds of challenges are just padding to a game to make it feel longer. I found myself wanting to go back and improve upon previous scores here and even just exploring the areas in the world. Given how few areas there are in Destroy All Humans! that is a huge bonus as it did feel like there was much more in size and scope than before. Even if that was not the case, in reality, it feels that way and gives us more reasons to dive back in besides just replaying missions and collecting little items in the world. Unless you are just ready for total destruction and killing everything that moves in general.
Lastly, and this is a bit of a throwback as well as a new thing, the humor for Destroy All Humans! still holds up. As I mentioned, they used the same audio from before with only a little bit of punching up. They also included a few little things along the way in the visuals to help all of this along. While the dialog may have felt dated, in many shots there felt to be a few subtle inclusions to add on to what the original title was going for but fell short on. This goes even into the animations of character deaths and subtle things that are left behind when you start vaporizing the humans out there. It can be a bit more subtle, but when it is noticed, it made Destroy All Humans! a much better title for me. Not something that many may pick up on, but it is in there to keep the silliness and fun of the game going much more than just shooting lasers and anally probing everyone.
As far as remakes go, Destroy All Humans! hits the nail on the head in many ways. Sure, the audio feels a bit dated and at some points, it is a bit grainy, but the rest of the game makes up for some of that. There does seem to be a lack of need for the saucer in the game and the targeting system is a bit off, but when you are looking at a game that is all about causing mass destruction, it can be forgiven. It does so many things so right that it feels like it vastly improved upon the Destroy All Humans! of yore that it became the game that was originally intended. It is a solid one to add into the mix to add some levity and fun into a world filled with so little right now. If any of the trailers make you interested in giving it a go, then I fully recommend doing so as I feel you will not be let down.
I give Destroy All Humans! 6 Anal Probes on the Anal Probe scale.
Destroy All Humans! — Launch Trailer
Destroy All Humans! was developed by Black Forest Games and published by THQ Nordic for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC on July 28th, 2020. A PS4 copy of the game was provided by the publisher for reviewing purposes.