In 2005 we were introduced to the world of Cryptosporidium 137 in which we are encouraged to take over the world by destroying as many humans as possible. At the end of that game, Crypto wound up posing as the President of the United States of America and extracting DNA from the population in order to reinvigorate his own race, the Furons. At the start of Destroy All Humans! 2 (DAH2) that idyllic existence is disturbed by the intervention of agents of the Soviet Union who are not only fomenting rebellion in the youth of America, but have also destroyed the Furon mothership and killed Crypto's boss Orthopox.
Needless to say, our violent and sarcastic alien buddy doesn't take this lying down and begins his mission of revenge and re-conquering the planet. He is aided in this quest by a copy of Orthopox's personality that has been stored in a portable holographic projector and continues to boss Crypto around in much the same Invader Zim-inspired way he did in the original game. The first thing Crypto needs to do is repair his saucer so he can wreak a proper scale of havoc upon the residents of Bay City, but to do that, he may actually have to talk to them.
DAH2 takes the original game and adds several twists to the mix: there is a more free-roaming, GTA-like sandbox approach to missions instead of the more traditional 'one mission leads to another' approach taken in DAH. The environments are large and mixed, as this time we are taken on a tour of the world with levels in the USA, UK and Japan amongst others. Each one is distinctive in the settings, missions and characters you must interact with. There are still the side quests that prolonged the gameplay time in the first game, but they have more impact on the main game than just a chance to gain DNA. Speaking of which, the upgrade path in DAH2 has been changed as well. Now, in order to upgrade your technological prowess, i.e. weapons, shields and the like, you collect Furon tech cells that allow upgrades. These have been scattered about the landscape by the destruction of the mothership, but have curiously all landed in hard to spot areas. Psyonic upgrades are achieved by abducting the correct mix of humans - such as cops, hippies, KGB, both male and female - and blending their DNA. This is a satisfying mechanic that makes perfect sense in the game world.
The preview version we have been playing seems very close to release standard, but there are a few things that we would appreciate seeing cleared up. There is an amount of pop-up that can be frustrating when tracking down vehicles to destroy, and the camera can be annoyingly useless, especially in the saucer sections of play where it's very hard to see what is going on beneath you. However, these are minor niggles and can be overlooked with a little determination. They certainly shouldn't ruin the game's central idea of laying waste to human civilisation just because it's inferior to your own.
There's little doubt that Pandemic and THQ have another hit on their hands. Destroy All Humans! 2 is so easy to get into, it makes possessing puny humans look like hard work. Solid gameplay, wry humour and anal probing action will doubtless keep you occupied for quite some time. We expect to see the issues we mention sorted out, but as they aren't fundamental to enjoyment of the game and can be easily worked around, they would far from ruin the fun.