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June 2024

Destroy All Humans! 2 - Reprobed

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Genre: Action
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Developer: Black Forest Games
Release Date: Aug. 30, 2022


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PS5 Review - 'Destroy All Humans! 2 - Reprobed'

by Cody Medellin on Aug. 26, 2022 @ 8:00 a.m. PDT

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

Buy Destroy All Humans! 2 - Reprobed

With the original Destroy All Humans remastered two years ago, it was only a matter of time before the sequel got the same treatment. Thanks to its 2006 release date, however, there's a good chance that the people playing this version are doing so for the first time. What they'll find in Destroy All Humans! 2 - Reprobed is more of the same, while those who played the original PS2/Xbox-era iteration will find it to be like the 2020 Destroy All Humans in terms of improvements and authenticity.

The year is 1969, roughly 10 years after the alien Crypto and his scientist boss Pox have taken over the United States. Disguised as the President, Crypto lives a lavish life while Pox continues experimenting with human brains. Somehow, the Soviet Union has discovered this plot and plans to defeat the U.S. and the alien threat in one fell swoop. They start by blowing up Pox's orbital space station and laboratory. Almost immediately afterward, Crypto is targeted but escapes using his usual violent techniques. With Pox's consciousness having survived in holographic form, Crypto vows to take down the USSR by going on a worldwide tour that uncovers something more sinister.

Compared to the first game, the story in Reprobed is less memorable for several reasons. The plot works decently enough, but the twists aren't very interesting. There's an emphasis on comedy, but the jokes don't land as well as expected. The only ones that may be amusing are the pop culture references of the time and Crypto's lewdness. You may chuckle, but with some of the dialogue and thoughts getting repeated, it isn't the type of humor that stands the test of time.

If you've played the first game, then you know the basics. There are five areas to traverse, so the game is still open world in nature, but the worlds are quite small in comparison to similar titles. Your missions range from blowing stuff up to escorting dignitaries to safe spots, and there are even a few stealth bits. You have a small arsenal of weapons while on foot, but you can also possess humans and read their minds if you want to go the non-violent route. While you can't commandeer other vehicles, you can summon your flying saucer to unleash destruction from on high or harvest humans to power up your alien abilities like telekinesis.

Death is a minor inconvenience this time around, since you usually come back with more ammo than you lost, and there's minimal backtracking. The real improvements come from the different gun types and tools. You can now hypnotize people into dancing to make a quick getaway or stop them from calling the cops after they see you snatch a body. One gun calls forth meteors to a spot, while another attaches a disc to a person or object to send them flying. Another is more focused on slamming anything to the ground. Almost all of the guns are focused on destruction, so even if you have a favorite, you'll experiment to see how crazy the weapons can be.

Some tweaks are new to the game but feel carried over from the 2020 iteration. You can now skate around the world with hover boots, so you have a nice middle ground between slower-paced walking and the flying saucer. Every weapon starts off with more default ammo, so you don't need to pause as much. Your jetpack gives you higher leaps, and your TK has more throwing distance; all of those moves are much easier to pull off thanks to a more modern control scheme. Disguise time and shields last longer, and humans seem to react slower to your failing human husk.

For the most part, the core game is an improvement over the original. There's an emphasis on action, so you can still have a stealth approach, but only a few missions make them mandatory. The amount of time you can stay in a disguise is longer than before, and it feels like you can easily avoid arousing suspicion this time around. Upgrades to you and your ship can be stockpiled, so those resources don't have to be spent all at once. The world feels more populated than before thanks to the number of pedestrians and cars.

Despite the improvements, some issues still remain from the original. The game still retains the section length for cut scenes, so there are more transitions when going from scene to scene. Escort missions reveal that the AI is still dumb enough to step into the line of fire and obvious hazards, like gassed-up areas or in the path of oncoming vehicles. Gunfire is painfully slow, so you can easily avoid shots aimed at you. As for new issues, the game feels less like an open world; the completion of each mission fades to a cut scene and fades back in with a title card and you located somewhere new. All of the mechanics have tutorials, but you must hit the corresponding buttons first, so you end up stumbling upon important actions like how to switch weapons. Other things, like the upgrade system, aren't explained at all, so there's a good chance that someone can finish the game but not know what they can and can't do.

The game also carries over one complaint from the 2020 remake: the lack of overall difficulty. The original iteration was already easier than the first game thanks to the big reduction in stealth segments, and the tweaks in Reprobed amplify your base power. The enemies weren't rebalanced for those tweaks, so you can easily skate by most enemies or fry everyone more easily, with most of the deaths coming from your own carelessness when you stand too close to an explosive. Boss fights prove to be a little tougher but not to the point where you'll die before they succumb to brute force. The game is short unless you go after all of the side-quests to make yourself near-invincible.

Unlike more than a few remasters, Reprobed retains its multiplayer modes but doesn't improve on them by adding features like online play. Co-op is likely the option that'll get used the most; it makes things both easier and more chaotic, as the game doesn't feel rebalanced to compensate for a second player. Versus mode is fine, but its appeal is limited for those who pre-ordered the game, since the stand-alone title Destroy All Humans: Clone Carnage includes online play and increases the player count to four. There's also PK Tennis, which is novel since you and an opponent throw around a human like a tennis ball. Like versus mode, it isn't something you'll go back to often, but you'll appreciate it thanks to the improved controls.

Like the 2020 iteration of the first game, the overall graphics have improved, but some of the upgrades feel like downgrades. This is especially true of the humans who animate well enough, and their overall style is cartoon-like. Their clothes look layered instead of being flat textures, but their faces remain more grotesque, making the faces from the PS2/Xbox iteration look more appealing. It also doesn't help that the limited number of model types means that you'll see copies of the same person multiple times in one scene. The environments look well detailed until you reach a body of water, where the reflections look off. There remain a few texture loading issues, especially when you're in a cut scene and the camera changes generate texture pop for a moment. Textures even change when an object is briefly obscured, and the game lacks V-Sync when you fly in your saucer. Particle effects from things like building destruction look rather nice, and the game holds steady at 60fps, even during split-screen play.

Unlike the graphics, the sound hasn't been changed from its original version. Crypto's Jack Nicholson impression fits mostly because we've had it around for long enough that changing out seems implausible. Pox's voice actor occupying both this role and that of "Invader Zim" ends up being a wise choice. The acting from everyone else is good enough, even if it is sometimes borderline stereotypical. The effects remain punchy, but some situations have no effects at all, especially during cut scenes for boss fights. The soundtrack is a blend of '60s sci-fi and popular tracks of the era; it gets you into that era's mindset but isn't necessarily good enough that you'll want to buy the soundtrack.

Destroy All Humans! 2 - Reprobed will appeal to fans of the original and a more niche audience that craves destruction without caring that the plot isn't too cohesive. Others who will be aficionados are players who like mayhem on foot rather than from a flying saucer and appreciate gameplay improvements, even if they make the title much easier. It's a fun experience for everyone who's willing to check it out, especially with the title's relatively low price point compared to many other PS5 games.

Score: 7.0/10

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