THQ Nordic is currently in the business of resurrection. Over the past few years, we've seen the publisher put its focus on acquiring the IP rights for titles left behind by downtrodden studios, an approach which has landed them with some notable series, such as Darksiders, Desperados, Red Faction, and the upcoming Destroy All Humans!.
Originally announced only a few months ago, this remade title, which nostalgic fans of the 2005 classic should find familiar in a number of ways, has slowly seen a trickle of teasers, from an outright barmy trailer, all the way up to the playable demo that was available at Gamescon 2019.
For anyone unfamiliar with Destroy All Humans!, it's an action-adventure originally developed by Pandemic Studios and now helmed by Black Forest Games, and it's heading for PC, PS4, Xbox One and Stadia. You play as Crypto-137, an alien invader tasked with understanding and tormenting the people of Earth using advanced weapons, abilities and, of course, a spaceship. Set in the 1950s, an era notorious for its space-age superstitions, the title borrows from iconic science fiction works, from books to movies, with lots of dark and witty humour to back it up. During your time in Crypto's shoes, you will tackle enemies in the army, the police, and even regular old farmers, as you abduct, disintegrate and probe your way across America. It's like Grand Theft Auto crossed with E.T.
Now you might be wondering how exactly one individual can be so well equipped for such a monstrous mission, and that's where Crypto's abilities and weapons come into the equation. Due to his stellar origins, Crypto can use psychokinesis as a tool against, well, us. This ability lets him manipulate the environment and the people in it, as well as providing a handy method of extracting brains for DNA research. On top of this skill, he is also equipped with an arsenal of high-tech weapons, including the Zap-O-Matic. With it we can electrocute targets, destroying them after a short while, stopping only to recharge. It can also ignite certain objects in the environment, which Crypto can then hurl at enemies with her powers of psychokinesis.
Aside from his personal arsenal, Crypto also comes with a jetpack, allowing him to traverse most of the map with ease. This, similar to the Zap-O-Matic, has a cooldown timer between uses and therefore cannot be in use indefinitely. To cover longer distances, a different type of tool is required: the spaceship. This is the ultimate tool of destruction as it is heavily shielded and features the Death Ray as its primary weapon. In the demo, we got to play around with the ship for a few minutes and it feels exactly the way flying saucers should feel, unstoppable but beaming with fun. It was just such a shame we didn't get to spend more time in it.
In the demo, we took on some farmers and eventually the army, who both felt inconsequential next to the power of Crypto, which doesn't surprise us really when considering the tools at his disposal. However, from past experiences with the original game, we know it becomes a little stranger the further you get into things, leading Crypto against all manner of earthlings, and even his own kind. So, don't worry about it seeming a little too normal at this stage because that changes very soon.
On top of tormenting and destroying everything in sight, Destroy All Humans! will have some extra objectives for you to sink time into when it takes off next year. Players can tackle timed events, such as the challenge in the demo that tasked us with eliminating as many farmers as possible (they even threw a side objective into the mix along the lines of drowning farmers in a lake). As well as this, there will be collectibles scattered across the world, offering DNA for Crypto to collect so he doesn't waste time extracting too many human brains. These are all systems that the original title offered, but what makes this remake different, however, is the frequency of them.
From what we've seen, the main focus of the developers has been on growing what was already available in the game. In the remake, the overworld is much denser and also better looking. Since this isn't a new story for Crypto but rather the rebuilding of his original journey, keeping as much the same as possible is key and that is why each sandbox is the same size, just packed with much more content and the occasional new area. On the topic of consistency, even the cinematics are reimagined versions of those from the 2005 title, which shows how far the developers will go to ensure the nostalgia hits just right.
If you expect this title to be something new in its entirety, then you'll be disappointed. However, if you, like us, loved the original and want to cause chaos in a fantastically imagined 1950s America, then the Destroy All Humans! remake could well be for you. Unfortunately, we can't tell you an exact release window beyond the fact that it's scheduled for some time in 2020. Until then the 2005 version will have to be a fitting substitute, at least until we get our hands on a shiny new flying saucer.