‘Destroy All Humans! 2: Reprobed’ would have stayed better in 2006 | games

Game reviewThe sixteen-year-old ‘Destroy All Humans! 2’ just got a big remake. But there are things beneath the polished graphics that the creators can no longer sell today. Such as the gameplay that is more difficult to modernize and – above all – the humor in which the game is bathed.

Try to picture an alien being in your mind, and there’s a very good chance that in the depths of your mind you’ll have a so-called Gray Alien ends up: a narrow, more or less humanoid body with a mouse-gray skin, thick head, large black eyes, small mouth, barely an intangible organ of smell or hearing. They have been in our collective memory since the alleged abduction in 1961 of the American couple Barney and Betty Hill, who declared under hypnosis that they had temporarily lived among these kinds of creatures, but there were also descriptions of these kinds of creatures in the late nineteenth century. century novels, such as The Time Machine by HG Wells. No fewer than 73 of all Americans who have ever stated that they have been abducted by aliens, pointed to these kinds of creatures.

Whether those kidnappings actually happened or not, the Gray Alien has taken over our popular culture. First in the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), but also in TV series such as The X Files and Stargate: SG-1. And in video games of course, with the farcical ‘Destroy All Humans!’ titles leading the way.

There is still some fun when you crawl into your flying saucer. © THQ Nordic

(For a while) a nice reunion

The two games, in 2005 and 2006 respectively, cheerfully poked fun at that whole cult of alien conspiracy theories, but by extension they also put the whole geek culture through the muck. And the ‘Grand Theft Auto’ games, which were certainly considered the nec plus ultra of the medium in those days, were heavily parodied. The ‘Destroy All Humans’ games weren’t huge high-flyers, but their highly likable humor – and Crypto, the endearing Gray Alien anti-hero who starred – made them more memorable than their gameplay could ever have justified.

‘Destroy All Humans! 2: Reprobed’, now out for modern gaming hardware, sixteen years after the original, meant a brief reunion with it all, in crisp 4K graphics. But the fun he provides is, as you immediately notice, no longer of this time: the environments that you are allowed to make unsafe – San Francisco, London and a Japanese and Siberian city – are too small, with too little to do, for sustainable fun. And the weapons lack the same impact that they already lacked back then. With the difference that the comic effects that were supposed to make up for that at the time no longer work today. A weapon with which you take down opponents by means of anal probes may be pleasant to handle for a while, but you won’t get ten to twelve hours of fun out of it, the approximate playing time of this game’s single campaign. Like a psychedelic weapon that makes everyone around do a little dance.

Your weapons in ‘Destroy All Humans! 2: Reprobed’: fun trumps impact. © THQ Nordic

Older than pixel graphics

In all its facets, ‘Destroy All Humans! 2: Reprobed’ a retro game. But one that tries to bring back an era of games for which there is no longer a demand today. The reason remakes of games from the 80s and 90s are so popular today is because the medium was still a bit of a blank slate at the time: retro-inspired games can bring back cozy old form features and add new things to them. In that respect, games from the early 2000s, including ‘Destroy All Humans! 2’, actually more outdated than those titles that inspired pixelgraphic games today: they were already trying to be a full-fledged entertainment medium back then, without having all the broad audience that exists for video games today.

Historic sites are in ruins.
Historic sites are in ruins. © THQ Nordic

“Oh, come on!”

Which brings us to the most problematic element of the game: the humor. It is, to say the least, adolescent, which was in line with both the playing audience and the creators at the time – only young men played video games back then. But today most of the jokes in ‘Destroy All Humans! 2: Reprobed’ so bland and stale that they are rather dulling. And especially the conversations between Crypto and principal Natalya Ivanova, where the player can choose through dialogue options to let the alien debit bland sexual puns, feels like something that certainly doesn’t work at all today.

‘Destroy All Humans! 2: Reprobed’ got a few genuine giggles from the undersigned. But much more often he had to say ‘Oh, come on!’ mumble at a new witz. Of course, Crypto is an alien with a great disdain for humanity: that’s the central joke of ‘Destroy All Humans!’ And the strong ripostes the makers give Natalya suggest that they were already in on the joke in 2006, and were just trying to laugh at that kind of masculinity. But a contemporary player, who has to give shape to a hopeless alien, constantly giving the option to make a slanting comment towards a busty female person, that doesn’t feel okay at all in 2022.

Once you've chosen your favorite weapons, 'Destroy All Humans! 2: Reprobed' as a typical third-person shooter.
Once you’ve chosen your favorite weapons, ‘Destroy All Humans! 2: Reprobed’ as a typical third-person shooter. © THQ Nordic

Free unlimited access to Showbytes? Which can!

Log in or create an account and don’t miss out on any of the stars.

Yes, I want free unlimited access

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Destroy Humans Reprobed stayed games

PREV Coziest living room in the country
NEXT Magnus Carlsen reacts for the first time to huge riot in chess world: “He cheated a lot more than admitted”