Destruction AllStars makes a strong first impression. It’s built around wreaking vehicular havoc and boasts a lovable cast that’s bursting with personality. But popping the hood open reveals some shallow inner-workings that hold Destruction AllStars back from ever firing on all cylinders.
What Is It?
It’s in the name — Destruction AllStars is a game about a cast of all-stars bringing destruction down on eachother. Pick a character you like, load into a match, and crash into others as much as possible; that’s Destruction AllStars in a nutshell.
Why Should I Care?
Chaos is the name of the game. Crashing into enemies, hijacking someone’s ride, or using your character’s unique vehicle to utterly demolish other cars makes each match a frenetic, exciting time. Amplifying this feeling are the controls, which simply feel right. Vehicles steer like a dream, and switching between in-car and on-foot gameplay is near instant with just the push of a button.
The cast of characters are perhaps the most visually striking part of Destruction AllStars. Each character boasts a unique look, on-foot ability, and a unique vehicle, the last of which is akin to ultimates in Overwatch or League of Legends. Some vehicles spell near-instant death, such as Ratu’s Barong, which delivers a large AOE blast. Other vehicles boast more defensive capabilities, like Muna’s Gravitron, which forces scrap to gravitate towards the vehicle, protecting it from damage. Across the game’s four modes, there’s no one-size-fits-all character, which means if you’re planning on checking out all that Destruction AllStars has to offer, you’ll probably have to switch up who your go-to is depending on what you’re playing.
Mayhem is a free-for-all mode all about wrecking your way to a win; it’s a good mode to play if you want to learn the basics, but also where the game’s mechanics feel most at home. At any given time, there’s 15 other players looking to take you out, so you have to keep moving. Whether that’s in a car or on-foot is up to you, just as long as you’re working towards causing destruction.
It’s fairly simple, but refreshingly cathartic to have a multiplayer experience where the key to victory is simply crashing your car better than the others. Even when I lost, I still felt a sense of accomplishment and excitement at seeing how much carnage I caused in the game-end summary. Mayhem, literally, is at the heart of Destruction AllStars, and playing it made me feel like I was playing the game the way it was meant to be played.
The game’s other modes have significantly more going on than Mayhem, but aren’t nearly as compelling. Where Mayhem is built around causing as much destruction as possible, Stockpile, Carnado, and Gridfall are more about surviving and playing patiently. Inducing maximum carnage doesn’t feel like an instrumental strategy in these game-types, despite Mayhem showing me that might be Destruction AllStars greatest strength. In the end, the remaining game-types failed to hold my attention for more than a few games each.
Outside of the competitive game-types, you have some offline modes where you can practice against AI opponents, or complete character specific challenges in exchange for cosmetics. But the lackluster AI makes the latter feel a little too easy. Unless you’re invested in the game’s cosmetic offerings, they’re probably better left untouched, especially considering the game’s insidious insistence you pay real-world money for them in a game that is already regularly priced at $69.99.
What Makes it Worth My Time and Money?
Destruction AllStars is loaded with personality. It’s easy to love this diverse cast of characters, and it’s endearing to see their quirkier elements reflected in their bio and animations. I’m not all that big a fan of Jian’s character-specific abilities, but it’s hard to deny the joy I get from watching them express themself in a way no other character does — by Naruto-running around the map.
Destruction AllStars is going to continue to evolve; the character select screen has open slots for more characters that will likely be added, and I’m sure more modes and possibly arenas will be on the way in future updates. It could look like a whole other game in a year, but in its present state, there’s really only one mode that feels worth playing. I don’t want to undercut how much fun I’ve had with Mayhem; it’s truly a blast, and at the time of writing this, I’m craving jumping back into the driver’s seat for more, but the fact of the matter is that if this game wasn’t available as part of PlayStation Plus’ monthly offering, I could not in good faith recommend you pay $69.99 for it.
If you’re already subscribed to PlayStation Plus, you might as well pick up Destruction AllStars. But if you’re reading this in April 2021 or beyond, you’re better off waiting for a price drop, and maybe a few content-heavy updates.