Destruction AllStars Review: Not An AllStar

Destruction AllStars is the latest PlayStation 5 exclusive, developed by Lucid Games and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. Unlike other launch games like Astro’s Playroom or Demon’s Souls, however, Destruction AllStars is unique because it’s entirely an online, multiplayer experience. Unfortunately for early adopters of the PS5, the game is fairly average, and most likely doesn’t have the staying power of other online multiplayer PS4 games that are backwards compatible with the system.

Essentially, Destruction AllStars is a car derby game, letting players control 16 different characters and smash cars together until they win. For the most part, this all happens online while facing other players, though there is a practice mode that lets new players face off against AI-controlled bots to figure out how everything works.

Destruction AllStars  has four modes: Mayhem, Gridfall, Carnado and Stockpile. Two of the modes, Mayhem and Gridfall, are free-for-alls, whereas Carnado and Stockpile are both team-based. While the exact method of how to win varies depending on the mode, the basic premise is always the same: destroy the opposing cars. Like any driving game, especially one not focused on precision racing, it can take a while to figure out how sensitive the steering is and how to adapt. The DualSense makes controlling a derby car fun by using the haptic triggers and vibrations to create a more realistic feeling of acceleration and impact,  and the satisfaction felt when chasing another car or waiting for just the right moment before smashing headfirst into another player can be downright exhilarating. Driving feels very good in Destruction AllStars.

Unfortunately, that’s where the positives end. The first negative that stands out with Destruction AllStars is the lackluster roster of characters. Although the roster has 16 people to choose from (and a fairly diverse cast, at that), the players never feel too different from each other. Each is supposed to have their own special power that the player activates for temporary advantages during matches, but oftentimes, these powers feel rather ineffective and pointless, making distinctions between characters feel entirely aesthetic.

Like most online games, Destruction AllStars has a currency system that lets players buy skins and emotes for characters and their cars. However, the skins are frequently only changes in color on one part of the character’s suit, making it barely noticeable, and it’s the same with the cars. The only costumes that really feel different are an exorbitant amount of in-game currency, but still feel pretty pointless because the gameplay moves so quickly that no one else is going to see the customization on the character or car.

The other strange thing about the game is its lack of music. Both the tutorial and menu screen feature great, exciting music that pumps the player up for their destruction derby. The rest of the game is shockingly barren. In fact, in matches, there’s no music anywhere, leaving the player to hear the sounds of car engines and crashes until it’s all over – or, even worse, the sound of other players, though this has been disabled at time of writing after fans complained about being obligated into party chats during matches.

Overall, Destruction AllStars isn’t necessarily a bad game – but it is disappointingly average, especially for a PS5 exclusive. There are some moments that get players hyped up and ready to smash cars together, but the lack of incentive to customize characters, combined with the strange lack of excitement in matches can get frustrating and make any long-term investment in Destruction AllStars feel like a waste of time, especially when there are so many great multiplayer experiences already out there for gamers to get their hands on.

Destruction AllStars is available now on PlayStation 5, and is free on PS Plus for February.

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