Game was provided for free by THQ Nordic for review. Thank you!
In 2005, the world was introduced to Destroy All Humans. As an alien nicknamed Crypto, you arrive on Earth in the 1960s where you must harvest the brain stems of humans to continue cloning your species. With an assortment of crazy weapons, including an anal probe and PsychoKinesis (telekinesis), you would kill and fling humans, animals, and objects around, wreaking havoc and getting those sweet sweet stems. In 2020, the original game was remade, turned open-world, and expanded in almost every way conceivable, and 2 years later, the second game in the franchise has been remade.
Destroy All Humans 2 Reprobed is a massive expansion over the second game too. Set 10 years after the original game, Crypto is back and bigger than ever. With new weapons, new locations, a coop mode, and body-snatch humans, the crazy is cranked up to 11! The game looks gorgeous and, while it doesn't innovate from the original game much, the possibility of coop rampages is enticing. So while I know we would all love to probe humans on-the-go, we first have to find out how well we can do it. So, let's dive right in to performance on the Steam Deck.
At max settings, the game does look gorgeous and sharp, but your battery life will not thank you. The game will easily push the limit to a 25W drain for only around an hour of batter life with temps that will climb up to the 80c area. While this isn't terrible itself, framerate will not be stable and regularly dip under 30 FPS.
While Destroy All Humans 2 can look great, those temps and battery drain do not!
Destroy All Humans 2 has a solid amount of settings to play with, but these definitely needed some tweaking. There were a couple issues I noticed initially, with the first being ghosting. While I was playing with the settings, I noticed that there was a ghosting trail around me where I walked. Usually, this is a bi-product of FSR, but I didn't have it enabled yet for my testing. It turns out that the Anti-Aliasing setting was causing it though. Setting it to low or medium made the game way too sharp looking (especially the grass), whereas setting it to High caused the ghosting effect. The only way to get the best of both worlds was setting it to Ultra. Generally, I try to lower AA due to how taxing it can be on the system, but I had no choice in this case.
In the first image, you can see right behind the character are "reflections" of her. This ghosting is prevalent on Anti-Aliasing high setting. Anything below that setting gets rid of ghosting, but becomes way too sharp. If you look at the grass, it appears to be glowing on then tips a little, but this is actually over-sharpness at play.
The second issue I came across was shadows. Shadows can be really heavy on the system and turning them down can dramatically help the internals run the game better, but in this case, the settings dramatically changed shadows way more than I expected. Low got rid of almost all of them, medium turned them all into blobs, but high gave them just enough detail to look significantly better. It helped the overall atmosphere, so I kept the shadows at High as I felt they were a happy medium for what I was looking for.
While shadows can be taxing, the difference between the 2 is astounding. High heavily increases the overall quality of the game.
Once finished with my settings, I wanted to try turning FSR 2.0 on, though this gave me another weird effect. It is hard to take a screenshot of, but the ghosting was back...but it was transparent. This caused a weird bubbling that wasn't super noticeable, but I felt it was enough to mention. Keeping FSR 2.0 off eliminated that though, so I opted for not using it.
With the recommended settings, Destroy All Humans 2 looks gorgeous and runs smoothly at 30 FPS. I felt this was a great compromise between stability, battery, and graphics. It can push up to a mix of high/ultra settings with sacrifices to battery life, but I felt they were miniscule compared to what you are saving here. I will mention, however, if battery life is no issue to you at all, we will provide a build that will prioritize stability at 30 FPS at the highest quality settings possible.
The differences feel minimal visually, but the recommended gives a night-and-day difference to battery life and temps.
I wanted to put together a 40 FPS build as well, but holding a stable framerate was near impossible. The game is made with Unreal Engine 4, which does have some issues when loading in new assets and does provide some drops in framerate. This is prevalent even in our recommended build, but you can feel it much much more in 40 as it will drop all the way down to 32. Thankfully, the drops don't last long and quickly recover. This also comes with a reduction in quality and much more battery drain to even come close to holding it at 40. This is why I can't recommend it, but I feel we may have found a sweet spot that works 95% of the time, albeit with a much higher drain.
I did touch on a few of the weird settings earlier, like shadow and anti-aliasing quality, but I need to mention the Unreal Engine 4 aspect again. This game will have slowdowns as you are moving into a new area, no matter what settings. I have turned the settings all the way down and even still when walking into new areas, there will be some drop. The odd ghosting effects from anti-aliasing and FSR 2.0 are a bit jarring as well, it was either normal ghosting or transparent bubble ghosting with those 2.
Destroy All Humans 2 itself played really well and I didn't encounter any bugs in my playthrough of it. It was just the odd settings that I had to choose. The game also runs offline without any issues thankfully!
While I am critical of the settings, I had a lot of fun playing the game. It brought back the fond memories I had of playing the original games on the Xbox 15 years ago. I am so glad Destroy All Humans 2 Reprobed was able to run as well as it did on the Deck. There will be some unavoidable drops due to UE4, but it does recover fast. Overall though, even with the sacrifices being made, the game was a lot of fun to play on the Deck.
Our review is based on the PC version of this game.
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