|System: X360||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Sandblast||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: THQ||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Dec. 1, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Adam Brown
As a series transitions from one generation of consoles to the next, fans' expectations inevitably increase, and rightfully so. With more powerful hardware comes the opportunity for better graphics, brighter A.I., more elaborate level design, and innovation. While not every franchise needs to reinvent the wheel every time they debut on a new generation of consoles, it should at least be possible to maintain the same level of quality as its predecessors on weaker hardware. Sadly, this is where Crypto's latest outing falters, seeming to be more of a step backward than forward for the Destroy All Humans series.
As with the previous titles in the series, Path of the Furon has Crypto tackling a new era in human history. This time around it's the seventies, which unfortunately isn't as interesting a backdrop as either the fifties or sixties were. Expect to hear plenty of era-specific jokes including constant Watergate references, high gas price mentions, and even some semi-comical encounters with popular celebrities of the time. However, to keep from having lawsuit issues and to make the humor a bit more tongue in cheek, these icons have seen name changes although their true identities are made blatantly apparent. A good example is a run in with Sammy and Faire, a clear portrayal of Sonny and Cher. Not only do the characters look uncannily similar to their real world counterparts, the dialogue also feels the need to drop extra hints to their true identity with phrases like gypsies, tramps, and thieves being awkwardly forced into your conversations.
Much like this game's desperate attempts to infuse comedy into every line of dialogue and situation, the graphics are also very hit and miss. The visual effects provided by Crypto's extensive handheld and UFO-based arsenals are fairly notable. Melting palm trees with your death ray, electrocuting pedestrians until their heads pop, creating a black hole that continually sucks nearby humans and automobiles into the void, and blowing up vehicles are all well done and fun to watch. Unfortunately, the rest of the game's presentation is so bad that it's hard to enjoy these small gems of visual competence.
When you boot up Path of the Furon for the first time you may think you've forgotten to put on your glasses for the day or perhaps need to get your eyes examined to get a new pair. Anything that is more than about ten to twenty feet away from you is blurry to the point of being virtually indistinguishable. As you attempt to walk towards this blurry haze; buildings, vehicles, pedestrians, and various other objects will constantly pop into existence from out of nowhere. Some objects will even completely fail to load, leaving only an invisible barrier where an object should be and a lot of head scratching.
Making matters worse, this horrible visual glitch can also adversely affect your missions. In one particular UFO mission that I played, one of my objectives was to destroy twelve cargo crates on a barge. Sounds simple enough right, that is at least until I realized that only eleven of the crates actually loaded. There was no way to destroy the twelfth phantom crate, so I actually had to retry the mission from my last checkpoint. Again the twelfth crate didn't appear, but I think the game just took pity on my situation and somehow registered that the phantom crate had been destroyed so that I could proceed.
These kinds of occurrences are inexcusable and unfortunate but, sadly, aren't the only aspects of Path of the Furon that exude the feeling of being completely unfinished. Besides the underwhelming graphics and these frequent loading glitches, players are also treated to dramatic dips in framerate, teleporting enemies, getting stuck in the environment (usually the ground), missing sound effects, cut off dialogue sequences, and even misspellings in the in-game text. Seriously, did no one read through the text in this game before it shipped? Because of these abundant issues, Path of the Furon feels very shoddily put together and rushed to the market, which is a real shame for all the Destroy All Human fans who have been waiting patiently for Crypto's current generation debut.