You know what they say about a Furon with a big cranium…
Destroy All Humans On PS4
It’s been 11 long years since we first took control of Crypto, the lovable, gruff alien on a mission to save his brethren from the U.S government. Since then, we’ve not had any real life alien activity, but the series has had three further installments, which were incredibly hit and miss. It seems that there are no plans to reboot or add to the franchise, so, sticking with 2016 tradition, we’ve been blessed with a remaster of the first title, Destroy All Humans.
First off, I think we have to deal with what is actually being added to the original PS2 game for the PS4 release. Essential upgrades include upscaling the resolution, adding trophies… and not really much else. What you’re looking at here is the same game we saw in 2005, just stretched over our modern HD displays to look up to date in the current gen. The trophies are a nice touch of course, but beyond that, don’t be expecting anything revolutionary. Much like Ape Escape 2, it’s essentially a port to the PS4. The nostalgia factor and a yearning for playing one of the PS2’s best titles will be one of the deciding factors in this 20 dollar transaction.
Luckily, THQ Nordic’s original concept of a third person alien adventure is just as engaging as it was 11 years ago. The core gameplay is incredibly strong, and in my experience, the look of the game didn’t jar me that much. The art style is still very charming, drawing from 50’s B-movies and sci-fi to create its stereotypical American environments and characters. Graphics still retain a lot of their charm if you can look past the blocky ground textures, and the models were surprisingly excellent for the time if you consider the limitations of the PS2.
Of course, the best thing about this game is the humor. Richard Horvitz (Raz in Psychonauts) puts an incredible shift in here as Orthopox, and the back and forth between him and Grant Albrecht (The End in Metal Gear Solid 3) as Crypto is masterfully written. The dialogue of Destroy All Humans had me laughing consistently, as if the gameplay wasn’t already absurd enough to rake in the chuckles. Though the game is rated T for Teens with nothing too vulgar, much like Toy Story the jokes land for Adults too, and the writing really shines during the story missions. Although most are essentially dropping you in an environment and asking you to do a bunch of otherwise boring tasks, the premise and dialogue peppered throughout each level propel you through these tasks with vigor, meaning you’ll be having so much fun reading the mind of a chicken or impersonating a mayor and giving a speech blaming the alien invasion on Communism that you won’t notice the monotony of the base content each level offers. The game oozes passion, and you can tell the developers really wanted to make something fun when they created this title.
There is also an upgrade system and a plethora of side missions so that you can collect the DNA needed to make your weapons even more devastating than usual. Each of the weapons have a unique style to them much like Ratchet and Clank, and each provide a distinctly entertaining experience when utilized on the unfortunate humans inhabiting the levels. The anal probe stands out to me, which when charged can send a commuting businessman running to the hills holding his buttocks until he inevitably explodes. It’s crass, but it’s bloody hilarious. When things go wrong on a stealthy mission or the game lets you off the hook, you also get the option of controlling your flying saucer, rampaging through cities and disintegrating everything in site, much to the chagrin of the secret service. The saucer gameplay is just as fun as playing on the ground, and also has its own set of upgrades to make it more potent.
Something that I noticed was how well the game strikes a balance of difficulty. You’re an alien with a spaceship and an array of futuristic, mind-blowing weaponry, but enemies can be tough, and when the Tanks or Anti-Air guns come out, you really need to be careful or you’ll be made into mincemeat. Die on the playing field and you’ll be kicked back to the start of the mission, but also cloned, becoming Cryptospiridum-138 instead of 137.
In terms of gripes, the fact that the game kicks you back to the start of a mission after you die or when your hypnotized subject runs into the path of a marauding police car is actually annoying, considering how long the missions can be. A simple checkpoint system would have been better, but if you’re looking for a real test then this may well be a positive for you.
The main issue one would have with this game is the steep price point. Although I really enjoyed my time with Destroy All Humans, it stood out to me that, for the price that you’re paying, you’re not exactly getting any new content beyond trophies. This may not be a dealbreaker for those who haven’t played the game before, and for those who just want to experience the game again in 2016, this is, despite its flaws, the definitive experience and easy to access on a modern console.
Regardless of the lack of new content, this game was and still is a seriously funny, perhaps underrated title from the PS2 era. The gameplay still feels solid on a fancy new controller, and it’s always going to be an interesting premise, in this case executed well. If you’re looking for a nostalgic way to pass the time, I’d like to think this is the game for you.
Score: 4/5 – Great