In this journalist’s humble opinion, Destroy All Humans is one of the most underappreciated series from the last console generation. And in this journalist’s significantly more assertive opinion, Wii controls very rarely translate into anything good for a game. Well, Destroy All Humans: Big Willy Unleashed for the Nintendo Wii proves me right on both counts, offering unique, dark-yet-satirical humor coupled with terrible controls, making for a game that only makes gamers ask “why they would put this on the Wii?”
Big Willy Unleashed takes place in the 1970s, keeping with the consistent retro theme of the series (the original took place in the 50s, part 2 took place in the 60s), and once again following our old pal, Crypto 137, an alien agent living on earth tasked with DESTROYING ALL HUMANS!!! for various reasons. Well, it turns out that all those people that got killed in the first two games? Yeah…yeah…it turns out that they weren’t disappearing, and that your alien commanders were actually beaming them aboard their ship, grinding them up, and using them to make hotdogs for the alien’s front operation, Big Willy’s Hotdogs. Somehow, the 1970s Paris Hilton (but without the jail or coke addiction) discovers this, and starts a massive guerrilla operation to shut down the Big Willy’s franchise, and Crypto is ordered to DESTROY ALL HUMANS!!! in order to keep the human-greased wheels turning.
This frames pretty much the entire game, which takes an open-world, mission-based approach, much like Grand Theft Auto, all of which focus on helping Big Willy’s bring people together with other people. Right off the bat, you’re tasked with hijacking a truck of human rinds, and escorting the truck to a restaurant, and all the missions take on a similar humorous-yet-gross approach to what are, in essence, the same old escort/assassination/taxi missions found in any other game. In this way, Big Willy Unleashed isn’t much more than any other open-world game, and falls quite short of bigger-budget, higher-profile games of the same genre.
What Destroy All Humans has that they don’t, though, is a great sense of humor that spoofs the sci-fi genre, satirizes 1970s culture, and has suck a long list of nice one-liners that it would make up for otherwise generic gameplay. What the great comedy doesn’t make up for is the absolutely abominable controls. The game handles pretty much like any of the FPSs on the Wii, with movement mapped to the nunchuck attachment (if you can even call it an attachment at this point, since pretty much every game requires it) and the looking around/”aiming” mapped to the remote. It’s essentially the best idea…next to all the good ideas like allowing the use of a Cube controller. But how could they gouge you if they actually gave you cost-saving options? Anyway, the game handles like crap. The aiming reticule is terribly, comically erratic. It’s difficult just to keep the reticule in the center of the screen, to prevent the camera from flying in any ol’ direction, never even mind actually being able to target something. Ultimately, this keeps the game from being playable in any way, and renders all the positive attributes of the game moot.
Graphically, the game looks like an above-average Xbox game…which is a nice way of saying that the graphics are distinctly past-gen. While it doesn’t look bad for a Wii game (because, really, the Wii is yet to impress when it comes to graphics), that doesn’t change the fact that the game just doesn’t look that pretty, with a noticeable lack of detail and exaggerated (yet stylized) characters. This wouldn’t be an issue if the gameplay was good…but as it stands, the game is just the epitome of what can go wrong with jamming the Wii remote into a potentially good game. The voice acting isn’t bad in the game, with Crypto’s raspy, angry, southern voice and the laughably nasal, yet pretentiously regal voice of your extraterrestrial CO and the moronic ramblings of the mere humans, but the actual quality of the voice actors is noticeably average.
While Destroy All Humans: Big Willy Unleashed is pretty much the opposite of what makes the Wii a dynamic console. Rather than taking an average game and making it fun like it was intended, it took a decent game and turned it to crap. It would’ve been a fun game if it let you just break out the Gamecube controller and DESTROY ALL HUMANS with a tried-and-true control scheme…but this wasn’t the case. All you can get out of this game is a few laughs in the intro, and a couple more in the first few missions before you get frustrated and bring the game back. The PSP version may be worth a second glance if it doesn’t get axed like its brother on the PS2.