Hands-On: Destroy All Humans!

Hands-On: Destroy All Humans!

by February 27, 2020

One ever-present element of a console generation is remakes of titles from consoles past. Some companies give their best-selling blockbusters the remake treatment, while others revitalize beloved-but-overlooked titles and refresh them for a new audience. THQ Nordic is taking the latter route with Destroy All Humans!, breathing new life into one of the quirkier and more original franchises of the PlayStation 2 era. Inspired by retro alien invasion films of decades past and campy to the max, the original Destroy All Humans! came out in 2005 for the original Xbox and PlayStation 2 and garnered a cult following, despite later sequels facing diminishing returns in quality and interest. With no franchise activity since 2008, this new title essentially wipes the slate clean and starts over while preserving the memories and fun players had fifteen years ago.

If you never played the original, here’s what you’re getting yourself into. In 1959, alien entity Cryptosporidium-137 descends upon Earth to harvest human DNA and aid in the further cloning of his species. Along the way, absolute mayhem ensues, most of which involves you destroying everything in sight. Crypto has access to many methods of toying with the hapless humans and animals of our world, including an electricity gun, grabbing and throwing via telepathy, and…well, anally probing them. Once Crypto eliminates his victims, he can harvest their brain stems and continue on his way. Movement on the ground is enhanced via dashing and a jetpack, but everything gets much more destructive when you hop into your spaceship. A fiery laser decimates everything in sight, including tanks and farmhouses, and the remake’s visual upgrades make the glorious destruction all the more glorious.

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In a very smart move, the remake doesn’t stray terribly far from its roots. Developer Black Forest Games has stayed true to the spirit of the original 2005 release, which was developed by the now-defunct Pandemic Studios. Voice acting and audio remain the same, with improved fidelity helping to make the experience sound more crisp. The script and jokes are intentionally incredibly cheesy, and this aspect of the game remains gloriously intact. Visuals have obviously received a big boost, with cutscenes altered to up their production value and introduce motion capture; this element of the game definitely feels more in line with current-generation offerings while retaining the retro feel of the original offering. Destruction feels even more satisfying than it used to; cows and humans ragdoll around in satisfying fashion, which buildings explode in rich and detailed ways. It’s a blast.

The Destroy All Humans! remake shows a lot of promise. By preserving so much of what made the original release great and amping up certain elements for a modern generation, THQ Nordic may well revitalize this long-dormant franchise in a triumphant way. You don’t need to have played the original to appreciate the remake, though it will certainly help, and if you have, you’re sure to get a kick out of landing in Turnipseed farm again. I’m very excited for this series returning to popularity, and now’s a great time for you to get excited, too.

Destroy All Humans! invades PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Google Stadia in the first half of this year.