Many gamers, myself included, have not quite embraced the whole urban warfare genre. Some people do not feel like spending their free time in the shoes of a downtrodden street thug who likes to kill hookers and pop caps in bums. However, the genre does have its merits in the form of an open world and tons of replay value; so how do we turn that into something light-hearted and fun without involving Spider-Man? Answer: Put it in the 1960s and throw in an alien.
The plot of Destroy All Humans! 2 carries on from ten years after the events of last summer’s DAH!. Cryptosporidium-137 and his superior Orthopox, alien invaders from the planet Furon, have taken over control of the United States government and have begun harvesting ancient Furon DNA from the humans to restore their species’ lost reproductive organs, giving them the ability to reproduce by a method other than cloning. Ten years later, Crypto’s clone, Cryptosporidium-138, has taken over office with one advantage over his predecessor: restored genitalia.
After an expository cutscene in the form of a KGB mission briefing, the Furon mothership (containing Orthopox, who survives via holopod) is blown to smithereens and the KGB attempt an assassination on Crypto at a hippie commune, which is where you take over. Like its predecessor, DAH!2 puts you in an open environment and normally gives you several missions at a time to choose from. Yellow markers on the radar indicate story missions, white indicates an odd job, and then there are Arkvoodle Cults in which you spread the Good Pickup Line of Arkvoodle, the Furon god of the Sacred Crotch. (No, I’m serious. That’s a big part of the game. Really.)
Tools of the trade
To spread aforementioned destruction, Crypto is given a full arsenal of weapons ranging from your standard electricity gun to your standard grenade launcher all the way to things that are very not standard: a gun that calls meteors down from the sky, and the holopod containing the janitor that went with the mothership. Each has at least two upgrades, some containing as many as seven, to be bought with Furotech cells scattered across the play areas and awarded to you at the end of each mission.
In addition to his mechanical weapons, Crypto’s greatest weapon is organic or at least genetically engineered: his mind. Crypto can use Furon powers of psychokinesis to lift at first humans, then after a few upgrades, vehicles and military equipment. He can also snatch the bodies of humans, which replaces holobobbing from the first game. It’s not a good change either: holobobbing, you could replenish your disguise by reading minds; body snatching, you must snatch a new body when or before your gauge runs out. Maybe I’m just biased, but body snatching doesn’t feel as smooth as holobobbing (should it?) You can also read minds and make people forget that they’ve seen you, and finally, you can make them dance the free love dance. I’m serious here, too.
If your handheld weapons and mental powers aren’t enough to take out your enemy (and once you get the meteors they should be, but we’re speaking hypothetically here) you can hop into your saucer at any moment during the game and take to the skies. The saucer has your standard Death Ray among three other weapons in addition to an abduction beam and a cloaking device. This reviewer prefers to only use the saucer for carrying large objects long distances and fight with the meteors, but other players may feel differently.
One thing sorely lacking from the original game was multiplayer. This game has same-console co-op, which is fun for a good alien rampage with a buddy and contains PK tennis with a human as a ball (and that’s a lot of fun). There is no structured deathmatch, but a good imagination could come up with a way to do any gametype.
Destroy Some Humans! 2
The game isn’t all fire and brimstone, unfortunately. You’ll spend a lot of time talking to people such as Orthopox, the British secret agent Ponsonby, and the Soviet femme fatale sidekick, Natalya. The conversations branch off, with you controlling Crypto’s side. More often than not an option is “hit on ______” or “mock ______” to the point that later in the game, the options become things like “Mock Pox For The Umpteenth Time” and such.
It’s a good thing dialogue is entertaining because there’s quite a bit. In fact, one of the major flaws in the game is compared to last time, there’s not a whole lot of destroying of all humans (a fact Crypto even remarks upon - there is no fourth wall in this game). You do more errand missions than mass destroying of all humans and yet another thing, later in the game which I won’t spoil, takes further away from the theme of the game.
The graphics are passable but by no means amazing. From far off in your saucer, textures are bland. Also, there are not enough character models. Sometimes you’ll pass by a hippie walking next to the same identical hippie, and it’s not a good thing. However, in open-world games, you don’t expect amazing graphics because of all the system has to process, and it doesn’t detract much from the overall experience.
Sound, on other hand, is pretty top-notch. Crypto’s voice actor fills his space boots perfectly. Orthopox is voiced by Richard Steven Horvitz, who is one of the best alien voice actors ever (a little Invader ZIM anyone?) The game also features vocal tracks, ranging from stereotypical 60’s pop to J-Pop, which fit in nicely with the already well-definted atmosphere.
One last detractor from this game is its glitchiness: it’s only happened once so far, but a glitch has prevented me from completing a mission and I had to restart from scratch, which should never happen in a game. However, game-imparing glitches won’t happen often, and it’s not a lot to worry about.
So is it as good as Destroy All Humans!? No, actually. The plot reaches its high point in the hours leading up to the final mission and then falls flat with the game’s ending, which doesn’t even come up to the toenails of the “omgomgomg gotta have the next one now” feeling I was left with last year. Was the ending funny? Yes. Did it inspire mad passion for Destroy All Humans! 3? No. However, this and the game’s other flaws shouldn’t discourage a purchase should you be a huge fan of the original, though I will suggest a rental first.
Final Score: 7 out of 10 - Above Average (how do we rate games?)