Destroy All Humans 2: Reprobed (2022)
Last year I finished the remaster Destroy All Humans, thanks to it being put out on Gamepass. Going back to a game I never finished was great, especially with all the modern improvements remastered ports bring. I was so eager to continue on with Crypto’s story, that I immediately booted up the sequel in an emulator… sadly, there were a few glaring issues that caused me to choose to wait for the newly announced remaster of the sequel instead. Which looking back was both a good and bad thing.
The sequel to the first Destroy All Humans, called Destroy All Humans 2 now has the subtitle “Reprobed” to indicate that it’s a remaster, trying to keep in the theme of aliens and testing and probes. I think it’s a particularly stupid and juvenile name, but it really doesn’t matter too much. From the hour or so I played a year and a half ago, what I remember of the original version is pretty much intact with the remaster, but now it has a much more modern game engine and lighting system in place. It plays very well and I only had minor glitches, like characters reappearing at spawning checkpoints but only a couple times when things were getting quite chaotic.
I honestly don’t think I have much to say about this game, mostly for the fact that while it was fun, it was mostly borderline boring. I really didn’t like the time jump to 1969. The locations are San Francisco (called Bay City), London, Japan and Russia. All fairly generic stereotype locations with not much to really do or look at. Mostly because the gameplay really doesn’t make you want to stay around in the world and explore. I constantly felt like I wasn’t able to explore at my leisure because I am an alien, and constantly freaking people out. If humans see me, they start running and screaming, and someone will run to a phone, call the police and they’ll show up and start shooting me. The only way to circumvent it, is to get a human disguise which requires Crypto to bodysnatch a person. Which took me a while to actually understand the mechanics of it.
Tying into the whole 1969 time era, to bodysnatch, you have to hypnotize people, and when you hypnotize enough people, the whole screen goes into a psychedelic mind trip and all the people dance, cars bounce around with hydraulics and a funky guitar lick plays for around 10 seconds. While everyone is distracted, then you can bodysnatch anyone you choose. However, once you finally get a human body, you have a countdown bar that will deplete, so you can only stay in one body for so long. The human body also doesn’t allow you to use your jetpack or boost, which significantly slows the whole game to a crawl. It just isn’t worth it to bodysnatch. And even when you do, if you start a mission or go to someone you need to talk to, half of the time the body gets dumped right away. It just makes no sense.
The spaceship sections, or at least when you get to play around in your spaceship is fun, but I found the controls to be much too sensitive and just didn’t feel right. Pushing up and down on the right analog stick made the ship go up and down, while pushing left and right rotate it. Along the height should have been shoulder buttons, because every time I’d turn, I’d also adjust my height and miss a shot sometimes. It just felt really impressive sometimes and caused more issues than was necessary.
It took a while for me to really get into the storyline, but once I did, I enjoyed it. However, it really felt like the story broke into two pieces, and the game could never figure out what to juggle very well. The first game left off on a bit of a cliffhanger with Crypto becoming the President of the United States, while using a human body. And while there are a couple lines about the Russians knowing he’s an alien and his disguise not fooling them, it’s not really used at all. Instead the game goes into Russia trying to brainwash people, then your mothership blows up and you have to find the parts, then moves into an Alien attack (not by your race, but another alien species), and also a love interest with a Russian super spy. None of these except the secondary alien attack and love story go anywhere, and it feels like the game just forgets about them.
The graphics are outstanding though, as the modern game engine and lighting systems really help give the game a nice sheen. Along with its unique art direction, it stands out. Every character has a realistic but hyper-exaggerated proportion to them. Kinda like a blending of caricature and claymation style. I could watch a full movie or TV show in this artstyle any day of the week and be captivated by it.
There are side missions that do dive in a bit further, but with the writing being fairly childish, focusing way too much on forced innuendos for everything, and generally being pretty mundane, it just wasn’t interesting enough. The voice actors do a fantastic job, but Crypto’s Jack Nicolson impression wears too thin and really makes lines of dialog drag out much longer than necessary. There are side quests, and I did them all for the first map, which is San Francisco, but I stopped once I realized I wasn’t having any fun with them, and it felt more like filler. I can only take so much hippie flower child dialogue from a character that sounds like a really bad Shaggy from Scooby Doo.
While I did enjoy the game much more as it went on, after really getting a handle on the way the game controls, and how to use the actual weapons, I wish there was a bit more allowance for exploration and generally hanging out in the world. I know I can’t ask too much for a game that came out near 20 years ago, and is mostly being remastered, but some of those modern improvements to let me go at my own pace without having to stress out about if my disguise is going to die or not, would have gone a long way. The game is decent, and I’m glad I played it, but I had a much more enjoyable time with the first game. I thought the storyline in the first is vastly superior, and having so many plots just made this sequel feel convoluted and nothing really gets accomplished or wrapped up.