Destruction AllStars targets the dumbest part of our human brain with a simple proposition: Do you want to drive a car and smash stuff? I actually do. The PlayStation 5 exclusive feels like a throwback to games like Destruction Derby, but it breaks the ranks of its other car-fighting cousins by letting players run on foot after their cars are destroyed. It’s a neat twist that emphasizes the throwaway nature of everything that goes on, including the overdone drivers themselves. The whiplash-causing crashes and the characters’ unique abilities are initially satisfying, but only the most dedicated will find a reason to stay.
Lucid Games wanted to try something unconventional by making individual drivers the stars of the auto show. Each of the 16 characters has a bold presence that’s largely conveyed through their wardrobe and cheeky pre-game animations. There are a lot of pro-wrestling style postures, and the introductions by UFC announcer Bruce Buffer are perfectly suited to the mood of the game.
The events begin with a mass scramble, as each character sprints to claim one of the many cars available on the arena floor. Think of it like a high stakes musical chairs game; if two players choose the same car, it is first come, first served. The second player can jump on the roof and attempt to shoot the other driver with a micro-game with the push of a button. A successful takeover gives the winner two options: slip into the driver’s seat or cause an accident and find another car. It’s a little time in the game, but I really like that way of getting into the action. That makes the first few moments a weird kind of mind game, as players either try to grab an unclaimed car or – the troublemakers unite – they look to the one being claimed for. the risky opportunity to score a quick knockout
The driving is fantastic, with the precise handling you will find in top level karting. I have found the simple act of navigating around me truly satisfying, increasing enough speed to sit on the sloping walls that surround the arenas or performing power slides to drift dangerously close to pillars, walls and walls. other obstacles. Of course, the other players don’t want to indulge in that Sunday driving mentality. Fortunately, they are at least conceptually easy to manage. Pressing the analog stick results in a speed boost, allowing you to escape danger – or crash into another car or an unhappy character on foot. Likewise, a quick left or right will either allow you to get away from your opponents or sweep them sideways, depending on what’s going on right now. Even though my general enthusiasm waned somewhat over time, I never stopped straining in anticipation of a big crash against an unconscious enemy vehicle. It’s crunchy and satisfying.
Cars take a lot of damage during matches; that’s kind of the problem, after all. This is where AllStars Destruction is at its best. Rather than being stuck in a corner somewhere in a soon-to-burn wreckage, you can jump out of your car whenever you want. Do not ask how the characters are able to fly through the air so easily. The important thing is its sense of well-being and the flexibility it offers once you get the hang of it. When my car was clearly on its last legs – a feeling that is wonderfully enhanced by the DualSense’s adaptive throttle and brake triggers – I walked over to one of the myriad of driverless cars hovering on platforms – forms above the arena floor. There’s just the right amount of suction that makes it easy to jump from one car into the seat of another and continue on your destructive path. You can also jump 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 pretty quick and have access to some basic parkour skills like wall running. Sometimes it makes sense to run to the nearest replacement car, and other times it pays to pick up some of the collectible gems scattered across different platforms. These items help to increase your Breaker counters, which are also created when coming into 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 completing the Vehicle Breaker bar. Each is unique to the character, which contributes to a dizzying amount of chaos in matches.
Take Lupita, for example. Her Foot Breaker allows her to leave a trail of fire behind her, setting her opponents on fire. His unique vehicle’s Breaker has a similar function, leaving flaming Back to the Future-style tire tracks behind his low-slung race car, which can bathe a tight area in devastating flames. Or it can be used defensively to burn someone following close behind. Blue Fang, on the other hand, has a more robust single lathe with an array of front-mounted saw blades. For a short while they can be turned on and, well, you can figure it out from there. His Foot Breaker makes him resistant to enemy attacks, knocking down rivals on foot who make the mistake of trying to confuse him. I had a lot of fun testing each hero and seeing how their different moves work. There is a great training mode that makes it easy to determine when and how long breakers are going because everyone is so different.
Characters are the source of much of the game’s variety, for better or for worse. Destruction AllStars has four modes, two of which are free for everyone and two are team based. Mayhem is the flagship mode, where 16 contestants battle for points in timed matches. Points are awarded by dealing damage and destroying opponents. It’s as easy as it gets. Gridfall gives you a life to see how long you can last in an arena that frankly doesn’t seem safe. The ground regularly collapses, bringing players closer together and making navigation more and more precarious. Stockpile and Carnado require teams to collect equipment from opponents and drop them into vaults or into a tornado, respectively. Offline, you can play a few story-based missions, like the one inspired by Crazy Taxi. The modes are all pretty fun, but I keep coming back to Mayhem. Seems like this is the one that comes closest to the core identity of the game, and it’s a good way to let off steam.
Lucid and Sony envision this as a live service game, with new characters and modes coming over time. Players will also be able to purchase cosmetic customizations for their favorite pilots. At the moment, I don’t see the point in spending earned or premium in-game currency. For a game with such a personality, skins are boring paddle swaps. I like that character skins affect cars as well, but I didn’t feel pressured to spend the coins I earned for several hours to get a blue version of what was green. You can also buy voice clips, emoticons, or other doodads, but I didn’t find any of these particularly compelling.
Destruction AllStars is a PlayStation 5 exclusive and shows what the console can do. It’s hampered by the basic game design, with no real faults from Lucid Games. Sure, SSD load times are quick when engaging in offline single player combat, but matchmaking can be a prolonged bottleneck. And the action unfolds so quickly that it can be difficult to fully appreciate the visual fidelity. Time slows down during your best single-player crashes, allowing you to savor every bit of bent metal. In multiplayer, you obviously only get slow-mo visuals when you’re destroyed. I was amazed at the level of detail when a giant saw blade cut my car in half in the London arena. For a few seconds, I could see inside my car’s cockpit and marvel at its carefully rendered safety cage – and even its emergency fire extinguisher. However, those types of moments are rare, as you mostly advance at such ridiculous speeds that you can’t bask in all the chaos – or even know the guy who boned you just used an emote, he spent. several dollars. sure.
I had a great time driving in Destruction AllStars, although I don’t know it has enough to keep me forever. This does not mean that there is nothing to do; there’s a pretty decent selection of modes and activities between online and offline, with more to come. And I enjoy the instantly satisfying action that’s as easy to get on and off as the cars themselves. While the novelty of the vehicular chaos isn’t enough to keep my interest in many other long-haul sessions going, I can’t wait to take a quick turn every now and then.
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