E3 2019 Hands-on – RAD

I was beyond excited when RAD was first announced. Being a Double Fine game created by no one other than Tim Schafer, the man behind Psychonauts, Brutal Legend, and Grim Fandango. I was ready to be amused by the company’s trademark sense of style, storytelling, and sense of humor. I arrived at E3 2019 looking forward to my Bandai Namco appointment as RAD would be available at their booth. After playing it, I can’t help but feel a little bit underwhelmed about it.

RAD might a Double Fine creation, and it does have a little bit of the company’s trademark style, but it’s not a game featuring a funny storyline like most of its predecessors. In fact, RAD barely features a story at all, as it’s a roguelike. The only “plot” the game features is a small animated introduction before your first run. The game tried to pull off a joke or two, as well as a few 80’s references, but to be honest, they fell a bit flat. That whole Double Fine charm is surely lacking in here.

Gameplay-wise, RAD starts off as a very generic roguelike, as all you have to survive against enemies is a very small health bar and a small melee weapon (in this case, a baseball bat). As you keep on playing the game, you’ll eventually acquire “radioactive powers” that not only will grant you with new abilities, but also mutate your body, transforming your innocent kid into something that would make Cronenberg extremely proud.

I played RAD for a few rounds, and even though the mutations are quite varied and fun to look at, the game didn’t exactly wow me as much as I was expecting. There’s nothing in it that looked inherently bad, but there was nothing in it that impressed me that much. It looked like just another roguelike set in a colorful 80’s setting because both things are very popular at the moment. I’m glad that Psychonauts 2 is set to be released in the next months, because that Double Fine title looks a more promising than what RAD is shaping up to be.