With the current craze of re-releases and remasters comes a delicate balancing act – how to capture the spirit of the original game without sacrificing modern advancements in gaming mechanics and technology; it’s a difficult process. On one hand, you have games like the Crash Bandicoot trilogy, which in the process of remastering the original PlayStation releases may have created more issues than it realised. On the other, you have the upcoming remake of Final Fantasy VII, a game that’s nigh unrecognisable from the original turn-based RPG.
Enter Destroy All Humans, THQ Nordic’s attempt to recapture the spirit of the original 2002 sandbox title, while playing within the confines of the current video game generation. To that degree, DAH is more akin to last year’s MediEvil – a glorious homage with all the contemporary features under the hood.
The plot is practically the same as the original games – you play as Cryptosporidium, an alien of the Furon race, who has been sent to earth to harvest human DNA to save his race. You face off against many stereotypical B-movie characters, such as hillbillies, square-jawed military men, and intimidating FBI agents in suits. Not that any of those pesky humans really stand a chance, you have an entire alien arsenal on your side, plus a set of abilities that would make any superhero jealous, including telekinesis, mind-control, and a jetpack.
The best thing about DAH so far is how easy it is to just pick up and play. It takes next to no time to learn Crypto’s variety of skills, and once you get the hang of Crypto’s weapons and abilities, he is an absolute joy to play with. Zapping humans dead is great, but, say, flinging a cow at them at high velocity with telekinesis is just better. Not to mention, the feeling of mercilessly destroying barns, homes, and agricultural infrastructure alike with your UFO’s death ray is second-to-none. You could very much imagine yourself picking up DAH after a long day and losing hours just destroying things because it just feels fun.
One initial problem, however, is how quickly the gameplay can turn from fun to frustrating during missions. During one mission we played, the use of stealth in some areas was encouraged, but not explicitly, leading to many a frustrating restart, especially since using stealth would have been (in my opinion) antithetical to the joy of what the game was doing best. It’s an aspect that might be smoothed out within the whole game, and it’s entirely possible that with more abilities unlocked and more of the world to explore you could simply come back and run amok, guns blazing.
Nevertheless, what really ties the game together are the more anachronistic touches in DAH’s design. From movie-referencing cutscenes to sound effects that’d fit right in on a classic episode of Star Trek, DAH goes out of its way to feel like a classic alien caper. To that end, Destroy All Humans isn’t out to change the world of video gaming – few AA games are, truthfully. But if the rest of the game is anywhere close to the pre-alpha preview I played, it might just be a great time as well as a fun escape from the average gaming fare.
Destroy All Humans will launch on PS4, Xbox One and PC in 2020.