Destroy All Humans! is a game that is a product of its time. The concept is absurd, the gameplay is quirky and there is a barely functional story, but underneath it all, there is a lot of charm to it. THQ Nordic has been remaking some of the cult classic games like SpongeBob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom, which was released during the PlayStation 2 generation. They are continuing it with Destroy All Humans. This is another game that was released at the same time.
The basic concept of the game is a little silly. You play as an alien who is sent to Earth to wreak havoc and kill anyone on sight. You have an assortment of Alien weaponry and gadgets to help you achieve your goal. You can also harvest DNA in addition to using your various abilities to stay ahead of any potential threat. All of this contributes to the gameplay loop in Destroy All Humans, which offers a sandbox world with a mission-based structure.
Destroy All Humans is set in the 1950s. The lead character is Crypto-137, who invades Earth to find out the whereabouts of his clone. He is sent on a mission to gather DNA from Humans by his superiors. Crypto is merciless in executing anything that comes ahead of his path. This is evident in the opening mission when he encounters a herd of cows after landing in the countryside. He tries to read their minds but only hears them saying “moo” which he mistakes for a code language. The next task given to the player is to drown these cows in a river which sets the tone for the rest of the game.
Destroy All Humans! offers a mission-based structure where the player has to complete a set of objectives in every mission. There are optional objectives to complete that will unlock further bonuses. The fun factor in the games comes from using cool gadgets and Alien weaponry like a Jetpack that lets Crypto boost to new heights, a ship that is shaped like a flying saucer and comes equipped with deadly human purging weaponry, and psychic abilities. It is up to the player to use these abilities in the way that they see fit.
Black Forest Games has done a remarkable job in building this remake from the group up. They have made sure to preserve the original experience while offering beautiful visuals. This art style resembles more of a cartoon and goes well with the comedic tone of the story. Most of the writing is focused on offering comedic relief and it does its job well. There are moments of sheer brilliance in the script. The developers have opted to keep the humor intact from the original release and while it feels cheesy, it works in the context of the game.
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Destroy All Humans! feels like a remake that is equivalent to upgrading a classic car with its engine intact but polishing and replacing its whole body. The gameplay is similar to the original game while the visuals are incredibly polished. While I have no idea what engine the developers are using it, if I had to guess, this resembled the recently released Saint’s Row The Third Remaster. It seems pretty enough without being too realistic which also fits the aesthetics of the game overall.
It wouldn’t be a remake from THQ Nordic if there was no cut content included with it. This is the case with Destroy All Humans! too. They have brought back the lost mission “Area 42” with this remake. Additionally, there is a lot of customization included with multiple skins that have to be unlocked. It feels good to have such skins being unlockable in the game itself without having to resort to paying them through DLC or getting them as a pre-order bonus. These skins are unlocked by completing the optional objectives offered in every mission and some of these can be tricky to figure out.
In some aspects, the game does start to show its age. The mission loop feels repetitive after some time, and the gameplay fails to innovate. It is still a fun game if you are a fan of purging humans using your assortment of Alien weaponry including one appropriately labeled as Anal Probe Gun. The gameplay length is decent compared to its price. It is possible to beat the game including optional objectives in a little over 10 hours. Since there is a sequel to the original game, there is a good chance it is on the cards after this remake. It does end on a cliffhanger after all.
Destroy All Humans! is a fun throwback to the PlayStation 2 generation when the developers weren’t afraid to experiment with the more absurd ideas. The concept of playing as an Alien and a focus on comedy instead of offering something serious makes it a difficult project to pitch now, but it worked in the past and it seems to hold up well after all this time. The remake respects its tradition and only attempts to innovate on the visuals while rewarding the fans who have played the original game in the form of new content.