You'd think a game built for multiplayer would succeed on that front, but Destruction AllStars, a multiplayer game, leaves a lot to be desired.
The vehicular combat title just released onto PlayStation Plus on PS5 as a free game for members and while it seems like the perfect fit for PS Plus, it's tough to see anyone going out and spending $70 on this game at retail. What's there is the skeleton of a great game — which can admittedly be built up into something much better — that fails to impress, and it's a far cry from some of the best PS5 games at the moment.
Jumping into multiplayer, which should be the meat of the game, you'll see there are only two game modes you can play in a party: Carnado and Stockpile (despite PlayStation saying that Mayhem is playable is teams, it was definitely labelled 'Solo' and would not let us join and play it together). The other two modes (yes, there are just four) can only be played solo online with strangers.
There's little to be said here about Carnado and Stockpile. Carnado sees you wrecking other cars by smashing into them to earn Gears. To cash in on these points, so to speak, you'll need to wreck your own car. It's a risk and reward situation. In Stockpile, once a car is wrecked you'll have to hop out and collect Gears on foot and bring them to one of three banks around the arena. The team with the most banks wins. They're both fun to an extent, though that enjoyment is fleeting as the gameplay gets repetitive.
Mayhem and Gridfall are its two main solo offerings. Mayhem is a free-for-all deathmatch type of mode, which plays exactly as you'd expect. Gridfall takes that free-for-all approach but sees the arena slowly shrinking as tiles fall away beneath the cars, and the last car standing wins. Again, two generally fun modes that are only fun for maybe a few rounds or so. After that, it can get monotonous. This monotony can rears its head in its multiplayer modes, just to a lesser extent when you're playing with friends. Matches could also benefit from being a couple minutes longer because they sometimes feel too short for anything exciting to happen.
It's a shame that two modes cut off any parties because with a little support this can easily become a solid party game. Playing together with friends and laughing at the zany antics of mowing your foes over and jumping into different vehicles is great, as are the futile attempts to coordinate and strategize across the arenas.
The AllStars themselves — there's 16 of them at launch — pop with color but lack much personality. Each of them have a unique ability and hero vehicle that can be called in to turn the tide at a crucial point but at the end of the day, they all play so closely together that it doesn't really matter which one you play as. Lupita, for example, stands out with a wolf cloak. Her unique hero vehicle can gain a burst of speed while leaving a fiery trail behind her, which is cool and similar to her ability when she's out of the vehicle. While that's fun, she otherwise played identically to the other AllStars, meaning at the end of the day, your strategy always revolves around being the fastest to run over enemy drivers and into enemy cars. It's too simplistic to justify the existence of multiple heroes.
There are also various cosmetics, which can be earned through playing or in a handful of cases purchased with premium currency, do add a level of customization but it still feels very surface level. This is a hardly a dealbreaker but it does bring down the reasons to be invested in the characters themselves.
It's a good thing Destruction AllStars was pulled and turned into a PS Plus-exclusive release. When it does leave PS Plus in April, hopefully it's not still a $70 release. Lucid Games and Wushu Studios have created a solid foundation for a multiplayer party game and we're curious to see how it'll be supported. For now, this is a great game for PS Plus subscribers to download for free — but without a lot of extra support, that's all it'll be.
PlayStation Plus 12-month
Your ticket to multiplayer, free games, and more
PlayStation Plus offers a few games for free each month to its members and it's Destruction AllStars' turn in February. This vehicular combat game launched into the service and it's all the better for it. I can't imagine charging normal retail price for this and actually expecting people to spend that kind of money. But for a free title with your PS Plus membership? It's definitely worth a download to try it out..
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