The first Destroy All Humans was memorable because it was one of the first games to use physics in a game effectively. Combined with the innovative plot and somewhat witty dialog led to a game that was fairly enjoyable. We're now up to the third game in the series and the franchise is starting to wear thin as it hasn't innovated much since the first game. Path of the Furon repeats the formula without adding any depth. This is a shame as I really wanted to like Destroy All Humans: Path of the Furon. I had a fairly strong impression of the game from the time I spent with it at the THQ spring event last year but like a movie where the trailer has all the good parts, Path of the Furon doesn't deliver a full experience.
Once again you play Crypto, an alien hell bent on harvesting human DNA for his alien masters. At the start of the game you are peacefully running a casino in Las Paradiso, a sleezier, cheesier version of Las Vegas. That peace is destroyed when Crypto is forced out of hiding by the local mob boss who is actually being controlled by a mysterious third party. Now that he's out in the open Crypto now has to figure out who is trying to kill him and how they know his secret. Uou'll spend your time split between walking around the various areas and flying around then in your flying saucer. You have a variety of weapons at your disposal that can be upgraded over time. Old favorites like the anal probe and ion detonator return as well as a few new weapons like the human fly trap and the black hole game.
The first thought I had when firing the game up was "This game is using Unreal Engine 3?" Spartan terrain textures and blocky buildings dotted the first level (a take off of Las Vegas) and it was hard to believe that this was a current generation game. It's almost like all the textures were imported to the new engine and then upscaled to a higher resolution. There are a few nice touches in spots as some of the enemies are well modeled and designed but the rest of the game is a mix of bad to worse textures. I'm not sure if the Unreal Engine 3 can handle larger sandbox style games as even with the lower textures I ran into a few frame drop issues.
If the graphics aren't bad enough to scare you off the writing will kill off whatever desire you have to play the game. Like the graphics the writing of the game is a mixed bag with most of it being bad. There are a few chuckles sprinkled through out the game but the rest of the writing is cringe inducing. The game takes a few shots at the video game industry and game reviewers which is semi-entertaining but the rest of the schtick feels forced. It doesn't help that the series retains Crypto's Jack Nicholson/Christian Slater voice over which began to grate on my nerves after the first hour of the game.
It also doesn't help that you can see the major plot twists coming a mile away. I'm not going to ruin anything but if you've played Jade Empire you can see the main twist coming a mile away. There are a few other semi-interesting twists and the game does leave itself open for a decent sequel but I'm not sure that the game really deserves one after playing through Path of the furon.
Adding to the game's woes are glaring glitches that I can't believe made it into the final version of the game. Every time you go into dialog with a character in the game there's a three or four second bit of lag while the characters move their mouths but there's not dialog on screen or coming through the speakers. It's not like this happened once or twice but it's something that happened every time I tried it. Outside of that glitch the game suffers from other bugs like looping audio getting stuck and from other sandbox AI glitches where the in world inhabitants do some incredibly stupid things.
There are a few redeeming things in the game though which bump the game up into the "Rent on a whim" category. The first is that the weapons in the game are actually pretty cool. As you progress through the game you get some genuinely fun weapons including a gun that launches a giant man eating plant, a black hole generator which sucks up everything near it, and a UFO weapon that creates a giant bubble of destruction that can take out entire city blocks. Combine these with the semi-sandbox nature of the game and you have a great way to blow off steam after a lousy day as there's really nothing more fun than leveling an entire city block with one button push or pickup and throw cars and tanks at crowds of civilians.
The psychokinesis powers are also fun as you can stop time and manipulate objects before restarting time. The problem is that once you're introduced to these powers the game forces you to use them over and over again which killed the enjoyment factor for me quite a bit. That said it was fun to stop time, pick up missiles in mid-flight and re-aim them towards civilians or back at the person that fired them.
I use the term semi-sandbox I'm not sure you can call the game a true sandbox game as it's broken out into several different areas that are separated by noticibly long load times. This provides some variation to the game as you get to blow up a mock Los Angeles and a fake Paris but don't expect a seamless environment like those in Sants Row 2 and Grand Theft Auto IV.
Achievement whores may be interseted in the title as it's an easy way to boost your gamerscore. The achievements in the game are also fairly easy to attain as I was able to rack up almost 600 poiints just by completing the game and doing a few odd tasks here and there. I imagine that with another hour or two of dedicated effort I could pick up the rest of the points without breaking too much of a sweat. It's no Airbender but it's still easy points without a lot of effort.
I did manage to complete the game over a period of a few days. The game was originally slated to go to Randy to review but I got sucked into the game just to see if it got any better. Unfortunately it didn't although there are the occasional slivers of good in parts of the game and it feels like there was a big rush to get the game out the door. I don't know how much more time and money it would have taken to do the game right but I'm not sure we'll ever see Crypto again unless someone does a Batman style reboot on the franchise.
The game tries too hard to be funny and to clever and misses a few important things like pacing, dialog, and fun. There are some cool things buried in the game but you have to look really hard to find them.
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