A New Standard for Remakes
The first game I previewed at E3 2019 was the Destroy All Humans! remake. I only got to play a small slice of it, but it was a very impressive showing. The remastered graphics looked stunning, and it took me back to 2005 all over again. Moreover, the gameplay felt similar but fine-tuned for modern audiences. Slinging farmers with your kinetic powers was as fun as it was all those years ago. In other words, my preview left me optimistic about the final product. Finally getting my hands on the entire game, I can say with certainty that THQ Nordic entrusted this cult series in the right hands with Black Forest Games. Destroy All Humans! is back, and it's even more fun than I remembered.
Destroy All Humans! Fresh New Coat of Paint
Destroy All Humans! is a remake, so the visuals get a completely new look. The 2005 game has certainly aged, and it's not very pleasing to look at nowadays. This remake, which runs on Unreal Engine 4, is one of the best looking games to come out this year. Although Black Forest Games had access to all the materials from the old game, visuals were redone from the ground-up, and it's just gorgeous. The environments, character models and visual effects are all fantastic, making every second of gameplay a pleasure to look at.
From Turnipseed Farm to Area 42, the new environments are packed with so much detail. Every area is spectacular, but my favorite would have to be Capitol City. It's the final area of the game, but by far the most expansive. Resembling Washington D.C., Capitol City has all the monuments you'd expect to find in our nation's capital; likewise, surrounding these monoliths is a bustling city that is full of life. This spectacle is something the original game couldn't quite capture to full effect due to technical limitations, but is used to max in this remake.
Character models and visual effects are also great. While the Destroy All Humans! remake is a more cartoon-like, exaggerated style over the original, I think this new look is beneficial to the experience. Characters models are like caricatures of Americans back in the 1960s, which accompanies the satirical nature the game greatly. Meanwhile, Crypto's destructive weapons are even more impactful with new visual effects. Using your Disintegrator Ray on humans turns them into a charred skeleton, which turns to a pile of ash a second later. The awesome and apocalyptic weapons on the UFO leave literal trails of cinder in its wake, creating detail that couldn't be achieved in the 2005 title.
So Destroy All Humans! looks good, but does it sound good? The soundtrack is stellar - it's quirky and captures the sound of "aliens" perfectly, if such a thing is possible. It's a perfect companion to the mayhem Crypto causes. The largest disappointment with this remake is with the voice acting, however. Don't get me wrong, the original Destroy All Humans! had fantastic vocal performances. Unfortunately, said performances remain virtually untouched from the original.
The voice acting was not redone whatsoever, so you're left with some very old audio. Destroy All Humans! might have sounded good in 2005, but it's been 15 years since its release. Audio has a tinny quality, as though all the lines were spoken into a walkie talkie. I appreciate the developer's intent to maintain the same quality of the voice acting from the original, but it feels so strange without new audio. Everything around the characters talking looks so new and vibrant, but when they actually speak, it sounds awful. It doesn't fit right with the rest of the package.
Probing it up With Crypto-137 in Destroy All Humans!
You're a mass-killing alien, so you better hope it's fun to do such a grim task in a game about destroying humans. As it turns out, Black Forest nails the gameplay while making some quality of life adjustments. It was fun to cause mayhem in the 2005 version of Destroy All Humans, but with all the new inclusions, you can tell how antiquated the original release is. With an updated UI, new movement options, and refinements to the mission structure, it's like playing an entirely new game.
To begin with, the story and missions from the original game are all here. Crypto will go around various levels on Earth and complete certain objectives. This ranges from disguising yourself as a small town's mayor to destroying an entire military installation hidden in the desert. A new addition to Destroy All Humans! are optional objectives that can be completed alongside the main goal of your mission. So, if you're fighting against the military, the game might ask you to use rockets to kill a number of soldiers. These new objectives add a bit more difficulty to an otherwise easy game, but also reward you with DNA, which is used to upgrade your abilities.
The optional objectives are a very welcome inclusion. Still, since the original Destroy All Humans! missions are all included in the remake, you'll have to deal with some tedious main missions. Crypto can use the Holobob ability to take the identity of a human and walk around society without being detected. Any time a mission requires the Holobob, I groan a bit. It trades the superb action-packed combat for some half-baked stealth sections that are more annoying than anything else. This is just a relic of the 2005 title, so you'll still have to contend with it here.
Gripes with missions aside, another major improvement made in this release is movement. Crypto feels amazing to control. Typically, the 3D Super Mario games are my golden standard for platforming. The movement in Destroy All Humans! feels on par with Super Mario Odyssey and other highly popular platformers. Our little alien protagonist is quick on his feet and nimble, so avoiding enemy attacks is easy. He can zip around on a jetpack and unleash hellfire from above. The biggest refinement to movement, however, is the dash ability.
Crypto can now dash in any direction to avoid enemy attacks. This adds a bit more mobility and makes the gameplay feel much more fun over the original. Moreover, with enough upgrades to your dash ability, you can also zoom and float around on your shoes like a skateboard. Crypto literally zips around the battlefield with these shoes, like he's skating on ice or something. While this zoom ability is completely new to the remake, it feels like something that could have been included in the original; in other words, it's not out-of-place.
Better yet, you can fly and shoot your weapons at the same time, or use your weapon and powers at the same time. So, can use your psychic powers to throw unsuspecting humans into a building while zapping a few others with your Zap-o-Matic. Or, you can levitate while sucking the brain out of someone and probing their anus at the same time (the unabashed, crude humor from the original is still very much present). With so many combat encounters in Destroy All Humans!, you'd think it might get boring after a while. With all these improvements, it does not disappoint.
Last but not least, from time to time Crypto will hop in his UFO and just obliterate everything in his path. Boy, I love these segments. Black Forest added the ability to levitate the UFO up and down, which makes it easier to aim for targets. Otherwise, you'll have as much fun as the original - if not more - with this UFO. Flinging people around with its tractor beam and using the absurdly powerful weaponry levels buildings to the ground. These segments are a joy.
Destroy All Humans! Review | Final Thoughts
Brand new to this Destroy All Humans! remake is the "Lost Mission of Area 42." Basically, the developers had access to some assets and voice lines from a mission that didn't make the final cut in 2015. The mission is now in this version. It was something I was really excited to see, but it felt like a disappointment. You mostly just use the Holobob device and scan human minds, so it's a stealth mission. It doesn't really add anything to the main story, nor is it long - it takes maybe 10 minutes to complete. Destroy All Humans! is disappointingly short as it is, and this didn't do anything to make it longer.
Players can explore the game's areas outside of missions, and there are a few optional side missions you can tackle. This, too, does little to lengthen Destroy All Humans!, so I was done with just about everything after around 8 hours. There are a few skins for Crypto, upgrades, and concept art to unlock, but there's no way of escaping the fact the this is a short game. Though, I can definitely see myself hopping into the flying saucer causing mayhem from time to time.
Destroy All Humans! sets a new standard for remakes. It does virtually everything right from refining the controls and combat to masterfully recreating the visuals. It also stays true to the original, so the crude humor and goofiness are still all there. While I wish Destroy All Humans! had new - or at least clearer - voice acting and was longer in length, fans of the series are going to find no problem experiencing this cult classic all over again. THQ Nordic has recreated and remastered plenty of titles the past few years, and Destroy All Humans! might just be the best one yet.
Disclaimer: TechRaptor originally scored Destroy All Humans! a 6.5 out of 10 due to a corrupted save bug, which rendered the game unplayable. The score and body of the review have been adjusted to reflect that Black Forest Games fixed this bug.
TechRaptor reviewed Destroy All Humans! on Steam with a code provided by the publisher. It is also available on GoG, Xbox One, and PS4 on July 28th, 2020.
- Amazing New Graphics and Effects
- Refined Movement and Gameplay
- Large, Detailed Environments
- Optional Objectives During Missions
- New Lost Mission is Disappointing
- Voice Acting Audio is Poor Quality
- Still Short