This latest Microsoft exclusive offers some great game play and a big world to explore. ReCore is a great take on an older genre with some modern improvements. Even with everything ReCore has to offer, there are a few hiccups that might get in the in the way.
ReCore has some deep video game roots
ReCore, at its core is very much an old school style game and there is one massive reason why its like that. If you have been playing video games as long as I have this name should ring a few bells, that name being Keiji Inafune. I’m not going to go through his whole history here but I’ll give you a few highlights. In the late 80s Inafune worked for Capcom as a character and object designer on almost every game in the Megaman series on NES and would later go on to be a producer on the Megaman X and Megaman Battle Networkgames as well. He was a producer on the Onimusha games and many games in the Resident Evil series. So it’s no surprise that people got excited when ReCore was announced with him onboard. It should also be noted that Inafune provided the original concept and used Megaman along with Metroid as main influences in ReCore’s creation.
Far Eden didn’t quite go as planned
ReCore takes place 200 hundred years in the future, when the Earth has become uninhabitable. In the early decades of the 21st century an organization called the Mandate, launched a series of missions to a planet called Far Eden. These missions consisted of sending thousands of corebots along with colonists to the planet, in an attempt to terraform the planet before colonists would awake from cryosleep several hundred years after arriving.
Platform: Xbox One and Windows PC
Release Date: September 13, 2016
Developer: Concept and Armature Studio
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Genre: Third Person Shooter, Action-adventure, puzzle platformer
ESRB Rating: T (For Teen 13+)
You play as Joule Adams, one of the few colonists to survive cryosleep. As Joule awakens she finds that while she was asleep many of the corebots have been corrupted and that many of the other colonists or unaccounted for. You start the game at the wreckage of Joule’s cryosleep and maintenance habitat along with the corebot Mack. Together you will have to traverse the game’s world as you explore to find resources and a power source (in this case they are called Prismatic Cores) to get Joule’s crawler back online. As you explore and search for Prismatic Cores, you will encounter numerous enemies, another colonist and a few more corebots who will fight alongside Joule.
The Shifting Sands is a dangerous as it is beautiful
The bulk of the game takes place in a hub world called the Shifting Sands. The Shifting Sands is a massive windswept desert, made up of several different areas connected via load screens and a quick travel network. Within each area you will find lots of enemies, amazing vistas, hidden resources and most importantly, dungeons. Each dungeon has a Prismatic Core or corebot requirement and fits into one of several categories. These dungeon categories consist of, adventure/story dungeons, challenge dungeons, rush dungeons and combat dungeons. The dungeons are where you will find the bulk of the requirements to completing the game and many of these dungeons will also progress the main story of the game. All these dungeons also offer secondary objectives such as, par times, scavenger hunts and more, which will reward you handsomely upon completion.
While traversing the beautiful, albeit dangerous landscape in ReCore you will have to fend off numerous enemies and this is where the game really shines. The combat in ReCore is easilly one of its strongest features. When you first start the game, your gun only has one colour, white, but as you progress you will find more add-ons to give your gun access to firing more colours. Eventually your gun will be able to fire in four different colour modes, white, red, blue and yellow. This works really well as each enemy you encounter will correspond to one or more of these colours, so an enemy that corresponds with red will take more damage with the red shots. Sometimes you will encounter enemies that are made up of a combination of colours such as purple or green. These enemies will then take increased damage from the colours that make up their own colour. So a purple enemy would take increased damage from both the blue and red shots, or a green enemy would take increased damage from blue and yellow shots. It’s a easy to learn system and switching colours on the go is just a matter of hitting the corresponding direction on the D-Pad.
Your corebot companions are your best and only friends
This colour mechanics not only works well for the gun you wield as Joule, it also functions in conjunction with your corebot pals. When you first start the game Joule will already have her first corebot companion, a blue core K-9 style corebot named Mack. As you progress through the main story of the game you will unlock two more companion corebots. There’s Seth, a large yellow corebot who has the arachnid SP-DR frame.Then there is Duncan, he is the bruiser of the bunch, having the massive AP-3 frame and a red core. There is also a fourth corebot companion that you must find all the pieces scattered throughout the game to unlock, called FL1-R.
Each of the corebots have a unique ability which is required to reach certain areas of the game and you will need all of them except for FL1-R if you want to complete the main game. Mack can use his dog like ability to sniff out and find hidden items in a specific area and in battle he can inflict some big damage to enemies using his leaping attack. Seth can climb onto magnetic rails throughout the game, which will help you travel faster and reach new areas. Seth also has the ability to unleash a missile barrage on enemies, dealing some big splash damage in the process. Duncan can smash through specific boulders to reveal hidden items and he does huge damage with his fireball attacks. Lastly is FL1-R, the only optional companion, which opens up all sort of neat abilities, such as further customizing your corebot companions and FLR-1 can access even more areas than previous corebots.
Each one of your corebot companions can be customized at Joules crawler workshop. As you play through the game you will come across blueprints for each specific corebot frame. After finding a blueprint you will also need to find the corresponding resources to build that specific part. Each part you change on your companion corebot will change their stats, and you can find and build fulls sets of parts to completely change the look and strategies to use with each corebot as you play the game.
ReCore really shines with it’s puzzle platforming
The next big part of ReCore is the puzzle platforming. Most of the hub world you will be running across a desert landscape but upon attempting to access a new area or a new dungeon you will have to (more often then not) complete a puzzle to unlock a specific door or the required platforms to access the area you are trying to get to. This could include finding a series of power cores to power the required platforms or platforming through a huge area to flip a switch which opens a door right where you started this platforming section and so on. None of these puzzles are very hard and most of the platforming is pretty straight forward albeit mildly frustrating when you miss that final jump and have to start over.
For the most part all the above elements of the game work really well and offer a great experience. Unfortunately this gem of a game is not without its flaws. Upon first starting the game and making my way through the beginning of the tutorial I got stuck and had to start the game over. Upon restarting I got stuck in the exact same spot, check out my video here to see what happened. There were other minor bugs I encountered but nothing that stopped progression like when I got stuck at the beginning of game. Also every time you die or enter a new area you are greeted with a loading screen, a really long loading screen, sometimes up to two minutes. It’s not the worst loading I have ever experienced but normally this kind of loading time is usually just on initial load and not a constant thing.
I really enjoyed the time I spent playing ReCore. Its combat is fun and rewarding once you get the hang of it. Your corebot companions offer some great gameplay elements in terms of combat and puzzle solving. The puzzles were challenging but not unfair and worked really well with the platforming. It’s just a shame there are some bad bugs and the horrible loading times really break up the flow of the game.With that being said I sitll recommend this game, especially if you are looking for something different and fun this fall, definitely give ReCore a try.
+ Great combat
+ Straight forward puzzles
+ Tight and responsive controls for combat and platforming
+ Weapon and companion colours offer a huge variety in strategy
– Some bad bugs are still present
– Load times really break the flow of the game
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 3/5
Overall Rating 3.75/5 (75%)