Dominate the glittering global phenomenon of Destruction AllStars – the spectacular prime-time sport for dangerous drivers! Master the art of intense vehicle-based combat through timing, tactics and skills to cause colossal amounts of damage, destruction and devastation in vibrant arenas across the globe.
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Reviewed on: PS5
Also available for: N/A
Developer: Lucid Games
Cast: Bruce Buffer, Michael Schwalbe, Federico Louhau, Osy Ikhile, Brian Herring, Andrew Morgado, Diomargy Nunez, Acushia Tara Kupe, Andia Winslow, Mark Daugherty, Jusara Marques, Amali Minter, Angela Malhotra, Kamal Khan, Kathreen Khavari, Darrell Brown, Joe Jameson
Do you remember Destruction Derby on the PS1? Smashing cars into one another, that’s good fun. Imagine Destruction Derby with some Overwatch inspired heroes, a special ability or two and some Titanfall wall-running. That’s Destruction AllStars. It’s the first big PS5 exclusive game for 2021, and one that has launched as part of PlayStation Plus which is great for those looking for a new PS5 exclusive to play early in 2021.
You’ve probably played a game like Destruction AllStars before, even if you haven’t played Destruction Derby. Although there are four multiplayer modes in the game, the goal of smashing into your opponent’s cars remains the same in each. With a simple flick of the right stick on your DualSense controller, you’ll be able to boost forward or send your vehicle darting sideways to smash into your opponents. Watch them fly into barricades and break into pieces, or damage them and see another car come in for the clean-up KO. However, what makes AllStars more than just another Destruction Derby is the implementation of unique characters, each with their own hero car, and the ability to get out of your vehicle at any point.
Every mode starts with you picking one of sixteen characters and then dropping into the arena on foot. You have to race to a car and jump in; it’s kind of like the drag race scene in 2 Fast 2 Furious. Once you’re in a vehicle, you’re free to leave at any point by tapping the triangle button which will send your character high into the sky, “ejecto seato cuz.” When on foot, you can attempt to jump onto opponents cars to destroy or steal them or look for another vehicle for yourself. They appear on pedestals around the arena, and most the time you’ll need to do some form of platforming and wall-running to reach the car. Being able to master the parkour element of Destruction AllStars is just as important as the driving. You can sort-off attack other players on foot with what’s called a ‘breaker’ ability, but I haven’t had much luck. Everyones super nimble so unless you’re playing as Lupita who can start a fire behind her by running with her breaker, get back into a car.
Each of AllStars‘ characters has a unique car that they can call down after filling up an energy bar by either damaging opponents or collecting red orbs around the arena on foot. Each of these unique vehicles has a special ability that can change the tide of any match. Ultimo Ricardo’s vehicle can drop a massive shield in front of the car that’s capable of KOing an opponent in a straightforward smash. The New Zealander Hana can place a katana on top of her speedy death machine capable of slicing opponents in half. Boxtop’s delivery machine has a special ability that’ll tag any opponents you smash into and then send them a drone to deal some extra damage. Each of the characters’ unique cars and their special abilities require practice, and the cars all handle differently. Much like playing any hero-shooter, you can’t expect to jump between each character and have a mastery of the game. You’ll need practice with any one hero to be able to play them to their strengths.
Destruction AllStars has two solo competitive modes and then two team-based competitive modes. “Mayhem” is classic deathmatch stuff where the top player is the one who’s racked up the most points by destroying or damaging opponents. “Gridfall” is a semi-battle royale inspired mode where the arena starts shrinking by having platforms disappear from the ground, and you attempt to survive as the last player standing. “Stockpile” is a capture and control mode where you need to smash into opponents and then get out of your car to collect the gears their vehicles dropped before taking them to a stockpile to bank them. However, it’s the final team-mode “Carnado” where I’ve spent most of my time and think the game is at its best.
In Carndao you’re once again, of course, smashing into opponents cars, and as you do, you’ll automatically collect gears. In the middle of the arena is a tornado (cardnado if-you-will) which you can drive into to bank the gears you’ve collected for your team, but it’ll destroy your vehicle at the same time. The risk-reward of driving around longer and attempting to get a more significant haul (max of fifty gears in a standard car, or eighty gears in your characters unique vehicle) makes the repetitive smashing gameplay much more enjoyable. Losing a haul of fifty or eighty gears is heartbreaking, and you’ll feel like a fool if you risk your haul too long. But if you’re like, you’ll want the extra style points for always shooting that big pointer.
For those wanting a single-player experience, there are a handful of options here. An Arcade mode lets you play any of the games modes vs AI, but the more interesting single-player mode is the Challenge Series. There’s currently only one available, but the six levels include a time trial, a take on crazy-taxi, and a pseudo boss battle. The Challenge Series’ are also were the characters and story of Destruction AllStars is being expanded on via cutscenes and interactions between the AllStars themselves.
After you finish any match, you’ll get reward with XP towards your overall progression rank as well as a handful of in-game credits. You can use those in the shop to buy each of the characters and their cars new skins, or buy other emotes. There is a premium currency you can spend real-world money on to unlock some exclusive cosmetic items, but honestly, none of the skins or emotes is interesting in the game. I struggled to find anything I’d want to spend my in-game currency on, let alone my hard-earned real-dollars. Overall the progression and unlock system is severely lacking and could be an early reason people stop playing. I’m levelling up, but I’m not unlocking anything other than the chase of the win, or PlayStation Trophies. There’s simply no carrot on the end of the stick when it comes to the game’s progression. Developer Lucid Games have stated that Destruction AllStars will be getting Seasons in the future as well as new characters and features. So hopefully the launch of the first Season could add a battle-pass-like system of gear to be chasing.