Destroy All Humans! (2020 Remake) Review: E.T. Don’t Phone Home…

2005 for many is not that long ago, but in the video game industry it can seem like it was a lifetime away. With the advancements in technology, graphics becoming more cutting-edge by the week, and a new console genration on the way, the quest to find another gaming challenge seems to always be there every time one turns on their Xbox, Nintendo, or Playstation. With this latest generation of the Switch, Xbox One, and Playstation 5, one of the best qualities that should be remembered has been the constant need for developers and publishers to reach back into the shelves and dust off an old classic with a fresh coat of digital paint.

While it has been done before previously, and will be done numerous times more in the coming years, the drive to remake and remaster older titles has been both a blessing and a curse for gamers in recent years. Remastered games like Final Fantasy VII, Shadow of the Colossus, and the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy have rekindled the fascination for these titles as gamers look for more classic “oldies but goodies” to be revisited once again on their favorite console. As we have seen, big names of the past have usually gone to the front of the line when it comes to the remakes, but there are so many cult classics, forgotten gems and “diamonds in the rough” from years past that eventually some studio will remeber and make an effort to try and cash in on some worthwhile nostalgia. THQ Nordic has delved into this realm on more than one occasion and with a remake of the 2005 Playstation 2/Original Xbox title Destroy All Humans! (2020, THQ Nordic, MSRP $39.99), they return to one of the more unique and self-aware games of the mid-2000s.

This quirky yet fascinating tale has the gamer playing the role of Cryptosporidium-137 (“Crypto” for short) as he explores and wreaks havoc upon Earth in search of his clone predecessor Cryptosporidium-136. His guidance and suggestions from his fellow traveler/mentor Orthopox-13 (“Pox”) assist in mission structure, informing Crypto to approach the next objective with stealth, information gathering, capture, or destructive intentions in mind. And with these different mission structures come large maps (not open-world as some have labeled it), many of which exemplify a fear-mongering, cold war 1950s suburbia that the developers seeming had a good time poking fun at throughout the entire play through. From this experience comes a variety of level design and objective completion that some may wince at for its rigid “do this or else start again”, that for most part will provide humor and interest due to required tasks not running long and overstaying their welcome.

THQ went in a more pleasing direction with Destroy All Humans! because of the slight tweaks from a standard offering in the sandbox gaming genre. There’s always a great time to be had with the abilities that are given and when to use them, whether the gamer has Crypto using telekinesis to throw objects and creatures high into the distance, mentally shatter an enemy just to pluck their brains for their DNA, use the holobob feature to impersonate any character or one needed to advance in the game. Most importantly Crypto can of course cause mass destruction by zapping, mind melting, anal probing, or blasting up federal agents, the military, or population with your equipped ray gun or flying saucer. The game even by today’s standards does a nice job of providing equal balance to both the story, characters, and gameplay. Missions may require you to do one or a multiple of these abilities in order to complete the objective and the level design keeps in tune with the story of finding a lost comrade and in the process messing with the hapless Earthlings in every way possible.

The game in this 2020 wrapping has its charm, with a bonus level added for this version and an updated fresh look that serves it well. It still however also carries over many of the games minor flaws. Small issues with frame rates, dialogue loops from the NPC’s being used over and over, and loose controls while using the saucer are among the most noatble. The game’s upgrading system for Crypto or his saucer using DNA currency is basic, and for most of the game seemed unecessary for the gamer to even experience.

With all this said, the 2020 reimagining of Destroy All Humans! is an amusing game that engages the player with familiar open-world stlye gameplay and objectives albeit from a different point of view. If gamers can’t have a good time stealing brains from the authorities, infiltrating small towns, and many of the other ways your average space alien can destroy the Earth, then maybe looking into an alterior form of entertainment might be the best thing to do. The original troll for our society may have not be born from social media. It may just have come from video game’s galxy far, far, away.

(Please note that for this review, Pop Culture Cosmos/Game Source did receive a review code/model/sample from the company/developer/public relations firm responsible for distribution to the press.)

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