Destroy All Humans! (Switch) – Review
Follow Genre: Action, adventure
Developer: Black Forest Games
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Platform: Switch, PC, Xbox One, PS4, Google Stadia
Tested on: Switch

Destroy All Humans! (Switch) – Review

Site Score
6.3
Good: Fantastic soundscape
Bad: Missions feel bland and outdated
User Score
8.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Back in 2005, Pandemic Studios released Destroy All Humans! on the PS2 and the original Xbox. The game was successful enough to warrant a few sequels, and although Pandemic Studios was shut down by EA in 2009, the Destroy All Humans! franchise lived on in some form or another, with remakes and re-releases arriving through other studios, courtesy of publisher THQ Nordic. It’s the same THQ Nordic that brought us the 2020 version of Destroy All Humans!, a straight-up remake of Pandemic’s original game, this time developed by Black Forest Games. The remake has now arrived on the Switch, and it’s that version that we’re looking at today. Should Crypto-137 probe your Switch or is this an invasion that you don’t want in your library?

Story

In a twist on the classic alien invasion trope, players take on the role of the extraterrestrials that are attempting to take over Earth. Our story, which is told through lengthy, fully animated cutscenes, centers around Cryptosporidium-137, or Crypto for short, an alien of the Furon race. This unlikely protagonist is sent to Earth after his predecessor clone, Crypto-136, is killed in a freak accident. Crypto must find out what happened to Crypto-136 and gather Furon DNA along the way, as humans carry strands of this inside them (don’t ask). Unfortunately for the human race, the Furons are rather nasty little buggers and Crypto is hell-bent on wreaking havoc along the way -and the fact that his superior leader Orthopox is shouting instructions at every single opportunity doesn’t help either. Crypto ends up in rural 1950s America, and ends up having to deal with farm animals, the US army, and a handful of mysterious men dressed in black…

The game’s B-movie plot and raunchy jokes have remained virtually untouched compared to the original release, and because of this, when you boot up Destroy All Humans! for the first time, you’re greeted with a warning screen. A lot has happened in the 15+ years since the game debuted, and some of the game’s riskier humor has not stood the test of time well -the same unfortunately applies to the gameplay, but we’ll get back to that later on in this review. We understand the need to add the warning, as some of the scenes in Destroy All Humans! can be considered offensive, but we’re happy to see that the story itself wasn’t censored or butchered and is presented as it was back in 2005.

Graphics

Black Forest Games has rebuilt Destroy All Humans!’s visuals from the ground up, and the new graphics are perhaps the game’s biggest selling point. From what we’ve seen on other platforms, the visual upgrade looks fantastic and really helps to sell Destroy All Humans! as a modern title, even if it has the heart of a Playstation 2 game beating on the inside. Unfortunately, the new coat of paint does not make as much of an impact when looking at the Switch version, which is to be expected given the hybrid console’s graphical processing power, which is significantly lower than that of its competitors. Black Forest Games went for performance over graphical polish and the result is a game that suffers from muddy textures and a lack of visual fidelity. This is less apparent during the game’s cutscenes, but while you’re actually playing the game, it’s rough to look at. Mind you, the visuals aren’t so bad that the game becomes unplayable but given the remake’s reliance on impressing the player with its graphics, it’s clear that the Switch port is inferior to that on other platforms.

Sound

Contrasting with the graphics is Destroy All Humans!’s soundscape, which is among the better audio experiences we’ve heard in video games recently. The voice acting is stellar, with engaging performances from pretty much every voice you hear. Most of the performances are deliberately over the top, and it’s clear that the cast was having fun hamming it up. The theremin heavy music sounds like it came straight out of a ’50s B-movie, which is suitable given the game’s setting and subject matter. Of note here is that the audio itself wasn’t re-recorded for this new version. Instead, you’re being presented with a remastered version of the original audio, which serves as a testament to how good the performances were back in the day.

Gameplay

If you’re unfamiliar with the original release, Destroy All Humans! is a 3D action game where you take control of protagonist alien Crypto as you wreak terror and havoc across the American countryside in the 1950s. You’ll be tasked with completing a series of missions in order to ensure the dominance of the Furon race over the puny Earthlings. As we mentioned before, this is a remake of a 2005 game with the same title, and this remake sticks very close to the original, adding only a few updates, including a mission that was scrapped from the original game. The Switch version also comes with the -cosmetic- Skin Pack DLC, which is a neat little extra.

In terms of controls, running around as Crypto feels incredibly satisfying and it’s lovely to see how much effort was put into making Destroy All Humans! feel like a game that was designed for modern consoles. Given that the original was rebuilt from scratch, this makes sense of course, but it would’ve been incredibly easy to mess things up in this regard. Nevertheless, whether you’re exploring the six free-roaming areas at a ground level, or taking to the skies in your spacecraft, the game’s controls are tight and responsive. Admittedly, it may take a while to master some of the game’s actions, simply because there are so many options available to you. There are very few Switch titles that make use of this many different buttons. Once you familiarize yourself with these controls, however, things really open up and there is nearly limitless potential in how you choose to dispose of the human vermin that stands in your way. At least in theory, because the mission structure really throws a wrench in the potential fun that one could have with the game.

As this is a straight-up remake of the 2005 game, the experience is centered around the same 23 missions of the original, which are spread over six areas that you are free to roam around in. It is perhaps in its persistence to stick close to the original that Destroy All Humans! starts to come loose at the seams. Controlling Crypto-137 feels satisfying, and the game performs adequately on Switch, but the missions themselves have not aged well. Your objectives are typically simplistic and repetitive, and although it’s fun to try out a new or upgraded weapon, having to perform the same tasks over and over again becomes tedious. It may sound paradoxical, given the game’s over-the-top nature and its reliance on gore and shock humor but by modern standards, Destroy All Humans! is a bit of a snoozefest. Don’t get us wrong, the game can be challenging at times, and there are some severe difficulty spikes, but being hard doesn’t equal being fun, and this is where the mission structure of the game loses its luster.

To the credit of the original designers, the game does attempt to shake things up, and not every mission you’re asked to undertake is a carbon copy of the next, but most of them can be cleared by simply disguising yourself as a human, find a reasonably safe spot and then start fending off your enemies. Occasional missions that deviate from the free-roaming formula, such as the one where you need to escort an explosive device through hostile territory, are more frustrating than fun to complete and require an unreasonable amount of trial and error to complete. Adding insult to injury is the fact that Destroy All Humans! gives you a tremendous arsenal of weapons and upgrades, but then fails to do anything interesting with it. We would’ve preferred an “extended” edition of the game that adds some newly designed missions, or even a completely new game that makes use of the same gameplay but offers up missions that were designed with modern sensibilities in mind.

Conclusion

If you played the original game, we can’t blame you for being excited to be able to revisit Crypto’s adventures, but unfortunately, the game doesn’t really hold up to modern-day standards. While the gameplay is as tight as ever, the game fails to capitalize on its potential, due to its stubbornness to stick to the weak mission structure, which really hasn’t aged well. We really wanted to like this game, and we can see the potential that is hiding in the fantastic gameplay core. Here’s hoping for a sequel that capitalizes on the good things that are in the game, but the paradox is that the remake needs to do well enough to warrant a new entry in the series. That said, there is still some fun to be had with the game, but if you’re going to consider picking up Destroy All Humans!, we highly recommend doing so on any other platform than the Switch, as the graphical component really harms the overall experience.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Destroy All Humans! (Switch) - Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
SebastiaanRaats


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