Research and Destroy is a new tactical shooter with comic book-style graphics and a quirky sense of humor. Mixing third-person movement with turn-based gaming, it offers a fresh take on an old formula. Research your enemies to develop new weapons to take into battle. Bring a friend and have twice the firepower to win the earth back from the supernatural.
Research and Destroy starts off with a grim tale that really seems to parallel our current reality. Humanity has been nearly eradicated off the face of the planet. Not by our own destruction but by “The arrogance of ignorance.” Humanity started to no longer believe in the educated. Everyone is an expert and science lies to us and can’t be trusted. Seriously this is creepy how close this hits (not sure if that was the intention or not).
With this lack of belief the supernatural slowly arises and begins to take over. Humanity is overrun by ghosts and other supernatural creatures. After years of peace on earth, these supernatural beings begin to see humans. The rumor is they came from underground and have science on their side again and are here to take the planet back. You control 3 scientists that are out to reclaim the surface and rid the world of these beasts.
The story gets laid out quite quickly and is pretty light throughout the game. It’s all tongue-in-cheek humor throughout your play-through and filled with horror tropes. You’ll often see movie quotes and references given but the story isn’t too complex. You’re here to kill all the supernatural beasts and take back over the earth. Nuff said.
When I first saw a trailer for this game I was immediately thinking about how the movement reminded me of Valkyria Chronicles. I loved that game and was excited to see another game take that on. For those that don’t know what I mean, on your turn each of the 3 characters has 8 seconds to do anything. Every action from holstering your weapon to aiming takes time away. It’s an exciting change from traditional grid-based games and I truly enjoy seeing another game do this.
You’re able to freely move about the whole map which is beneficial for planning because enemies can spawn all over. Often you will find they don’t spawn within visual distance of your teams in the beginning. You can move between your team by pressing 1, 2, and 3 and this can be done at any time. Maps can be somewhat large and depending on your objectives their completion times can vary a decent amount.
Your missions take place in a reimagined Europe. It is on this map that you will be able to create universities for research (more on this down below) and scout for future missions. Taking everything that is purple back is the key here. Once you’ve scouted a new area for enemies you’re ready to head out on your mission.
Before you go out to rid the world of supernatural scum, you need to make sure your team is properly equipped. As you progress through the game and research you will unlock up to 9 guns and 9 gadgets. Each gun has two firing modes that can be switched on the fly and they all have a unique feel. From a gun that either is a flame thrower or an Ice grenade launcher to a weird digital shotgun that can do a small controlled shot or a broad screen-like shot and more.
As you reclaim territory you’ll be able to build universities for your scientists to research new guns, gadgets, and enemies. These will occupy one of your teammates for a number of turns so it’s best to not start any fights or you’ll find yourself short-handed. Researching new enemies seems to just give you more information about each enemy. Learn what you can about zombies, mummies, werewolves, and more. I won’t lie this part seemed lacking some and just there to give some sense of progression. It works but I feel it could do more or have been left to a different mechanic for progression.
These universities can be attacked and need defending less you lose that territory. The few times I had this happen it was always the same. You need to activate mini-satellite dishes that will activate a deterrent that will clear away the invading horde. While doing this these are spread out and you have an infinite wave of enemies coming at you. At first, it didn’t seem too hard to focus on killing while 1 teammate activated things while the other 2 focused on enemies. However, I quickly came to realize that the spawn rates here are much higher, and activating the objectives as quickly as possible was the best remedy.
Things are better with friends
The trailer and storefront for this game talk a lot about how this was built with co-op in mind. In fact, in between missions the story that does get brought up really likes to keep reminding you that they want you to play with someone else. From my understanding, you and a friend control your own 3 teammates so it would be 6 of your taking on this world of horrors. I did not get a chance to check out this mode but it does allow for local play and online drop-in play at any time. Sadly Remote play together is not currently a thing, here is hoping that comes in an update.
Research and Destroy uses a comic book cell shading look for its presentation and it fits well. The enemies reflect the light-hearted comedy that the story brings and at times this feels like a Saturday morning cartoon of the ’90s. The visual effects from the guns and environment kills are well done and interesting to look at as well.
Along with the ability to customize your loadout you can also customize the look of your team. There are various presets that you can choose from and then modify with different colors. While not incredibly deep it does give a good amount of freedom to make a unique team. Having Spike Chunsoft as the publisher there are also some DLC cosmetic packs that allow you to put them in costumes. These cover games like Danganropa 2, Steins Gate, Zero Escape, and AI: The Somnium Files.
There are a number of things throughout my time with the game that kind of bugged me while playing Research and Destroy. The most irritating thing I dealt with is the camera movement when you take damage. When an enemy would attack your characters, no matter where you looked on the map it would snap the camera to weird angles to watch the attacks. For some, this may not bother them, but I would use the enemy turn to watch from a birds-eye view and plan my turn, but it kept jumping the camera to weird places and interrupting that.
The mission structure is another source of frustration. Unlike other turn-based games, your enemies here spawn infinitely until the mission objective is met. It makes strategy tough because spawns are random and this can be a constant source of aggravation as this pulls your characters away from actually finishing the objective sometimes. Also, your missions boil down to killing so many enemies, activating a doohickey, getting to the exit, or protecting your universities. It becomes repetitive and made me avoid long play sessions. In short bursts, it wasn’t an issue though.
Having infinite enemies at first seemed interesting but became a problem. In other turn-based games, it works to see the enemies and build a strategy on which will be removed first, which will be pulled away while you work with an objective, and so on. With RAD after a few levels, I realized that it just wasn’t worth putting a whole lot of time into the enemies. There are objectives for more research that will require more interaction but really I found myself just pushing through the level as quickly as possible.
Research and Destroy is a new way of experiencing turn-based gameplay with a fair amount of tongue-in-cheek humor to boot. It’s got a fair amount to unlock to customize your experience in the game. I appreciate the variety of the weapon loadouts and how they feel unique. Unfortunately odd controls, jerky and unexpected camera movements and repetitive missions hold this game back some. For short gaming sessions, I feel you’d be satisfied with your experience though.
Research and Destroy is a beautiful game. While the gameplay is fun, it felt best kept to short play sessions. the Mission structure, wonky camera, and constant enemies take away from what I felt could have made it a much better experience.