I clearly wasn’t the only one puzzled to see Destroy All Humans! 2: Reprobed appear only on the Playstation 5 last year. After a tiny bit of uproar, the last generation version has finally got over the line. Limited to only the single player campaign, this cut-price Playstation 4 version stays largely faithful to last year’s more technically adept version. Black Forest Games had a strong blueprint to work with and the charm remains largely intact.
Not that it would take moving heaven and earth to improve upon the 2006 original. It’s a commendable overhaul that still impresses with how much feels new. The maps are more detailed, more packed with life and colour. It looks a lot more vibrant than the admittedly muddied aesthetic of almost two decades past. Compared to the current generation version, there’s a couple of small compromises. Textures lack a little sharpness and load times are considerably longer. That can irritate when you’re backing out of a side mission but I got used to the slight downgrade fairly quickly.
The story hasn’t seen any changes with our alien protagonist Crypto invading Earth right in the middle of the Cold War. Domination isn’t quite on the agenda as there is another alien threat and the KGB have secured a toxic substance that needs dealing with. Crypto is effectively caught in the middle of this and gets the chance to play a reluctant hero. It’s played for laughs with Crpto’s Jack Nicholson-esque wise cracking frequently playing off against the rest of the cast. It’s cheeky and remains surprisingly charming.
It’s not a game that takes itself seriously but the plot does twist and raise the stakes as time progresses. The narrative also delivers an adventure that takes opportunities to traverse the globe. There’s five distinct locales each with their own flavour. The 1960’s setting allows for a surprisingly smooth transition from liberal San Francisco to swinging London. The main path doesn’t have Crypto bounce between these places but they can be freely travelled between to complete extra content or discover more collectibles. Indeed, the critical story stuff has a good pace to it.
As a package, the content is largely unchanged with only the multiplayer modes shuffled off. I can’t imagine how much play those modes got with the Destroy All Humans series being traditionally a single-player escapade. Seeing it all laid out did make me appreciate how much stuff there was. There are as many side missions as main ones and other objectives to deploy time into. All of it has rewards attached and it’s certainly worth devoting a little time to the supplementary missions to unlock extra upgrades.
Missions are usually on the quick side with a couple of objectives to complete. Side objectives give you something else to consider for a couple of extra upgrade points. It does help liven up the A-to-B structure and encourages use of Crypto’s many abilities. There is a variety to it that I enjoy. Some make use of bodysnatching as a way to incorporate light stealth mechanics which gives the game a further chance to stretch its comedic legs. Time in the saucer can feel powerful although I conversely felt under the greatest threat when the army was right on my tail.
There are a couple of points where the mission design delves into frustration. There is a pivotal boss fight at the half way stage that has been mechanically altered since the original release. This encounter now has a secondary objective which doubles as a failure state. I’ve heard some players call this an unintentional roadblock and I tend to agree with them. In particular, missions like the Kaiju battle emphasise the saucer combat in a way that requires you to upgrade your vehicle of extra terrestrial death. The final mission also suffers from a similar problem with your arsenal needing to be sufficiently enhanced in a way the previous missions have not.
Those missions aside, the campaign remains a largely smooth experience. I’ve not ran into any serious technical issues. I’ve had Crypto jam on geometry but have managed to wriggle my way unstuck. I’ve also had mission scripting break in one instance. Restarting the mission sorted this out. This is mostly a well polished experience that hasn’t been seriously compromised in the transition to older hardware.
Looking back on it, I found it refreshing to go back to a time where open-world design was a little more focused. Collectibles look manageable and the additional content doesn’t feel like a chore to partake in. It feels well incentivised whilst not taking up too much of my time. Even the maps have a modesty to them that makes them appear more compact. It’s been a nice reminder of a time before games became obsessed with scope and scale.
It took a while to get there but those with older hardware can now enjoy what remains a pretty decent remake. Destroy All Humans! 2: Reprobed maintains the charm of the original whilst keeping the colourful aesthetic of last year’s Playstation 5 effort. Whilst the textures aren’t as sharp, the compromises made for previous generation version seem small. Multiplayer never felt like a big draw to the series for me but the campaign is smartly paced and varied.
+ Bright visuals largely unchanged from the Playstation 5 version.
+ Entertaining story with cheeky writing.
+ A good arsenal of weapons that the game does encourage you to use.
- Multiplayer modes have been excluded.
- The campaign features a couple of genuine roadblocks.
- Crypto can feel little fragile on foot.