May 28, 2024
Arkvoodle be praised! Destroy All Humans 2! Reprobed has finally landed, can this revamped comedic festival of wacky action still compete? The Finger Guns Review.

Arkvoodle be praised! Destroy All Humans 2! Reprobed has finally landed, can this revamped comedic festival of wacky action still compete? The Finger Guns Review:

Cryptosporidiums 137 and 138 have a special place in my heart. As a lazy, buffoonish 11-year-old in 2005 I was mesmermised by this hilariously callous, wise-cracking alien. You roamed around electrifying cows, disintegrating puny humans and blowing people’s heads up with the sheer force of your mind. What more would an emo kid dream of?! As an early teen, it was also right up my humour alley – terrible puns, awful pop culture references, cringe-inducing sexual innuendos, the works.

Destroy All Humans 2! Make War Not Love then upped the ante a year later, with 5 new locations spanning the globe and now even the moon. It added new weapons and mechanics while maintaining that, uhem… stellar… sense of humour and arcadey gameplay. Plus, it now made fun of multiple of countries and had ninjas. Ninjas in 1969… As Pox would say: “Just go with it, who doesn’t love ninjas?”.

I know I’m digressing but what I’m trying to explain is that I freaking love Destroy All Humans! as it holds a massively nostalgic place in heart. I swept through the first remake with the glee of a shark in a water park, living out all my childhood memories once again. Which brings us to Destroy All Humans! 2 Reprobed, the sequel remake delivering Crypto onto a hippie-invested, socialism inspired satirical world of far out weirdos and maniacally oversold voiced Russkies (or just the KGB). The first remake was a real success, with our very own Sean Davies providing his blessing of a 9/10 in his review. High praise indeed.

So, can this remake 2.0 inspire the same irreverent and ridiculous fun? Can Crypto’s reincarnated clone (both metaphorically and literally) survive another jaunt in a more modern Earth? Get your death rays and quantum deconstructors ready, it’s probin’ time.

My Name is Luke… Crypto And I’m Here To Rescue You

Right off the comically large alien-headed bat, Destroy All Humans! 2 Reprobed is a lovingly recreated and rebuilt experience of the 2006 original. While the visuals are all entirely new assets with incredibly shiny polish, the core gameplay and the story are left untouched from the original vision. Now, if you played video games back in the early 2000s, you may remember that times were different and humour was… well, more juvenile. Destroy All Humans! 2 Reprobed benefits from the more slapstick, self-depreciating satire while also demonstrating how things may have changed for the better.

For the record, I adored it then and I adore it now, warts and all. But let me explain. As Cryptosperidium 137’s successor clone, you’ll be facing off the threat of communism, free loving and drug addled hippies, Japanese Yakuza and ninjas, cosmonauts and even lobster aliens. Crypto’s mothership and commander, Pox, are blown to smithereens by the nefarious Russkovite KGB and are the new primary humans revolting against Crypto’s presidency of the Earth after putting down Majestic, established at the end of the first game. If that paragraph doesn’t tell you all you need to know about the ridiculousness of the game, I don’t know what will.

What follows are a comet storm of puns, fourth wall breaks, pop-culture references spanning Die Hard to Godzilla, abysmal yet comical slapstick jokes and a wealth of gags aimed at society at the time through stereotypes. Some of it lands incredibly well and I laughed my way through a bunch of dialogues and cutscenes. Whether it be riffing on the obvious hypocrisy of historical communism by setting a side mission involving trailing an entire city for a single food line or Pox getting more than aggravated at Crypto’s 200th innuendo about delivering his “package”, there’s good stuff in here.

However, there’s also plenty of… questionable… comedic relief. From Yuri Lowenthal voicing most of the Japanese NPCs with a strangely impressive gusto to Crypto making an off-the-cuff remark about age of consent, it certainly wouldn’t be considered acceptable practice in today’s world. The game is clear at the start that the content is identical to how it was in 2006, so if constant sexual innuendos and offensive troping aren’t your bag, well, just know it hasn’t changed. Unlike some other entertainment media however, I do think Destroy All Humans! 2 was made in good faith and it takes an insulting approach to almost everything human, but there are a couple of moments that are very on the line.

For God’s Sake Pox, The Name Of The Game Is Destroy All Humans!

Gameplay wise, things are much smoother for Reprobed compared to its story and dialogue. As with the first remake, this new iteration has been rebuilt entirely using Unreal Engine 4, creating a crisp gameplay experience. Crypto’s got some primitive life to eradicate, meaning you’ll be employing your trusty Zap-o-Matic, Incinerator, Ion Detonator, Meteor Shower and the ultimate in alien weaponry: the Anal Probe to teach these pathetic humans a lesson.

One element carried over is the excessive number of escort missions, though they’ve been vastly improved with characters seemingly having larger health pools and the difficulty being wound down for them pretty significantly. I failed escort missions on the original an inordinate number of times and I don’t think my primitive age was the only reason. Go here, whack this person, defend this thing from tanks/missiles/ninjas, blow up this entire complex of buildings, the loop is fairly basic and standard for the era.

Luckily, the game handles much more efficiently now, so throwing out multiple destructive weapons and evaporating soldiers has never felt so delivishly fun, but the structure does take its toll by the end of the 15 hours. Side missions and odd jobs particularly suffer from the repetition and if you leave them all to the end you’ll have a gauntlet of tedious objectives to do. The remake’s improved gameplay feel and subtle adjustments to things like having a fully upgraded jetpack from the off and more easily manageable stealth do help negate some of this. I would have appreciated the Blisk health being reduced though, they still feel annoyingly bullet (or zap?) spongey.

The destruction is still incredibly fun too. At times you’ll need to hop in the saucer or you’ll be let loose to rain extra-terrestrial Hell on our mud rock of a planet. When you’re free to cause chaos, the game really shines. There’s nothing quite like levelling an entire city with quantum explosions or unleashing a burrow beast to feast on a group of Yakuza. This package also includes a multitude of cosmetic outfits to unlock for Crypto and his saucer and the upgrades for both your psychic powers and weapons feel valuable. It feels more streamlined this time around and there’s less necessity for hunting down every furotech cell for upgrades, which I think is a significant improvement.

While mission design suffers from the antiquated structure of the PS2 era, the gleeful fun you’ll have terrorising Bay City or Solaris with your weapons, powers and saucer make the gameplay feel fresh and exciting, especially compared to the more realistic experiences we tend to get more of now. The subtle enhancements and underlying tinkering that’s been done means there’s even less of the tedium than in the original too. Crypto didn’t come to Earth to mooch around, he’s here to kick some KGB ass.

Well, I Did Take A Red Pill This Morning

The 2020 remake was a gorgeous recreation of the iconic first release and Destroy All Humans! 2 Reprobed looks so good it can make aliens melt with water. The classic cartoonish and caricatured art style has been carried over with a real care. Bodysnatch an Earth monkey (as Crypto so affectionately calls them) and they’ll do that trademark rigid waddle. Like they’re nursing a groin injury or shuffling home when needing the toilet desperately. Faces are comically over animated and while character models will repeat up to 8 times in the same scene, it all adds to the charm. The Anal Probe looks even more unpleasant and discomforting in UE4 too, with characters dancing about desperately trying to gain relief. Sadistic, yes. Juvenile and hilarious, absolutely.

All five areas of Bay City, Albion, Takoshima, Tunguska and Solaris have been redone from the ground up and are filled with vibrant environments, colourful attention to detail and provide a beautiful backdrop from which to rain utter devastation. Setting buildings ablaze with your death ray now looks as awesome as it should and seeing dozens of vehicles, objects and people hoovered up and sent plummeting by an anti-grav round is an amazing spectacle. The Furon empire has never been able to raise such beautiful destruction before.

It feels worthy of the remake title. While it’s not akin to the graphical fidelity of a Shadow of The Colossus or a Demon’s Souls, it does a great job of bringing a PS2 era title into the realm of the 2020s. A couple of minor issues are more apparent with the rebuild however – transitions from cutscenes to gameplay are more jarring now that the smoothness has increased and even landing from your saucer has you able to move before the landing animation has finished. It’s an understandable bi-product of having old animations intertwined with more powerful tech, but I would have liked to see some of these rough edges smoothed over.

Aside from these admittedly small gripes however, Destroy All Humans 2! Reprobed looks great and it’s clear a lot of work has gone into making it look as modern as possible without losing the aura of the caricatured aesthetic that made it so distinct. If anything, it’s uniqueness shines even brighter with a stronger engine behind it, allowing the developers to show off just that bit more. Like Crypto showing off the prowess of his “weapon”.

You Expect Me To Beg, Human?

I’d be remiss not to mention some technical issues that occurred throughout my campaign however. It’s worth bearing in mind that the game is being patched in the run-up to release, but a few problems are unlikely to be fixed by launch day.

Audio desync is a significant problem through almost every cutscene and pre-rendered section. The final, climatic cutscene was thoroughly ruined by the fact the audio was about 6-7 seconds behind what was happening on screen, causing explosions to happen in a supposedly peaceful moment. Objects will smash into things without any tangible noise, some sections of voice lines are just straight up missing (the subtitles betray what should have been there). At no point did it utterly ruin the story and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me laugh when Natalya just seemed to have a brain fart mid-sentence, but it is very noticeable. It’s likely an issue of transferring the original audio over to a version which runs faster and better, but it is very, very jarring.

Crypto’s powers of psychokinesis also seemed to rattle more than just the hippies or Russkies in the game. Causing a vehicle to explode would sometimes leave the occupants just sitting in their car places as though nothing has happened, just floating in the abyss. Getting in my saucer on Solaris one time was simply too much and the game just straight up crashed to the menu – I mean Aliens are well known for their weakness from water, maybe a bottle of Evian got on board. If you press circle to skip a line of dialogue the character immediately suffers amnesia and repeats the first part of the line you just opted to skip. The optional objectives on the final mission were unobtainable as it’s either marked the wrong type of enemy or doesn’t spawn the correct enemy type to complete. Finally, a final upgrade for Sonic Boom was locked despite having met the requirements, so it was never made available no matter what I did.

They’re small hiccups and issues but they add up over the runtime. While a crash or technical glitch can be patched, I do think the audio issues are a more core problem that’s unlikely to be remedied. Multiple optional objectives had issues for completion too, suggesting there’s a few wrenches disrupting the overall machine. Fingers crossed Black Forest Games can get some of these niggles under control, but don’t be surprised if you run into some problems. Damn hippies.

It’s Hip To Be A Space Invader

Having the opportunity to return to such coveted memories from my childhood is what the recent craze with remakes has been all about. S.K.A.T.E-ing about as the tiny blue red-eyed and postulating alien to electrify weakling humans again has been an absolute thrill. The fact this package comes with a host of cosmetic options, gameplay improvements, an overhauled graphical presentation and stays true to the original, for better or worse, means this has been an invasion I’ve thoroughly enjoyed embarking upon again.

Not all of the humour has stood the test of time and there are some notable rough edges to this sequel remake, but the core of what makes this series so enjoyable has been expertly recreated. Being a wise-cracking, violence-hungry, horny space alien is just as ridiculous and fun as it was 16 years ago. The mission structure has aged like 100 year old cheese but there’s just nothing quite like the feeling of hopping into your saucer and terrorising hippies and scientists alike. The satire of society, ideologies and humankind holds up surprisingly well, as if it knew what was to come in our now present, too.

With story co-op and fun additions in the PK tennis and duel modes, there’s extra content should you find a fellow invader to probe Earth with. Not that it needs it, clocking in a seriously good runtime for a single player experience. Between the story, side missions and collectibles, you’ll be looking at around 15-20 hours to finish everything. They don’t make games like this anymore, and while it’s semi-understandable as to why, it was awesome to re-live a less serious and more unflinching video game from a bygone era. We missed ya Crypto, thanks for coming back to enslave us once again.

Crypto’s second return in Destroy All Humans! 2 Reprobed is another successful remake from Black Forest Games. A few technical issues and poorly aged mission designs aside, this irreverent, smartass alien still has plenty to offer the modern world with hilarious quips and hugely entertaining gameplay. Fire up your death rays, crack a joke at 1960s society, bust down that fourth wall – Cryptosperidium is back and he’s standing tall. Arkvoodle be praised!

Destroy All Humans! 2 Reprobed is launching on PlayStation 5 (review platform), Xbox Series S|X and PC on August 30th, 2022.

Developer: Black Forest Games
Publisher: THQ Nordic

Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we were provided with a promotional copy of the game. For our full review policy, please go here.

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