Hot on the heels of the news that the game finally has a release date, we got the chance to sample a couple hours of Destroy All Humans! 2: Reprobed for ourselves and came away unsurprised by the follow-up to the 2020 remake of the first game in the series, but optimistic that the (arguably much better) second game will make for another worthwhile revisiting.
Originally released back in 2006, Destroy All Humans! 2 takes place 10 years after the first game, in the swingin’ 60s. After replacing the last game’s protagonist, Cryptosporidium-137, a brand-new Crypto clone (designated 138, of course) finds himself embroiled in a war with the KGB after they discover he’s in possession of ‘The Package’. That is, he’s the first Furon clone in eons to possess genitals. Naturally this won’t fly with the Russians and so Crypto follows them around the globe, teaming up with various groups from hippies to British secret agents and ninjas and eventually discovering that there’s more to his KGB enemies than first meets the eye.
For the purposes of our preview we had access to the game’s first two open regions, the San-Francisco-esque Bay City and Albion, the series’ first venture outside of the US and into an approximation of London. Right from the get-go it’s plain to see what the power of the new generation of consoles (and modern PCs) brings to this total overhaul of Destroy All Humans! 2, which won’t surprise anyone who checked out the last remake. Still, thanks to DAH!2 having already expanded the scope and depth of its open areas versus the first game, this new version looks and feels all the more impressive again. Visually, it’s obviously a huge step up from the 2006 version but it’s also a gorgeous-looking game in its own right. I’m a little sceptical as to why it’s a new-gen only title, especially since my potato computer seemed to run the in-progress build provided with few issues, but environments are large and lush and the studio has really nailed its own take of the original’s aesthetic.
Like before, what you’re getting with Reprobed is somewhere between a remaster and a remake, built from the ground up in a new engine for modern platforms but largely note-for-note with its source material when it comes to the script, structure and overall gameplay. After having mostly enjoyed the remake of the first game but wished it’d been freed of the shackles of its hokey stealth and uninspired objectives, getting my hands around this new version of DAH!2 felt great. With tighter controls, a more responsive world and NPCs and far more varied activities contained within it’s immediately obvious how much of an improvement this sequel is. It’s hard to compare without doing a proper side-by-side but all of the weapons I had the chance to try out seem much more finely-tuned and reactive than they used to be without really changing their mechanics, which is great in the case of guns like the awesome Dislocator.
In fact, after spending a couple of hours possessing stinky monkey humans, forcing them into brainwashed dance parties and making them bounce around the city streets I’m pleasantly shocked by how well Reprobed holds up against far more recent third-person action games. Thanks to a helpful new UI and tight controls you’d be forgiven for not knowing it was a ‘remake’ with no knowledge of the original. It helps that the overall progression, side missions and slew of different upgrades and customisation elements all come off as contemporary and flesh out what was a fairly thin offering in the first DAH. I still wish the flying saucer stuff had been changed up a bit more as it’s a tad clunky and not overly exciting, but the on-foot gameplay is coming along really well.
If there are any concerns that I have about Reprobed, they’re largely carried over from the first game’s remake. Though cutscenes are completely redone, most of the dialogue is lifted wholesale from the original which means the humour feels very much rooted in the past (the 60’s setting and expanded world definitely make for a better time than the first game, however!). Likewise, NPC models remain just as repetitive as they were before, even if they are all comprised of shiny new models.
In terms of new new stuff, it’s hard to gauge much from our limited demo but the included photo mode is most certainly welcome, especially when you start to come into possession of increasingly-wacky weapons and cause some capture-worthy chaos. Not a new thing, but the original DAH!2’s split-screen campaign co-op makes a return as well and while I wasn’t able to give it a spin I can already assume that it’s going to run and play much more nicely than it did back on the PS2 and Xbox.
Overall I’ve come away from this small slice of Destroy All Humans! 2: Reprobed far more optimistic about this second remake than I might have been about the last one. The source game made a vast number of improvements to the formula following up on the original and so all of that translates wonderfully to this new version, especially with the level of care and polish being put into re-imagining it. I’ll be keen to jump back in when the full game drops in August