Destroy All Humans! has always struggled to make the most of its potential. As an alien armed with some stunning high-tech weaponry, in an open world with hundreds of humans to destroy, the ingredients are there for a sure-fire hit. Add in some wise-cracking, innuendo and a death-bringing flying saucer and the series' previous two near-misses seem even harder to take. With Big Willy Unleashed has THQ finally managed to nail the comedy and gameplay combination or is it just an excuse to cram in as many willy gags as possible?
Players familiar with either of the two previous games in the series will feel right at home with this Wii exclusive entry. You once again play as Crypto and are joined by Pox, your holographic alien guide, who also serves as the game's primary vehicle for comedy, most of which stems from the title "Big Willy Unleashed".
Big Willy is in fact a fast food chain, set up by Pox in order for the alien to profit on the lifeless bodies Crypto leaves on the streets after harvesting them for DNA. You see, this fast food restaurant chain doesn't use beef, instead serving up human burgers to its unknowing customers. The game's story centres on this scandal and you'll hear just about every "Big Willy" joke you can imagine - and plenty you'd never have thought of yourself. Sure, it's amusing at first, but the constant barrage of one-liners soon becomes a little hard to take.
Although open world in structure, the levels themselves are closed off from one another, essentially giving you numerous areas to play in. On foot Crypto can use his alien weapons, such as the anal probe and human disintegrating blaster, and also access his PK abilities. These allow him to bodysnatch humans in order to go undercover, turn objects into ammunition, hypnotise bystanders and more. In an obvious attempt to tailor the game to the Wii's controls, to finalise these moves you need to point at and shoot a number of flying brains - something that seems incredibly tacked on.
Other than this odd brain shooting, the Wii controls are handled pretty well, with the three camera control options letting you play as you wish: aim to the sides to spin the camera, aim and camera tied directly to your aiming reticule and something in-between. All Crypto's movement is handled by the Nunchuck and other than a few issues where the camera got stuck behind an object there's little to complain about.
When you're piloting vehicles the controls change slightly, and this time you've got two vehicles to play with. As well as the flying saucer, complete with death ray, tractor beam and cloaking device, you've got Big Willy, a mech in the design of the restaurant's child-like mascot. This 25 foot monster can pick up and throw large objects, breathe toxic gas and fire lasers from its eyes.
In the saucer the analogue stick handles acceleration while the Wii Remote turns (tilt left and right) and controls height (tilt forwards and back). It works but isn't ideal. When in the Big Willy mech all movement is on the analogue stick, while the Wii Remote is used to rotate the camera and aim its lasers. It's this laser shooting that proved most problematic, with the aim for whatever reason not being nearly as precise as Crypto's on-foot weapons.
Big Willy Unleashed is set in the 70s but other than the change in music and fashions, what you're doing is largely the same as what the previous two games offered. Big Willy offers some slightly new gameplay, but it's not really enough, with the generic destroy and collect missions all blurring into one before too long.
On the Wii we don't expect jaw dropping visuals, but it's questionable whether or not Big Willy Unleashed actually looks any better than the games released for the PlayStation 2. The draw distance on small objects is pretty terrible and some of the texture work is awful. The large levels let the game get away with some of this, but it's still far from good looking. Audio work is better, but the voice actor playing Crypto isn't nearly as good as the original.
A smattering of two-player cooperative and versus game modes are also on offer, but there's no co-op play during the main campaign, which is a shame - combined vehicle use might have solved the control issues. While mildly amusing to begin with, Big Willy Unleashed ultimately falls flat. Pox might go as far as to say his Big Willy is limp, but we're just disappointed that yet another Destroy All Humans! game has woefully underused the excellent idea behind the game.