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Destroy All Humans! Big Willy Unleashed Review

By Jeff Buckland, 3/24/2008

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Often enough we see games, and sometimes whole development studios, go under. We'd love to see future sequels or just anything from some of these talented development teams, but the budgets go away and lackluster sales mean no more new games in the vein of some of these favorites. That's not a problem THQ seems to be having with their Destroy All Humans series, though. This third game is a dull, ugly follow-up to second game which itself wasn't exactly welcome by gamers, since the first game wasn't received particularly well. But here we are, with our least-favorite gray alien and his bad Jack Nicholson accent, doing the same stuff he was doing in the first two games with a couple of twists.

Destroy All Humans! Big Willy Unleashed, a Nintendo Wii exclusive, tries to introduce some completely idiotic plot about how the bodies that the main character, Furon, leaves are getting turned into meat for a fast food chain by his boss, Crypto. As Furon, your new goal quickly becomes the defense of the restaurants. How? By killing people and destroying buildings, of course. Much like the first two games, your arsenal of weaponry - the Disintegrator, the Anal Probe, and quite a few more guns - make easy targets out of the humans. The UFO you can control works just like in past games, and while it sounds like a lot of fun on paper, the thing is sluggish and not nearly as powerful as you might think.

Then there's the game's namesake, the Big Willy restaurant mascot that you can take control of and wreak havoc with. He looks like a 50s Pipboy kind of design, and stomps around a little like a Mech while barfing out green stuff, grabbing things and smashing other things with said things, and eating people's brains (which do eject from their heads with a strangely satisfying "pop") to replenish his health.

All of this sounds pretty fun and original, but the execution here is about as barebones as you can get. The city you roam around in has barely more detail than some Playstation 1 games, while most of the enemies are the same (some have guns and may shoot at you, at which time you'll run away and your health will regenerate - thanks, Halo!) and they use basically no AI at all other than shooting. The missions you go on are partially entertaining here and there, but for the most part this is a cringe-worthy game from beginning to end. Not even the Big Willy mech can save it, as any satisfying feel of destroying things is totally lost in the game's horrible hit detection and barely-there sound effects. I mean, I'm a fan of well-placed, or even half-decently-placed toilet humor. I'm not a joke snob. But this game's attempts at humor simply come from people who aren't funny at all.

Meanwhile, Crypto and Furon will chatter endlessly both in and out of cutscenes with poor voice work, and the story only works best when it's so bad that it actually makes you laugh. Of course, the rest of the time it just made no sense at all; I was groaning and just skipping as many cutscenes as I was able to. For some games, a really bad story can wind up being a plus, but for this game the bad far outweighs the good. Almost all of the attempted humor in the cheesy dialogue in Big Willy Unleashed completely missed the mark. At least you can shoot people with your goofy ray guns. I mean, the developers didn't manage to screw that up.

Sure, there are new weapons to unlock, side missions throughout the city, and hidden items to increase Furon's power, but none of this is remotely compelling enough to actually get any discerning gamer to play for longer than an hour. The game could only keep a small child entranced for more than this, yet the developers also managed to stuff in just enough toilet humor and unsavory alien themes to bump the game up to a T for Teen rating.

Avoid Destroy All Humans: Big Willy Unleashed at pretty much all costs. The developers have no idea how to make the Wii work so you can expect graphics that would have looked bad 10 years ago, while the story and gameplay are so mind-numbingly dull and stupid that it's hard to find fun in this one even if you try really hard. THQ needs to quietly retire this franchise or at least put it away until they can get a decent development studio to come up with something that's at least mediocre. Hell, I could almost understand it if this game was twenty bucks or something, but the full $49.99 price tag makes this one a laughably bad choice. Stay away.

Overall: 42%



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