Destruction AllStars is the latest game to come from PlayStation Studios. This multiplayer, destruction derby-centric title is a bit outside of the norm we’re so used to seeing in Sony’s stable. It’s a game with its own unique visual flavor, and caters solely to a multiplayer audience. In many ways, it reminds me of Ninja Theory’s Bleeding Edge which landed on Xbox in 2020. Additionally, it has notes of 2K’s ill-fated Battleborn.
In an era where third-person action-adventure games have become prevalent on PlayStation, it’s been refreshing to see Destruction AllStars land on the PS 5. Initially, Sony, xDev and Lucid Games intended to release Destruction AllStars as a launch title. Instead, it was delayed until February and debuted on PS Plus.
Having invested a number of hours into Destruction AllStars, I find there’s something inherently special to the game. It has a distinct voice, and layers of texture that set it apart from other games of its kind. Much like Bleeding Edge and Battleborn, the long-term success of this game rides on the community’s willingness to stick by the game. It’s up to the playerbase to build its multiplayer ecosystem and keep it thriving.
Foundation and heroes
For the uninitiated, Destruction AllStars is an entirely multiplayer destruction derby game. Players choose one of many heroes to play as. As the match begins, players jump into spawned vehicles and drive around the open arenas, bashing into other players to accumulate points. A light bump will only gain a small number of points, while heavier hits grant more.
Once your vehicle has been destroyed, your hero will leap out so you can find a newly spawned car or try and take over an enemy’s. From a mechanic perspective, Destruction AllStars fires on all cylinders. The gameplay handles impressively well.
Destruction AllStars has some deeper mechanics at play. The character selection screen instantly drew a parallel to Bleeding Edge for me. Each hero in Destruction AllStars had their own unique appearance and brings their own abilities to the table. All characters have abilities called breakers: there is one breaker assigned to the character when driving, and one when traversing the arena on foot.
Each hero also has their own unique vehicle they can spawn. Knowing which hero suits your playstyle is a matter of trying out each one and experimenting. There is no story component – again, like in Bleeding Edge – so menu screens and visual cues are the only chance to really learn each hero’s quirks.
Destruction AllStars features a small set of modes to play, either solo or with a team. Mayhem is a free-for-all mode where all players crash and bash their way to victory. Gridfall, another solo mode, is very reminiscent of Fall Guys’ Hexagon mode. Carnado is a team-based mode where each team accumulates “gears” by destroying the other team’s vehicles. Afterwards, the players must deposit the gears in a giant tornado to contribute points. Finally, Stockpile is a spin on a Hardpoint-esque mode, in which teams must capture control points by depositing gears.
At launch, there is a decent offering of game modes with a small variety of objectives. Players aren’t forced to play in a team or solo – there is an option for every preference. Any time I jumped into a few matches, I had quite a lot of fun testing new cars and coming up with strategies. However, as with any multiplayer game, ongoing support will play a crucial role in whether Destruction AllStars remains fun and proves succesful in the long run.
More to be desired
Destruction AllStars offers cosmetic items to unlock through progression. There are also microtransactions that tie into cosmetic customization. However, once playing through each mode a number of times, I never had that compelling feeling drawing me back in. That’s not to say I had to force myself to boot the game up. It was just as if something was missing to entice me to come back to it.
Bleeding Edge had given me a similar feeling. At launch, Ninja Theory released the game with two distinctive modes. It was enough for me and the building community for the time being. However, it was clear that the game needed more. Additional support would be needed to incentivize players to jump in and invest more time. Granted, Bleeding Edge added two new characters… yes interest continued to wane.
In January, it was announced that on-going support for Ninja Theory’s game would conclude as the studio pivots to concentrate on other projects like Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2, and Project Mara. Battleborn is a similar story; while it was just shuttered this January, players had abandoned the game long before the developers did. Although Gearbox attempted to support the game with additional game modes, it was not enough to keep players invested overtime.
Destruction AllStars has an uphill battle ahead of it. With so many multiplayer games vying for players’ attention, a consistent offering of new content and incentives to come back is going to play a crucial role in the game’s sucess.
Lucid Games and xDev are not the largest studios, but they are comprised of talented developers who know racing games and game design revolving around vehicular mechanics. Listening to player feedback and adding in new game modes that are engaging to the community will allow Destruction AllStars to thrive.
Bleeding Edge had the advantage of launching on Xbox Game Pass along with its standalone release. Similarly, having Destruction AllStars as a PS Plus title for February knocks down many barriers. This launch gives players that chance to test the waters, and see if it the title works for them without the costly investment. Diversifying its release, Destruction AllStars could capture its intended audience as long as a steady roadmap of content is on the horizon.
When speaking to EuroGamer, xDev’s John McLaughlin has already touched on how the studio is looking at additional content in the coming months. The developers will be looking at analytics to see what works, and tweak what doesn’t. Some in the community have even brought up the idea of implementing traditional raceing to the roster of modes.
It will be interesting to see how Destruction AllStars continues to grow and evolve over time. From what I’ve invested into the game thus far, I can tell it has legs. Ongoing support and community feedback will ultimately drive its success. Seeing as though multiplayer-focused games are not inherently in PlayStation Studios’ wheelhouse at the moment, Destruction AllStars can carve out its own niche audience, if given the chance.