Return to the cult classic tongue-in-cheek alien invasion in our Destroy All Humans 2 Reprobed review.
There’s something to be said for when a game gets a remake. I’m not talking about Skyrim, GTAV or The Last of Us. No, I’m talking about when a real gem, a classic from the days of yore, gets a proper, full scale upgrade. The Destroy all Humans franchise has been a classic and much loved series since its first release back in 2005. I still fondly remember playing through both the first and the second on my PS2 back in the day. So you could imagine my excitement when two years ago we got a beautiful remaster of the first game.
Crypto’s very first outing, greeting the filthy monkeys of Earth with a friendly(?) smile.
Knowing they couldn’t just let the second (and arguably best) game in the series just pass them by, it was only a matter of time until Black Forest Games released Destroy all Humans 2 with a shiny coat of paint and folks, they did not disappoint. Though, is a new coat of paint enough to have this game rise above others and still be a much loved game, or are the nostalgia glasses so thick they block out everything else? I’m getting ahead of myself here, read on ahead to see just how the game holds up.
Picture if you will an alternate timeline where in 1959 Earth was secretly invaded by a little grey alien wielding fire power that outclassed everything we had. But instead of directly enslaving the human race, the Alien took the place of the President of the United States. Well, you don’t have to picture too hard as that’s the ending of the original Destroy all Humans. Meet Cryptosporidium-138, the latest in a long line of clones of a race of aliens known as The Furon.
Bow down to your new overlord.
Having harvested so much DNA from the dirty human monkeys of Earth, Crypto is taking a long needed rest, partying it up with human females without a care in the world in the laid back year of 1969. Except, there is one worry on the horizon, the red menace from across the ocean, the KGB! In a surprise attack, the KGB launches a strike on the Furon mothership, destroying it and Crypto’s commander Orthopox-13 along with it. Luckily Pox was able to download his consciousness into a Holopox unit, allowing us to still hear the amazing voice work of Richard Steven Horvitz (Invader Zim) throughout the game.
The KGB messed with the wrong little grey man.
Without a mothership or even most of his weapons, Crypto must now start back at square one. But why did the KGB attack Crypto in the first place? Was it a show of power, or is there something more sinister behind the red menace?
The gameplay is your typical 3rd person open world style shooter. It’s like a more toned down Grand Theft Auto, if instead of stealing cars you were hijacking people’s bodies. Unlike the previous game which was set completely in a fictional version of the US, DaH2 sees you travel to the smoggy city of Albion (London), the bustling city of Takoshima (Tokyo), the frozen forests of Tunguska (Siberia) and even to the surface of the moon. Along the way you will pick up more and more weapons for your arsenal. In addition to the Zap-O-Matic, Anal Probe, Disintegrator Ray and Ion Detonator from the first game, DaH2 brings with it 4 more weapons to wreak havoc with, from firing a disc that throws enemies around like rag dolls, to calling down a literal meteor strike, there are plenty of ways to destroy all humans.
Along with Crypto’s handheld weapons, you also have access to your flying saucer and mind powers. Crypto’s saucer comes equipped with a few weapons of its own, allowing for more wide scale carnage, while the mind powers are more for on the ground exploration. One power allows you to transfer your mind into the body of a targeted human, allowing you to hold conversations with your fellow humans, despite the fact Crypto’s voice never changes no matter who he jumps into.
You can also use powers to make humans forget what they just saw if they’re about to alert any authorities about a little grey spaceman roaming around. Speaking of roaming around, the best new inclusion to this remake of the game is the dash ability. By holding down the B button, or your platform’s equivalent, you can dash forward and float on hoverboots. These boots are the best thing since sliced bread, unlike the original version where you were stuck walking everywhere, these boots allow for some very quick terrain traversal.
If you want to get more of a bird’s eye view of the city, you can take your saucer for a spin. Though keep in mind, not all landing zones will be available to you from the get go. To unlock more areas to land you need to complete tasks for the Furon god Arkvoodle; Lord of The Sacred Crotch. Idols to Arkvoodle dot the map and hold the power and wisdom of the god they represent. Also returning in the remake is the ability to play the story co-op with a friend, or go head to head in three versus modes.
Like any self-respecting mid-2000s game, DAH2 has split-screen co-op!
The final, yet small, improvement this remake has on the original is the inclusion of new costumes and skins. Like I said, it’s a small inclusion, but still a fun one. You know those memes where it’s a serious cutscene and your custom character with the freaky hair and mismatched armour appears as they do while you’re playing? yeah, that happens here. That being said, I’d hardly call the cutscenes in this game serious, so a skin where you’re dressed as Elvis or Austin Powers is par for the course.
How to make a stupid game even more absurd? Add costumes, of course!
Being that this is a remake of a 16 year old game, you’d expect the graphics to be a vast improvement on its previous design. Thankfully, the graphics are just that. While being very cartoony, the graphics and art design are nice and crisp. Seeing the original and the remake side by side can actually be kind of jarring. I can’t help but watch in the remake as Crypto’s head and brain pulse as he talks or even as he idles. Even just the slight movement of plants as they sway in the breeze is a nice touch added with the updated graphics. Character models are smoother too, giving more definition to their designs.
The gorgeous environments are a visual delight. Oh well, time to blow them up.
While the gameplay is fun, it can’t be denied that the real drive of the game is the pure comedy that comes from it. The game is packed full of references, inside jokes, tongue-in-cheek humour and even makes sure to throw in plenty of fourth wall breaks too. There were plenty of times I stopped to have a little chuckle; while skating across the map without a disguise on, I heard someone call out “Everyone run! It’s the IRS!”. When you reach Takoshima halfway through the game you will also come across a couple of groups of ninja. The white ninjas think and talk in haikus, leading to one of my favourite lines in the game…
“Steel glints in sunlight / limbs go flying, bathed in blood / Tarantino-esque.”
I’m also just a sucker for references in anything, while writing this review I let the game idle for a couple of minutes leading to Crypto to “park it like it’s hot” like Snoop Dogg. It’s these small things that go into the game to give it its charm. This isn’t some divine comedy, yes some of the humour can be low balled sometimes, but that’s part of its appeal. In a game about a small, grey, promiscuous alien, I wasn’t expecting Shakespeare, I got just the right amount of fun and comedy to keep me entertained for a couple dozen hours.
That’s not to say the game isn’t without its faults, after all no game is perfect. For one thing, the game is short and quite repetitive at times. If you were to simply play the story, for whatever reason as you’d be missing out on some decent dialogue, you could finish it in a day, easily. That’s not a fault of the developers though as they state at the very beginning of the game that this is a faithful recreation of the original. The only things that were really changed were some improved controls, better graphics and larger maps. So it wasn’t on the dev team to pad the game out with more story; the original came out on the OG Xbox and PS2, meaning they were limited by their hardware and disk size. It’s just a shame that meant the side quests of the game were reduced to either a tailing mission, assassination mission or a “choose the right dialogue” mission.
Even Crypto makes fun of how bland some of the side quests are.
Another fault that came from it being a faithful recreation is that many NPCs are very much stereotypes and caricatures of what they’re supposed to be. For starters, the main antagonist in the US city of Bay City (San Francisco) is a dirty hippie by the name of Coyote Bongwater. Is the name funny? Yes. Is it also kinda cringe? Also yes. This is what I meant by the low balled comedy. The hippies are high, the ruskies love vodka, and the Japanese sound like they’re being voiced by people with over the top accents. This leads to moments where you can almost feel second hand embarrassment from it. I still got a laugh out of many of the moments though, and all of the lines were made in jest and without malice, so it’s a no harm, no fowl scenario.
To understand the hippie, one must first become the hippie.
Moving away from the comedy and onto a more gameplay oriented issue. No game is without its bugs, that’s just a fact. It’s when a game breaking bug happens that’s a problem. While in Albion you gain the saucer ability to transmogrify cars into ammo for your weapons. The problem is that this requires the same button as to land. Once I got the ability, my game locked me out of landing. Thankfully, this was fixed with a restart of the game, but it was still a worrying thought that this might completely stop me. Apart from that, I haven’t found anything too terrible, only vehicles clipping into the ground when hit with too much damage.
The game does have a couple very big issues that simply cannot be overlooked.
While the humour is there in the game, the story is a little lacking. Don’t get me wrong, I love Crypto and his wise cracks, but the story didn’t really draw me in. I get that the KGB destroyed our mothership and set us back to square one, but I never felt invested about taking revenge. It felt like another day at the office. The story did entice a little with hints at a secret and a looming threat, but it never felt like the payoff would be worth it. It was more fun to just roam around and find all the easter eggs.
Destroy all Humans 2: Reprobed is a short, fun game full of references, silly moments and stereotypical humour. And that’s exactly why we enjoy it. I mentioned earlier about looking through the lens of nostalgia glasses, well, I may still be looking through the glasses, but the lenses aren’t as thick as once thought. The game isn’t perfect, no game is. But while it lacks in a thrilling story or long gameplay, it makes up for in the comedy that keeps giving us a good chuckle.
It’s not a bad game for baby’s first Grand Theft Human. The graphics are pleasing to look at, the controls are tight and the gameplay is fun. In half a decade I may even put my glasses back on and return to Bay City, even if just for a good nostalgia trip. Now what are you doing, you filthy monkeys? Get out there and destroy all humans!
So, why should you play it?
- Fans of the original will definitely enjoy the re-visit
- Simple yet visually pleasing and vibrant graphics
- You enjoy simple games without much stress
- You aren’t fussed over a lack of in depth story
- An easy shooter that doesn’t take itself too seriously
- Priced at a cheaper RRP of $59.95AUD – won’t hurt your wallet too bad!
- You wish to give praise to Arkvoodle, Lord of The Sacred Crotch
But why shouldn’t you play it?
- You prefer games with a much more serious tone
- You prefer to play a game for a much longer span of time
- Easily offended by stereotypes and low brow humour? Not for you
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