PS5 Destruction AllStars — this fun free game is worth a test drive

Destruction AllStars
(Image credit: PlayStation)

PS5 has seen its first exclusive multiplayer title drop in Destruction AllStars. The vehicular-combat game has echoes of past PlayStation classics titles like Twisted Metal while also mixing in dashes of Rocket League and Fortnite.

While the overall concept is novel, the gameplay lacks the mechanical depth of other competitive or esports titles and ultimately feels like driving with a locked steering wheel. 

Destruction AllStars has players choose between a diverse and colorful cast of characters, each with special abilities and a unique car. There are currently two solo modes, both of which have similar goals: survive for as long as possible while dealing the most damage. The digital mise en place is all there for a fun game -- and the game is enjoyable by all accounts -- but it doesn't have the depth in flavor that would make players wanting to come back for seconds.

Loading up Destruction AllStars, you can't help but be captured by its impressive presentation. The menus have an almost Persona 5-like style. It's very in-your-face and willing to flash its clean lines. The distinct character roster also drips with personality and sport a cartoony style reminiscent of Fortnite

Destruction AllStars chat controversy 

Jumping into the game, I was immediately greeted with voice chat. Using the PS5 Dual Sense's internal microphone and speaker allows people to communicate without wearing a headset.

By removing that one pain point, I found myself more willing to engage with the other players. Sure, sometimes people on chat were annoying, but other times, when there was a good vibe, and it felt friendly and cordial. It was fun talking to others also taking time away from their lunch breaks to squeeze a few games in.

Unfortunately, developer Lucid Games Limited has decided to set chat to off by default after complaints. I understand the decision, but I kind of wish it was kept on. I'm sure now there will be less people willing to engage.

Destruction AllStars gameplay 

As for gameplay, Destruction AllStars is rather simple. You drive toward other cars in an arena and you use the right stick to slam them. More damage means more points. 

Your car, too, can incur damage, and that's where the twist with Destruction AllStars comes in. Often, players will be forced to eject from their vehicles and grab another one. Of course, running around an arena with cars zipping by is not safe, and there's a thrill in jumping over cars and trying to survive. In this sense, the game is half platformer and half arcade driver.

Unfortunately, the driving itself is shallow in Destruction AllStars. There isn't the same precise control you may find in a game like Rocket League. Cars feel stiff and lack the rear-wheel drive drift nature you'd might expect from an arcade game such as this. The physics around ramming other vehicles also feels off. Often, when I'd try to side-swipe an opponent by flicking the right stick, the car would almost swerve around them. I'm sure it will take some getting used to, but there's clearly a lack of tightness in controls that's expected of a competitive title such as this.

Jumping and running around can feel floaty and imprecise. I often found myself jumping at ledges multiple times to try and grab and take hold. Destruction AllStars lacks maybe a certain floatiness and magnetic attachment that's found in like the Sly Cooper series, for example. Whenever Sly would need to jump on a small ledge or tightrope, the game would magnetically cling to it so that the player could land even if the jump wasn't perfect.

In Destruction AllStars, I had to stop, press the jump button, then move the stick forward while in the air so that the character could position itself properly. When jumping doesn't feel second-nature like it does in Super Mario Bros., then there's a bit of a problem.

Destruction AllStars

(Image credit: PlayStation)

Destruction AllStars bottom line

Overall, Destruction AllStars is fine. Considering it's free for all PS Plus subscribers means it will see a huge influx of players. Whether those players decide to stay will be another matter entirely. 

These types of multiplayer games are often up against other high quality competitive titles. And by being free, Destruction AllStars is just as easy for players to leave the game as it was to pick it up. Still, I recommend everyone give Destruction AllStars a chance. It has enough style to deserve a try.

Imad Khan

Imad is currently Senior Google and Internet Culture reporter for CNET, but until recently was News Editor at Tom's Guide. Hailing from Texas, Imad started his journalism career in 2013 and has amassed bylines with the New York Times, the Washington Post, ESPN, Wired and Men's Health Magazine, among others. Outside of work, you can find him sitting blankly in front of a Word document trying desperately to write the first pages of a new book.