Destroy All Humans! review for PS4, Xbox One, PC

Platform: PS4
Also on: PC, Xbox One
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Developer: Black Forest Games
Medium: Digital/Disc
Players: 1
Online: No

I find the problem with a lot of remakes and remasters is that your enjoyment of them often relies heavily on nostalgia. Witness, for example, the recent Spongebob remake, which was probably great if you were a fan of the original, not so great if you weren?t familiar with the source material. Similarly, as much as I loved Burnout Paradise Remastered, I have a sneaking suspicion that part of the reason I loved was because I?ve always loved it (if you can ignore that bit of circular reasoning).

The remake of Destroy All Humans! is an impressive exception to this rule. I played it very briefly a couple of years ago, after the PS2 version was rereleased in barebones form on the PS4. I was unimpressed then, so I?d be lying if I went into this remastered version now with anything in the way of expectations. But, much to my delight, I was pleased to discover it?s one of my favourite games of the year so far.

A big part of it, of course, is that I?m a sucker for anything that lets me explode cars and buildings, and Destroy All Humans! is more or less built around destruction. You blow up cars. You blow up tanks. You blow up diners, circus tents, and all kinds of other buildings. You blow up people. You blow up radioactive cows. In other words, this is a game that takes the ?destroy” part of its title very seriously, and I love it for that.

I appreciate, too, the way the game feels like it?s trying to recreate ?50s sci-fi. Admittedly, it feels like it’s trying to recreate it with a cynical late-?90s/early-?00s eye (which hasn?t necessarily aged as wel)l, but it?s hard not to love the retro sci-fi influences and imagery that abound.

I?m also pretty fond of the game?s structure. While Destroy All Humans! officially bills itself as an open-world game, the reality is the game is mostly built around fairly quick, digestible missions. Sure, you can go back to certain areas and zap people and buildings to your heart?s content, but the core of the game involves missions in relatively small areas. If you?re the kind of person who likes a bit of structure introduced to your open world, you could do a lot worse than the way this game approaches it.

Not everything about Destroy All Humans! is good, mind you. As noted, its attitude occasionally feels a little outdated. While I?d maintain that ?50s sci-fi is surprisingly timeless, the sneering 2005 take on ?50s sci-fi hasn?t aged as well, particularly when you consider that Mars Attacks! did something awfully similar a decade before Destroy All Humans! originally came out. I mean, it?s almost comforting (albeit in a depressing, history-is-cyclical kind of way) to see that 2005?s jabs Republicans, rednecks and social conservatives work just as well today as they did when they were first made, but it still feels a little jarring at times.

The use of stealth is also not great. Given so much of the game is built around destruction — including the name! — it always feels like a big step back when your alien has to skulk around in the shadows and steal a human body just for a short mission. Sure, it breaks things up a little, but that doesn?t make it enjoyable.

But really, you only notice that because so much of Destroy All Humans! is enjoyable. It?s a rare remake that manages to be fun without requiring you to have any fond memories of the original, and it?s well worth it if you feel like blowing stuff up.

THQ Nordic provided us with a Destroy All Humans! PS4 code for review purposes.

Grade: A