I only played a few hours of the original Destroy All Humans! back in 2005 when it was first released. It was stupid fun and spawned a fairly successful franchise with four games in the series, released until 2008. Then, the franchise just disappeared, until a remake of the first game in 2020. Now, in 2022, there’s a remake of the sequel. From developer Black Forest Games and published by THQ Nordic comes Destroy All Humans! 2: Reprobed.
“Crypto is back with a license to probe. The alien invader returns, groovier than ever. Experience the swinging ‘60s in all its chemical-induced glory and take revenge on the KGB for blowing up your mothership. You’ll have to form alliances with members of the very species you came to enslave.”
Set 10 years after the events of the first game’s 50s setting. It is now the swinging 60s and Crypto (or a clone of him) finds himself drawn into a plot that takes him around the globe as he meets a rather comical collection of characters that help and hinder his mission to take out the KGB that destroyed his mothership. If you have never played a Destroy All Humans! before, then the basics are that you play as an alien called Crypto (Cryptosporidium) who originally set out on a mission to harvest humans and use their DNA to help to make clones of his alien species. The original was a game about causing mayhem and destruction on Earth, while enslaving the human race.
First up, Destroy All Humans! 2: Reprobed, like the original, is pretty damn funny. The characters that you meet and the things that Crypto says are crammed with humour, parody and pop culture references. The fact it is set in the 60s means you get plenty of Austin Powers-like comedy shenanigans thrown in. The game is split into several small-ish open-world levels, all based on countries and cities around the globe. You start in America and San Francisco. Here, you can expect a lot of stereotypical 60s casual drug use, hippies and free love references. You then move on to London, England where you cross paths with a James Bond/George Lazenby character (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was released in 1969, when this game is set) and are drawn into a spy plot. All against the backdrop of mods vs rockers and typical London-based humour. Before moving on to Japan where you’ll face… well kaiju, ninjas and more.
The various locations used in Destroy All Humans! 2: Reprobed are actually really well done and detailed, as long as you have a sense of humour about such things and don’t take yourself (or the game) too seriously. The NPCs are all outfitted in period-specific clothing and everything feels ‘authentic’, on a comedic level, at least. You’ll see plenty of tie-dye and Jimi Hendrix look-a-likes in San Francisco. Then in London, it’s all The Beatles/mop-top hairstyles and women dressed in black & white dresses and so on, with NPCs talking about Monty Python. Again, this is very stereotypical and that is what the humour is based around.
For instance, there’s a female ex-KGB agent that you work with and she is heavily sexualised, tight outfit, with massive tits resulting in an impressive cleavage and topped off with Crypto making lewd comments. If you are going to spit your dummy out over some possibly ‘outdated’ jokes, tough, that’s just the type of game this is. Personally, I really enjoyed the humour here though, but I’m not a stuck-up snowflake that judges 16 year old content by today’s standards. That tasteless humour carries over to Crypto and his alien species too. We are talking even more serotypes here. Little green men, anal probes and the like. It’s stupid and puerile but nonetheless funny for it. One could even see it as a satirical jab at the kind of people who do bitch and moan about outdated humour by sticking a middle finger up to them, intentionally or not.
I actually have to applaud the devs for keeping all of the content in tact as it originally was, instead of censoring to suit the sad-sacks of today’s climate. Though they did include a warning before you start the game that some of the jokes, references and content is from a time when wankers didn’t get upset at the slightest thing.
In terms of how the game plays, what you get is a 16 year old game with nicer graphics. Nothing much has been improved here outside of the visuals and whether that is a good or bad thing is really going to boil down to the simple question of, did you enjoy the game first time around? As I mentioned in the opening, I only played a few hours of the original, I really don’t have any nostalgic affinity to this franchise at all. I do think that newcomers could be put off by the ‘dated’ gameplay and relatively small open-world areas that do make up the various areas of the game. The missions can become very ‘samey’ after a few hours and there isn’t a great deal to do in terms of side missions when compared to similar titles today.
For me, as someone who only played a handful of hours of the first game and never touched any of the sequels, I found Destroy All Humans! 2: Reprobed very refreshing. I have become very jaded with the open-world genre these days. Massive maps with way too much content that begins to feel more like a grind than a joy before too long. There may not be a huge amount of variety in terms of missions here and you will be doing a lot of guiding NPCs to locations or just blasting away at enemies over and over. Yes, it gets a bit redundant, but I still found it fun. Still, there is a pretty extensive upgrade system for Crypto’s weapons and ship that could hold your interest for longer. Speaking of those weapons, there’s a great selection that offers plenty of variety. From lighting guns to meteor strikes. The combat here is simple but really satisfying too. Taking on mobs of police and KGB agents while hitting them with your anal probe weapon never becomes tired or unfunny.
Crypto is also armed with various alien skills and talents, such as being able to mind control NPCs or using their bodies as a disguise. Various metal abilities such as PK (Psycho-Kinesis) where you can pick up objects and people and throw them about with the power of your mind and so on. As I said before, it’s all very stereotypical.
It is £35 for the vanilla version will be available on PC, PS5 and Xbox Series S|X from the 30th of August. There’s another more expensive version that adds some extra content and more character skins. The big question is, is it worth paying £35 for a remake of a game that was originally released 16 years ago? This is a tough one to answer. I mean, you’d think that the remake would include all of the content and character skins as standard. The fact that there are different versions of this game does make me scratch my head a bit. Even when the original game was released back in 2006, it got ‘favourable’ reviews, it wasn’t a title that set the gaming world alight, but it did well enough at the time.
This remake is the exact same game as the original, with a few minor control refinements and improved graphics. I mean yeah, it looks great, especially when compared to the original release. A local co-op option has been added so that you can play through the entire game with a friend via some split-screen action. Then there are a load of skins for Crypto to use… and that’s about it. But is that really worth £35? For me, no. I’m not saying that Destroy All Humans! 2: Reprobed was not fun, I really enjoyed it. But, for me, I didn’t see a £35 game here. Even taking on board that this is a remake and not just a simple remaster, it is still a 16 year old game and it does play like one too. I also came across a few technical issues that (I hope) will be worked on via a patch. But none of those issues are really worth bringing up as they were only minor niggles more so than detrimental problems.
If you were a big fan of the game back in the day, you’ll most definitely love this remake, because it is the same game but with nicer visuals and some control tweaks. But I think newcomers will be left feeling a little underwhelmed as it does feel dated in a lot of ways.