It’s 2005, gaming has fallen in love with sandboxes thanks to Grand Theft Auto releasing several consecutive hits and everyone wants a piece of that open-world pie. In an age where every developer was throwing every idea that hadn’t been done before at the flourishing genre, Destroy All Humans! was a strange twist on the formula. Less interested in creating one massive sandbox and instead focused on creating numerous populated levels that were smaller in scope while serving the needs of its story, you have to hand it to Destroy All Humans! for knowing exactly what it wanted to be from day one.
So here we are, 15 years later and with a remake that nobody expected. Destroy All Humans! lives once again, ready to take one giant step on mankind for the glory of the Furon empire as you lay waste to our civilisation in pursuit of delicious DNA. And let me tell you something brother: Destroy All Humans! must have been well ahead of its time in the satire department.
Whether it’s a reminder of cyclical stupidity or how the more things change the more they remain the same, Destroy All Humans! feels like a timely reminder thanks to its Cold War themes, B-Movie hysteria and an art design that makes the most out of the mom ‘n pop golden age of the USA so that you can run wild with Americana anarchy on your agenda.
Some jokes haven’t aged well, but they’re delivered with impeccable style and talent. Richard Horvitz’s wonderful high-pitched voice is no stranger to the ears of anyone who spend many an afternoon being mentally scarred by Invader Zim, while J. Grant Albrecht’s Crypto nails the role of an alien soldier sent to terrorise the planet with his own sinister vocal undertones.
While nothing’s really changed in the narrative department, Destroy All Humans! has spent plenty of its incubation time back in the gameplay overhaul oven. Developer Black Forest Games have taken the frame of the original, and spruced it up with a number of more modern ideas. Vaporising humans with disintegrator rays, ripping their grey matter out of their anal cavities using horrendously hilarious gadgets and using cows as lethal ordinance with Crypto’s telekinesis now feels better, smoother and faster than ever before.
There’s a certain joy to causing all manner of chaos, whether you’re harvesting DNA from unaware rubes or hopping into your flying saucer to dish out some identifiable flying obliteration, with the stakes naturally increasing as armed services begin assembling counter-measures to finally bring you back down to Earth.
Even better, Destroy All Humans! has an underrated emphasis on stealth, with the ability to disguise yourself with holographs, read thoughts and sway weak-minded fools to your cause still holding up surprisingly well!. You can of course plug some points between missions into your various skills, eventually creating a one-alien army that can rip thoughts and brains out of all manner of orifices with ruthless efficiency in the name of the Furon Empire.
Combined with a much-needed mechanical upgrade that allows you to use multiple abilities in tandem, and for the most part Destroy All Humans! feels as fresh to play in 2020 as it did in 2015. That sensation can only go so far however, with many missions being derivative of each other as you scour the map for items, sow chaos and infiltrate your way across Human strongholds.
However, by doubling down on this golden path and making the journey that much more memorable with optional challenges and being able to actually revisit stages, Destroy All Humans! is still a destructive distraction to engage in. It’s pure comfort junk food, an uncomplicated romp in these convoluted times that we live in.
It’s also a handsome game to observe in action, with its remaster sporting a massive number of upgrades and redesigns. Crypto himself actually looks like a little green man from Mars (although don’t tell him that), his great big brain bulging with barely restrained revulsion and veins as he tears through capital cities and monuments. Environments look great, subtle effects can be found everywhere and Black Forest has designed a number of options that’ll push any computer towards benchmarking territory as you cycle up the Ultra settings. Honestly, it’s a reminder that I need to finish my own upgrades.
Last Updated: July 27, 2020