Remake, remaster, reimagining. Far gone are the days where a game getting new life breathed into it was a rarity. Such treatment was once reserved for the all time greats, however now it seems any title is a contender. At least with Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed, Black Forest Games and THQ Nordic have gone with something a little different.
That’s right, everyone’s favourite cheeky alien with an itchy trigger finger, Crypto, is back. This is indeed a remake of the 2006 original which comes complete with several improvements. However, let’s start at the beginning for those unfamiliar with this tongue in cheek series.
Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed follows Crypto as he seeks revenge on the KGB for blowing up his mothership (and that’s just the tip of the wacky iceberg). “The Russians are the bad guys?”, I hear you ask. Yep, some things never change.
Set in the swinging ’60s, this globetrotting adventure takes place over five different locations and ironically has you teaming up with several humans, rather than simply looking to destroy them all. Each setting, such as Bay City or Albion, is an exaggerated parody of its real life counterpart.
You’ll meet characters such as the spy Ponsonby who is quite clearly inspired by Austin Powers (and voiced by Anthony Head). Others such as Sascha Soysorski, a KGB agent based in the far east, are even more on the nose. Little details such as hearing NPCs on the streets of Albion proclaiming “This is all Labour’s fault!” never fail to raise a smile. Crypto is also not afraid to break the fourth wall every so often, which is done sparingly. Frankly it’s all utterly ridiculous, but for the most part the humour still holds all these years later.
It’s this sometimes cheeky, often outrageous comedy element that gives Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed its trademark edgy style. It’s a spoofy tribute to spy movies that’s pretty hard not to like. However, a mission involving gender reassignment surgery did not make it into this edition of the game from the original, despite a disclaimer at the start warning about potentially controversial humour.
The core part of Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed is the main story mode. Each location is an open world which is vastly expanded compared to the original. Your map will mark where the primary missions are, as well as “Odd Job” and “Cult of Arkvoodle” side missions. There are also numerous collectibles dotted around, such as music tracks, game art and more.
There are a decent amount of side missions to play through, and if you aim to complete everything, each area will take you two to three hours to clear. However, the missions are lacking in variety. In fact, Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed is self aware and references this very point, but then makes little attempt to rectify it.
As well as whizzing around with your jetpack and shooting things, a large portion of the gameplay focuses on body snatching humans as you hope to blend in, as well as using the “Cortex Scan” ability to read minds and glean information about the whereabouts of someone or something crucial to your mission. Despite having numerous other abilities to draw upon such as brain extraction and forcing people to blindly follow you, Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed relies too frequently on the former. At one point, no fewer than four missions in a row started with trying to find something, or someone, by scanning humans to get clues.
This results in missions feeling repetitive, but occasionally one pops up which feels unique and is much better off for it (getting to chuck KGB agents into gongs is an example). The dialogue exchanges and ludicrous story do a lot of the heavy lifting, and aim to keep you invested in the game. Despite having a choice in how you respond mid conversation, this doesn’t have any significant impact on your progress. At least not usually.
Crypto has a varied arsenal of weapons at his disposal, and these make the gunplay a lot of fun. Whether you choose the dislocator, which sends enemies bouncing off down the street, the anal-probe which speaks for itself or the old fashioned disintegrator ray; destroying humans has never been so fun. This is only half the story however, as Crypto can also call on his saucer from several landing pads to dish out some proper destruction.
Your spacecraft is required in big battles so it’s a good job it comes equipped with its own set of abilities and impressive weapons, letting you hop in at any time. It’s possible to opt for the stealthy approach and whizz around undetected, or go full alien invasion mode making use of your death ray, sonic boom and other destructive weaponry.
Your offensive arsenal, and some abilities, can be upgraded from your saucer by completing missions along with optional objectives. Doing so awards you Furon cells to spend on improvements. You can also unlock different skins to decorate your ship and costumes for Crypto to add a little style to your extraterrestrial antics.
Crypto’s saucer acts as the hub because it’s here where you can also replay missions and edit certain features, such as switching on “Big-Head Mode”. However, given the repetitive nature of the missions, I’m not convinced there’s quite enough here to guarantee any substantial amount of replayability.
The most obvious improvement over the original is how good Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed looks. It’s graphically far superior, and pretty but not entirely without its issues. Rendering lags behind at times, especially during in-game dialogue exchanges. At one point, whilst flying high with my jetpack, the streetlights on the horizon looked as if they were turning on one by one as the game loaded the details. The frame rate also struggles at points, especially when there is a lot happening at once and during loading screens.
During one mission, I also noticed an NPC who looked like they were quite literally climbing a stairway to heaven as they were suspended in mid air. Every now and then these little glitches would reveal themselves.
In better news, there is story co-op play on offer here, along with a couple of other local, competitive modes. These are Duel Mode and PK Tennis, which are a fun but brief distraction from the main story mode.
On the surface, Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed ticks all the right boxes for a remake. However, there are certain ways in which the game feels dated for 2022. Its core DNA remains largely unchanged despite certain elements that have been updated, and at times it shows.
By today’s standards, the open world feels quite empty and the simplicity and repetitive nature of the missions very much give the fact away that this is a game originally released many years ago. However, despite these issues, Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed is undeniably still a lot of fun to play. And sometimes, that’s enough.
Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed is bold, brash and bombastic but somehow still works in a world which has changed significantly, even if the game fundamentally remains the same as before.
Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed is on the Xbox Store