Destruction AllStars targets the dumbest part of our human brains with an easy proposal: Do you wish to drive a vehicle around and smash things? As a matter of reality, I do. The PlayStation 5 special seems like a throwback to video games like Destruction Derby, however it breaks ranks from its other car-combat cousins by letting gamers run around on foot after their automobile is damaged. It’s a cool twist that stresses the non reusable nature of whatever that’s taking place – consisting of the excessive motorists themselves. The whiplash-inducing crashes and distinct character capabilities are at first pleasing, however just the most devoted rubberneckers will discover a factor to remain.
Lucid Games wished to attempt something non-traditional by making the specific motorists the stars of the automobile program. Each of the 16 characters has a vibrant existence that’s mostly communicated by their closet and saucy pre-match animations. There’s a great deal of pro-wrestling-style posturing, and the intros by UFC commentator Bruce Buffer are a best suitable for the video game’s ambiance.
Events begin with a mass scramble, as each character sprints to declare among numerous offered automobiles on the arena flooring. Think of it like a high-stakes video game of musical chairs; if 2 gamers choose the very same automobile, it’s very first come, initially served. The 2nd gamer can jump onto the roofing and effort to pull the other motorist out with a button-pressing microgame. An effective takeover provides the victor 2 alternatives: slide into the motorist’s seat, or trigger a wreck and discover another automobile. It’s a little minute in the video game, however I truly like this method of entering the action. It makes the very first minutes an unusual type of mind video game, as gamers either attempt to get an unclaimed automobile or – nuisances unify – they divert towards one that remains in the procedure of getting declared for the dangerous chance to score a fast K.O.
Driving feels great, with the accuracy managing that you’d discover in a top-tier kart racer. I discovered the easy act of travelling around truly pleasing, developing enough speed to alleviate onto the banked walls that confine arenas or carrying out powerslides to wander precariously near pillars, walls, and other challenges. Of course, other gamers aren’t keen on indulging this Sunday-drive mindset. Fortunately, they’re at least conceptually simple to handle. Flicking up on the analog stick engages a speed increase, which lets you leave from damage’s method – or smash into another automobile or unlucky on-foot character. Similarly, a fast left or right will allow you to either juke far from challengers or hit them, depending upon what’s taking place at the minute. Even though my general interest dimmed rather gradually, I never ever stopped tightening in anticipation of a huge crash versus an uninformed opponent car. It feels crispy and rewarding.
Cars accrue a lot of damage over the course of the matches; that’s kind of the point, after all. That’s where Destruction AllStars is at its best. Rather than be stuck in the corner somewhere in a smoldering soon-to-be wreck, you can fling yourself from your car whenever you want. Don’t ask how characters are able to so easily bound into the air. The important thing is how great it feels, and the amount of flexibility it provides once you get the hang of it. When my car was clearly on its last legs – a sensation that’s wonderfully reinforced with the DualSense’s adaptive triggers tugging away at the gas and brakes – I beelined toward one of the myriad driverless cars hovering on platforms above the arena floor. There’s just the right amount of suction that makes it easy to leap from one car into the seat of another and continue on your destructive way. You can also leap out at the last second to avoid a potential wreck, or if you just feel like it.
On foot, you’re a potential target for anyone, but you’re fairly speedy and have access to some basic parkour techniques like wall running. Sometimes it makes sense to run toward the nearest replacement car, and other times it’s more advantageous to pick up some of the collectable gems that are scattered on various platforms. These items help boost your Breaker meters, which are also built up by making contact with enemy cars. You have two Breaker abilities, one for your character and one for your character’s unique car – which must be summoned by filling the vehicle Breaker bar. Each is unique for the character, which contributes to a dizzying amount of chaos in matches.
Take Lupita, for instance. Her on-foot Breaker allows her to leave a trail of fire behind her, which sets opponents alight. Her unique vehicle’s Breaker has a similar function, leaving Back to the Future-style flaming tire tracks behind her low-slung race car, which can bathe a tightly packed area in devastating flames. Or it can be used defensively to scorch someone who’s following closely behind. Blue Fang, on the other hand, has a burlier unique ride with an array of sawblades mounted on front. For a short while, they can be turned on and, well, you can figure it out from there. His on-foot Breaker makes him resistant to enemy attacks, knocking down on-foot rivals who make the mistake of trying to melee him. I had a lot of fun testing out each hero and seeing how their various moves function. There’s a great training mode that makes it easier to figure out the timing and duration of the Breakers, since each one is so different.
Characters are the source of much of the game’s variety, for better and worse. Destruction AllStars has four modes, two of which are free-for-alls and two are team based. Mayhem is the flagship mode, where 16 competitors battle for points in timed matches. Points are awarded by doing damage and wrecking opponents. It’s about as simple as it gets. Gridfall gives you one life to see how long you can last in an arena that, frankly, doesn’t seem safe. The floor steadily collapses, pushing players closer together and making navigation more and more precarious. Stockpile and Carnado have teams collect gears from opponents and deposit them into safes or a tornado, respectively. Offline, you can play a few story-based missions, like one inspired by Crazy Taxi. The modes are all pretty fun, but I kept coming back to Mayhem. It feels like it’s the one closest to the game’s core identity, and it’s a nice way to blow off some steam.
Lucid and Sony envision this as a live-service game, with new characters and modes coming as time goes on. Players will also be able to purchase cosmetic customizations for their favorite drivers. For now, I don’t see the point of spending either the game’s earned or premium currencies. For a game with such personality, the skins are boring palette swaps. I appreciate the fact that character skins affect the cars, too, but I didn’t feel incentivized to spend the coins I earned over several hours to get a blue version of the thing that was green. You can also buy voice clips, emotes or other doodads, but I didn’t find any of those particularly compelling, either.
Destruction AllStars is a PlayStation 5 exclusive, and it does show off what the console can do. It’s hindered by the game’s basic design, through no real fault of Lucid Games. Sure, the SSD load times are fast when you’re engaging with the offline single-player combat, but matchmaking can be a drawn-out bottleneck. And the action moves so quickly that it can be tricky to fully appreciate the visual fidelity. Time slows down during your best crashes in single-player, giving you a chance to savor every bit of bent metal. In multiplayer, you’re obviously only given the slow-mo visuals when you’re wrecked. I was stunned to see the level of detail when a giant sawblade sliced my car in half in the London arena. For a few seconds, I could see inside my car’s cockpit and marvel at its lovingly rendered roll cage – and even its emergency fire extinguisher. Those kinds of moments are rare, however, since you’re mostly plowing ahead at such ridiculous speeds that you can’t bask in all the mayhem – or even know that the guy who T-boned you just used an emote they spent several bucks on.
I had a good time behind the wheel in Destruction AllStars, even if I don’t know that it has enough to keep me around forever. That’s not to say there isn’t anything to do; there is a decent-enough selection of modes and activities between online and offline, with more on the way. And I appreciate the instantly rewarding action that’s as easy to drop in and out of as the automobiles themselves. Even if the novelty of vehicular chaos isn’t adequate to sustain my interest for a lot more long-haul sessions, I’m eagerly anticipating taking it for a fast spin every from time to time.