Developer: Implausible Industries
Minimum: 64-bit Windows 10, Intel i7-4771 CPU @ 3.50 GHz, 8 GB RAM, Geforce GTX 770 4 GB, 3 GB free space
Similar Games: XCOM 2, Valkyria Chronicles, Persona 4 Golden
The population of the Earth is essentially extinct. The so-called supernatural beings have taken control and roam the world freely. A handful of survivors, who are super-scientists by the way, are determined to regain control of the planet. In essence, this is the story of the RESEARCH and DESTROY campaign, in which we will be fighting turn-based battles against various monsters. The three scientists we lead (Larry, Gary, and Marie) will protect humanity from total destruction by researching, creating universities, and averting monster attacks.
Turn-based mechanics are not a newcomer to shooters. Valkyria Chronicles, for example, builds on similar foundations. In the case of RESEARCH and DESTROY, however, the system was implemented in a rather strange way. When I think of a game divided into rounds, the first thing that jumps in is that I have time to figure out each step in the battle. In contrast, even targeting in this game takes down our specified time frame, which is pretty tight without adding time bonuses. We only have eight seconds of “attack time” per character.
This short time limit becomes especially noticeable if someone doesn’t have the ability to aim fast enough for a western film. In addition, all sorts of movements of our characters take time, such as climbing, jumping, or getting up from a possible rash. In contrast, the action time given to our opponents seems disproportionate. They spawn along a separate counter, move and eventually attack. For us, it all happens within the same time frame. If our team is very scattered, we can wish a lot of success to the teammate who will be tasked with picking up any team members who may have died. Completing various mission tasks also takes time. In almost all cases, the goal is to collect some trivial information in one place or to turn on machines. Given that as long as we interact with objects, our time goes by, so at least one of our three-person team is out of the circle.
Among the missions, we will be tasked with managing zones divided into regions on a world map. At these, we can create universities, conduct research, and outsource developments to our scientists. Our three characters can operate in three different locations at once, but if there is a battle, we will have to collect them and take all three of them with our flying car to the scene of the battle. We also need to protect these built universities. For this, we have the opportunity to build protection around them, which can be, for example, a minefield or electric walls. Each of these university defenses is a kind of simplified tower defense mode, where opponents keep coming until we turn on a couple of machines. Turning on the machines destroys the opponents and we win the fight.
Continuous spawning of opponents is not limited to tower defense mode. I think the big downside to the battles is that the monsters keep pouring into different locations on the track. Similar games like XCOM 2 have a fixed number of enemies on a level and only need to be played for survival in exceptional cases. In this game, however, this is the base case. If we don’t fight them effectively enough, they will make it impossible to complete the tracks simply because of their numerical superiority.
We can develop our weapons using the universities mentioned earlier. There are goals for the development of different stats that can be called side missions. Fortunately, we can accomplish these by failing the mission itself anyway. We can test possible improvements in a test environment. On a well-designed test track, you can test the effects of a new weapon, upgrade, or widget with damage and set situations. Time passes on the world map, as it does during battles. With each cycle, indicated by the pointer at the edge of the screen, your opponents’ influence in each area increases. If we take action against the occupation of certain regions for a very long time, the offensive force there will continue to swell. In this case, we have the opportunity to activate an ability for money, which reduces the attack power of the opponents in the zone.
Graphics: I think this visual world fits in well with the little buggy story and the monster design. Sometimes scenes almost evoking the Scooby-Doo series developed. The maps are not explicitly varied. Very often there is only another shade in the landscape when we are in a “different location”. Rather, there are topics that differ by zone. For me, the big positive is that the game uses bright colors. You add a lot to your cartoon style. A little more detail, however, would have fit into the landscape and objects. The effects of the weapons are also showy. Mainly the rifle that opens the portal, which kind of opens a “rift” over our target and either throws it at some objects that fall out of the portal or sniffs at the opponent as an alternative fire.
User interface, controllability: The interface is absolutely minimal. We only see the important information on it in the corners of the screen. We won’t need to manage inventory either. At the beginning of the mission, all we have to do is choose a weapon from the unlocked upgrades. Camera management is a bit cumbersome at times, which, even taking into account the time factor, is pretty bad. It has happened more than once that something obscured the image while aiming, but as time went on, the offensive time expired by moving out of the cover. Apart from this, the game can also be controlled well with a controller and a combination of keyboard + mouse. On weapons, however, where a projectile or fire falls, some habit is required. During targeting, it is not entirely clear how long the projectile will go. This is best noticed in the fire of the Plasma Thrower gun.
Playability: The humor of the game is fun, and for the first few times, the mini-role-playing of new opponents is introduced. Unfortunately, this feeling fades away pretty quickly, as we stumble upon repetitive missions and locations very soon. Sometimes even the items needed for the mission are placed at the same point on the field. However, the start of the game is randomized, so when you load a new save, the starting base and equipment will also change. Local and online cooperative play modes are also available, but in a rather interesting solution. There is a fairly long “tutorial” section at the beginning of the game, after which the multiplayer option will appear in the main menu one day. We don’t even get a special warning or an indication that “you can play team now”.
Intelligence, difficulty: Due to the numerous opponents, the tracks can be quite difficult. It is also not worth dividing the mission targets too much between the three playable characters. If we don’t stay relatively close to each other with the characters, we can often be at a disadvantage. I feel specifically cheating that the most basic ghost unit can go through the walls, while we have to pay quite a few seconds to climb over it. I can’t see any particular tactics in the behavior of my opponents. In essence, they are only grouped by us along a straight line. What really throws the difficulty after its release is the Boogeyman. He marks one of the characters with a sword at the top of his head. That character either goes as far away from it as possible or gets 666 damage in one cut and is killed. Otherwise, we cannot defend ourselves against it. If we are very close to each other, the monster will slaughter the team in no time.
Sounds, music: The music reproduces the sci-fi visual world well. In many cases, almost too much. The background music of some of the tracks makes it feel as if a synthesizer is connected to some random number generator. The sounds of the monsters strongly evoke B-category horror movies. Our characters aren’t talkative, they’re just making “reaction sounds” out of themselves. Conversations are mainly in the form of speech bubbles.
Summary: All in all, the basic idea would be good, but the end result is unfortunately quite a semi-finished game. We get to repetitive things very quickly, and it can get boring quickly. Continuously spawning opponents make battles harder, and if we don’t keep their numbers under control, they can quickly surprise us. As part of the Xbox Game Pass, it can be played as part of a subscription on both a PC and a console, so it’s worth giving it a chance. It is definitely a good choice for a couple of local cooperative fun.
Source: SG.hu Hírmagazin by sg.hu.
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