Destruction AllStars is a vehicular combat game, developed by Lucid Games and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. The game is exclusive to PlayStation 5 and was released on 2nd February 2021. Destruction AllStars is currently free to download for PlayStation Plus members until 5th April 2021.
I’ve eagerly been waiting for the release of Destruction AllStars since its initial announcement at the PlayStation 5 reveal event last year. I was even more excited to learn that the game would be released for free to PlayStation Plus subscribers! The game has been out for just over a week now and I’ve been putting in some hours in the arena, getting to know the AllStars and smashing opponents cars to pieces.
In Destruction AllStars, your time in the arena is split either in a vehicle or on foot, with the majority being spent in one of 3 different vehicles found around the arena or in your AllStars’ unique hero vehicle. The vehicular gameplay is nice and slick and all 3 of the vehicles found in the arena drive differently which helps to break up your attacking approach. The vehicular combat is pretty much faultless too and what I really love is the in-game slow-motion action shots that play out when you wreck an opponents vehicle. These slow-motion impacts create truly memorable moments of chaotic gaming madness and are where the game is at its best.
Playing on foot can be fun and often it is a necessity to exit your vehicle moments before it gets wrecked, but I found navigating the arena on foot often proved to be a bit of a slog. Whilst the on foot gameplay is smooth, there is no real need to play on foot any more than required. You can barge other opponents on foot and dodge oncoming vehicles, but you are just far too vulnerable when not in a vehicle. In addition, it’s not possible to takeout or damage an opponent in a vehicle whilst on foot, making the need to get back into a vehicle even more vital.
Before the start of every game, players assume control of one of 16 AllStars, each of whom have access to unique vehicles and on foot power-ups. Each AllStar plays differently to one another and there is a good variety of unique powerups to differentiate their gameplay. My favourite AllStar is Bluefang; his unique vehicle is an absolute beast with its rotating blades instantly wrecking opponents upon impact.
Whilst the variety of the AllStars and their powerups are good, you often end up with a number of identical heroes within the same match, as some hero abilities are simply more overpowered than others. I really wish in addition to the AllStars, we had the option to create our own hero and as they levelled up, we could upgrade their skills and choose their powerups. Maybe this is something the developers will look at adding in the future.
There are 4 main game modes available to play at launch, 2 of which are solo game modes and 2 which are team based modes. All modes are available to play in both online multiplayer and offline in ‘Arcade’ mode against bots. The two team modes, Carnado and Stockpile can be fun, but more often than not players just spend time smashing into opponents rather than playing the objective, making the whole team mode objective obsolete.
Mayhem which is kind of the main solo mode is simple with 16 players crashing into each other to gain points. This mode is fun but soon becomes tiresome after you’ve played a few games as different AllStars. My favourite mode of the 4 is undoubtedly Gridfall, where players have a limited number of lives and must survive the longest all whilst the floor falls from underneath you. In Gridfall, there is never really a lull in the play and it’s this constant chaos which sets it apart from the other modes.
In terms of map design, none of the maps across any of the modes really stand out. There are 3 maps available for each mode but I honestly can’t tell the difference on the majority. The maps in the team modes are too big meaning the action isn’t concentrated to just one area which as a result means there aren’t too many memorable moments.
Similarly on Mayhem, the maps are quite large which dilutes the action, but their simple layout means it’s easy to find opponents and smash into them. Gridfalls’ maps are naturally the smaller of the bunch meaning a lot of chaos in a cramped area, but its scripted map deterioration means it’s easy to tell where the next part of the floor is going to ‘break’, resulting in the action slowing down the longer the game continues.
There are further issues when it comes to multiplayer; there’s a maximum of 4 players allowed in a party at a time when playing online, in addition to there being no local multiplayer which is frustrating to say the least. There are also microtransactions in the game, where players are prompted to spend real money in order to unlock ‘Challenges’, which in turn, once completed unlock cosmetics for the AllStars. Nowadays we spend so much on consoles, games and online subscriptions that additional content should be free. It’s disappointing that a game with limited content at launch, requires players to spend money to play additional game modes.
Despite its obvious design flaws, the gameplay can be really fun at times and whilst this isn’t a game you will spends hours and hours playing, it is worthwhile picking up if you are a PlayStation Plus member. Plus, unless you decide you want to pick up the game later down the line, you will have to fork out a hefty £59.99 – ouch!
At times, Destruction AllStars creates moments of memorable chaotic gaming madness, but these moments are too few and far between, leaving the game feeling bare.