Ever since it was first revealed, Destruction AllStars has always been one of my most anticipated launch line-up games for the PS5. Something about its vibrant characters and Twisted Metal-esque gameplay had me hooked from the get-go. Now that it’s finally out as one of February’s PlayStation Plus titles, I’m happy to report that there’s a lot to like here. It hasn’t fully capitalized on its premise just yet, but right now it's still well worth jumping into the chaos.
Destruction AllStars has you competing in a flashy sixteen-person car-combat arena show to determine who is the best all-star of them all. Beyond some brief cutscenes in the single-player mode that set up some rivalries, that’s really all the set-up that there is, but that’s all there needs to be. This simplicity is helped by the presence of two wonderful announcers (including UFC's Bruce Buffer) who really inject the game with a ton of life and give it a gameshow feel that it really meshes well with.
What Destruction AllStars lacks in setup, it more than makes up for with its charm and characterization. There are 16 different characters, and I can guarantee you that you’ll love at least one of them since there’s so much variety in their looks, backgrounds, and personality. The stars really do make this game a lot of fun and I haven’t enjoyed a game’s base roster so much since Overwatch, even if I wish there was more time to get to know them beyond some quotes.
From the get-go, this is a fantastic demonstration of the power of the PS5, with some gorgeous presentation value. The graphics are sharp and full of little details, the characters animate with tons of personality and style and the DualSense is used really well to show which car you’re driving and whenever you’re colliding into other vehicles. It’s not the best looking game on the console so far, but it’s definitely a good contender for the best tech demo to show your mates what the PS5 can do.
Destruction AllStars is a combination of destructive arena-based driving and some simple parkour that allows players to move around outside of their vehicle. The three different vehicles all control really well and are a ton of fun to smash around. As you do this you’ll build up your character’s own special move and their own unique vehicle that can really turn the tides. All of this is great fun, but what really sets the game apart for me is the ability to jump out of the car at any point. As soon as your car meets its end, you can jump straight out and find another one, or keep switching between them until you have your own special vehicle. It’s even possible to stay out of your vehicle for pretty much the whole match, which I found to be a lot of fun.
That’s the main gameplay loop, and I’d argue it’s always a ton of fun and the main strength of the game. In multiplayer it’s mixed up depending on what game mode you choose to play. The main meat of the game is its multiplayer, which comes with four main game modes. The first of these is Mayhem, which is the basic mode that has you driving around and trying to wreck and KO as many people as possible. Then there’s Gridfall, which is a last player standing mode that has the map slowly falling apart to eliminate players. Those two modes are fantastic fun and feel like they make the most out of the core concepts of the game. They’re fast, replayable, and a ton of fun.
Then there’s Carnado and Stockpile, which are considerably less fun. These two were my least favorite modes in the game, with Carnado having you build up gears and sacrifice your car to score points and Stockpile having you deliver gears to bases in order to hold them. It’s totally subjective as to which modes people will enjoy most, but I personally didn’t get a lot of fun out of these two. Sadly, that’s all of the game modes available right now, which is a problem that reverberates across the whole game.
There’s also an arcade mode that features some single-player campaigns, but it’s a bit of a disappointment. For starters, every campaign besides the first one will cost you real money, and secondly, they’re just AI-controlled versions of the normal game with a few unique modes mixed in. They’re fun to get used to characters with, but the fact that they’ll cost money is really off-putting.
It’s not the best looking game on the console so far, but it’s definitely a good contender for the best tech demo to show your mates what the PS5 can do.
Progression is another sore point with Destruction AllStars. Leveling up goes at a decent rate, but earning currency takes ages as everything in the shop is far too expensive. The customization options are pretty weak as it is, let alone needing 8 level ups to afford one color-changing skin. The cynical side of me wants to presume this is so players will spend money on microtransactions, but it’s just as likely that it’s to ensure players are playing for a long time. Either way, there needs to be some sort of adjustment.
It’s clear that in making this one of the free PlayStation Plus titles, Sony has stripped back a fair amount of the game to make it a viable platform. The aforementioned microtransactions seem a bit sleazy, and using them to unlock single-player content is probably the worst element of it, as it prevents the game from having much content and stops the characters from being in the spotlight. There's also a large lack of balance so far, which is to be expected from any multiplayer-focused game but can still be annoying. It's too easy to stay away from vehicles altogether and just hide collecting powerups, and there are a few characters who feel extremely overpowered such as Blue Fang and his unique vehicle that can destroy over cars in one hit with his special activated.
My biggest complaint about the game so far is that there’s just not enough content to keep you playing. What’s here is fantastic fun, but the relative lack of single-player content, maps, vehicles, and characters means that you soon hit the bottom of the well. I’m sure it’ll keep being updated as time goes on and will soon have a ton of modes and content, but at launch, it feels a bit barren. This is made all the worse by the fact that what’s here is truly great fun- I just want more of it.
As a free title for PlayStation Plus owners, I can’t recommend Destruction AllStars enough. It’s fantastic fun with vibrant characters and some really fun game modes. If it costs money, it’d be a different story completely, as there’s nowhere near enough balance or content in the game as it stands right now. Stick with this one, I have a feeling it’ll be worth it.
TechRaptor reviewed Destruction AllStars on PlayStation 5 using a copy purchased by the reviewer.
- Fantastic Showcase for the Power of the PS5
- Genuinely Fun Gameplay Loop
- Charming Characters and Visuals
- Microtransactions are Invasive
- Lacking Much Content
- Needs Balancing