Destruction AllStars PS5 PlayStation 5 1
Image: Push Square

We’ll let you in on a secret: we had a wager running at Push Square Towers regarding when Sony would pull the plug on Destruction AllStars. This may prove difficult reading for the team at Lucid Games, so it’s important to stress that our internal book was entirely tongue-in-cheek – after all, we’d never purposefully want a game to fail. The point is that PlayStation has historically done a terrible job at continuing to invest in its online multiplayer games – in fact, this author believed the release would be done and dusted by Christmas last year!

We’re happy to be proven wrong, then, and in fact Destruction AllStars has gotten better and better since our original 6/10 review. We wrote earlier in the year about how crucial, pivotal gameplay improvements had completely resurrected the release’s fortunes, but there wasn’t enough content to support the developer’s live service ambitions. When you’re up against cross-platform juggernauts like Fortnite and Apex Legends, it’s almost impossible to have a content cadence that will keep players engaged. At least the studio is trying, though.

There are some really key structural improvements with Destruction AllStars’ latest update. Chief among these is seasonal content, supported by a tried-and-trusted Battle Pass, or this instance, AllStar Pass. We’re not sure how compelling cosmetics like Shouts – basically voice samples you can equip for your favourite characters – will ultimately prove to be, but with the Rise season now underway, the game actually has a sense of progression again. This is important for player retention.

In fact, developer Lucid Games is doing some smart things here. Throughout each week, it’s running a secondary set of challenges, which reward you with in-game currency and XP as you play. Complete all six of these and you unlock some additional cosmetics; you need to fulfil the fairly manageable requirements within the week, otherwise you’ll miss out forever. Again, retention. And this is all supplemented by a season-long community goal, where the entire playerbase must work together to fill a meter, with XP and in-game currency up for grabs.

Destruction AllStars PS5 PlayStation 5 5
Image: Push Square

New cosmetics actually give you a reason to want to raise your funds, too. You can now unlock and equip “glows” for your character, which add a tier of prestige and customisation on top of traditional skins – and allow you to properly show off when you reach the podium in a match. Moreover, the weekend-only competitive match type Blitz comes with its own sub-currency, allowing you to unlock and earn some of the rarest cosmetics in the game. Obviously gameplay comes above reward tracks and customisation options, but in this modern age of multiplayer, you need the carrot at the end of the stick to keep players engaged. Destruction AllStars has that now.

Blitz is pure concentrated chaos. It pits four teams of three against each other in a battle to the death. All of the key gameplay mechanics, like the supercharged Breaker vehicles, are much quicker to obtain, so there’s a breathless, relentless pace to destruction derbies. Your team needs to win two rounds to be victorious, but this means that if there’s an even playing field, you could be playing up to five rounds in total, which ups the intensity. You also can’t select the same AllStar twice, forcing you to master different characters.

Still, while the matchmaking has apparently been tweaked, playing solo with random partners we did find ourselves having to deal with uneven teams on a couple of occasions. We also kept coming up against a trio of pro players, and while we were competitive in one match, they generally steamrolled the competition every time. Still, there’s plenty of time to tweak this, and we really enjoy how there’s a separate set of unlocks attached specifically to this mode – many of them are extremely cool!

Even cooler, the developer is mixing things up later in the season, when it introduces an entirely new mode named Jumpshot. As this isn’t available yet, we’ve yet to grasp the gameplay loop and whether it will even be entertaining – but it gives players something to look forward to and another reason to come back next month. Destruction AllStars is a good game these days, and it finally has the reward loop to back that up.

Destruction AllStars PS5 PlayStation 5 9
Image: Push Square

We’re hopeful this is a sign that Sony is getting its act together, as it looks to release a multitude of live service games. There was always promise in Lucid Games’ initial release, but its gameplay wasn’t quite right. Now, as it gets included as a permanent addition to All PS Plus Games, it’s beginning to find its feet – and the content cadence it needs to succeed. Long-term, we’re not sure it’s ever going to have the broad appeal required to be an online multiplayer titan, but no one could ever say that the developer hasn’t tried – and it’s been refreshing to see this scrappy title slowly fulfil its potential.

Have you returned to Destruction AllStars following its PS5 launch, and what are your thoughts on the combative racer these days? Crash into the comments section below and let us know.

What score would you give Destruction AllStars (PS5)?

Please note voting will score the game in your games collection