Review

Destroy All Humans Review - Two Arms, Two Legs, And An Attitude

  • First Released Jul 28, 2020
    released
  • XONE

Destroy All Humans is a fun sandbox to wreak havoc through, but it spends too much time on other things.

I love two types of sci-fi stories: the ones that are very dark and heavy with themes about humanity's failures, and the ones that are corny and feel like the product of someone who thinks space is a playground for fun. Destroy All Humans is firmly in the second category, embracing its cheesy story and dialogue, creating an entertaining sandbox for destruction that's still satisfying 15 years after its first release, even if it's bogged down by poor audio quality and shallow stealth mechanics.

The story plays out as a B-grade sci-fi movie set in the late '50s/early '60s. Over the six hours of campaign missions you'll laugh (or groan) at the majority of jokes and bad one-liners, making for an overall enjoyable experience. The premise of two aliens completely taking over America because humans are wildly incompetent is too ridiculous to take seriously, and the game embraces the absurdity well.

The voice work from the original release helps up the camp level, but the reused dialogue raises a few issues. The audio quality is flat-out bad by modern standards; its low-fidelity really sticks out when paired with the updated graphics. The characters don't have very many lines, either, resulting in annoying repetition very early on. Be prepared to hear about communists hundreds of times before you're done.

Most of the cutscenes and dialogue are between alien protagonists Crypto and Orthopox, both of whom give strong performances, even if they feel at odds with each other. Crypto is played as a C-tier action hero, with bad one-liners that feel delivered by an uninterested actor, which is probably intentional. That clashes with the over-the-top Invader Zim-style performance given for Orthopox, which feels like he didn't get the direction for campiness that everyone else did. The clashing performances play out comedically for the most part but create some tonal whiplash whenever only one of them has a more serious moment and the other continues trying to riff.

The game's main campaign is split into missions across six maps, although one of them, Turnipseed Farms, is only used for the tutorial. Campaign missions consist of two types of gameplay: stealth and action. The stealth sections are fairly one-note, with you taking on a human disguise that needs to be occasionally refueled by brain zapping more humans. Additional obstacles, like EMP devices and Majestic Agents, force you to avoid staying in their range for too long, but don't provide much more challenge beyond zig-zagging to your objective.

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The rest of the main missions involve going loud and, well, destroying all humans. Crypto is armed with four weapons and Psychokinesis, which allows you to zap, disintegrate, probe, and throw people and vehicles. A satisfying traversal ability called SKATE lets you glide around the world, and it feels very fluid. It allows you to go into a skateboard-type movement after dashing, letting you move quickly around the environment with precise steering. You can easily make quick turns and jump over objects while continuing to glide. The third-person shooting automatically locks on to enemies, allowing you to dynamically move and fire, smoothly dodging into cover or out of the way of missiles between each shot. All of the weapons have varying ammo capacities and damage levels and the weapon wheel allows for easy switching, so utilizing all of your tools during a firefight feels natural.

As more powerful enemies are introduced, you also begin to unlock more abilities and upgrades, which ensure you remain more powerful than the humans, but not to the point of being overpowered. The enemies shout silly lines about being burned or attacked and vehicles always explode when defeated, embracing the power fantasy. As you cause more destruction, your notoriety increases, leading to larger and more powerful responses from the humans. Causing mayhem and destruction is incredibly fun and when the game is at its best.

In other missions, you're instead in Crypto's saucer. Its weapons lack the variety of Crypto's own arsenal, but wrecking a town's worth of buildings still feels great. Not only do some of the weapons produce fiery leftovers, but the buildings explode into tons of pieces, which is satisfying every time. There's a lack of variety in the human enemies though, who are limited to police officers, soldiers, Majestic agents, and mutated Majestic agents. The vehicles run into a similar issue, with the only offensive vehicles being tanks and robot mechs, which, like the human enemies, rely primarily on guns. There are a fairly limited number of character models in the game and as a result, it makes the otherwise enjoyable combat encounters feel repetitive.

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The campaign missions also feel disconnected. Most of them abruptly end when the objective is met, even if you're in the middle of a firefight. Not every mission ends in a cutscene either, so you may simply get kicked back to the mission select, which is jarring. Each campaign mission has anywhere from one to four optional objectives, which can involve not getting detected, killing enemies in a certain way, or destroying specific vehicles. These optional objectives add an extra twist to the combat encounters and, if missed, can easily be replayed. However, most campaign missions aren't unique enough from the rest of the game to warrant a second runthrough.

The game has three boss fights, two of which are back-to-back at the end of the campaign. These bosses go against the game's ethos of overpowered carnage seen in the rest of the game--each boss has a large health bar that needs to be drained three times to be defeated, and they take a while to get through. None of the fights are particularly challenging either--each boss only has a handful of attacks, all of which are heavily telegraphed and easily dodgeable--which makes these encounters tedious more than anything.

After playing through all of the missions available in each area, you unlock the ability to free-roam through the maps, letting you return to complete some challenges. There are four types of challenges: Armageddon, Race, Abduction, and Rampage, with one of each challenge in every map. All four of the challenges are enjoyable in their own ways, with Rampage and Armageddon tasking you with bringing destruction either on the ground or in the area using Crypto's saucer. Abduction tasks you with throwing specific objects or people into an abduction beam, which results in frantic action. Lastly, the Race challenges involve using the SKATE ability and your jetpack to quickly traverse the terrain, which shows off how well the overhauled movement system works by having you jump, jetpack, and glide behind a drone, all of which feels precise.

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None of the challenges are particularly difficult, especially when you have the majority of the upgrades unlocked, which feeds into the game's power fantasy of superior beings annihilating the human race. With only 24 challenges total, the game offers just enough to experience the mayhem without feeling like a slog to finish.

Destroy All Humans certainly shows its age in places. The stealth missions are rudimentary, the boss fights are tedious, and some poor audio work won't let you forget that this is a game from 15 years ago. However, its core loop of causing destruction and mayhem, laying waste to humans and cities, still feels satisfying. Destroy All Humans often feels like the PS2 game it is, but a fresh coat of paint and updated controls definitely make this remake enjoyable to play through today.

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The Good

  • Updated movement and shooting feel incredibly fluid
  • Destroying cities and people is a blast

The Bad

  • Stealth sections are simple and straightforward, evolving very little throughout the game
  • Dialogue suffers from poor audio quality
  • Character models and dialogue lines get reused frequently, leading to wearisome repetition

About the Author

James spent over 10 hours infiltrating and destroying the human race, completing all campaign missions and challenges. His favorite gun is the Zap-O-Matic. Review code was provided by the publisher.
28 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
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onesiphorus

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I find it strange that the game retains the same title as the original PS2 game eventhough it is a remake of the original and should be given a different title. This game is not a straight port of the PS2 original.

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Yams1980

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I like how they didn't put remastered or some crap name on the title. The developers know its not really remastered, just got a few graphical and gameplay updates but overall the same game. Better than false advertising making.

Can't tell you how many "remastered" games i've played that didn't look any better or barely did. Even the Saints Row 3 "remaster" although graphically better, actually introduced old bugs that were patched out in the original but yet they forgot to apply those fixes in the "remaster"

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Warlord_Irochi

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@Yams1980: "its not really remastered, just got a few graphical and gameplay updates but overall the same game."

That is what a remaster is.

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sladakrobot

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@onesiphorus: You know this is/was not a PS2 exclusive game and came out for the Xbox and the X360 too?

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Bassam

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Do you know why 6

Because They don't like the original game .. go to the first review

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Warlord_Irochi

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@bassam: you know why the 6? because the reviewer though that it deserves a 6.
Same for the reviewer back them.

This is how reviews work; it's the reviewers opinion.

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Mogan

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Mogan  Moderator

@bassam: The original release was long enough ago, I'd be surprised if the two reviewers even worked for the site at the same time. GameSpot's not a hive mind, so I kinda doubt Alex's 7.5 from 15 years ago did much to influence Jame's 6 today. Destroy All Humans might just be a fair to middling kind of game that's now also getting a little long in the tooth.

2 • 
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ZmanBarzel

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Does the in-game drive-in theater still show “Plan 9 From Outer Space”?

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MondasM

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Edited By MondasM

i used to have a modded ps2 back in the day, mainly because i live in a country where not many games were imported 15 - 20 years ago, so i gave it a try and while it was fun, the cheapness of bootleg games and a huge backlog of games because of it made me move away from it...

it was a fun little game and i mean to give it another try, this time i intend to pay the full price... :D

2 • 
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naryanrobinson

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“...but it spends too much time on other things.”

You won't catch this criticism on an Assassin's Creed game.

11 • 
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Mortos13

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@naryanrobinson said:

“...but it spends too much time on other things.”

You won't catch this criticism on an Assassin's Creed game.

God forbid I go around a semi-open world to get some skills, oh no......

/s

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DEVILTAZ35

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Edited By DEVILTAZ35

If you pre-order you can dress up as Elvis or an evil clown . That gives it an extra point in my book. i still laughed playing the demo when Crypto gets pissed off at the news report that little ''green'' men are invading lol.

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dmblum1799

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"The premise of two aliens completely taking over America because humans are wildly incompetent is too ridiculous to take seriously, and the game embraces the absurdity well."

The premise of America being incompetent is absurd? Has the author been living in America in 2020? America is the great last bastion of incompetence. 130,000 dead.

7 • 
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RaveNRolla

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@dmblum1799: i was about to comment the same. aliens are one thing, but the USA's incompetence is certainly a fact at the moment. of course this doesn't apply to all people in the USA (and it also doesn't apply to the USA alone). most of the people i'm in contact with do use masks and take the pandemic seriously.

the saddest thing about the US right now is that there is an actual realistic chance of that dude getting re-elected.

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MondasM

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@dmblum1799: donald trump is an alien, wake up sheeple... :P

kidding aside, it is a shame that we can joke about this...

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idakooz

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Never played this game before so I'm looking forward to it.

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Fandango_Letho

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I loved this game back then on my PS2. I remember it being a 7 out of 10 about anywhere I looked. It's that okay game that really hits the spot. Just like Maneater.

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Thelostscribe

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Edited By Thelostscribe

@Fandango_Letho: Maneater is so good, it is probably one of my favorite games in awhile. It was so different that the experience was a lot of fun. I do hope we get a sequel for that one.

I will be buying this remaster as well, looks like a ton of dumb fun.

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DEVILTAZ35

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Edited By DEVILTAZ35

@Fandango_Letho: Back when games were just fun to play and political correctness was just voting for the right leader at election time.

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Radnen

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I feel like this is a game, like spongebob bikini bottom, is an arcade era that doesn't seem to hold up anymore. But for fans and those that remember, these are excellent games. They are everything you get out of them and nothing more. A '6' is fair, but yeah, definitely a good game if you want mindless action.

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ahpuck

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Edited By ahpuck

Sounds about right. I always thought Destroy all Humans! was one of the best mediocre games ever made. If you don't mind its shortfalls, it's a fun game to play.

3 • 
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Daidochus

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Edited By Daidochus

The cons are not so strong maybe apart from the audio issues. And stealth is not the main take of this game..... its blasting people and buildings to oblivion.

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DEVILTAZ35

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Edited By DEVILTAZ35

@daidochus: Agreed there and it's not like the stealth is hard anyway they must just suck at that part lol. I get annoyed at some games as well if i happen to suck at a certain part over and over.

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fartingonzebras

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Eh... all the "bad" stuff is just leftovers from a bygone era that doesn't hold up anymore. Only valid issue is the poor audio quality in my opinion.

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DEVILTAZ35

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Edited By DEVILTAZ35

@fartingonzebras: Unless they flubbed it since the demo i would say it's more their set up than the game.

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DEVILTAZ35

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Edited By DEVILTAZ35

@fartingonzebras: IGN gave this a 7 which is more deserving. It is still really fun to play and the voice acting is truly amazing for Crypto and his boss.

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Destroy All Humans!

First Released Jul 28, 2020
released
  • PC
  • PlayStation 4
  • Stadia
  • Xbox One

Destroy All Humans!

6
Fair

Average Rating

10 Rating(s)

6.5

Developed by:

Published by:

Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
Teen
Animated Blood, Crude Humor, Drug Reference, Language, Sexual Themes, Violence