Earth has been invaded countless times, at least in fiction, but one of the most memorable must be Destroy All Humans. Having played the original release way back in 2005 I was keen to seen how the remake of Crypto’s exploits fared 15 years later. Does the game retain its charm or are those fond memories of destroying humans and buildings viewed through through the rose-tinted lens of nostalgia?
In Destroy All Humans you play as Cryptosporidium-137, aka Crypto, who begins a battle against Earth after his clone/brother Cryptosporidium-136 crashes on the planet. You’ll be setting foot on the planet’s surface and running around firing your alien weaponry at the hapless humans, but you’ll also be able to hop into your flying saucer for some larger scale destruction. It’s a simple and still satisfying gameplay loop, but the campaign missions keep you on a fairly tight leash.
They can range from destroying some stuff and humans, to having to do stealthily try to learn more about human civilisation. To aid in this Crypto has various powers such as Holobob, which allows Crypto to scan a human and use them as a disguise to blend in. His disguise can be compromised if Crypto does not scan human minds or does something a bit too out of the ordinary for 1950s America.
The missions do seem a bit easier than I remember and you can essentially get through most in about 10 minutes. That could be down to having 15 more years of gaming experience under my belt, but also from how the remake has refined the controls and movement, added flexibility to your abilities and upgrades.
To make the missions replayable there are extra challenges such as using certain ways to kill humans or not being detected. The challenges are not too hard but if you miss some you can go back and replay a mission. After missions have been completed you can also go back to unlocked locations in an explore mode to complete challenges and wreak general havoc without having any mission constraints placed upon you. Naturally, the campaign does get harder the more you progress from the easy introduction in Turnipseed Farm to a pretty tough final showdown in the last mission.
To counter this rise in challenge you can upgrade both Crypto’s personal abilities and weapons, as well as the saucer’s weapons and abilities. New weapons are introduced gradually giving you time to get used to them before unleashing havoc. You will start with a Disintegrator Ray before getting access to other weapons like the Zap-O-Matic, and the Anal Probe. It is similar for abilities with new ones unlocking over time to make Crypto a more powerful invader.
One of the key additions to the Destroy All Humans remaster is the Lost Mission, which was cut from the original release. Without spoiling too much, itait a little bit more to the story, but doesn’t really differ in gameplay from the other missions. It is not ground-breaking in any way, but it is nice to experience something extra in Destroy All Humans.
Put this remake alongside the original, and the difference is night and day. It’s brought right up to date with a huge graphical upgrade in Unreal Engine 4, but it manages to retain a lot of the original aesthetic. It doesn’t just make it prettier, but can also tap the current consoles to handle more NPCs and enemies running around on screen at once, so you can destroy even more humans during your invasion. When there is a lot of action going on in the game, the original PS4 does struggle with performance. It’s not too bad overall, but one case did lead to the game crashing back to the main PS4 menu.
The sound is not quite as up to par, which have turned to the original recordings in many places. While some work has been done on these original recordings, you can hear a faint hiss in some instances.