Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed left me torn. The familiar cycle of zapping, probing and burning is expanded in this globe-spanning sequel, which takes the franchise to new heights and leaves me longing for more. Despite this, an invasion of bugs, performance hiccups on the PlayStation 5 and even an accessibility issue severely drag down the potentially great experience.
Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed is a remake of the 2006 game Destroy All Humans! 2. This flashy remake was developed by the folks over at Black Forest Games, and published by THQ Nordic. Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed follows Cryptosporidum-138 (better known as Crypto), a Furon alien clone of the protagonist of the first game. The game is set in 1969, ten years after the first Destroy All Humans!, and Crypto is hunting down the Soviet KGB to stop their sinister plans.
The first thing that hit me on opening of Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed is just how beautiful it is. I treasure the original release as a very nostalgic title from my childhood. Those nostalgia goggles were smacked right off from the start, with the stunning scenery, beautiful lighting and wonderfully stylised characters clearly showcasing just how dated the original Destroy All Humans! 2 is. Gone are the days of blurry PlayStation 2 visuals, as this remaster shines in all its groovy 60s glory.
The graphics may be pretty to look at, but unfortunately they may require some serious optimisation work under the hood. At story moments with heavy use of graphic effects, my PlayStation 5 frame rate dropped below 20fps. If these periods of crushed frame rates ran any longer than a minute or so, there was a reasonable chance the game would crash. Whilst the setbacks from crashing were never too harsh due to the game’s autosave, it was incredibly disappointing and immersion-breaking to have Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed shut down at such dramatic and intense moments.
When Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed did run smoothly, I had a great time with the moment-to-moment experience. The missions are not particularly varied, mostly consisting of talking to someone, causing some destruction, then talking to someone else, but if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed makes up for lacking mission variety with five very different locations, a variety of quirky weapons and an enjoyable, silly story to carry it all along. I won’t share much more of the story here as it is a pretty short experience at about ten to twelve hours of gameplay, and explaining any key conflicts would ruin some surprises. All you need to know is the KGB is up to something, and Crypto is set on stopping it.
Key points of the plot are accompanied by a boss fight, which are considerably tougher than fighting other enemies in that they require a real strategy. This change of pace is welcome, and keeps you engaged in considering what your options are, what each weapon does and deducing which approach would be best for destroying your foe. Towards the later end of Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed some bosses took a good while to crack, but once you find the right strategy it all falls into place.
One of the abilities you unlock in Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed involves a combination of pressing the L3 and R3 buttons in at the same time, and this was another tricky point for me. I have a mobility disability, and lack a lot of strength in my hands. Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed provided no alternative for me to swap these controls, and a system rebind for both buttons would prove too complicated for the rest of the gameplay. Whilst not using this ability never stopped me from completing the main campaign, it is preventing me from completing every mission, as using it is a required side goal in one particular mission. This was disappointing, especially in an age where game developers are becoming increasingly more aware of accessibility needs. Whilst ambitious, if this review can achieve anything I hope that Black Forest Games will see this, and thus consider adjusting the ability’s controls or removing this side goal. It’s a small change that could help me and fellow disabled gamers hit that 100% point.
Another area of Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed living in the past can be found through the dialogue and story. Relying on a lot of stereotypes and pretty edgy humor, it was pretty weird playing through Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed in 2022. My personal view is that the game handles it well. The introduction screen states that this is a product of the past, and as such it might be a little bit off from what we would expect to be presented to us in the modern day. Some of the jokes were a little surprising, but Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed targets pretty much everyone equally – Crypto is destroying all humans after all.
The soundtrack of Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed plays right into the classic media that inspired it, with plenty of electronic and orchestrated sounds combined to create that perfect alien-themed retro B-movie feel. The sound effects are yet another disappointing area though, with some either missing or forgotten in development that can leave Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed feeling surprisingly empty at what is meant to be a dramatic moment. Watching a horrible monster appear in front of your eyes and open its mouth screaming – only to then have no sound come out of it is certainly a let down. This happened a fair few times throughout my playthrough, and always at the time when a good scream, shout or horrific gurgling noise would have added some much needed punch to the scene.
No matter what flaws I may have found throughout Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed, I was constantly having fun. The simple gameplay, shorter playtime and lack of online elements took me back to a simpler time in gaming history. A time before the live services, and and a time before the 80+ hour open worlds. Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed even offers the player a large variety of unlockable skins and replayable missions with new modifiers from the get-go, without the need for extra purchases or DLC. I feel that Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed, as much as it needs more technical work, is actually an important game right now. In an industry where AAA studios must decide between a serious, cinematic experience or a constantly online shooter game, Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed shows us that sometimes games can just be fun.
In sum, as much as I personally love Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed, my full-throated recommendation cannot yet be given. Charmingly simple gameplay complemented by a silly story and beautiful graphics aren’t enough to justify the crashes, frame rate drops, audio bugs and accessibility oversights. I want this game to succeed because I want this franchise to have a future, and I believe with a little more polish it could. This is a game worth checking up on in future, but for now, the developers need to give it another probing.
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Bobby played Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed on PlayStation 5 with a review key. Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed is also available on Xbox Series S/X and PC.