Reviewed: February 2, 2009
Released: December 1, 2008
By no means am I a die-hard fan of THQ’s Destroy All Humans series, but this being the third consecutive release that I will be reviewing for Game Chronicles – well, I guess that I consider myself as a bit of an expert on the subject. And if there is one sure trend that I have noticed with the series, it is that our little green friend Crypto has been on a downward spiral since Pandemic handed-off the development duties.
While I was fairly impressed with my first series review with Pandemic’s Destroy All Humans 2, my second experience with the series – the Wii follow-up, Locomotive Game’s Big Willy Unleashed – was a real dud. In fact, the title was so poorly received, that it’s scheduled PS2 and PSP versions were cancelled prior to release.
Now, I’m not saying that I was honestly expecting the newest release to suddenly turn the floundering serious around, but a little part of me was thinking that the series’ move to the current generation of consoles might at least result in something more technically impressive than a two and a half year old last-gen release. Sadly, the multitude of technical glitches that pop up constantly throughout the gameplay are only the tip of the iceberg in the mess that is Destroy All Humans: Path of Furon.
For those who might be new to the series, the Destroy All Humans titles are always very clever in their storylines – focusing on a particular decade in American history, wallowing in the stereotypical Americana representing the setting. Whether talking about the communist paranoia of the 1950’s, the anti-Vietnam hippie movement of the 1960’s, or the disco fever of the 1970’s, and everything and anything in-between – absolutely no group has been left untouched by the series penchant for tongue-in-cheek humor and crude double entendre.
All the while, our anti-hero, a Jack Nicolson voiced “grey” alien name Crypto, and his holographic commander Orthopox (Pox for short) set their aims on taking over our world for their Furon Empire by – yes – destroying all humans. The gameplay is generally heavy on the action, with our bug-eyed buddy cruising the streets – Grand Theft Auto style – firing laser guns, pulse cannons, and even anal probes at the throngs of fleeing bystanders and approaching enemies.
Although Path of Furon takes place in the 1970’s, it focuses less on the timeframe and a bit more on the locales – which touch on Las Vegas, Hollywood, Hong Kong, and Paris – eventually taking us to our characters’ home planet, Furon. The settings are sparse compared to the standards set by Grand Theft Auto IV, but the trademark architecture of each location is well addressed – the larger-than-life casinos of Los Paradiso, the sunshine superstardom of Sunnywood, and the neon glow of Shen Long.
While the locales are aptly presented, Destroy All Humans really stumbles on the characters that inhabit the world – of which there are only a handful of heavily rehashed character models wandering about aimlessly. Admittedly, it is fun to see a group scatter as Crypto takes on his alien form – but the fact that there are twenty carbon-copy characters in any given frame of view tends to eliminate any believability. This may have been acceptable in the GTAIII era, but we have come to expect a little more from our sandbox games.
Worse yet, the game suffers from pop-up issues on an order that has not been seen since the early days of the PS2. And the pop-up is not simply limited to the cars and objects that materialize out of thin air – no, Path of Furon features entire city blocks and skyscrapers that suddenly appear blocking Crypto’s flight patterns. I feel safe in saying that the last-gen versions had less noticeable pop-up than this one does – a sure embarrassment to the Unreal Engine folks, whose logo that is so proudly displayed at the game’s boot-up.
Likewise, the sound package is a technical mess. While we are always supportive of games that feature a fully voiced screenplay – Path of Furon’s well-voiced audio skips around so haphazardly, that few of the games lengthy cutscenes are delivered in their entirety. The remaining sound effects and background tracks are generic, and save for the repetitive riffs of Disco Inferno that comes with Crypto’s similarly named mind-control trick, offer little in the way of enjoyment.
Needless to say, Destroy All Humans: Path of Furon is not the best title in the series. While the game packs some potential, the constant barrage of technical glitches renders it all but unplayable and leave it feeling like an unfinished work that was rushed to the shelves a month or two too soon.