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Destroy All Humans! 2 - Reprobed

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Genre: Action
Publisher: THQ
Developer: Pandemic Studios
Release Date: June 21, 2005 (US), June 24, 2005 (EU)

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PS2/Xbox Review - 'Destroy All Humans! 2'

by Nicolus Baslock on Dec. 12, 2006 @ 5:10 a.m. PST

Destroy All Humans! 2 takes the irreverent sci-fi action gaming experience into the swinging '60s with all-new game features, expanded open-world gameplay and co-op multiplayer.

Genre: Action
Publisher: THQ
Developer: Pandemic Studios
Release Date: October 17, 2006

When it was released last summer, Destroy All Humans flew under nobody's radar, as every magazine and web site created an absurd amount of hullabaloo over it. Despite the hype, or perhaps because of, it was an incredibly fun freeform game and delighted sci-fi nuts everywhere. The sequel, Destroy All Humans 2, tries to tread new ground and succeeds in almost every aspect.

Crypto 137 returns from the original game, and although he has barely changed, 10 years have passed since his original visit, and a lot has changed. The first DAH was set in the 1950s; people were more naïve and slow to respond, and life was simpler. DAH 2 is set in 1969, a year of massive change, and it's obvious that the world is more complicated; Cold War threats, politics, and hippy culture are all shown in one way or another.

The story is mostly unoriginal, but it remains entertaining throughout. How is this possible? Unlike similar action titles, DAH 2 places great emphasis on character development. The highlight is Crypto's hilarious hippy-bashing comments in his Jack Nicholson-like voice, but all of the side characters' voice-acting remains exceptional. The characters sound pretty interesting, and walking up to them and reading their minds can yield hilarious results, although it does get slightly repetitive over time. The writing remains funny throughout, and even though there are some boring conversations mixed throughout, it stands head and shoulders above the rest. This actually helps to make the side missions entertaining to play, so missions that would otherwise be ignored are suddenly made quite enjoyable.

A shortcoming of the original DAH was the lack of weapons, but Furon scientists have been busy. Huge and monstrous in their attacks, the weapons really summarize what DAH 2 2 is about: destruction. The Zap-o-matic is back, along with the hilarious Anal Probe, but the Dislocater makes it debut as a weapon which, when fired, picks up enemies or vehicles and tosses them around. There is also the Gastro, which calls up a sidekick to help out Crypto. Most importantly, the weapons are upgradeable so the best-looking weapon, which calls up a meteor strike, looks especially amazing in its final level.

Also back are Crypto's psychokinetic powers, which are a lot of fun. Tossing humans around and throwing trash cans is enjoyable, but a feature like transmogrification really stands out. With it, you can make your own ammo out of vehicles and other objects, which answers the unspoken question posed in games like Grand Theft Auto: Where does the ammo come from? Instead of magically finding an Uzi in the middle of an intersection, you can make your own ammo, which is a lot of fun in itself. Crypto can still take over human form, but now it's a much easier affair with a lot more health. All of these enhancements make DAH 2 a much quicker-paced and entertaining experience.

Gameplay has also significantly improved since the first DAH. A significant amount of time was spent sitting around and looking at menus between missions, but DAH 2 is a far more seamless, free-flowing experience that plays more like GTA, with the ability to take on any mission you want at any time. Mini-games pop up automatically, side missions are always there, and most importantly, main missions play as a part of a greater whole in a way that the previous game could not accomplish.

The single-player action is a lot of fun, but the multiplayer segment is just not up to snuff. A truly great idea in theory, the co-op does not work at all in execution. The game does not change when another player joins, which they can do at any time, just like an old arcade title, but the limitations of the hardware and game come into plain view. In such a massive open environment, it would have been great to just run around blowing up things with a friend, but in execution, this ends up being impossible.

The game is incapable of rendering that much space, so you can never get very far from the other player. You'll be in the middle of fighting a whole squadron of soldiers when you suddenly get pulled back by your electric collar to where you were. It's unfortunate because you really could have had a good time if the engine were capable of a bit more freedom, but the limitations take the whole thing off the rails. One of the saving graces of co-op mode is the ability to play catch with humans using your psychokinetic powers. In single-player mode, you could fly around and destroy things using your ship's cannon, whereas in multiplayer mode, the second player gets to man a turret underneath the ship. The camera is pretty shoddy for the second player, but it's possible to overlook that fault when you can blow up a city with your friends.

Graphically, Destroy All Humans 2 is quite obviously not a next-generation title. There are moments when the graphics look decent, but it's never particularly special. From far away, the environments look pretty good (with the exception of San Francisco), but the close-ups really suffer. Some characters look better than others, but there is typically little to like about the design. Although it's better than some other free-roaming games, there is little variety here, and you will abduct or see the same characters over and over again. Also, when you get close to some areas, the textures seem kind of drawn-out, and the colors are blasé.

The story is typically told through cut scenes in the game engine, but it will occasionally go to actual CGI. Characters portrayed within in-engine cut scenes often differ so much from their CGI counterparts that it's hard to tell who's who, but luckily, the voice-acting provides a clue. This is only an issue because the storytelling is so great that it's distracting to have these little issues crop up.

DAH 2 has an amazing variety of music and always captures the mood really well. Just as important are the great sound effects, which positively stand out. The sounds you hear are top-notch, from weapons to vehicles to, as Bender would say, "meat bag" humans. It's rare for a title such as this to sound so great, but the developers deserve a pat on the back for making one of the best-sounding games of the year.

Destroy All Humans 2 is a great addition to a series that will hopefully make the leap to the next generation. Although it's not perfect, it will definitely keep you interested with its upgraded arsenal, fun gameplay and hilarious dialogue. Graphics are average, but the game is just too much fun to not like. You might be waiting to open your PS3 or Wii on Christmas morning, but until then, you can play through Destroy All Humans 2 for a nice extended laugh.

Score: 8.3/10


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