Games strive to be the next 'big' thing, with complex narrative stories, brutal difficulty, or superb artistic direction. But there was a time when the main goal was to deliver simple fun, such as blasting a cow to smithereens with a Disintegrator Ray. That's where the Destroy All Humans! Remake comes in, as it brings the original 2005 release, adds a new dash of paint, and lets players remember the joys of causing insane mayhem with little else getting in the way.
Despite only releasing last summer, the game has already made its way into Xbox Game Pass, bringing a wave of nostalgic fun. If the title didn't give it away, the premise is just that - destroy all humans. How you do that evolves over the 10-or-so hour campaign, as more weapons, tools, and methods of destruction are quickly dealt to you. There's even a sprinkling of stealth in the mix, if you really want to mess up someone's day.
The main star of the show is the weapon variety, each proving to be more fun than the last. Initially you'll start with a Zap-O-Matic, which fries enemies through waves of electricity, but you'll soon gain more elaborate tools. One of our favourites is the anal probe, which does exactly what it says on the tin, as it brings you some juicy DNA from a human's, well, y'know. By the end of the game, you're packed with such an arsenal that you may as well have a nuke strapped to your chest. The humans stand no chance.
It's not all on-the-ground firefights though, as quite often you'll take to the skies in your trusty flying saucer. As you'd expect, this is an immensely powerful craft, and will undoubtedly manage to put a grin on your face as you decimate the various sandboxes to the point of being apocalyptic wastelands. Buildings crumble as you reign down fire and humans turn to ash as they're eviscerated from your powerful beam. The mission variety always ensures you never leave your craft or ground weapons alone for too long, and more often than not, it mixes the two quite naturally.
Out of everything, the best thing about Destroy All Humans! is how it doesn't take itself too seriously. Based on alien lore from the 60s and 70s, you'll be thrown pop culture references, time appropriate jokes, and historical events with a comical twist. While not every joke lands, the pure ferocious velocity they're thrown at you means it's not long before another hits. It never lets up on its humour or pretends it's anything more than it is, and that's commendable.
It's not all sunshine and daisies, however. While this is a gem, it's a rough gem, and contains all the level, mission, and game design from 2005. Make no mistake, this is no reinvention of the game, and the 'remake' aspect only takes place in its visuals and a few quality of life improvements. Stealth segments feel incredibly dated, some missions can be infuriating, and there are a few narrative moments that probably should have been reworked. But if you've grown up in that era of gaming, then no doubt it's easy to look past all of this - just know it's not the fully modernised experience you would come to expect.
But visually, it looks fantastic - especially on Xbox Series X, where it's had some tweaks to improve its visuals. It's also a great example of Auto HDR, with some levels absolutely popping with vibrancy. When you're reigning down destruction from above with your fiery laser, it's a sight to behold, now with even more colour bursting from the screen. Black Forest Games has done a fantastic job making this look like a modern day release.
The main takeaway from this is that Destroy All Humans! Remake is sandbox fun at its finest. While it doesn't always reach the dizzying heights you might nostalgically remember from the original, it manages to give you a load of tools and allows you to make your own fun. Even after several maps, burning down every building on the map never ceases to grow old. You could even take down The White House, reliving that iconic moment from Independence Day, which in our eyes, is a massive selling point.
Will you be checking out Destroy All Humans! Remake? Let us know in the comments below.