Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed

Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed

Less destroy than mildly irritate...

Destroy All Humans! 2 - Reprobed

It doesn’t feel like it’s been that long since the last time we embodied one of the Cryptosporidium clones and set about trying to annihilate the population of Earth… and it’s not.  The Destroy All Humans! remake from 2 years back has managed to stay relatively fresh in memory, and obviously did enough to warrant THQ Nordic pawing through the rest of the series and giving the sequel the makeover treatment.  Tackling the more ambitious follow up Pandemic originally released in 2006, Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed aims to deliver a bigger, bolder and more varied experience that will drag you through Crypto’s adventures on (and off) the planet as he attempts to integrate with the world more than remove the whole population.  There’s quite a bit more at play in the follow up and this seems to be the reason there’s only new gen versions of it available… so can the extra horsepower deliver the innuendo, wisecracks and wanton destruction of the original vision?

Picking up 10 years after the first game, Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed has our anti-hero Crypto-137 no longer in the picture, and his clone (138) is living it up whilst disguised as the American president.  The Soviet Union have been running intelligence ops to uncover the secret of the Furon invasion, and knowing that Crypto is in possession of “the package” decide to eliminate the threat to the planet.  Shooting the mothership down causes the world to see Crypto for who he really is, as well as taking out his handler Pox, and pretty much all his technical advantages.  This sets up a jaunt around the globe for Crypto to recover the lost Furon tech, stop the KGB menace, and uncover a far bolder conspiracy than he thought possible.  Aided by a digital recreation of Pox, some droids and the femme fatale Natalya, it’s time to put the destroying to one side for a while and get some plain old fashioned answers.

For those that haven’t played the original version, Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed is basically a recreation of that game with some fancier graphics and effects.  There’s even a notice at the start to remind players that the game was published three console generations ago, and is a product of the attitudes and media of the time… so try not to get too offended by Crypto’s outdated musings.  Structurally it’s the same as the first title too – each “level” is a small open world populated by NPCs and buildings, and you run missions in them to progress the story.  Each area is larger and more dense that before, and offers up increased options for things to do in terms of side missions, upgrades to focus on and collectible hunts; yet they retain the same level of destructibility and chaos making that made the adventures of the little grey alien stand out.  For a game that’s knocking on to two decades old, the features were surprisingly detailed, from the variety of weapons to the flexibility of the various psychic powers, on to the way it uses stealth and subterfuge quite liberally, and even rudimentary dialogue trees.  It’s not got the scale of the likes of GTAIII which would have been a contemporary of the time, but there’s a lot crammed in.

Action is split between running around on the ground and flying a saucer through the air, with the latter probably being less than 20% of the overall game.  This makes sense because it’s the third person shooting where the detail is, and it’s much more solid than you may remember.  Weapons feel unique in their application and there’s a good deal of circle strafing fun to be had with the combat.  Mixing things up by telekinetically throwing objects and enemies, or psychically ripping brains straight from craniums, is satisfying and responsive, and overall you feel you can take on virtually any threat it can throw at you… in the early stages at least.  As with nearly every game, Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed wants you to go after the levelling up drug and here it’s in improving the weapons by earning points at the end of missions, or by hoovering up certain types of humans to mash them into a brain improving paste (that’s what I imagine Crypto does with them, anyway).  There’s a decent amount to use at all times, and they unlock at steady rates throughout the game, meaning there’s usually a new toy every couple of hours.

Getting airborne mostly means raining down terror from above, if the script calls for it.  Strangely, the UFO isn’t as often used for destruction as it was in the first game, it acts more as a mobile base and upgrade centre, as well as a more traditional mode of transport.  The maps aren’t large by today’s standards, but running from one end to the other can be a pain with all the alerts being triggered for being seen, so a stealth saucer comes in handy.  That’s if you’ve unlocked the landing pads dotted around, otherwise you’re stuck returning to the starting point.  Disguising yourself as a human is only a couple of quick button presses, and can be done from distance, so it’s the easiest way to move without getting in a fight, just be mindful of the time limit and that they seem to move a lot slower than Crypto on his own.  Reading minds and uncovering intel is much simpler when you’re able to stand next to your target undetected, and if things do go pear shaped it’s not a problem to blast everyone with your love gaze and set them off partying and ignoring you.  If anyone gets too nervous and calls the cops you can wipe their memory and skedaddle before they realise what’s going on.

There’s something in Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed that makes it feel like a bigger game than it actually is.  The options for the mission approach are laid out and you can tackle them strategically or offensively, though there are plenty where you’re forced down a path.  It may be that in the first area, Bay City, it seems like there’s more to do and that reduces down as you progress – or it’s just the natural flow of the story making you focus on those elements rather than stopping and just deciding to cause a bit of mayhem.  It’ll probably take about 12 hours to get to the conclusion with some minor sidetracking, and if you’ve a friend in the room then you can rope them in to help with local co-op.  Thorough gamers will be looking at bagging all the extra goodies like outfits and weapon improvements, and replaying missions to complete all optional objectives is possible too.  Those in need of a break from the conspiracy tale can take part in errands or an underlying cult side mission that sees the ancient Furon god Arkvoodle’s religion take hold, but this is the point where things start to go south.

About 3 missions in I thought the game was broken and that was it, I was done with it.  In one of the side missions there’s a challenge to place vans on the building rooftops using your saucer’s tractor beam, and there are only two controls.  Press to pick up, let go to put down.  Randomly, the van would be launched at the roof and destroy the entire structure, failing the mission.  I figured that was it, I was stuck in the first area waiting for a patch… but no, I’d just needed to follow the campaign to carry on.  This did block progress for the Arkvoodle quest though and made me wonder how that had got through Q&A.  That said, it’s not the worst thing that’s passed the beta testers.  Whilst the screens look nice and colourful and sharp, and the character modelling has updated well, the screentear present through virtually the entire game is off-putting.  It’s something that simply shouldn’t appear, there’s nothing on the surface that seems that taxing to cause it.  Get to a cutscene and the dialogue audio is in sync, but none of the other effects are, some being about 20 seconds behind the video, so they rarely make sense.  Whether this will be patched for release or not I can’t say, but we’re 5 days away and the review code hasn’t been changed yet, so I have to assume the lack of polish will make it through.

It’s a bit of a shame that the presentation lets Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed down because there’s a pretty faithful recreation of the original here that came at a transition point between console generations, and quite a few people might have missed it.  Crypto’s adventure isn’t the most politically correct, yet it’s far from offensive, and having the Jack Nicholson-esque alien blasting up the scenery can be quite enjoyable.  Each boss fight is worked up to be the right level of challenging, though even those are subject to the odd shonky bit of physics – I beat the final one because he decided to lay on his side kicking his legs in the air as I electrocuted him for 5 minutes.  It’s a bit strange that the effort has gone in to make it look pretty and have loads of new outfits to wear, when fixing the performance issues and character behaviour might have been a better shout.  That said, it’s a decent amount of fun and if you’re able to look through the weird behaviours it’ll pass a few hours of your time and may raise a wry smile every now and then.

A PS5 review copy of Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed was provided by THQ Nordic’s PR team, and the game is out now on PC, Xbox and PlayStation for around £40.

The Verdict


The Good: Models updated well | Gameplay holds up quite well | Crypto still engaging

The Bad: Oddly poor performance | Brings some of the original’s foibles along

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Co-founder & Editor at Codec Moments

Gamer, F1 fanatic, one half of the Muddyfunkrs DJ duo (find us over on Hive Radio UK), MGS obsessed, tech geek.

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