E3 2019: Hands-on with Double Fine’s RAD
Tucked away in the media section of the Bandai Namco booth was RAD, the latest title from Double Fine and as I have been intrigued by it, I made sure to put it to the test and from what I played it is shaping up to be another fun Double Fine adventure.
The demo started out with a cutscene, which is kind of rare in E3 builds, but none the less, the story that is being told is that the equipment that the small community of folks is using, is starting to fail and if it does, the radiation that has covered the world, will sweep in and destroy them. In order for it to be fixed, someone must venture outside and collect the parts, but before that, they must be changed, as without this change the radiation will kill them. There was no reason provided as to why they all can’t have that change done, but so be it, with the story out of the way, it was time to play.
The game is played from a top-down, isometric perspective, which helps keep the action close to the character as for the action, it plays out a little like Diablo, with enemies doing their own thing until you draw closer and get their attention. You only really have two attacks, but you can use them in a number of ways, thankfully each enemy you kill, leaves trace amounts of radiation behind, which your character can now absorb and the more you kill, the more you get. Once the bar on the screen has filled up, your character mutates, giving you some sort of ability, what you get though is completely random.
In my playthrough, my left arm became massive and could shoot out energy, at least I hope it was that, which acted as a boomerang and would then find itself, hitting enemies within its arc, before coming back to me. This helped greatly when I was attempting to get enemies from a distance, as prior to that, I had to get in close to deal any sort of damage. As I was exploring the world, I came across a totem or some kind, which when activated, shot a beam of light out in a set direction, not knowing what was happening, I kept exploring the world, which is when I noticed something odd.
As I was walking around, the ground beneath my feet was growing back, from drag and murky browns and greys to green with flowers, life was slowly restoring back to the world. As I continued to explore, I discovered another totem thing and activated it, which had another beam of light shoot out, again in a set direction, so this time, I decided to follow it and see what was going on. As I was doing that, I killed more enemies and levelled up got another power, this one gave me wings and using them, I was able to get to wherever the light beam led.
When I got there, the screen updated to tell me that there was another totem somewhere, that needed to be enabled, in order for the door to open, so I headed west of it, to try and find it. As I was exploring, more enemies kept appearing and I kept attacking but turns out, you can’t just button mash your way through things, as I soon died, though I was not out of the race yet. Or at least I should say, my time with the game was not over, that character though, they were gone, finite, dead as can be, but in their place was my new character. They started out with nothing, but as I began the trek over to where the other location was, they too got powers, but before I could make it to the totem, my time was actually at an end.
RAD is a game that I think many people will enjoy, the randomness of the abilities is one of the reasons, as you never know what you will get. Given the random nature of the levels as well, there is sure to be a lot of replayability here, plus when you add in that Double Fine humour, there is little reason to avoid it.