Destroy All Humans! 2020 Xbox One X Review

Destroy All Humans! doesn’t take itself seriously and in doing so provides a fun and short adventure as you kill humans and conquer Earth in the name of the Furon Empire

By Grayshadow, Posted 27 Jul 2020

Destroy All Humans! was a unique title when it launched back in 2005. With players taking the role of an alien invader set on conquering Earth and taking revenge. The first title was well-received for having players play as the villain but was short for a full-price title. There were 2 more games after the first, with the third game being the final due to poor sales and reception and the series being dormant. THQ Nordic has revived the franchise and remade the first game for modern gamers to enjoy and older gamers to revisit but this isn’t a simple HD remake. Black Forest Games has provided a refreshing update to the dated visuals and massive improvements to the core gameplay. Destroy All Humans! doesn’t take itself seriously and in doing so provides a fun and short adventure as you kill humans and conquer Earth in the name of the Furon Empire.

Destroy All Humans!,THQ Nordic,NoobFeed,

In terms of narrative, Destroy All Humans! 2020 is a retelling of the original game. A Furon, Cryptosporidium-136, crashed on Earth while on a mission to retrieve pure Furon DNA from the human race. Humans were created by the Furon centuries ago after the planet was seeded but during a rocket test 136 ship crashes. Now 136 is left stranded, wounded, and captured by the humans. Crypto-137 travels to Earth along with Orthopox-13, Pox for short, to rescue 136 from the humans, destroy all Furon technology captured by the humans, and get the planet ready for conquest.

The adventure plays out like a parody of a 1960s alien movie. Everything from the human dialogue to Crypto’s arsenal of weapons is taken from popular stereotypes. This includes the notorious anal probe and the flying saucer. The game never takes itself seriously despite you killing dozens of humans in horrific ways such as exploding their heads to harvest the person’s brain, disintegration, and destroying large amounts of buildings. It instead focuses on being a dark fun adventure that takes all the death and calamity with good spirits.

The visuals are the most striking change compared to the original. Putting the original side by side with the modern version you can see how far game development has come in just 15 years. With incredible particle effects, detailed character models, and vastly improved lighting. Crypto and Pox look amazing and the developers even got the original voice actors such as Richard Horvitz to play Pox who is known for voicing Zim from Invader Zim and Moxxie Helluva Boss.

Destroy All Humans!,THQ Nordic,NoobFeed,

The ordinary human character models are a bit off. They all have this plastic look to them, especially their hair, but it works for this type of game. The presentation is so wacky and the humans act in such 1960s stereotypical ways that seeing their skin shine like a barbie doll adds to the atmosphere. That these people are just walking dolls to be used by the more powerful, whether they are human or not.

The story is separated into missions set in a small open area. During the mission, you’re given a series of tasks with limited options on how to complete them. The main objective usually involves remaining hidden but sometimes you can cause havoc. Most of the time you’ll need to use a disguise to take the place of a powerful figure, trick humans to further your own goals, or sneak into highly guarded areas for vital information.  Frequently a side objective will be provided that if completed will yield more brain stems. Brain stems being the game’s experience system that allows Crypto to unlock more powerful upgrades for his weapons and ship. You can earn extra brain stems by returning to levels and completing optional objectives, collecting drones littered in the environment, or by extracting them from killed humans.

The developers have increased the number of upgrades to triple the amount of the original game but due to the game’s length unless you spend a lot of time grinding you’ll get about half of them before reaching the final stage. Once you do get the upgrades Crypto is almost unkillable. There’s no great secret boss or challenge to overcome that encourages getting everything, which is disappointing.

Destroy All Humans!,THQ Nordic,NoobFeed,

You’ll be disguising yourself a lot in this game as increased exposure will lead to greater resistance. Similar to GTA’s wanted system, the more people are aware of Crypto will increase the more powerful enemies will appear. Thankfully, the developers did include the ability to jump while disguised which was an annoying limitation in the original game. There are lots of human-weapons to combat Crypto’s abilities such as agents capable of draining his power meter and EMPs to disable his weapons. You can always recharge this meter by simply reading the mind of a human.

The environments are beautiful and have also been given a much-needed facelift. In the original, given the technical limitations then, had environments that were mostly bland stretches of the same assets with rare deviations in the pattern along with repetitive optional objectives. Here the developers added a lot more variety of life to the environments. With more characters, buildings, and generally better environmental design. It’s a huge improvement that makes exploring much more enjoyable. However, I did encounter random periods of the frame rate slowing down or textures loading in while in-game but these were rare and not a huge issue. Since the game follows the same narrative of the original open space outside the core missions serves more for optional challenges.

The developers didn’t stop at improving the visuals, they made significant changes to the controls for the better. The original didn’t have the best movement system for Crypto. He felt floaty and very slow, here that’s been resolved with better mobility and momentum. The new dash ability makes walking much quicker and the jetpack’s control has been updated for better stability when flying. Aiming is a lot easier and if needed a lock-on system is available but it does remove much of the challenge. The control scheme is much easier is use ammo collection and has been altered. Now you earn ammo from Transmog worthless items in the environment instead of finding it in the area. Due to the random nature of this option, you won’t always get the ammo type you want.

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You can still use your spaceship and will need it to complete certain objectives. The space ship handles well enough and the joy of destroying entire areas with a death ray is still as fun as ever. Crypto now is able to absorb health from machines to charge his ship's shielding and using the same ammo recharge method as when Crypto is on the ground.

Bosses have been retooled for an added difficulty. Unlike the original, each boss encounter now has 3 phases. Each phase unlocks new attacks for the boss the use and new attacks such as floating landmines or calling allies for support. It’s better but I did wish they went the extra mile and added more fights like these.

This is still a short game, clocking in at about 4-5 hours depending on your skill. You can gather all the drones, replay stages with unlocked gear, and complete all the optional objectives to get all the upgrades but there’s very little reason to do so. There are some optional costumes that Crypto can wear and appear during cutscenes but that’s about it.

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Load times can be annoying, especially when retrying challenges. If you happen to fail, restarting a challenge can take up to 30 seconds to reload. The final set of challenges within the last 3 stages of the game offers the most difficult time trials and with load times being as long as they are failing means enduring another massive load time.

Destroy All Humans! is an excellent remake with improved visuals and better controls. Returning to Crypto’s beginnings as an invader was a great journey down memory lane and those experiencing this adventure for the first time will find an interesting dark comedy adventure. Probing, killing, and obliterating the human resistance is still just as fun now as it was back in 2005. With Destroy All Humans! showing that this franchise still has life and should return for another tour of alien carnage.

Adam Siddiqui,
Managing Editor, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, PC
Publisher(s): THQ Nordic
Developer(s): Black Forest Games
Genres: Action-Adventure
Themes: Science-Fiction
Release Date: 2020-07-28

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