Destruction AllStars is quite a frustrating game. Not really because of anything the game does wrong, but because it clearly holds a lot of potential. As an idea, it sounds great: a destruction derby style title that keeps you in the action with on-foot gameplay when you're between vehicles. In practice, while it does succeed in some ways, it misses the mark in others. What we end up with is a car combat game that feels confident but underwhelms in areas it should shine.
A major issue it faces right now is a poor first impression. When you get behind the wheel for your first match of Mayhem — the game's core mode that rewards points for dishing out damage — it can all feel very aimless, confusing, and somehow rather tame. Although your objectives are fairly straightforward, there's a method to the game's madness that you need to wrap your head around, lest you be bottom of the leaderboards forever. This initial learning curve may well put off a lot of players, but it'd be a mistake to write the whole thing off so quickly.
Cars are very disposable here, and what sets this apart is the ability to hop out and run around the arena on foot. This sounds like a dumb idea, but each of the characters are capable of dealing with incoming traffic. Ditching your busted up ride for a fresh one is part of staying alive, and means you're constantly on the move. It's a clever way to keep players engaged, and allows all the characters to be shown off in and out of a car.
The roster of characters wouldn't look out of place in a hero shooter like Overwatch. The lineup is nicely diverse, and all their unique abilities add some neat wrinkles to keep things interesting. They all have special Breaker powers when on-foot and behind the wheel of their Hero vehicles, and your choice of character will make a difference, depending on which mode you're playing. The roster is well designed, and while not all their abilities are equally useful (and some are definitely overpowered), there are some really neat ideas in the mix.
In terms of presentation, Destruction AllStars looks fantastic. It has a very clean style running through the menus and even in the arena. Despite the over-the-top particle effects, image quality is slick, and it all runs at a smooth frame rate. It's actually on the audio side of things that it starts to falter. The music in menus is decent, but in the thick of the action, there're no tunes to lift the atmosphere. With no music during a match, they can feel a little soulless. Commentary lines begin to repeat quickly, and the crowds cheering don't really fill the space. That being said, sound effects of cars slamming into each other are great, especially when paired with excellent DualSense haptic feedback.
The feeling of emptiness in the soundscape is exacerbated when a match lulls in the middle. We're not sure if arenas are too large, but fairly often, we were left looking around for opponents. There's a minimap that shows everyone's location, but you rarely get a chance to look at it properly. For some reason, matches can feel surprisingly empty, with all players bunching up, inexplicably always at the point furthest from you.
On foot, the game has similar pacing problems. Whether by choice or not, popping out of a car can leave you kind of stranded. There are usually several cars available to choose from, but they might be quite far away, meaning a slow jog to find a ride.
Fortunately, most of the game's modes are a good time. The aforementioned Mayhem is a chaotic free-for-all, but the other three have clearer objectives. Gridfall limits respawns and has pieces of the arena floor slowly fall away, and the winner is the last remaining player. It feels a bit at odds with the gameplay, but does force you to play more carefully, which is interesting. Then there are team-based modes Carnado and Stockpile, revolving around gathering Gears to boost your team's score. Both of these are great fun, and bring some order to the madness.
Single player is pretty basic. There are practice modes against bots, an Arcade where you can test yourself against three difficulties of AI, and the Challenge Series. This is where it attempts to inject the teensiest bit of story, but there's little to get excited about. These events contain unique modes like a checkpoint race around an arena, for instance, but none of them are particularly good, and any narrative stuff doesn't really amount to anything. Worst of all is that, aside from the first of the Challenge Series, each of them costs Destruction Points, a premium currency you can only get through microtransactions. It should be pointed out that you will be able to earn Destruction Points eventually, but as of right now, you have to pay to see the majority of the Challenge Series, which is poor form.
The trouble we have is that, when the gameplay is flowing well, there's the kernel of a great game here. At its best, Destruction AllStars can be a fast, slick multiplayer experience, delivering fun, adrenaline-fuelled action. We're certain it'll only get better over time, too, with at least a year's worth of updates planned. The trouble is, right now, it doesn't hit those highs enough.
Destruction AllStars can be a brilliantly frantic multiplayer game, with fun characters and cars, great DualSense feedback, and entertaining modes. However, it can ring a little hollow at times when the action dips. Lacklustre customisation options and mictrotransaction-locked content doesn't help matters, but when everything is playing out smoothly, this is more than capable of giving you a good time. Currently free to PS Plus members, it's well worth taking for a spin.
I had a little go, it's not my cup of tea. The car handling felt fun though, a slightly (slightly) grittier Destruction Derby would have been much more welcome.
"Hey, go easy on the paintwork!"
It's mostly nostalgia saying that mind you. If they'd made it everyone would have gone "Aw!" and not bought it anyway.
A fair review, if a bit harsh in my opinion. I've enjoyed playing it so far and the fact that's it comes with PS+ makes its flaws a little easier to take. That they even considered selling this for £70 is off the scale bonkers though.
Pretty much expected this
It’s the default dance of video games.
@kyleforrester87 Wreckfest does Destruction Derby pretty well if you're interested. It's quite a low-budget game but pretty fun if you like crashing cars.
I would be seeing this game as a joke if it wasn't free for PS Plus owners, and even then, such a disappointing result. I guess this explains why they barely showed anything about this game until now.
Totally agree with the comments made in the article. Played a few games on Tuesday, even managed a 2nd place finish once 😀. I played again last night but only managed a few games untill I decided to play something else. I do think that it is a good game and think it would be good to either increase the number of players in games or add smaller maps in future. But it's well worth a try. First game I had I thought not enjoying it, but kept with it for an hour or so and everything clicked nicely so for those yet to try it give it an hour or so before deciding it's not for you. Think it will be good to jump into every so often not daily lol.
Whomever thought charging $70 for a game and then requiring microtransactions on top of it to unlock some paltry single player experience(s) was a good idea should be demoted or fired outright. The fact it's free for PS+ members doesn't change the fact that choice alone was supremely moronic. Especially since you can't (yet) earn the currency needed to enjoy the SP mode.
A few other things about the microtransactions I would have liked to have seen noted:
1. The third challenge series costs double the credits of the second one for the same amount of content. What the hell is up with that?
2. The premium currency prices for some of the cosmetics that can only be bought with destruction points are ridiculous. 800 points (or $8) for a dumb dance move is insane. And, no, "everyone else does it" is not a valid excuse.
3. The premium prices are priced just low or high enough to where you need to buy more in microtransactions than you actually need. For example, if you want to unlock both challenge series beyond the free one, you can't just spend the $6 on 600 credits to unlock them. The game forces you to purchase either the $5, $10, or $20 packs. It's a really sneaky way of getting more money from you. Again, this being a common tactic with publishers is not a valid excuse.
4. Only getting 1000 credits per level up is way too low, and there are no other ways to earn extra. The challenges only offer XP, and it takes quite a while to grind out the currency required for each character's legendary skin. It's nakedly obvious it was designed this way to test players' patience in order to temp them into spending money on microtransactions to eliminate the grind.
And before the replies come in, this being changed from a $70(!) launch game to a PS Plus game doesn't excuse any of this. Lucid and Sony can only hide behind that shield for so long before it starts getting old and tiresome. And, to my knowledge, they still haven't confirmed whether it will be permanently free-to-play or priced once April 5 hits.
I've quite enjoyed it so far and come top a bit also, so I must be getting the hang of it. But I agree with the criticisms in the review.
Had this been 70 Pounds, which it will still be in a couple of months, I would be stunned at the lack of content. No promises of future content drops cannot disguise the fact that it is not a full price release in any way. It should remain free on Plus to preserve some kind of player base, unless they sell it at the same price as Fall Guys, Rocket League (at launch), etc go for. For now it is clear it was built as a F2P game and treats its players as such.
@RBMango yea that is pretty bad pricing, I myself am not bothered about how my characters look or anything probably won't even use the credits that I get for leveling up. But still agree for people who do like to customise their characters and stuff it's really not a good look and way overpriced. Hopefully they adjust the amount of xp earned or make it easier to achieve the cosmetic stuff, maybe if they don't see much money come in from these they will be forced to adjust things. But for me personally I don't care how my characters look as long as the game plays well
I'd give it a 7 and some faith that it will actually improve over time
There's definitely not enough there to justify calling it "great" but I've been having a lot of fun with it.
I’m convinced Lucid games & Sony delayed Destruction Allstars for the sole purpose of adding microtransactions and adjusting the reward system, not for “extra polish” like they explicitly led us to believe.. The game is very polished indeed, but that’s because there’s so little content to begin with!
It could definitely do with some tighter maps. A couple of times I boosted through a group of cars, missed them and ended up in my own in space hunting for people. Agree with the lack of music, it might be something better down the line but I was a bit disappointed. Fair review for me
This game is dead already.
For something that looks like Twich bait, the game has 750 people watching it right now. 750!
Ive played about 15 hours so far really enjoying it, I think the main part that's letting it down for me is some characters abilities don't trigger all the time, for example the character with smoke doesn't always work same goes for box head character.
Well, I can't say I told you so but I told you so lol
Still, a 6 is an decent score for a game like this. Let's just hope the developers continues to communicate with its playerbase and improve many of the game's shortcomings if we REALLY don't want this to become the next Drawn to Death or Hardware Rivals (I'm still surprised that game still has its servers up). Like you said, there's potential here, but we have to wait and see what holds for the game in the future.
I can see the potential of this with updates.
I tried it today, the graphics and gameplay is good but I prefer single player games, so in the end I uninstalled it and play control instead.
6 seems a bit harsh, more like a 7.0 imo! But nice review nonetheless! For me the lack of music during matches is the worse
I might not play this.
Did 30 minutes online with a mate, we both agreed it needs deleting... just so many other great games to play 🤠
But harsh tbh.
I’d give it a 7. It’s fun but undoubtedly shallow and limited.
Hopefully they’ll support it well over the coming months, years and it’ll be a cracker!
It’s a 7 from me too!
It's a pretty fun game, but I can see it getting old en route to the luck based platinum. Whether they charged $70 or not for it is moot at this point. Get over it people and enjoy your PS+ games!
@CelticSavagery this is 100% a better game than Cyberpunk too
I just felt like after an couple of hours I had seen everything there is to offer. Games feel random and there is a lot of just driving around. There isn't a skill ceiling like rocket league. Also on foot gameplay really sucks.
In my playing it, it seemed like it got so many things right, but it was just something I couldn’t get into or get excited about. Whether the visuals were too loud, the arenas too empty, the aim too... aimless? I don’t know. Mechanics are rock solid though and it is ambitious taking a simple concept and adding a lot to it. But I’m at arm’s length
and I’m not sure I’m patient enough to try to overcome it.
Is there still an option to pay £70 for this? To whom do I make the check out to?
Sounds like a half finished release! No wonder it's being thrown in with plus...
I uninstalled it after the tutorial and a few matches.
Not a good game. Freed up the gee bees already.
To be honest I think this game is bland and boring, in my opinion is the worst thing Sony have put out since Haze although I think Haze is the better game. Comparing it to Twisted metal is insulting since TW had fantastic lore to each character.
First of all there's no campaign or even a half assed story to speak of, there's no lore to the characters so you can't really connect with any of them. Just a couple of MP modes that for me got old quickly.
You must have been in a good mood to even give it a 6. If Sony had charged $70 for this game it would have been on of the biggest acts of theft by a company since the calendar was introduced. So in short I don't think I liked the game very much.
Yikes. That score sounds generous, even.
I prefer more single player focused games so it would have been nice if it had a story mode but I can understand why they made it a ps+ offering. As it is, this game isn't for me.
Seems like a lot of people really hate f2p games here lol xD
Granted, really glad it wasn't a full price game otherwise, this would have gotten the studio to close
Haven't played the game yet but What??!! Have to pay for it in 2 months, that's a joke what do we pay sub for?
Has Sony ever done this before, given "Free" games away and charged later?
@Playstation reminds me of fortnite meets twisted metal for sure
@Emperor_Rusty nah, it's just like any other Plus game, except available for 2 months - afterwards it will no longer be free on Plus but if you get it now you can keep playing as long as you're subscribed
Put about 24 hours into the game hunting the awful luck-based trophies and agree with a 6/10 score. There are solid bones in this game that can be built on, but right now there just isn't enough depth.
My main gripe overall though is a pretty unforgivable and head-scratching lack of balance. To the point I'm questioning if Lucid Games devs were on drugs when they finalized these characters. It is unbelievable. Some characters have amazing and overpowered special vehicles, some special vehicles can barely make a dent, even under the best circumstances.
Consider the character Blue Fang versus the character BoxTop. Blue Fang has a special where spinning blades on the front of his vehicle instantly kill anything it touches while activated. Speed/angle doesn't matter, just touch them and -poof- they are dead. Now take BoxTop. His special requires you to boost into an enemy while his special is activated, from a particular distance and angle. Very difficult to do sometimes. And what does it do? It applies a damage over time effect for roughly 40 damage (This amounts to usually 15 to 20% of most vehicles' total HP.) So, very minimal damage and much harder to pull off.
Plenty more examples but I rest my case. The characters are so imbalanced, I can't believe they made it through to the end product. Shows me Lucid Games didn't care about balance or knew it was awful and were banking on fixing it in a patch like most other of the trashier devs out there that cop out on releasing a decent product up front because patches are a get out of jail free card now.
Short version: this is a solid game for mindless fun in short bursts. But don't expect any depth or anything resembling the balance you should see up front and center in a competetive multiplayer game. Take it for what it is.
Not sure about this..its free and it looks and sounds great..reminds me off a strange mix of destruction derby and ssx tricky but without the combo system..played it for a couple of hours but its just not pulling me in..uhmm i'll give it a bit longer to see if it clicks..
@Voltan thank you for clearing that up, that makes a whole lot more sense
Why is everyone here acting offended at the $70 price tag? You guys gobble everything else up that's outrageously overpriced, but this is the step too far?
This game is what happens when the majority vote with their wallet. The market spoke, and the market corrected itself, taking this game from $70 to PS Plus free.
No need to act offended about it, everyone is entitled to make money (particularly small dev teams)
just enjoy the free game.
I'm not proud of it lol. I got "stuck" playing the game longer than I wanted because I was going for all the trophies (Yes, I am THAT guy). Let's just say I'm a tad burned out on it.
You shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth. It is a "free" game after all. I think this game is painfully average but I see potential in it, and this review captures that pretty well.
I'm reading the room and thinking a lot of people were in the same headspace I was thinking this might be some kind of successor to Twisted Metal. It is not. People on Reddit asking the devs to add weapons and guns to the cars - not gonna happen, it's just not that game.
I think I set myself up for failure by hoping for one thing without knowing what the game was really about. Who do we have to kill to get a new, honest-to-goodness car combat game? The last real entry in the genre was Twisted Metal on PS3 I think?
This review is on point. I am pretty hooked on this game because the core mechanics are really fun and it satisfying, but the learning curve immediately put most of my friends off because it felt "aimless". Toom me a few hours to really feel like I knew what I was doing and to start doing well.
One thing I think you should mention is how bad the latency issues are. Right now you'll frequently get slams that don't count or die out of literally nowhere, which is super frustrating.
The game has a ton of potential but needs a ton of work very soon if it's going to last. The lack of content, bad UI, inaccessibility and lag problems could kill it dead within weeks. Which would be a shame, because it's real fun once you get the hang of it.
@UnlimitedSevens Yeah the balance is terrible. The problem with Blue fang is that people can just spam his extremely overpowered special. He should require some skill and have his special build after getting hits like Ratu, since it's so powerful. Also it's just too hard to see if it's on from a distance making it so it's impossible to know if it's ever safe to slam him head on and you just have to avoid him from the front all of the time. Some of the abilities are just worthless.
An easy fix for Blue Fang would be to just double his ability recharge time. Go from there and tweak the time accordingly depending on how the community does with it. Blue Fang's special slows him down, so I think they were trying to find balance there but it doesn't even come close to being enough.
My thing is, there are always balancing issues in these online games. One character always comes out as the best in the metagame. It's understandable. But these devs didn't even try it seems like. Not to be hyperbolic, but this is the most imbalanced a multiplayer-centric game has been on release (in my experience). Kind of feels lazy and/or rushed to a degree due to just the severity of it.
These "skill" trophies as you call them are indeed pretty awful haha. A part of me died trying to get Box Top's trophy (8 hours as Box Top and still haven't gotten it). Level 75 and counting for all that is good and holy lol.
This is one of those rare trophy lists that is bad enough to make me question even pursuing trophies as a hobby anymore.
@UnlimitedSevens I've given up on the trophies now, which were the only thing keeping me enjoying the game really. It's a shame because I was enjoying going through the list until I saw the crazy requirements for some of them. It's so clear this game has had too many decisions made based on how they can squeeze money out of players, instead of putting most of the time into thinking about how to make the game fun to play. Oh well, just another tick for the argument against service games for me.
Not my cup of tea but I already tried it, the gameplay and graphics are quite good. And I like the characters design, I wish the game has good single player mode for each character like twisted metal though.
I find it decent enough to just play a few rounds for some mindless fun before moving onto another game. Tried a few characters and definitely found some to be way overpowered and some pretty useless.
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