Remasters! Remakes! Take an old game, do a port job and sell it for a budget price to try and get a couple extra dollars. It’s good business sense, sure, but the results of a remaster can vary somewhat when it comes to the end product. Sometimes old games are given new life on fresh hardware and other times, well…it’d probably be better to just pull out the ol’ dusty consoles from the back of the closet.
With this modern remaster of 2005’s Destroy All Humans! we are, mercifully, treated to a great example of the former situation – a creaky older title buffed up until it’s shiny and new, then unleashed upon an unsuspecting planet once more.
In the distant past, the world was invaded by aliens! The Furon race decided to drop by, do alien things, and in the process of doing those alien things they might have, er, mingled with the locals a little bit. As a result, all humans possess a tiny bit of Furon DNA. Modern Furons, meanwhile, are a race that reproduces entirely via cloning and genetic engineering, but this is taking a toll on the Furon genetic code. To ensure the race doesn’t go extinct, Furon invaders Cryptosporidium and Orthopox come back to Earth to harvest what DNA they can and, in the process, deal with those worthless humans once and for all.
Destroy All Humans! was definitely a product of its time, both in terms of content and gameplay. It was a raunchy run-and-gun game with open-world elements for the sixth console generation. Not a bad game by any means but it’s a little tough to swallow these days; it’s a little slow, a little goofy and the humor’s a little juvenile. Think South Park with bug-eyed aliens and blasters and you’ve got the idea.
You’ll play as Crypto, who runs around zapping humans, blowing them up and, of course, giving them the ol’ anal probe, because everyone knows aliens do that. Doing so allows you to collect DNA, which can be spent on upgrades for your alien and gear. Along with the on-foot action you can also chug around in a flying saucer, laying waste to humanity on a much larger scale, or sneak about with the Holobob hologram projector. It’s classic old-school action and definitely trends toward a more “power fantasy” sort of game thanks to the sheer power of your tech compared to the humans; the pathetic Earthlings have to really bust their butts to put up any sort of challenge against your Furon might. Cackling is optional.
As a remake, this version of Destroy All Humans! helps make that power fantasy a little more accessible. Unlike the original game, for instance, the open-world setup changes things a little by dividing the game into explicit missions and having you return to Crypto’s ship as you’ve completed them; it’s a nice touch and helps the experience feel a little more structured. You can still visit previously-completed areas to search for secrets and bonuses, of course, but there’s no longer that sense of aimless wandering. Ammo for your weapons is much more accessible, you can shoot while using your telekinetic powers and jetpack…it just feels like a modern game.
That applies to Destroy All Humans’ presentation as well. It looks and feels absolutely fantastic; if it weren’t for the more rough aspects of the humor and content, it’d be easy to think this was a modern game all along. Environments look great, characters look great and it all runs smooth as silk. Looks like those worthless humans finally did something right. It’s easy to be reminded of the recent remaster of Saints Row: The Third, which did a similarly great job bringing that game into the modern era. It’s also a little hard to say whether we should be glad that quality remasters like this are becoming a thing or disappointed that this isn’t how things always were.
Either way, there’s no question this remake of Destroy All Humans! is worth your time. It’s classic sixth-gen gaming for today’s systems, with just enough changed to make for a more enjoyable gameplay experience without feeling like you’re playing a different game entirely. To be honest, this was never a revolutionary game and this beautiful remake isn’t going to broaden your horizons about what video games can do today. But with such a simple, easily defined premise you’re still bound to have a great time smashing those filthy humans into dust.