Review: Destroy All Humans! (Playstation 2)

In this review, we steal some brain stems in the Playstation 2 game, Destroy All Humans! We find out how well this third person shooter game plays.

This game was released in 2005 and is the first game in the series.

You play as Crypto, an Furon alien mercenary guided by Pox, the brains of the operation. You are sent to earth to investigate the planet earth and collect DNA from human brain stems. The DNA is to be used for experimentation after successive cloning damaged the Furon DNA. It turns out, ancient Furon DNA is found in human DNA, so harvesting is a primary objective. With your flying saucer, to fly to Earth from the mother ship to begin your investigation.

You have two modes of transportation in this game: on foot and in your saucer. Most of the time, you’ll be travelling on foot.

As you begin your first mission, you’ll notice that you have PK ability. This allows you to not only scan other creatures with your mind, but also control them and even harvest their brain stems. You’ll also have an electric weapon. Though it has unlimited ammo, you can only fire it for limited periods of time before it recharges. Each visit requires you to complete a mission. Complete it and you’ll often get rewarded with DNA.

One you complete a mission, you’ll likely notice some yellow lights appearing in certain locations across the map. These are general optional missions, but you’ll have an unlimited number of run throughs. Since each success rewards you with DNA, you’ll likely find a mission you are comfortable with and grind for additional DNA from time to time.

Also found throughout the map are various red probes. There are varying number of probes located throughout the map. Each one is worth 75 DNA. Collect them all and you’ll unlock some bonus side features that don’t really affect your mission or abilities, but offer some side entertainment.

Some missions will require you to utilize your saucer. This saucer features two weapons: an abduction beam and a death ray. The abduction beam can lift and drop various objects including humans. The death ray will zap anything destructible and damage (or even destroy) various structures. Again, you’ll have unlimited ammo, but it is weak and will take time to recharge.

As you’ll no doubt notice, DNA can be collected. Upon arrival back at them other ship, the DNA will act as a sort of currency. While the most expensive item appears to be worth 3,000 DNA, the total amount of DNA will far exceed DNA you’ll simply collect as you complete missions. So, returning to areas is going to be a must.

Through this, you’ll be able to upgrade both your saucer and your personal arsenal. Weapon upgrades include an incinerating rifle and a ion grenade launcher. Subsequent upgrades will not only increase your weapons effectiveness, but also capacity as well. Some other personal upgrades can improve your mental abilities as well.

As for saucer upgrades, you’ll automatically be fitted with the initial weapons. The DNA will be used to upgrade those weapons. This includes a sonic pulse and a massive green pulse weapon that will destroy almost anything with one shot.

Another ability of note is the holobob. This is used to copy a humans look for stealth and infiltration purposes.

You’ll encounter various enemies as you move along in the game. These enemies can include police, military, and even “Majestic” enemies that are capable of destabilizing your holobob disguise if you approach too closely. Majestic enemies have the strongest firepower while armed police and civilians will generally carry weaker weapons.

As you create havoc, your presence will gradually be more and more known. Hide somewhere or don your holobob disguise to take some heat off of yourself if you need to. The meter along the top of your screen will range from no awareness, civilian awareness (exclamation mark), police awareness (badge icon), military awareness (star), and finally Majestic awareness (M). This will not only affect enemies while on the ground, but also in the air as well.

While in the air, you can encounter a number of enemies including machine gun emplacements, mobile tanks, and even giant robots.

Though your personal shield will recharge after a while, your flying saucer will not heal over time. So, it is imperative of the various item pickups both on the ground and in the air.

While in the air, the green UFOs will recharge your health. The blue spheres will replenish your pulse weapon and the green spheres will replenish your mega weapon.

Meanwhile, on the ground, golden items will replenish your incinerating weapon, red items will replenish ion grenade launcher ammo, and green items will boost your personal shield.

Your missions will vary. Sometimes, it involves impersonating someone. Other times, you’ll be racing against the clock to get somewhere. Often, it involves destruction of some sort, but other times, you’ll simply get people to take orders.

Also, be on the lookout for hazards including electrical weapons, mines, and even the water (you’ll drown if you go too deep in).

Finally, keep an eye on your radar. They show not only civilians (blue squares or exclamation marks), but also enemies (red squares), and mission objectives (purple diamonds). This can be rather helpful as you advance through the game.

That’s the general gist of the game.

One thing that I like about the game is the fact that it is largely a satirical examination of alien B-movies. The art and aesthetic works very well. Still, the overall humour throughout works quite well.

Another positive is the fact that this game offers a wide variety of optional missions. While they wind up being repetitive after a while as you buy the most expensive items in the game, there is still plenty of things to experience as you plat.

Probably the only real pitfall of this game is the fact that there is a bit of a leaning curve to go through in this game. Once you grasp the overall basics of your character, though, you are basically off to the races.

I also found that some of the commands can be a bit finicky at times. Sometimes, I would try and activate holobob and it just won’t activate. Other times, I would try to activate holobob and it would activate and deactivate almost instantly even though I have maxed out concentration. The cycling of weapons can also be a bit irritating after a while.

Generally speaking, though this is not exactly a perfect game, it still offers plenty of enjoyment. The aesthetic and variety work well for this game. Some of the controls and the initial learning curve, however, can be off-putting to newer players.

Graphically, this game is definitely a nice game to look at. The modelling and animation all work very well. Even the general 2D graphics are quite nice. There is even some nice bloom effects going on in this game. Some of the textures are a bit on the lower quality side of things and the draw distance isn’t the most amazing in the world for a game of its time. Still, it’s visually pleasing.

As for audio, this game is pretty decent. The voice acting works quite well. Those sound effects are pretty decent as well. The music is pretty good at first. Unfortunately, as time goes on, the amount of music available seems a bit limited. Also, the audio can be glitchy at times.

Overall, this is a very solid performing game. It’s got a lot of variety, sense of humour and a nice all around aesthetic. The controls can be a bit finicky at times and the initial learning curve can be a bit to handle for some players, though. Graphics look great, though the audio is decent enough even if it can glitch out at times. Still, a very worthwhile game to play.

Furthest point in game: Beat the game.

General gameplay: 20/25
Replay value: 8/10
Graphics: 7/10
Audio: 3/5

Overall rating: 76%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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