Released back in 2006, Destroy All Humans! 2 expanded the scope and scale of the original in almost every way, so it only seems fitting that it would get the same remake/remaster treatment that the first game did in 2020. Destroy All Humans 2!: Reprobed brings the vastly superior sequel into the modern age with several welcome advancements and an attractive coat of paint but, for better and for worse, beneath that veneer is still a game that hit shelves in 2006.
Picking up 10 years after the events of the first game, Cryptosporidium-138 (the clone of the first game’s Cryptosporidium-137) is sitting pretty as the President of the United States and, even more impressively, is in possession of “the package,” a trait that no Furon has been gifted with for millennia. Yes, Crypto-138 is sporting a penis. This naturally infuriates the KGB, so Crypto is forced to leave his comfortable post and pursue the Russians across the world.
Does the premise make sense? Not really. Does it need to? Absolutely not. The ludicrous plot is a vehicle to move Crypto from one location to the next in a fictionalised 1969 Earth, providing an occasional laugh along the way. Beginning in the satirical version of San Francisco that is Bay City, DAH2 unshackles itself from the strict US setting of the original game to go global. During the 10–12-hour campaign, you’ll visit this universe’s equivalents of England, Japan and Russia, as well as a fifth location that I’ll keep top secret, despite the game being almost 17 years old.
Each location is a decently sized sandbox environment, filled with vehicles, buildings and pedestrians to throw about and disintegrate. While each of the areas is functionally the same, acting as little more than set dressing for destruction, they each have enough character and personality to feel unique. The London-inspired Albion level, for instance, is covered in thick fog, and its tea-drinking populace are all driving Aston Martins. It’s not accurate, nor is it always politically correct, but it’s a nice change of scenery from the first game.
As with almost all remakes and remasters, the visual overhaul is the most prominent element. Built from the ground up in a new, modern engine, Reprobed has seen less of a renovation and more of a teardown and rebuild. The stylised, almost cartoony art style is brimming with colour and personality, bringing the locations to life. Though I found myself bumping into the same hippie, ninja or KGB agent all too often, the character models have seen the most significant leap forward, with every NPC and, of course, Crypto himself looking mighty fine.
Graphically, Reprobed is a winner, but the game’s performance was less than stellar. Despite being relatively stable during downtime, the framerate would take a staggering dive during larger set pieces, and I even experienced a number of crashes during a specific boss encounter. That’s without mentioning the NPCs and vehicles that would frequently move through other objects and audio bugs that would leave cutscenes without ambient noise or dialogue. These technical issues are hard to excuse as commendable as the upgrade is.
Though impressive, it’s not just the visuals that have significantly improved. Controlling more like a modern third-person action game than some modern third-person action games, Reprobed is easy to pick up and play and is satisfying to do so. Whether moving through the world, flying the saucer or utilising Crypto’s extensive arsenal, the way everything controls feels tight and responsive.
While the visuals and controls have been rebuilt, the voicework remains almost entirely intact. This isn’t to say that the voice actors don’t deliver, but the original audio comes with it the original script, which may divide the audience. I can’t say I ran into anything that I found outwardly offensive, but some of the content has aged rather poorly, and certain jokes won’t land anymore.
With 11 alien weapons flanked by a range of telekinetic abilities, Crypto’s combat capabilities are far from limited. The reasonably straightforward Zap-O-Matic and fire-flinging Disintegrator are mixed in with the Dislocator, a gun that causes enemies and objects to bounce violently, and, naturally, the Anal Probe, among others. Combined with the ability to pick up and fling enemies and objects into the stratosphere with your mind, cause bystanders to break out into dance and disguise yourself as any nearby human, the offensive options become decently robust. It may seem par for the course by today’s standards, but the combat is old-school fun.
One aspect that could’ve done with some tweaking is the saucer gameplay. While the ground combat is refined, the saucer feels clunky and unresponsive, even with the novel weapons onboard. As great as the notion of flying around, abducting unsuspecting pedestrians and razing buildings sounds, the spacecraft doesn’t quite live up to the concept.
Where the gameplay is entertainingly retro, the missions and objectives are less entertaining and more retro. The opening few levels that have you narrowing down the play area, finding a McGuffin and fighting a wave of enemies are solid, but it gets a bit tedious when you’re going through those same motions 8 hours in. Winding back the clock also means dipping into tropes that have been left in the past for a reason. I find fetch quests to be generally acceptable, but the repetitious escort objectives were a step too far down memory lane. If you played the game back in the day or simply want to switch off your brain and blast away at hapless hippies, then you’ll have fun, just don’t expect modernised mission structure.
Each mission has a few side objectives that, if completed, award the player with Furotech Cells that can be used to upgrade your ship and weapons. Though the perks are usually an increase in damage or range, it does add a bit of progression and a reason to reach for higher than a passing grade.
One of the more notable changes made between the original and DAH2 is the addition of co-op. A friend can join your game locally at the press of a button in the in-game menu. The fun of causing chaos is multiplied once you introduce a mate, with your partner’s gear matching your own in every way. The only drawbacks are the performance being strained further, and the saucer controls being shared between the two of you, which is awkward.
THE PS5 VERSION OF THIS GAME WAS PLAYED FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS REVIEW.
When looking at the original release, Destroy All Humans 2! improved on its predecessor in almost every way. For the most part, this rings true with Reprobed, with the visual and mechanical overhaul bringing it into the modern scene. Still, the rough technical issues and poorly aged missions may have newcomers shying away.