It’s time to zap humans and take over their bodies with our favourite cloned alien Crypto (now Crypto-138), who is back for another adventure in Destroy All Humans 2 Reprobed. Crypto, with the help of his boss Pox (Orthopox-13), will be traveling around the world and blasting into space to stop the recent threats against the Furon aliens. Checkpoint Gaming had the chance to go hands-on with the game ahead of its launch later this year.
Destroy All Humans 2 – Reprobed is a remake of the original game that came out on October 26, 2006. Nothing has changed in the overall story, but the graphics have gone through a major overhaul, as the game has been rebuilt from scratch in Unreal Engine 4. There is also a new standalone multiplayer mode – Destroy All Humans! Clone Carnage – that you will get for free if you pre-order Destroy All Humans 2 – Reprobed.
Starting up the game, the graphics and audio quality have significantly improved. While Destroy All Humans 2 – Reprobed doesn’t have the graphics that you would expect of a triple-A game, it still looks significantly more polished than it did in 2006. The voice acting, despite being the same as before, is able to take advantage of better audio technology to sound as if it was just recorded recently. The remake has benefited from being rebuilt from scratch and it plays smoothly.
There are also options to change the skins for Crypto, using some of the skins from the first game as well as new ones. There are even new skins for the flying saucer to customise your image however you like, which look great with the visual updates given to the game.
You take control of Crypto-138, the latest clone in the line of Furon soldiers. Unlike the previous clone (who was the protagonist of the first game), Crypto-138 has more pure Furon DNA. He also has something known as “The Package” which makes him more valuable than any other clone before him.
The Russian KGB, having seen the events of the first game, destroys the Furon mothership that is floating over Earth. They also attempt to dispose of Crypto when they locate him, which kicks off the events of the game. Pox, whose body was destroyed in the mothership, downloads his consciousness into a hologram projector (the HoloPox), and commands Crypto to find out who is responsible, since the KGB seem to be backed by a greater power.
Destroy All Humans 2 – Reprobed is a faithful remake and doesn’t try to break any new ground. While it was slightly disappointing to see no introduction of any new weapons/powers or an option to move faster with the flying saucer, it was nice to see the game stick to its strengths, which helps it stand out from other open-world games.
As Crypto, you will be trying to carry out the objectives that Pox gives you in a manner similar to other action-adventure games. While Crypto can go around in his alien form and shoot helpless humans, they will panic at the sight of him and call the police/military. Humans will also not likely talk to Crypto in his default alien form, forcing him to body snatch just to talk to people.
You will need to body snatch, or temporarily take over a human’s body to safely interact with others. Your alien form will be necessary whenever your objectives involve defending yourself or assaulting a location. It’s a good mix of going undercover and action that prevents either segment from overstaying its welcome.
Unfortunately, the game plays under the assumption that you have already played the first remake, or previous games in the series. Many functions, such as the ability to replay missions, the Gene Pool upgrades, or the benefits of stealing brains from humans are not covered. This can confuse players when someone who hasn’t played previous games is wondering why they would take someone’s brain, how to complete an optional objective that you missed, or that abducting people from the streets actually has some in-game purpose instead of being silly for the sake of it.
While there is a good tutorial to walk you through the basics, you will only get bits and pieces at a time. Your alternative is looking up the game’s in-built glossary which has some of the instructions written down, but doesn’t go further than a simple explanation. It made me feel like having a practice area or a test run would have helped ease me into the game, or a way to bring up more detailed instructions.
The game is set in 1969, in a satirical take of what life was like in the time of the Cold War. The humour is sprinkled everywhere throughout the game, from the minds of the people you take over to the references relevant to the time period. It might feel dated, but the humour brings a light-hearted charm to the game that keeps it entertaining. Some humour hasn’t aged well, but it’s still funny to hear some lines that haven’t lost their charm. The banter between Crypto and Pox is one of the highlights of the game, as well as every other character reacting to an alien on their streets.
Each game location you visit will be a sandbox; you can wreak whatever destruction you like and everything will be restored after you have started a new mission or gone to a different part of the world. This prevents you from completing objectives that require moving vehicles or abducting humans, while always ensuring you have the fun of testing out your weapons on humans.
Your weapon selection is varied as well. You can zap enemies, set them on fire or bounce them around. You can even use Psycho-Kinesis (the game’s equivalent of telekinesis) to throw objects and enemies around. You will unlock more weapons and combat options as the game progresses, which provides a lot of variety for combat.
This is where the finer aspects of gameplay started to show themselves and I started to run into issues. Issues such as friendly fire started to become problems when I had the objective of protecting tents, which would have been great to know about during the explanation of a new weapon or power. Some mission objectives can also be unclear, because you don’t know how literal the game is being at a specific time.
For example, one mission involved manipulating the police to kill an informant. But the game doesn’t make any indication of how you can make police attack the informant, that only officers with weapons can be manipulated for the objective, or how you can’t let any other damage source affect the informant. Granted, this was an optional objective and it wasn’t mandatory. But for an open-world game that nudges you into completing every objective, the lack of detail was infuriating.
There also isn’t a big distinction with destroying something and treating something gently. This can work against you when you need to do something precise, like put vans on top of building rooftops. Without being able to adjust power, the game will sometimes recognise your actions as being destructive when you instead need to keep something alive. During the aforementioned van-rooftop example, I spent almost an hour trying to throw an (thankfully) infinite number of vans onto rooftops, but they exploded every time. Getting a successful van placement came down to pure luck at times, and it was frustrating enough that I did have moments of giving up entirely.
This is a faithful remake of a franchise that has its moments, but can be difficult to understand for someone seeing the franchise for the first time. It is still an enjoyable experience, and the inclusion of humour sets this game apart from the other open world franchises.
While zapping humans and appreciating the improved graphics is a delight, I did find some quirks that stand out in the game that are hopefully resolved by the time of its launch. These are not game-breaking, but they are inconvenient enough that, as a newcomer to the series, made me struggle with the finer aspects of gameplay.
The entertaining mix of alien adventures and humour in Destroy All Humans 2 – Reprobed will be available on August 30th 2022 for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One and PC.