Nostalgia is a powerful force when it comes to almost anything, but it’s especially potent in the world of gaming. Unfortunately, we often remember older experiences through rose-colored lenses. That PS2 platformer may not look or run as good as you remember. This is where remakes and remasters offer a chance to keep the memories intact.
The latest classic to make the leap to the present is Destroy All Humans on PS4. This PS2 gem was hilarious and chaotic when it first released, but this new remake adds new content, graphics, and tweaks to the formula. Does it come out as the Cryptosporidium-137 you remember, or is this a botched clone? Let’s find out.
A Time Capsule of Humor and Design
Trying to preserve nostalgia, while also bringing things like graphics and controls into the modern era, is a careful and difficult balance for developers. I look back fondly on the original Destroy All Humans, but my most vivid memories are the voices of Crypto and Pox, both of whom are still intact in this remake.
I also remember the chaos, the hilarious weapons (which indeed includes an anal probe), and the simple pleasure of it all. Diving back into Destroy All Humans in 2020 felt great in those first moments. The fresh coat of paint looks sharp and colorful, while the sharp writing and hilariously raunchy jokes still land well for the most part.
For the uninitiated, the game’s premise involves harvesting human brain stems for the purpose of gathering pure Furon DNA, since the civilization has since cloned themselves to the point where their current DNA is breaking down. Why do humans have Furon DNA, I hear you ask? I’ll tell you when you’re older. Also, the game explains this early on in hilarious fashion.
The story holds up pretty well for the most part, with jokes that pull from the time period where it’s set, but also reflect fairly well on modern issues. One particular segment where you impersonate a politician had me laughing non-stop as I was given the option to blame scientists and stoke the flames of misinformation in truly satirical fashion.
Story aside, the gameplay in Destroy All Humans feels pretty good for a 2020 release, but it still retains some of the PS2-era characteristics that have since been ironed out. Weapons are fairly varied, but new options take a few missions to unlock, and none of them really pack the punch you would expect from their descriptions, though the animations for targets hit by them are quite emotive and funny.
The gameplay structure is a little too disconnected for me, as the game forces you to return to the mothership after completing a mission. You can return to explore the semi-open areas for collectibles and to complete challenges, but this requires another loading screen.
The missions themselves have high and low points, but they can begin to feel repetitive during marathon sessions. It usually boils down to killing or destroying targets, tailing objectives, sneaking into areas, or abducting people. The bonus objectives help to add some difficulty, but it’s never truly unique or challenging. Wreaking havoc on your own is far more fun.
This is due, in part, to the notoriety system that throws cops, the army, and eventually mysterious agents after you as you cause more and more chaos. You can also switch between on-foot and saucer-based gameplay, which isn’t quite balanced in the story missions, but is fun when you get the opportunity to use your ship.
Things like being able to transmute objects into ammo, or draining vehicles to repair your ship, are helpful and welcome additions. Adjusting altitude on the saucer also lets you get a better view of the action when you’re going for smaller targets.
A wide selection of upgrades for both Crypto and the saucer give you something to spend all of your DNA on from missions and challenges. These are varied and worthwhile, but I found myself leaning into Crypto upgrades as the ship isn’t as much of a focus.
Unlockable skins also give you a reason to complete special objectives and come in some hilarious forms. It all contributes to an experience with more replay value than the original, and some cut content that fans will definitely want to see.
In a lot of ways, Destroy All Humans on PS4 is a very solid remake. Its origins as a PS2 hold it back from being truly great, but fans of the original or those curious to check out the series will find that, given the budget price point, this is a fun nostalgia trip.
A New Beginning For The Furon Empire?
You don’t see games like Destroy All Humans these days. The crass humor, the unique premise, the full commitment to the schtick, these are all relics of a bygone era where games took more risks more often and experimented with crazy ideas like this one.
It’s a fun nostalgia trip for fans of the series, and with the original music and voices intact, it feels faithful to the original. Honestly, I hope this is the start of a refresh for the series. I would love to see a bigger budget sequel with an open world playground to wreak havoc in. Until then, I imagine I will come back to Destroy All Humans on the PS4, if only to relieve a simpler time in gaming.
Final Score: 8.0/10
A copy of Destroy All Humans was provided to PS4 Experts for review purposes.
Article by - Bradley Ramsey
Insert date - 7/27/2020