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Research and Destroy review for Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, PC


Platform: Xbox Series X
Also on: Xbox One, Switch, PC, PS4, PS5
Publisher: Spike Chunsoft
Developer: Implausible Industries
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-2
Online: Yes
ESRB: T

It probably says something about my lack of experience with the genre, but any time I play a turn-based strategy game, I instantly compare it to XCOM. That, arguably, is the biggest franchise in the genre – and certainly the one I’ve played the most – so for me, it becomes a matter of what it does differently, what it does worse, and what – if anything – it does better.

In the case of Research and Destroy, the things it does differently are fairly obvious.

First and foremost, it allows more freedom of movement for your characters – sort of. Rather than taking a grid-based approach and limiting the number of spaces anyone can move, you’re allowed free movement for a limited period of time. Within that period, you can run around, shoot at enemies, and hide – all the while, with a big circle getting smaller and smaller as your time runs out.

It’s an interesting take on the usual formula, and it requires a different set of skills than some other games in the genre. It calls on planning, to be sure, but in a way that’s more akin to, say, Superhot or Severed Steel or any other shooter where you’re facing time limits. It can certainly add a little more tension, as your time ticks down and you’re getting closer and closer to your objective, wondering if you’ll make it.

The other big difference is that Research and Destroy pushes you to the multiplayer mode, which certainly makes things a little easier – assuming you can both get on the same page for strategy. That’s not always a given, of course, but the fact other players can drop in (or out) at any time to help you on your way to meeting the objectives makes things a little less cut and dried than your typical turn-based strategy game.

Research and Destroy also deserves some points for its style and its setting. The game is set in an alternate universe where people just decided to ignore experts – totally unrealistic, obviously – which allowed for ghosts, zombies, and all kinds of other monsters to rise up and overthrow humanity. The whole thing has a ‘50s B-movie sci-fi vibe, which is fun, but unfortunately the game doesn’t do enough to really explore its setting – rather, it sets the tone and then sends you on your way.

Still, lack of story aside, it’s hard to argue that Research and Destroy doesn’t do a decent job of developing its own niche within this crowded turn-based strategy genre. It’s definitely better if you can play it with others – whether in-person or online – but it’s solid enough that even if you’re playing solo, you should get a few hours of fun out of it.

Spike Chunsoft provided us with a Research and Destroy Xbox Series X code for review purposes.

Grade: B