Played on PC
It’s 1959. An alien species (the Furons) existence is endangered and the only way they can be saved is by collecting DNA found in the brain stems of humans. You play as Cryptosporidium 137 (also known as Crypto) and have been tasked to save the Furons from complete exctinction.
This could have been an introduction for a very serious sci-fi series but to the contrary, this is not what the Destroy All Humans! Remake is about. In this game (originally released in 2005) we return to an older style of video games with storylines that don’t make too much sense while dipping our toes into what we now know as open world environments.
That is not to say Destroy All Humans! isn’t a modern game thanks to this remake. Theres plenty to talk about so lets jump in for a ride on this re-imagined Flying Saucer.
Crypto creates chaos
Starting off with the gameplay, Destroy All Humans! is still a game from 2005 and it shows. The gameplay while varied, isn’t that engaging and shows how open vistas in video games have evolved over time. Destroy All Humans! is a third person action game where your character has a plethora of different weapons and abillites to choose from. You can use telekinesis to throw humans, cows or objects around, you can explode brains, make humans fight for you or just shoot your lightning gun and electrocute everything in your path. Besides that you also have a flying saucer at your disposal in certain levels because, why not? How else did you end up on this wretched planet. Right?
Mixing this up with some stealth missions, various subtasks which you can complete during a mission and the ability to fly around on your jetpack makes it varied enough. Luckily it is varied, because it needs to be. None of the gameplay mechanics are extremely engaging although fighting around in the chaos can be a lot of fun. At one point there is a mission where you are defending a certain strategic point and the Gears of War ‘Horde’ style mission structure and pure chaos is very rewarding. In between missions you can upgrade abilities such as your shield and telekinesis powers. Besides upgrading your own powers you can also choose to upgrade your saucer.
The balance of the missions is a little off, as some can be fairly easily completed without much effort, while others require you to really utilize every weapon and ability available to Crypto-137. Then there’s the subtasks I mentioned earlier which are quite funny. They can be things like finishing the mission without being seen, or killing an agent with a cop (and a cop with an agent) by throwing them at each other using your telekinesis abillity.
Is it a story worth telling again?
At one point while playing Destroy All Humans! I was wondering to myself why this game got a remake. There have been so many other great games which could have received a remake, but THQ Nordic chose to polish this alien invasion for our pleasure. So is it really a story worth telling again?
The story feels like a B-film from a few years ago with a pretty nonsensical story and typical humour found in 2005. Obviously, this was the feeling that the developers were going for with a corny story that at times didn’t feel like it was going anywhere. The 1950s post-war feeling is portrayed fairly well in the game world with typical American suburbs, old film posters and characters walking down the street. Crypto can read the minds of people he comes across in towns or at an army base so you get a glimpse of what people were thinking about back in the 1950s.
With an over the top portrayal of the 1950s also comes the stereotypes more common at the time. At some points it felt like I was playing a non-horny Leisure Suit Larry game where the mysognistic humour is very reminiscent of older days.
Crypto is a lead character without a lot of humour and voice acting which didn’t do much for me. He prefers destroying anything in his path over the kid gloves approach his superior named Orthopox expects him to follow. Stealth missions are not his bag and he often complains when having to carry one out.
While the story isn’t anything special, it doesn’t get in the way of the gameplay. Due to the 1950s setting anything ominous happening is blamed on the communists which often brought a smile to my face. Whenever you fail or complete a mission a newspaper is shown explaining how the strange things that have been happening can be linked to the Soviets. The game is between 8 and 10 hours long and contains 23 missions (one more than the 2005 release). You can revisit previous missions in the mission select screen if you want to replay them for fun or to get that perfect three star score. While the missions you go on during the campaign are diverse, the repetitiveness does kick in at some point. For me personally the ”been there, done that” feeling happened after around 4 hours of playing.
Crypto’s shiny bald head
So, to answer the most important question, this is a good remake.
Destroy All Humans! is a very attractive game with a pleasant art direction. The game runs well and the load times do not impede the flow of a play through. The user interface has improved over the 2005 original with everything in a more logical place. The controls can be a challenge due to the many things Crypto can do, half the time I didn’t know what button to press to use a specific ability.
It’s obvious to see that the developers at Black Forest Games have put a lot of effort and heart into this remake, Staying true to the original but making it a lot more pleasant to play.
Destroy All Humans! is a modern looking remake of a game that is clearly from another time. The open level structure allows players to create chaos and play around. The story isn’t anything to write home about and is still stuck in 2005 but all things considered this is a decent remake of a game that didn’t set the world on fire over 15 years ago.
Is it a must-play title? No, not in the slightest.
Would you have a fun time playing this? Yes, for sure – and as it’s available via Game Pass, you’ve probably not got a good reason to go and check it out.