It has been just over 15 years since Destroy All Humans debuted on PlayStation 2. A lot of game design elements have changed in that time, and playing this redone version of Destroy All Humans really helps highlight how far the industry has come.
There have been some absolutely incredible remakes and remasters during this console generation. And with how faithful the developers have been to the source material in this title, the game design of the original just isn’t up to par.
To be sure, Destroy All Humans isn’t a bad game; it’s just one from a different era. Instant transitions from ground to saucer, traditional level design and challenges, and even the audio design in this remake don’t feel like they belong in 2020. There have been a few quality of life improvements added, but it doesn’t feel like enough when we have titles like Shadow of the Colossus and Resident Evil 2 setting the standard.
Mars Attacks: The Video Game
Players take control of Crypto, an alien who is invading Earth searching for a previous alien who had crash-landed and attempting to pull Furon DNA out of humans (because all human DNA is infused with Furon DNA, duh). Crypto makes his way across a handful of different contained open areas as he wreaks havoc on humans and farm animals alike.
It’s pretty simple, but the narrative gets its point across. Still, it takes a back seat to the over the top weapons and mayhem. I remember this game being a lot funnier though. Maybe it’s because I’m older now, but the constant toilet humor one-liners weren’t doing it for me after a few hours.
The delivery of the narrative also suffers due to terrible audio quality. It seems like the developers pulled the audio straight out of the 2005 version. The awful audio compression is easily the most jarring thing about this remaster, especially when the visuals have been brought up to stand significantly above the source material.
Destroy All Humans still isn’t great to look at. There are some nice textures on most of the character models and when there are a lot of explosions and lasers flying around, it’s fun to look at. That being said, the environments are still a bit muddied, and the framerate is lower than it should be for a remaster of a 2005 title. It looks fine, but it surely isn’t going to win any awards for “best remaster.”
Where Destroy All Humans feels like a relic is in its level design. After a while, chucking cows, the occasional stealth mission (where you must continually scan human thoughts to regenerate your disguise) and harvesting DNA just gets old. Dare I say it gets boring?
Beam me up, Scotty
After each mission, Crypto gets sent back to his mothership, where he can spend earned currency on ship and weapon upgrades. It’s frustrating though. Instead of being able to explore and complete challenges in a level, I have to sit through a few loading screens before I can get back into the action. It would have been way easier just to put me into the exploration segment after the end of a mission instead of sending me back to the ship before I was ready.
Destroy All Humans really shines when it’s at its most chaotic. The crazy alien arsenal that Crypto has access to is really fun to use (when he isn’t delivering awful one-liners). All of the weapons end with the same result: dead enemies. Still, it’s a lot of fun to blast people with the disintegrator ray and watch them turn into a pile of ash.
Honestly, I thought Destroy All Humans would hold up better than it did. Again, it might be because I’m older now, but other than the chaos that Crypto causes, a lot of it just didn’t hit home with me. I still think it’s worth a playthrough. Fans of the original will probably love this remaster too. But hearing the same jokes over and over, and doing similar missions repeatedly just gets old.
I respect the developers for the quality of life changes included and for sticking to the source material so closely. However, it feels like a double-edged sword. Destroy All Humans shows its age. It probably would have been better suited for a reimagined remake than a remaster.
Game Freaks 365 received a free review copy.