Bringing the Past to the Future
Destroy All Humans remakes the cult classic of the same title. It has been fifteen years though, so they’ve made more than a few improvements. This is not just the old Destroy all Humans from 2005 but prettier. They have absolutely kept the spirit and what made the old games so fun though.
Why Am I on Earth?
For those new to the franchise, you play as Cryptosporidium 137 – or Crypto for short – an alien from the Furon empire. He and another Furon named Pox have come to 1950s America to harvest human DNA. Their own DNA is degrading and they can only reproduce by cloning due to a lack of genitalia caused by the degradation. At some point in the past, aliens from the Furon empire have been to earth and… ‘interacted’ with humans, we’ll say. This has left humans with traces of Furon DNA, which may help solve their ‘little problem’ if collected.
If you’ve not guessed by now, Destroy All Humans is full of crude humor. Mentions of farmers finding their cows attractive, using weaponized anal probes, and more – this is often the level of humor in this game. It’s certainly not the only humor though and much of it is absolutely hilarious. In particular, many of the conversations between Crypto and Pox are great.
As well as harvesting DNA, you will find yourself encountering the American armed forces and mysterious agencies. They do not take too kindly to foreign nations on their land – even less to extraterrestrials.
Putting the Destroy in Destroy All Humans
Of course being a game about aliens invading, you have lots of fun options such as murdering people with a number of weapons (including the aforementioned anal probe), ripping out their brains, using telekinesis to pick objects up and throw them and plenty more. One thing Destroy All Humans does not lack is options on how to kill enemies.
On top of the more personal killing, you can fly around in a flying saucer in some sections. This lets you fling objects around, pick up cows with your tractor beam and reign a lot more destruction than you can with your guns.
Even better, your weapons, mental abilities, and flying saucer can all be upgraded. One of the improvements in the remake is an increase from 18 to 66 possible upgrades. These are sometimes the basics such as more ammo and better shields, but some are very fun – chaining lightning between people being my personal favorite. Skating around between humans, which is another new to the remake feature, is also very fun.
What some may find unexpected is that stealth is very important. You can’t always just rip the brains out of everyone, as fun as it might be.
Story missions have a set of objectives. Go to a certain place, collect certain things, and a few more unique ones such as impersonate certain people. Often there are conditions to not be detected doing these too.
You can use a few abilities, including turning someone invisible and taking on their appearance. This only lasts a short time and can be extended or shortened depending on what happens.
As well as taking someone’s appearance, you can also control a human to follow you, make a human forget they saw you, or cause them to break out in dance to distract others. There are also some task-specific ones, like opening a gate for you.
Overall I really enjoyed how stealth worked in Destroy All Humans. It was often important, let you take a few different approaches and needed constant management. It was never too easy, but it was always manageable. Sneaking past guards and reading people’s minds for information were common activities.
With that said, there were some occasions when things went wrong. I’ve used powers where NPCs should have definitely caught me, but they didn’t notice. Causing someone to disappear and then taking on their appearance was where this happened most often, but sometimes they did not react to other situations such as an explosion within their view.
In the end, it was great most of the time but those occasional issues did bring it down a bit.
Some of the story-aspects related to the stealth were hilarious too. One early example is pretending to be the major and addressing the town, being able to choose speech options, and watching their reaction.
Challenges and Free-Play
Outside of the story missions, you can revisit the areas either just to play around with the humans there or to complete challenges. Challenges are… well, challenging. At least to get the full three-star score. It’s quite nice to have as the story missions are usually fairly easy, but they come with optional objectives that can bump them up to a medium difficulty like killing a certain amount of humans with their own rockets.
Even getting one star on these challenges can be more difficult than the story missions in some cases. I admit that I’ve had to come back to some of these after getting more upgrades to improve my score. Trying to blow up buildings is much easier with twice the ammo and a more destructive weapon. Racing after a drone does work out better with a fully upgraded dash too.
I have come across the occasional issues outside of the reactions when being stealthy. I had an NPC following me somehow get himself stuck in a cage so I had to pick him up with telekinesis. I saw an ice cream van driving in the air a couple of meters above the road too.
Only two caused any real frustration. One was a building that wouldn’t blow up no matter how much I attacked when on a mission to destroy buildings in the area before the timer elapsed. The other was a bit of speech not playing which contained a password.
Fortunately, these types of issues were very rare. For the most part, things worked well and this includes on a technical level. Playing on a PC, it ran smoothly for me even with settings on Ultra.
Graphics and Sound
Destroy All Humans looks great most of the time. They’ve certainly improved from the original, including changing the style of the character models in some cases and using motion capture. You might occasionally notice some low-resolution textures, but these are quite rare.
The sound is good overall, but the standout is the voice acting of Crypto and Pox. Surprisingly these are the original audio files, only improved. It certainly doesn’t sound old based on the quality though.
I really enjoyed Destroy All Humans. In many ways, this feels like what a remake should be – it’s modernized and improved to the level of many current games, but very much kept the original spirit.
While there is some further room for improvement that prevents it from getting a higher score, I’m certainly happy that I had the chance to play this. It’s left me hoping that the other games get a remake or a new sequel is announced.
DESTROY ALL HUMANS IS RECOMMENDED
Many thanks go to THQ Nordic for a PC review code for this title.
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A gamer since the days of Amstrad and DOS and someone who has dabbled in a variety of professions. He enjoys a wide variety of genres, but has been focusing on visual novels and virtual reality in recent years. Head Editor of NookGaming. Follow him and the website on @NookSite.