Destroy All Humans! 2 brings back Open Worlds of yesteryear – and here”s the problem

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Two years ago, the remake of Destroy All Humans! was still a not too high-quality, but nevertheless welcome surprise. A trick that can”t be repeated as often as it should be.

After the clone alien “Cryptosporidium 137”, or “Crypto-137″ to his friends, successfully subjugated humanity of the early 50s by and large in 2020”s Destroy All Humans! we learn of his sad fate in the intro of the sequel: namely, he is now dead.

But that”s not as bad as generally assumed, because the Furon race is pretty good at cloning by now. So Crypto-138 slips out of the test tube to enjoy the Swingin” Sixties as US president. Unfortunately, the KGB finds out about him and blasts his mother ship out of Earth orbit together with the alien scientist “Orthopox 13” (whom everyone just calls “Pox”). The mission should be clear: Crypto must somehow change everything for the better and at the same time show the KGB who is wearing the big space trousers here!

In terms of content, it follows on seamlessly from the predecessor: as before, you look over Crypto”s lanky shoulder as he runs, jetpacks and hoverboards through expansive worlds, zapping NPCs running through the area with his stun gun, making their brains pop out of their skulls with a “Flupp!” or giving them a green-laser-based anal probe.

If you”re familiar with the predecessor, you”ll have no trouble getting to grips with “Reprobed” from the very first second – even the graphic design by Offenburg-based development studio Black Forest Games, which is based on the latest Unreal technology, looks very familiar.

Graphics old, content new

The scenario has taken a jump of about ten years into the future, leaving behind the “Redneck Belt” of the 1950s USA in favour of the big city “Bay City” at the height of the Flower Power era. At least at first. After a while, you visit “Albion” in the deepest British fog, the already clichéd Japanese “Takoshima”, the Russian “Tunguska” – and the grand finale takes place, of course, on the moon.

The game principle is best imagined as “GTA light”: On the scrollable and zoomable overview map, more and more symbols appear over time next to the main mission marked in yellow, which significantly increase the playing time of the standard approximately ten hours – and either make Crypto”s life a whole lot easier by collecting lots of stuff or expand the internal artwork gallery and jukebox.

(Via the Body Snatcher function, Crypto can slip into the skin of any person, which is a prerequisite for completing some missions)

So, among other things, you have to hunt down a hippie drug dealer called “Coyote Bongwater”, create your own sex cult, destroy lots of enemy agents, find a hidden radio station by listening to special broadcasts and looking for clues in them about their origin, lift buses with nuclear bombs in them by UFO and throw them into Bay City, fight a gigantic mutant lizard in Japan – or even, spread over several missions, access codes to a naturally extinct (as it will turn out: in an extinct volcano (as it turns out). Some missions are solved without the use of violence: For example, you are kidnapped and squeezed – a problem you have to solve exclusively through multiple-choice dialogue.

(No visit to Japan without fighting an oversized mutant lizard!)
(No visit to Japan without fighting an oversized mutant lizard!)

The faithful anal probe

The missions themselves you get from all sorts of sources: At first only from Pox, who continues to exist in the form of a hologram. Later, you meet NPCs like the Briton Reginald Ponsonby or the Russian secret agent Natalya Ivanova, who always have new missions for Crypto. Unlike in the predecessor, they have now almost completely abandoned sneaking as a game element and instead bring out the action hammer, which is now all the greater: At first, you only have to deal with comparatively harmless KGB agents, policemen or armed hippies – later on, nasty mutants, unpredictable ninjas, fat combat mechs, heavily armed soldiers or even tanks in various designs join in!

(In the beginning you have to deal with simple policemen or agents, later you fight soldiers, mutants or even battle mechs!)
(In the beginning you have to deal with simple policemen or agents, later you fight soldiers, mutants or even battle mechs!)

Occasionally, there”s even a boss fight or two – like against Bongwater, for example, who sends you on crazy drug trips. Or the heavily mutated Russian agent Oranchev, who throws very painful slime around.

Crypto faces these problems with an ever-growing arsenal: Initially, all he has is his trusty electrozapper, as well as the very handy telekinesis that allows him to flick things and people around. Collecting rare data cores expands this offensive offering with weapons such as the “Dislocator”, which makes hit objects or people bounce around like oversized flummies, the “Disintegrator Ray”, which can reduce enemies to a smoking skeleton, or the “Meteor Strike”, which makes fiery chunks of stone fall from the sky.

(With the flying saucer you can do a lot of good-looking damage that is inconsequential outside of special missions.)
(With the flying saucer you can do a lot of good-looking damage that is inconsequential outside of special missions.)

And of course the infamous “anal probe”, which makes hit opponents run around screaming with their hands on their butts and then surprisingly explode their heads. All this, by the way, is always done with a comic-strip-enhanced wink – not a drop of blood flows here.

All extra weapons require special ammunition, which is rarely found lying around. To get them, you have to “transmogrify” regular objects instead: for example, you aim at a dustbin or a crate, press the corresponding button – and a few seconds later, full of billowing transformation, various types of ammunition fall glowing into view. You can and must do this at any time, as especially the more advanced, more useful weapons are emptied very quickly.

My hologram, my hoverboard, my UFO!

Basically, you”re always on foot – which isn”t good, since Crypto”s default running speed is about the same as Alf”s, and he can”t take very many hits. If his energy indicator lights up red in panic, you have to find a quiet corner as quickly as possible to let the alien”s internal self-healing function work its magic. Throughout the world of Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed there are big and small cars driving around – but you can only destroy them, not use them.

Instead, in the course of the adventure you have more and more step accelerators to choose from: A short forward boost, a jetpack that allows you to fly short distances, a hoverboard that allows you to whiz around like Marty McFly – as well as, of course, the flying saucer that you can summon at special charging points, take off with it and cause terror on the streets from the air.

(The five scenarios are graphically very different and varied.)
(The five scenarios are graphically very different and varied.)

These landing points must first be unlocked, which happens via chatty stones, some of which have bizarre requirements: One demands three female slaves, another wants you to destroy five human vehicles, the next would like his immediate surroundings to be a bit tidier. 

Once everything is done and Crypto is in the air, he is allowed to destroy predetermined buildings or oversized enemies, especially within missions. It is also possible to simply destroy a part of the environment, but this is just a nice graphic gimmick – what you shoot up for fun in between missions will be right back in place in the next one.

(The humour of the game is stuck in the 60s, in keeping with the scenario. Especially the encounters with agent Natalya Ivanova cause violent foreign embarrassment.)
(The humour of the game is stuck in the 60s, in keeping with the scenario. Especially the encounters with agent Natalya Ivanova cause violent foreign embarrassment.)

In this respect, outside of missions, the UFO is really only good for getting from A to B even faster than usual, switching between all the worlds already unlocked or sucking up people to use their extracted DNA for upgrades. Just like Crypto”s regular arsenal, the UFO can be expanded over the course of the game via data cores – for example, with an “anti-grav field” that can be used to pull things up and also throw them down again, or the “sonic wave” that spreads devastating area effects.

Body Snatcher Attack

In the predecessor, Crypto was already able to assume the identity of individual persons from time to time, for example, in order to sneak into enemy bases undetected – a feature that was considerably expanded in the successor: Via this “body snatcher” you are now allowed to take control of individual persons at any time, which is very often needed to conduct certain conversations or to be allowed to enter secured areas.

(The infamous anal probe lets the hit persons run around screaming for a short time before their... head explodes.)
(The infamous anal probe lets the hit persons run around screaming for a short time before their… head explodes.)

If you are observed doing this, the alarm is quickly raised – then you can either put your feet up, find a phone, call the police and tell them that everything is fine again. Or you can simply change bodies, which is usually much quicker and easier.

Each person taken over continues to speak in Crypto”s hoarse voice – which seems slightly bizarre, especially in the case of the petite girls. And each person may only be occupied for a certain amount of time – once the timer at the top of the screen has run out, you leave the flabby shell again quite automatically.

The Fips Asmussen Humour Award goes to …

Technically, the game delivers as solid a performance as its predecessor: each new world presents itself in a very unique style, with wonderfully secluded forests in Japan and gloomy snowy landscapes in Russia. When fighting on the ground, the tons of lens flares, lighting effects and explosions tend to completely block your view – and the UFO-based smashing of buildings is staged with hissing flames, thick bubbling clouds of smoke and impressive destruction.

The only problem is that it looked exactly the same in the predecessor. And just like there, the faces of the characters look frighteningly lifeless and anatomically comical. Which you get to see again and again and again, because before and usually also after each mission there is a real-time cutscene.

(The numerous battles are beautifully staged and full of dazzling lighting effects.)
(The numerous battles are beautifully staged and full of dazzling lighting effects.)

Furthermore, the constant recycling of persons leads to the fact that especially the ranks of the enemy agents seem to consist of identical hundreds. But you only really notice this if you specifically pay attention to it.

Editor”s conclusion

Crypto, we have a problem: Actually, this game should be “Destroy All Humans! 1.2” – apart from the fresh scenario, this is basically the same game. Well, that was no different with the template to which the remake logically refers – but 2006 is already a few days ago, and in 2022 more of the same is no longer enough to make you really happy.

But apart from that, the extraterrestrial destruction excess is still a lot of fun: The levels offer a lot of variety, the weapons crack, the action has been tightened up noticeably – and the beautiful open world is no longer quite as empty as it was before. You just have to accept that the majority of the missions are always the same. Just like the predecessor.



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