Destroy All Humans! - Review
Pandemic Studios have been a very solid developer in recent years with several very impressive titles such as Star Wars: Battlefront and Mercenaries to their credit. Now they are about to add a new title to that list; Destroy All Humans! thanks to their Australian development team right here in Brisbane.
The premise of the game is simple. In Destroy All Humans! you play the role of Crypto (short for Cryptosporidium 136), an alien warrior sent to Earth to clear the way for the Furon invasion force. Your mission is to infiltrate humanity, control them, harvest their brain stems and ultimately destroy them. You choose the method - infiltration or disintegration! It may sound menacing and rather brutal but this game has more in common with Mars Attacks then Aliens.
Destroy All Humans! is split up into three main gameplay styles. The bulk of the game, and the greatest enjoyment, comes from the on foot shooting sections of the game. It's possible to arm Crypto with a variety of alien weaponry including the ever reliable Ion detonator (grenade launcher) and Zap-o-Matic (lazer gun). This game isn't all about blasting and killing with Crypto able to pick up and toss most object in the game world from the smallest chickens to the biggest trucks in order to cause destruction and mayhem. Crypto can also take control of humans and extract their DNA. This DNA is then used as currency to upgrade to improved weapons - something which becomes essential by the end of the game.
|Using the Jetpack.|
The second main gameplay style is the ability to put Crypto into a space ship to fly around the game world destroying objects (see picture to the right here). While fun this aspect of the game isn't without one very big annoyance - with your spaceship near the bottom of the screen you can't really see enemy missiles or weapons firing at you from behind, nor from either side of the craft. It's quite annoying and even a simple warning system of some kind may have alleviated this issue.
Destroy All Humans! third game style are stealth sections. In our opinion these were the weakest aspect of the game. In this missions your task is the sneak your way into a location or follow someone around while disguised as a human. The problem is that if you are discovered it's game over and you have to start the mission over. It's annoying, unexciting and, well, almost pointless.
|Blowing up buildings.|
The sense of humour in the game is one which can't be emphasised enough. It's not side-splitting laugh out loud humour but I defy almost anyone not to have a smile on their face during much of this game. Prime example. The first time Crypto comes to earth he interacts with a paddock full of cows - but having never been to the Earth he thinks they're human. Another example - the inclusion of Area 42.
Unfortunately Destroy All Humans! isn't without its problems. Primarily none of the three gameplay styles is engrossing enough to be a highlight while the stealth sections aren't really much chop at all. Perhaps most disappointing is the length of the game. The 20-odd missions take well under 10 hours to complete and while you could easily get sidetracks blowing stuff up for no reason there really should have been more. The lack of any multi-player modes doesn't help either. Surely an online mode to invade a city with 8 or 16 aliens would have been tremendous fun - perhaps it would push the PS2 too far, but you just can't help thinking about the alien invasion in Mars Attacks and wondering if it were possible. Perhaps in a next-generation sequel then.
It must be said that the graphics in Destroy All Humans are pretty nice. The developers have perfectly re-created the 1950's American look and not only are the levels quite large, but the number of interactive objects is among the best on the console. The frame rate can be a little choppy at times, as can the animation of buildings exploding, but when you look at the level of destruction available it's not too bad. During the UFO flying sections there is the occasional draw-in or popup of distant objects. At times they aren't too distant making it a little annoying when trying to pick out targets and enemies.
|That's gotta hurt!|
One area where this game does excel is in the sound department. Both the music atmospheric and the effects, well, alien like and suit the game perfectly however it's the voices which really stand out in this title. Not only are the conversations and interactions typically very amusing but the quality of voice work is very high. J. Grant Albrecht (who has also voiced characters almost 20 video games including Doom 3 and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater) provides the voice of Crypto while the game is littered with other experienced voice actors. The game is also enhanced with Dolby Pro Logic II sound which is always a nice touch.
|Flying around the base.|
Ultimately Destroy All Humans! isn't the Triple-A title we were all hoping for, indeed much like many of the movies that inspired the game it's more B-grade then anything else. With more refining, more cohesion and an improved stealth section this game could have been much more. Not a bad title if you're looking for something to do but for many it may be better as a rental first.
Review By: Dave Warner
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|GRAPHICS||Some pretty nice effects and destruction although some issues.||80%|
|SOUND||Probably the best aspect of the title with superb dialogue.||86%|
|GAMEPLAY||Gameplay varies from solid (shooting sections) to dull stealth sections.||69%|
|VALUE||Probably not a game you'll play through more then once, if that.||60%|
|OVERALL||Destroy all Humans! is quite a disappointment given the pre-release hype it received. If you were really keen on the idea you'll enjoy it but for most it's probably better as a rental.||70%|