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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Destroy All Humans! is an action game for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PCs. The game's a remake of a 15-year-old title previously released for the PlayStation 2. You play as an evil alien bent on Earth's destruction. It's a kitschy 1950's-esque Cold War-era sci-fi tale that doesn't take itself seriously, but you can kill many people with your alien weapons (like ray guns), psychic powers and spaceships, including innocent people, military officers and even a fictional President of the United States. You can also kill farm animals. The game has animated blood, gore, and violence. It also has some sexual references, like an anal probe weapon, and toilet humor (a cow defecating). "Hell" and "damn" can be heard in dialogue. Finally, there are mentions of alcohol and drug use in dialogue scattered through the game.
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What's it about?
A cult classic from 2005 is back again in a faithful remake in DESTROY ALL HUMANS! This is a campy sci-fi third-person action game that stars you as an evil alien and not the "good guys" who vow to protect the Earth from the invasion. Just like the original game, you assume the role of Cryptosporidium 137 ("Crypto;" for short), a sardonic and sarcastic Furon solider sent to America in the 1950s. This gray ET -- with a bulbous head, large eyes and small body -- uses a handful of alien weapons, like ray guns, as well as psychic abilities, and machines (like a jet pack and spaceship) that all can and will be used to destroy all humans. Without giving too much away, you must also extract DNA from humans, which has a tie to the menacing Furon species, as well. The single player game has you accomplish various missions in order to advance through the story. Gameplay also folds in action, exploration, collection, and some puzzle solving. Along the way, you'll unlock new locations and missions, upgrades (to your weapons, ship and powers), and access various skins to change up the way the game looks.
Is it any good?
This is a kitschy action game that never takes itself too seriously. In fact, if you have a penchant for humor and/or classic sci-fi flicks, you'll get a lot out of Destroy All Humans! And at under $30 for the PC version (or under $40 for the console version) it's more affordable than most other new videogames released today. The non-playable cut-scene sequences at the start of the game set the tone perfectly, with silly banter between Furons before they fly to planet Earth and begin terrorizing farmers and barnyard animals. As you play, you'll earn the opportunity to upgrade your abilities and unlock other goodies along the way, such as urban and rural scenes to change up the environments (fans of the original game also get access to the never-before-seen "Lost Mission of Area 42"). Along with fighting, there are missions tied to infiltration, collection, and exploration. While the third-person combat may seem like it's similar to other action games, Destroy All Humans! separates itself with the various powers you have, such as using psychokinesis ("PK") to fling people, animals and objects around with your mind. This really feels good. There's also about a dozen other powers, like forgetfulness and hypnosis, impersonating someone ("body snatch"), and many more.
The campy storyline, silly characters and dialog also work to make this more a unique shooter. Despite its variety in powers, there are some limitations (and repetition) in the combat department, but it's still enjoyable if you don't mind a less-than-deep experience -- which may be more appealing more to younger or more novice gamers. That, and there are some restrictions in where you can go, so its not as much of a "Sandbox" game as advertised. Still, Destroy All Humans! is a fun romp through a funny '50s style sci-fi game that lets you get a sense of what it's like being the big-headed bad guy and unleashing havoc on middle America.
Talk to your kids about ...
Parents can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Destroy All Humans affected by the cartoonish nature of the gameplay? Does the B-movie nature of the plot limit the impact of the blood and gore shown in the game because it's frequently tied to humorous comments or unrealistic scenarios?
Is there something appealing about playing as a bad guy? What makes it stand out from other games? Does it matter that you're playing as an alien that wants to destroy Earth, or is the complication of trying to cause destruction one of the biggest issues when it comes to playing bad characters?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $29.99 (PC), $39.99 (PS4, Xbox One)
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: THQ Nordic
- Release date: July 28, 2020
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Horses and Farm Animals, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: T for Language, Sexual Themes, Violence
- Last updated: August 4, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.