Tuesday 10 October 2006
Pitching a wise-cracking alien against the small-minded conformism of 1950s America, the original Destroy All Humans encouraged the widespread destruction and eventual invasion of the United States. This sequel is fundamentally more of the same, expanded over a global setting and with a far stronger emphasis on free-roaming.
Leering, lecherous alien star Crypto remains the game's strongest focus, and rightly so. Although it's initially difficult to empathise with him, the game manages to endear players to the extra-terrestrial by highlighting his unique power and outcast isolation.
Crypto's abilities remain undimmed - he's still able to perform telepathy, telekinesis and to body-snatch any passing human as a disguise. Entirely gratuitous but entirely enjoyable, these talents really do shine in play.
There are three new locations to rip up: Bay City (San Francisco), Albion (London) and Takoshima (Tokyo). Both Bay City and Albion are rather uninspired, with the mission story arcs by turns shallow and crass (a cult leader named Bongwater setting the tone).
Then Takoshima happens and all is almost forgiven. Exotic and elegant, the Japanese stage ratchets both gameplay and game settings to where you want them to be. Crypto soon encounters errant ninjas, the Yakuza, moody schoolgirls, paranoid salarymen and an awesome parody of Godzilla. When you reach this glorious, fictitious Japan you can't help wondering whether this is the same game.
Pandemic is obviously passionate about crafting as immersive an experience as possible. Although graphics are largely of the standard you'd expect from last generation, in some areas they pleasantly surprise.
Destroy All Humans 2 seamlessly and nimbly merges real-time play with unplayable content where lesser products would resort to interruptive cut scenes. Landing and launching your saucer is therefore a joy to behold, as is activating a shimmering cloaking device whilst gleefully reducing whole cityscapes to rubble.