The Destroy All Humans! remake released back in 2020 to much fanfare, and has revitalized the franchise in this current gaming landscape. All things considered, the remake was a success, retaining the spirit and charm of the original while infusing modern touches for the current audience. In fact, the formula also carried over to its most recent release, as indicated in our review of the sequel, Destroy All Humans! 2: Reprobed.
The age-old question of whether you need to play the original game comes to mind when playing the sequel. While Reprobed can be enjoyed without prior exposure to the series, similar to games like Psychonauts 2 and Ratchet & Clank Rift Apart, Crypto’s adventures are most surely worthwhile.
That said, is the original even worth playing, or should we just jump right into the sequel? Having never played any of the titles in the Destroy All Humans! franchise back in its heyday, I set out on a mission to find out!
The State of the Open World
The Destroy All Humans! remake was released a couple of years ago, and despite the 2-year difference between installments, both games are visually identical. That’s not to say that the graphics are bad, but don’t expect any overhaul or drastic change.
What has changed though is that some features found in the sequel won’t be around in the first game, should you choose to play reprobed first.
The biggest gameplay aspect that’s an obvious change is the state of the open world, where you have a larger area to explore in the sequel versus that of the original. There are short chapter bursts in the original where you move on to a different city in North America compared to the cities to explore and decimate after completing the main campaign in Reprobed.
One gripe I had with starting Reprobed first was that I ended up just completing the main campaign of Destroy All Humans!, almost ignoring exploration and any of the activities outside of the main quest, also because it had much fewer skills and upgrades to complete.
Reprobed also expected me to have mastered some of the fundamentals from Destroy All Humans! Where the first game really taught you how to heal on the spacecraft, Reprobed expected you to know this already.
Despite this, controls from both games remain intuitive, and while Reprobed is still totally playable on its own, exposure to the first game will definitely give you an edge.
Humor is relative
Destroy All Humans! for me felt a lot more fresh and funny compared to the sequel. I know that humor is relative between people, but the jokes in the first one didn’t try too hard to be edgy and worked more on the tropes of classic alien stories versus that of the new one, which implemented some spy thriller elements in it seen in the likes of James Bond and Mission Impossible.
I’d say the sequel really pushed the sexual innuendo up, which can either work for you or not, but the original game felt much smarter, as its humor was more conceptual rather than cheap toilet humor.
Plot-wise, I was able to understand more of the referential humor of the second game after playing the first game, so there is that. I found that going back to the second game with the context of the first made me appreciate some of the references further, but it was more of an a-ha moment that I missed from playing Reprobed.
Not really, but…
The question of whether I need to play the original versus the sequel first comes into mind again. Looking back, I would fall under the camp of not really, but there’s a much better appreciation of the content when played in order.
The short answer, though, is that you don’t have to.
Destroy All Humans! 2 Reprobed has all the makings of a classic on its own. With fully realized open worlds, you can return to and play around with its sandbox, and traveling around the world will fill your free time, even without learning much of the backstory from the previous game.
However, if you have the time (and a Game Pass account), checking out Destroy All Humans! is a sure recommendation. It makes for a natural progression, and from a gameplay standpoint, it’ll allow you to ease into the controls and its many quirks.
Whichever way you choose, both games are a great time. The humor can be a hit or miss for either title, but both will offer some worthwhile fun while you’re at it.