Unfortunately, I never did play the original Destroy All Humans when it was released in 2005 or any of the sequels and spinoffs. However, playing the remake of this fifteen year old game in 2020, has been a delight. For the sake of this review, I do not have anything to compare it to, so I will be approaching this game and review as a first time player to the franchise.
The game captures the cheesiness and essence of 1950s television and film. This game is like Leave it to Beaver… if there was a murderous alien killing everyone. Every character is an over-the-top caricature of Americans during this time. Midwesterners with accents so thick you can’t understand them, high school jocks in their Letterman jackets and cheerleader girlfriends, and politicians blaming everything bad on communism, and humor that is sharp, hilarious, and oddly enough, still relevant today.
You play Crypto, an alien with the mission of “destroying all humans” and trying to find an alien that crash landed on Earth. Crypto is basically Jack Nicholson… if he was an alien. You’re also going up against the suits of the government agency, The Majestic. This game is over the top violent but in a cartoonish and humorous way and not in a GTA. Red Dead Redemption kind of way. Sure, I might have a mission to kill X amount of people and there could be a bonus objective that requires me to kill them with a radioactive cow, or to drown them in the ocean, or have their head blow up, but nothing too violent, right?
The missions are given to you from the mothership, and yes, they do get a little repetitive but with all of the weapon and saucer upgrades, it incentivizes you to keep playing. I never once felt bored. You unlock ray and disintegration guns, mind control devices, and yes… anal probes. Being able to take over the appearance of a human and infiltrate areas without suspicion is great. What is even better is harvesting the minds of other humans to keep your disguise intact and hearing the thoughts of the citizens. This game is hilarious.
You control Crypto in third person on the ground or in his saucer. I will admit, the saucer portions of the game were my least favorite. The controls are clunky and I preferred to be on the ground causing chaos instead of the skies. While taking to the skies in the saucer, you are able to destroy buildings and the destruction is much larger, but in my opinion, the game is just better when I’m on the ground.
Graphically, the game is over the top cartoony and that is a good thing. It fits the game’s tone and aesthetic. The weapons, characters, and vehicles are all fit perfectly. No, this game doesn’t look as good as some of the other games on this generation, but it’s not supposed to. The sound design and voice acting is great too. Everything sounds exactly like you would expect a game about aliens set in the 1950s to sound. I honestly don’t know how to describe it other than that.
This game is good, not great. It does not excel at any one thing but it does everything at a satisfactory level. Where the game does take off is with the fun factor. It’s fun, goofy, and entertaining. Plain and simple.