Amalgamating the battle royale genre with hints of Rocket League, Fortnite, Apex: Legends and fragments of Overwatch, Destruction AllStars races into the next generation with ideas that are primarily fresh, but are questionably executed with intuition a plenty but little substance. To forego the classic competitive structure for something reminiscent of a Battlebots-cross-WWE Crush Hour formula, its unique flavour in expeditious platforming, and parkour while traversing the open field on foot leaves little more to desire. The overall appeal behind this vibrant arena-based demolition derby, comes at a cost of simplistic values, and intrusive elements which may be openly criticised at its forefront. Sure, a roster designed to lure in fans of titles akin to its aesthetic is intentional and some gameplay loop elements can be quite fun at times.
But its lack of any real content leaves gamers gnawing on barebones without anything to sink their teeth into. While marketed at Regular Retail Pricing may have left a sour taste in for those who had intended to purchase the game, PlayStation were courteous in giving PlayStation Plus subscribers the chance to experience the game at no additional cost; most certainly an appraisal coming at the risk of public reception at its cost. British based development studio Lucid Games, have dabbled in their fair share of racing titles such as Need for Speed: Payback, and porting Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories to mobile devices, but Destruction AllStars was the team’s first foray into the online multiplayer exclusive genre.
And they don't stop comin'...
A roster of sixteen zany characters all entail their own personality and traits that are summarised by their biographies attached. While their initial designs are awesome, there’s not much more to go by other than an avatar representing you while driving. Their respective breaker abilities are highlighted during character selection, and can be utilised occasionally triggered by hitting R1 on your Dualsense. Both driving and traversal breakers will harbour similar powers, with the former entailing much more grunt behind its attack. Sprinting across the arena, your breaker will aid your character in obtaining a vehicle quicker, as it enables both a speed boost and double jump. The ability to switch out of your vehicle before it implodes comes in the form of ejecting your character.
A colourful, dynamic and vibrant environment will lure gamers into playing the expeditiously paced combat title, but without anything substantial to keep them hooked, its existence may dwindle quite fast.
The only issue you may run into is being knocked over by cars that are speeding through the area’s deadzone. This of course is all part of the battle, but you have to be quick as others will be racing towards that same car and may end up stealing it from you, leaving you stranded. The complexity of Destruction AllStars multiple capabilities do become a factor throughout each match including the all elusive Hero vehicle that can be spawned after your Hero Meter is filled to max capacity. Upon accessing each character’s unique monster car, you unlock a plethora of potential. Wielding each Hero vehicle’s power, you can eliminate enemies faster by using each character’s traits. A prime example is Lupita, a wolf skin-donned heroine who leaves a blazing trail of emerald flames that ultimately singes an adversary’s vehicle, damaging its interior leaving them no choice but to abandon it.
There are multiple modes to playthrough in Destruction AllStars, but its best examples come in form Mayhem, a competitive solo based battle royale mode that pits sixteen players against each other. It’s every person for themselves here, with the winner coming out with the most points at the end of each engaging six minute encounter. While there’s not a lot more to that, it promotes AllStar’s qualities in a prime showing of simple, yet effective. It’s speedy experience plays the part of rewarding each character for combatting head-on, much like a digitised bumper car/dodgem rally. Mayhem also allows for more freeform abilities that expose the Hero Meter at a faster rate, making for more of an enjoyable experience.
In the shape of an "L"...
✔️A vibrant, attractive and alluring overlay that may set some eyes on the title.
✔️Entails core fundamentals that make for a successful Battle Royale, but can is diluted through some embellishment.
✔️Zany cast of characters that harbour their own respective quirks.
❌With little substance, its quite the barebones experience; little to no quality-of-life features.
So let’s talk about where Destruction AllStars goes south. Gridfall is the opposing mode to Mayhem, where things get a little more stringent within the title’s overarching destruction. Reflecting certain elements of 2020’s most popular battle royale title Fall Guys, not only will you be combatting against multiple drivers throughout your time in the arena, but hazards and obstacles begin to rear their ugly head. Pitfalls and perils included come at the cost of your time in-game, making for a somewhat tactical and defensive gameplay loop, rather than the thoughtless and fruitful event that Mayhem exudes. Carnado is akin to Mayhem, with teams of eight in sixteen colliding for supremacy. A wild vortex spins in the middle of the arena, with vehicles colliding to avoid it, collecting and banking points until their car is all but ready to self-destruct.
Before the car can implode, driving into the tornado will wreck the car, bank your points collected and making for a safe ejection with another vehicle waiting in tow. For something promoted as a team type battle, there was very little unity in its approach. No grouped breakers, no team flags or collectables, even with microphones on, no one communicating with each other but the clicks of buttons and triggers from the internal microphone built-in to the Dualsense. Stockpile tries its hand in diversifying AllStar’s overall nature, with its traditional demolition derby traits lifted from its base mode, then implementing these weird gears that are imperative in handling, but can only be collected on foot. I found little to no enjoyment in this task, and found the objective to be burden.
The glaring omission that encompasses all this? You cannot play with friends. That’s a massive oversight by Lucid Games, and cannot be forgiven here. A feature that’s totally passe’, if anything insulting to gamers that would have loved to jump in and have a few rounds with their mates. The title’s campaign consists of the “Challenge” series, which are accompanied with minor details of each character’s backstory. I wouldn’t necessarily label this a fully fledged story mode, so I’ll spare you concise details here. Another hurdle that can only be overcome by microtransactions is engrained into the mode, with the first chapter delivering a taste of its entire experience. Each chapter is unlocked using destruction points which are attainable through the PlayStation Store. Sure, its way to recoup costs for the title’s release on the premium service, but is frustrating that a solo mode is put behind a paywall, rather than an extra multiplayer mode.
This includes cosmetics which are also locked behind destruction points. With a catalogue of items at hand, these can be excused, if anything missed unless you’re looking to be the Belle of the ball. You may be able to unlock these with in-game “AC” currency, but it may take you a while as the cost of these specialties can range up months of gameplay without expenditure; not worth it in the slightest. In terms of skins and attire, it’s quite limited with only five to six unique masks, and some colour swapped clothing. If anything, Destruction AllStars exhibits an underwhelming offering in this department, especially for a title that relies on your character being outside of a vehicle for sometime in-game. If ever there was an opportunity to administer a complex range of custom attire for appropriate costs, this would have been it.
Destruction AllStars has the makings to be a successful Battle Royale-cross-Demolition Derby, but misses the mark in some integral facets. A colourful, dynamic and vibrant environment will lure gamers into playing the expeditiously paced combat title, but without anything substantial to keep them hooked, its existence may dwindle quite fast. The probably future could carry the likely achievement of conceiving some original workings and additional content, keeping a cult audience play for a while, but a devout following from initiation may be ambitious for this title. It does deliver on some merits in entertaining qualities, but it may fall short of expectation from fans looking to jump into a title promising quality-of-life. Its certainly a great addition to the PlayStation Plus offerings, but Destruction AllStars rush to engage in combat stalls from a flat battery.