Crypto and the Furons are back in a ramped up remake that often is held back by itself.
I have been a huge fan of the Destroy All Humans franchise ever since it first debuted nearly two decades ago. The crude and daft humour, matched up with the destructive gameplay and futuristic weapons and gear, makes for great entertainment, and did so throughout the mid-to-late 2000s, and has once again started to do so following the launch of the remake of the original in 2020. That first remake proved that developer Black Forest Games had an engine that could truly serve up a very pretty video game, but it wasn’t until this second remake, Destroy All Humans 2 – Reprobed, that I became really excited for what could be served up. And this is because this remade sequel is a current-gen game only, meaning it has been designed with PC, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series in mind. I’ve been immersed in the adventures of Cryptosporidium-138 over the past couple of weeks, and while there is clearly a lot to love here, it’s hard not to feel like this is a series trapped in time.
But before I get into what I mean by that, let’s talk about the positives and what makes this remake so brilliant. At the forefront, as I noted a moment ago, is the graphics and visuals. While there are some clunky facial animations, what Black Forest Games has created is an incredibly detailed and pretty game, one that is one of the best looking titles I’ve seen in this new era of video games. Sure, this is partly down to the fact that Destroy All Humans 2 – Reprobed isn’t an open world game in the same vein of say Horizon Forbidden West, rather it’s a series of mini open world levels that you can travel to and cause havoc in. But, the causing havoc part is important, because you can see that by leaving PS4 and Xbox One behind, the developers have been able to really crank up the destruction in this game, to the point where cruising around in your spaceship and using the Death Ray to incinerate people and flora, and to reduce buildings to rubble is a step above what was available in the first remake. It’s a very welcome improvement that just betters the gameplay experience as a whole.
Similarly, as the game doesn’t need to generate and operate each of the five levels at once, the smaller open world-type levels allow Reprobed to really make each location feel alive, with bustling crowds, loads of traffic, and tons of soldiers, KGB Agents, cops, and other factions that want to stop your destructive efforts. It doesn’t matter whether you are in the US near Golden Gate Bridge, or travelling around the historic London townscape, or even fighting Kaiju in Japan, each location feels immaculately designed and packed with charisma and detail – at least on a surface level that is.
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And I say this because this is where my problems with Reprobed begin to take effect. While the premise of remaking games is to preserve the integrity of the original, the game that this is remaking came from 2006, which meant it has a lot of very dated gameplay mechanics and systems. Be it the open world locations, which are bolstered with dull collectibles, or the missions that are basic and typically repetitive, to the point where most missions simply ask you to escort a person while you zap, throw, incinerate, and anally probe attacking humans. Don’t get me wrong, this is a pretty fun thing to do, but going from modern titles and then coming to a game like this (which is masked in a visual aesthetic that would make you think it was brand new) is a very jarring situation, one where it does actually become a little tiresome as the story progresses, as it never really does anything to surprise you gameplay elements wise.
That being said, by sticking so closely to the original you do get a game that is as unfiltered as it was back in the mid-2000s. Crypto as a character is as crude as they come, and the tone of the game is very similar, with humour, jokes, and puns that would be ripe to be socially cancelled in a completely new title these days.
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It should also be said at this point that I’ve had a few different issues with bugs during my time playing. Some were inconsequential, such as traffic having strange pile-ups that led to groups of 20+ vehicles all coming together at a single crossroad, or even strange audio bugs that made it impossible to hear Crypto talking when he was piloting his flying saucer. Other times the bugs became more serious, including hard crashes, but with the worst being in the final boss fight in the entire game, where I found myself unable to remove the anti-Furonity armour and therefore could not damage the opponent in any way whatsoever. It was… frustrating, to say the least.
So, all in all, Destroy All Humans 2 – Reprobed is a bit of a mixed bag for me. On one hand, I love how simple and straightforward and daft the gameplay is, where you can focus your efforts on tearing apart the world and terrorising the humans that live in it. Then on the other hand, it’s hard to look past the gameplay systems at the core, which feel immeasurably dated at times, to the point where it can become boring to play. And sure, the bugs don’t help, but Black Forest Games will no doubt iron them out soon. Essentially, Is it fun? Yes. But other than that and being a pretty face, it’s not much else.