This year alone we’ve seen The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Modern Warfare, Duke Nukem 3D and a couple titles from the fantastic Arkham series receive a loving dab of polish to increase the games visual fidelity; bringing its resolution up to date and in keeping with today’s not so modest expectations. The influx of classic pastimes taking a seat in the makeup chair for a better visual experience has steadily increased over the past couple of years and the current trend doesn’t end with AAA blockbusters. Of the current crop of games to receive a HD remaster, Pandemic Studio’s Destroy all Humans! surprisingly came out of left field to crash land its way onto the PS4 earlier this month, after its I.P was plucked from obscurity by the recently rebranded THQ Nordic, a publisher with a habit of being quite the collector of lost and forgotten I.P’s of late.
We were first introduced to the loveable if not so friendly Crypto in the summer of 2005. The pint-sized Furon with a punchy can-do attitude and a voice eerily resembling the candid ramblings of Jack Nicholson embarks on an adventure to our home planet under the command of leader Orthapox to track down Crypto’s predecessor Cryptosporidium-136, whose previous visit to Earth had seen him taken captive by the U.S Military. Destroy all Humans! gets its kicks from poking fun at American post Cold War invasion movies that would have us believe that extraterrestrials want nothing more than to assume control over our minds and bodies, burn our buildings to the ground or kidnap us purely for experimental purposes – ahem, probe us – With its release coming just months before Microsoft unleashed the might of the Xbox 360 upon the world, Destroy all Humans! possibly didn’t receive quite the admiration it duly deserved post-release, but that doesn’t make this adorably chaotic game any less fitting of the high-def treatment.
Destroy all Humans!: PlayStation 4 [Reviewed], PlayStation 2, Xbox
Developer: Pandemic Studios
Publisher: THQ, THQ Nordic
Release Date: 1 November 2016
Price: £15.99 [Disclosure: Game Copy Provided by Publisher]
With our beloved green and blue planet firmly in his sights, Crypto lowers his small saucer down in rural America at the wonderfully named Turnipseed Farm. Under strict guidance from Pox, the little grey extraterrestrial quickly sets about acquainting himself with the games mechanics and of course its locals; at first mistakingly observing a field of innocently grazing cows for Earth’s dominant life force before swiftly ticking off a parade of pitchfork wielding farmers and their appropriately frightened wives. A race clearly above us pesky humans, the Furons are armed with the best in advanced technology and a collection of mind-bending abilities that blatantly supersede anything 1950’s American government or military can muster in retort. In its early stages, players master a handful of DaH!’s absurdly dazzling tricks and innovative weapons as Crypto fries farmers to death for the thrills, probes them in a rather unpleasant section of the human anatomy and uses PK, a form of telekinesis to lift and manoeuvre various objects around the countryside of free will, such as those devious land ruling milk producing, grass munchers.
With Turnipseed’s locals now on high alert; either fried to order, minus one brain or significantly probed to the point where they won’t be taking a seat anytime soon, Crypto can set about the real task at hand; the location and recovery of his lost comrade 136 while researching all that mankind has to offer along with the safe removal of the odd brain stem or 50,000. Boasting an array of challenging main missions, off the cuff competitive side quests to flesh out the games duration, cunning weapons and abilities to work through, there really is no end to the amount of joy one could get out of playing through Destroy all Humans!
Hypnotising a beauty queen at a state fair before escorting her back to your ship for further investigation, making the most of your unique powers to sway the attentions of an angry mob in the centre of town whilst disguised as a the town mayor; Destroy all Humans! is outstanding because it simply doesn’t attempt to hide or curtail its comical overtones in fact, it thrives on it; taking a series of factual or non-factual events, turning them into a combination of delightful skits as Crypto fumbles about planet Earth in an attempt to make sense of mankind and their evil-doing ways. It’s almost impossible not to laugh at or along with Destroy all Humans! and its comical charms as Furon’s best-loved Disintegrator Ray brandishing miscreant embarks on a non-stop parody tour of America’s invasion hotspots, with incursions at Rockwell, Santa Modesta, Area 42 and of course Capitol City or Washington D.C as its more affectionately known.
Despite being outwardly fun at heart, Destroy all Humans! operates on a strange mission to mission basis, with each foray into the world of mankind starting from the hub of the mothership high above Earth. With frustratingly no in-mission checkpoints to fall back on after succumbing to a major misstep or two; quests must be effortlessly completed in one sitting without mistake; which can become somewhat of an annoyance if you fail to adapt properly to the current surroundings with your allotted powers. The further introduction of Government officials to later missions serves to only make life all the more harder for our forever bitter little grey friend with Crypto’s seemingly impenetrable Holobob ability, a psychokinetic power that allows the Furon to take on the form of any human he comes into contact with under constant threat from a rash of “G-Men”. Despite offering itself up as an open-world adventure, Destroy all Humans! actually does an excellent job at restricting the players ability to free roam between areas of interest; prompting them to visit the games mothership to switch out for new surroundings. Push the patience of an areas restriction or failing to adhere to Pox’s warnings and you’ll swiftly find yourself unequivocally shoved back to the mothership to choose a location. The game isn’t without its drawbacks.
What it lacks with checkpoints and a Grand Theft Auto style open world that all too frequently halts the fluidity of its story progression, Destroy all Humans! certainly makes up for with its medley of extravagant weapons assigned to both Crypto and his flying saucer. With both weapons and saucer available for upgrade from the mothership; players can chain together kills with progression of the fantastic Zap-O-Matic gun that will have those rotten humans dancing the hot stepper like nobodies business with a single bolt, toss an Ion Detonator at a cluster of enemy vehicles and watch as tanks and military trucks vanish in a puff of spare parts. Of course, combat isn’t simply ground-based, once you’ve had your fill of Crypto’s hilariously inventive hand weapons prepare to take to the skies like its the 4th of July as Crypto unleashes unwholly armageddon on the small quaint towns and countrysides of America with tall buildings, barns and monuments left a crumbled mess of bricks, wood and dust with one quick burst of the saucers devastating sonic boom before switching weapon to pick off tiny fleeing humans like flies with a violent blast of Crypto’s impressive death ray. Destruction is paramount to Destroy all Humans! but it doesn’t come without its setbacks as the military will more often than not fight fire with fire in a desperate bid to halt the exploits of Crypto.
While clearly showing its age, Destroy all Humans! stands up surprisingly well on the PS4 although initial appearances see it lean more towards a ported version of the game than a remastered version of the 2005 classic. Booting up the game we’re greeted by the welcome sight of the iconic PS2 logo and accompanying sound all presented within a 4.3 aspect ratio before loading up in-game to see a transformation to a more visually pleasing 16.9 aspect for far better viewing. Whilst the game stutters from time to time I suffered little to no framerate issues during my hours spent with Destroy all Humans! For a supposed remastered version, I would have expected to have seen better-improved textures instead of the muddled polygons on display, while the games character models have clearly seen better days, all to be expected from a game 12-years young this year. Regardless, port or remaster, Destroy all Humans! certainly looks and feels better than its initial release and feels right at home on the PS4.
While you won’t necessarily be phoning home with this remastered version of Destroy all Humans! there are certainly enough comedic moments and chaotic behaviour on offer to make for an entertaining and worthwhile experience. Quirky anti-human dialogue mixed with an exciting assortment of weapons and mind-altering abilities makes Crypto the perfect archetypal enemy to take on our home planet; even if the pint-sized alien needs constant reminding from the forever nagging Pox. Destroy all Humans! was a surprising choice for a remaster but a deserved one nonetheless even if its visuals don’t quite reach the heights of previous remasters.
Destroy all Humans!
- 1950's invasion theme brilliantly sets the mood for proceedings
- An assortment of inventive weapons help make Crypto's stay on Earth an exciting one
- Dialogue between Crypto and Pox remains humorous throughout
- Lack of checkpoints hinder some of the harder missions
- Doesn't overly feel like a remaster
- Missions can become repetitive
- Lack of open-world