‘Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed’ review: old fashioned alien antics

This ET phoned home, and brought reinforcements

Considering the original Destroy All Humans! 2 was released in 2006 (a full three generations of console ago), it’s fairly remarkable that a 2022 remake of the third-person action-shooter holds up as well as it does. An open-world game that is neither massive, nor sprawling, Reprobed contains a playground for antihero alien Crypto to use humans as his plaything, and it never outstays its welcome or forces you to do anything you don’t want to.

A message at the start explains in a jocular manner that, while this is a remake, it’s a faithful one and the story and writing have been retained from 2006. This means that, yes, there are Russians and KGB agents as antagonists, anal probes, and smartass humour. The story is almost certainly something that wouldn’t happen in a brand new game, due to the politics of the real world we live in.

Playing as Crypto, then, you’re a whip-smart alien with technology far advanced from anything else, but the toolset feels designed as though the core concept was based upon a simple desire to ensure that whoever is playing it, is at all times having fun. Movement feels fluid and responsive, and if it weren’t for the narrative, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a new action shooter from the creators of a series like Crackdown or the older Saints Row titles.

Destroy All Humans 2 Reprobed. Credit: Black Forest Games.
Destroy All Humans 2 Reprobed. Credit: Black Forest Games.

It’s perhaps unfair to say it’s “brainless action”, because there are parts of the design beneath the veneer that are rather clever, and operate on a few levels if you think about it enough. Opening with Crypto cosplaying as president, the KGB agents disrupt the alien rule by destroying an orbiting base, and from then on it’s a rush to defeat the bad guys, which include stereotypical hippies, the aforementioned agents, and all manner of law enforcement.

But within ten minutes you have a jetpack. Perhaps another ten minutes later you have a weapon that bounces enemies and cars around like balls, exploding at the end. Later you’ll unlock the “anal probe” weapon, which does exactly what it says on the tin. There’s juvenile humour aplenty, and Crypto has a very anti-establishment sensibility about him, with a large dose of cynicism and a general “can’t be bothered” attitude mixed in for good measure.

While everything in Reprobed feels full of bombast and bluster, it’s also not as in your face as might be expected. The world isn’t massive, and it means you can get around pretty quickly to your objectives. The maps aren’t littered with things to do, and the side objectives you can achieve serve the mechanics on offer and are, quite frankly, surprisingly creative for a title that’s over 15 years old.

Destroy All Humans! 2 - Reprobed
Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed

For example, as well as the jetpack you’ll unlock your trusty flying saucer. This is a means to get around quickly, and of course it’s also used in missions to blow things up. However, where Crypto’s vehicle really excels is in the side objective that is (and there’s no nice way of saying this) abducting a variety of humans and turning them into genetic mulch to upgrade abilities. Flying around sucking up British gentlemen, police officers, hippies, and so on, is simple and unique to Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed.

Elsewhere you can find some collectibles and be rewarded with upgrade currency at the end of missions. These can be used to improve shields, your saucer, and weapons. Once again, it’s surprising to find some of the most creative weapons in a long time in a 2006 remake, with the basic starting weapon the Zap-O-Matic (an electricity burst weapon) can be upgraded to cause massive chain effects that light up the screen and take out multiple enemies at once. Even the probe, which should be a one-note joke, is improved by requiring you to time the “extraction” correctly to get a health pickup bonus.

In truth, there are cracks that do suggest the age of Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed’s source material. There are one too many missions that require you to simply hit the D-Pad and take the form of a human in order to speak to a mission giver that, while not the end of the world, do require you to go and find that form to bodysnatch. In a brand new title, perhaps you could store those forms and switch once captured. Likewise, finishing a mission gives you a splash screen and shows your bonuses, and again, modern experiences don’t do this, and will just leave you in the world to move around, showing you those bonuses, but not stopping you in this way.

Destroy All Humans! 2 - Reprobed. Credit: Black Forest Games.
Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed. Credit: Black Forest Games.

Crucially, however, nothing feels wasted here. While the minor quibbles are more related to the changes in approach to design through the years, what you’re left with is a far shorter than usual (12-14 hours to beat the story) semi-open world adventure that treats the player with intelligence and as someone who has finite hours in the day. From the weapons to the movement, to how the story is dolled out in short bursts that quickly get you back into the action, Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed may be a remake, but it could also teach some modern open-world titles a thing or two.

Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed offers frictionless entertainment. It may not be something you think back on in years to come, but in the moment it’s a hugely enjoyable, easy-to-play romp across multiple maps with ridiculous weaponry. Switch off your brain a bit, fly around in a jetpack, and probe some authority figures, and you’ll probably feel just that bit better for it.

Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed is coming to PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, and PS5 on August 30, 2022. This review was played on PC.

The Verdict

Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed is great entertainment, and will give you plenty of reasons to keep playing. Weapons and movement that belie the age of the source material are only really let down by a few cracks in the modern veneer, and the story being a bit old-fashioned.

Pros

  • Joyous and frictionless to play
  • Doesn’t outstay its welcome
  • Has superb creativity

Cons

  • Humour and story have dated
  • Some small signs of age
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