A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Destruction AllStars is a vehicular combat game available for the PlayStation 5. In the game, drivers hop into vehicles to race around an arena, and must smash and destroy other cars, like a demolition derby. There are also obstacles to avoid, like a giant pit, weapons (explosives and giant saws), and the ability to eject out of the vehicle and run towards another car. Cars smash into pieces and even ejected drivers can be run over -- but there's no blood, gore or death. This is a multiplayer-focused game, and depending on the console's settings, players can hear others talk, including profanity and other inappropriate and potentially offensive comments (as with any other online game that supports voice chat). While this is currently available for free to players that have a PlayStation Plus account (which has its own subscription cost), there are plans to release additional downloadable content (DLC) in the future.
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What's it about?
Vehicular combat is the name of the game in DESTRUCTION ALLSTARS, a PlayStation 5 exclusive available as a free download for PlayStation Plus subscribers. The story surrounds 16 drivers trying to become the winner of an international competition, dubbed the Global Destruction Federation Championship. Drivers have to hop into a vehicle, race around arenas, and wreck their way to be top dog before the time runs out. The multiplayer-centric game is divided into several modes, each with its own environments and rules, but the core gameplay mechanic involves driving a souped-up vehicle -- like a fast race car or ruggedized truck -- and targeting other vehicles so that you don't just get a "Hit" but also a "Wreck," which is where the points really rack up. You'll also need to avoid obstacles (like giant pits and explosives), evade oncoming vehicles and shake off drivers who might hang onto your vehicle in an effort to toss you out of the driver's seat and claim your ride. And yes, you'll be on-foot and vulnerable when running around the arena looking for a new vehicle to take over, which means you could be hit by other drivers. In fact, at the start of every competition (and every time your vehicle is destroyed), you'll respawn on-foot and must make your way to a new car. Destruction AllStars offers several modes, along with solo and team options. Supporting up to 16 players, the four main online multiplayer modes are Mayhem, Grid Fall, Carnado, and Stockpile. There's also a Tutorial mode and Casual ("Quick Play" option), 50 single-player Challenges, Arcade mode, and limited-time rule twists in Special Events, which change up over time (along with added new characters, skins, emotes, vehicles, maps and more).
Is it any good?
This is a fun game that fuses the popularity of online third-person action games with car racing, and it works on most levels. Destruction AllStars is easy to pick up and gratifying. Its selection of characters, vehicles and game modes keeps the gameplay fresh and frenetic -- in and out of the vehicles. Also, it's a free download for PlayStation Plus subscribers. It's an enjoyable smash-em-up digital diversion to play with 15 others when you've got an hour to kill here and there (or for those who want to invest even more that that to build up their rank within the game). Characters enjoy special abilities (called "Breakers") that can also help give them an edge, such as seeing through walls in the arena, or leaving a trail of fire that can damage others in her path. All this effort is proof the drivers weren't an afterthought. While the in-vehicle action is what most players will likely buzz about, players also need to master their driver's on-foot tactics.
Of course, some modes are better than others. The main Mayhem match ("Deathmatch") stands out, but Carnado is good as well. Playable in both solo and online in teams, you can earn Gears (redeemable for collectable in-game items) as you hit opponents. The more you KO, the more Gears you'll earn). The PS5 hardware shines here, too, with fast load times, smooth frame rates, and tight controls with haptic feedback (like if you get a flat tire, you can feel the rat-tat-tat-tat on your left or right trigger). All in all, Destruction AllStars is the first big 2021 exclusive for PS5, and it's really good. If you like cars and carnage, PlayStation Plus subscribers should have a blast playing this freebie.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Destruction AllStars affected by the cartoonish nature of the vehicular combat? Would the impact be intensified if there was more realistic violence? Would realistic violence make the game more or less appealing?
What's the appeal of multiplayer games? Is it testing your skills against other people? The fast-paced action these games thrive on? Climbing an online leaderboard? What appeals to you?
- Platforms: PlayStation 5
- Price: $69.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Sony Interactive Entertainment
- Release date: February 2, 2021
- Genre: Racing
- Topics: Cars and Trucks, Magic and Fantasy, Sports and Martial Arts
- ESRB rating: T for Fantasy Violence
- Last updated: February 4, 2021
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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.