A Core Idea
It’s not often that we see a first party triple-A title on any of today’s consoles, so when ReCore came along I was naturally shocked we were receiving a game like itself for such a low price. Naturally, I was looking forward to ReCore simply due to the fact that ex-Metroid Prime developers were working on it, and that was part of the inspiration for ReCore’s design. Well, ReCore’s out now, and has been out for almost a month, does it live up to the games it’s so heavily inspired by? Or does it trip over its own ambition to be a bigger game than it can possibly be?
A Home Away from Home
In the early 2020’s in the universe of ReCore a disease called the Dust Devil Plague began to tear apart and ravage Earth, slowly rendering it uninhabitable. The Mandate launches and has launched several missions the the planet Far Eden, to process the planet and optimise it for human life. Robots known as corebots were sent to complete this process, with the first group of settlers, and the terraforming of Far Eden began. Roughly 200 years later ReCore’s protagonist, Joule, wakes up and find the Far Eden is far from being fully terraformed, and that almost every single corebot has gone rogue for some unexplained reason. As supposedly the only living human on Far Eden, it’s Joule’s job to find out what happened to the terraforming process, and to start it back up again so that the people in orbit of Far Eden can settle in. It’s a fairly intriguing story at first, but once it all starts to come together it becomes fairly predictable and boring, with a main antagonist that’s just as weak as his motivations. Joule herself is fairly likeable, as are her corebots, and most of voice acting is fairly passable. I can only recall one moment where the story managed to pull on a heartstring or two, but that was the full extent of it. It’s a fairly weak plot, which had a lot more potential in the long run, but it definitely could’ve been worse.
Survival Starts in the Core
ReCore primarily plays as a third-person shooter with heavy platforming, exploration, and the inclusion of some light RPG elements. You’ll regularly find yourself moving from one dungeon to the next, or maybe you’ll do some exploring every now and again. ReCore’s gunplay feels tight, responsive, and fast paced, and it suits the game perfectly. Joule’s primary and only weapon is a rifle that’s quickly modified and upgraded in the first few hours of the game, in addition to 2 corebots. Joule can use a variety of different corebots, all with their own unique effects and damage outputs against different enemies. ReCore works off of a fairly simple system in combat, each corebot has a colour corresponding to its core, and they take more damage from the fire mode corresponding to that colour, and as you fight, your combo is built up, increasing your overall score. Combat was the one thing in ReCore I enjoyed no matter how far I was into the game, and there was something truly special about skillfully dodging and weaving through projectiles while firing bursts of coloured rifle energy at different targets. ReCore manages to excel in combat, but that seems to be the only thing it does right, at least for the second half of the game anyway. Exploration in ReCore is entertaining, but only when it’s of your own volition. ReCore’s biggest problem is that pads out game time in an incredibly dull, repetitive sluggish way. To enter a specific dungeon, ReCore requires Joule to have collected a certain amount of Prismatic Cores that are scattered around the open world and in dungeons. Early on this isn’t a big problem, but once you reach the final level you’re required to collect 20 cores, and then 5 more for each level up. It drained me, and it was extremely challenging not to stop playing ReCore each time I found out I had to collect more. It doesn’t help that ReCore’s exploration is fairly bland, with samey dungeons and huge masses of sand to trek across with no environmental sights to see anywhere. To make this process even more strenuous, Joule can only have 2 corebots with her at any one time, which means that if you need a certain corebot for a certain dungeon that you don’t have, you have to go back to the nearest fast travel point in order to get said corebot. Lastly ReCore has a few survival elements to it’s gameplay, throughout the world you’ll find various crafting parts and blueprints in order to make better parts for your corebots, making for some pretty unique customisation and upgrading. The one problem with upgrading my corebots was that I never really felt like it made a massive difference in the long run. Lastly is platforming, ReCore is quite keen on platforming and luckily it’s good platforming. It’s fairly challenging, but controlling Joule is tight and precise, making for an enjoyable time.
A Bland Wasteland
One area where ReCore fails to excel in at all is in the technical front, or at least from my experience. I had inconsistent frame rates, various bugs, slow loading times, slow down, and the game in general just looks really bland. It’s low resolution, low detail environments sculpted around passably detailed character models. Some of the dungeons have some interesting art design but they never reach the full potential they have. Areas feel copy and pasted for the most part and visually, I was never terribly interested by the way ReCore was taking its art design.
ReCore sets out to do something that is now alien to the market of gaming. ReCore definitely is not abysmal, it’s just very average. I can see what ReCore was going for, and I still think it had a lot of potential to be something great, and I still do. I hope Armature can learn from their mistakes, and release another game that fixes the mistakes ReCore made. If you’re really interested in it, wait for a price drop, but for now, ReCore isn’t worth it’s asking price when it becomes more and more boring.
-Tight and precise control
-Slick, elegant, fast paced combat
-Exploration is boring
-Need for use of specific corebots
-Unnecessarily padded out game time
-Bugs, slow loading times, inconsistent frames, and very average visuals
Thanks for reading guys, sorry this one took so long. Had some problems getting it started up and all that stuff. Up next is Mafia III – Harry :).