In an age of trailers, screenshots, and general spoilers, it is not very often that I am surprised by a game. When I went hands on at E3, I had a great 15 minutes and assumed I was going to get a straightforward platformer with robots. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that! However, I was expecting a short adventure and nothing more. Boy, was I wrong. ReCore not only surprised me with it’s wonderful action and platforming, but it also brought a lot of features that created a fantastic gaming experience.
ReCore takes place on a distant planet called Far Eden. Far Eden can be described as a hope for the future – the planet has Earth like qualities despite the desert landscape. Our heroine, Joule, is a human on this desert world. Her mission is to help terraform Far Eden to make it inhabitable for other humans to live. Joule is a pretty incredible heroine – smart and upbeat while stuck in a pretty difficult situation. The story gives a lot of moments where you feel her excitement, frustrations, and general homesickness. Joule is pretty amazing on her own, but she has some robot friends to help her on her journey.
One of the game’s coolest features is the use of CoreBots. To start the game, you have your CoreBot, Mack. Mack’s movements and personality are very cool to watch. He kind of reminds me of Wall-E, in that despite being a machine, he has personality and loyalty to Joule. Mack is basically a robot dog. He can search areas and attack enemies. Throughout your time in Far Eden, you will have access to a variety of CoreBots. I don’t want to get into too much detail because I think it will spoil the story. Keep in mind that each CoreBot has an important skill that helps Joule on her adventure. One of the best features of ReCore is the ability to upgrade your bots to have higher attack and defense ratings. Plus, you can find parts throughout Far Eden and upgrade the look of your bots. The customization options were a pleasant surprise.
As you may have seen in the many trailers, the core of this game is platforming. To get from one place or another, you will need to rely heavily on Joule’s ability to double jump and dash. The platforming is just the right amount of challenging. You will need to map out your movements and be precise with your jumps and dashes. Not only do you have to use you abilities to the fullest extent, but you will also have to navigate platforms and areas that move and disappear. I personally did not have any issues with the platforming gameplay. Armature and Comcept did a fine job of creating very responsive controls. I never had a frustrating moment where a command did work right away.
Besides navigating the desert world of Far Eden, you will have to deal with some pretty interesting enemies. You can use your CoreBots to fight enemies, but you will also rely heavily on your weapon. Throughout your playthrough, you will find enemies that are different colors. With a quick press of the D-pad, you can switch to the ammo color that matches the enemy. Red ammo does more damage to red enemies, blue ammo does more damage to blue enemies, etc. As you run and gun against these enemies, you will have the opportunity to extract cores. By clicking in the R stick, you will play a tug of war with the enemy for their core. This mechanic is a little clunky at times, but not too frustrating. These cores are used to upgrade your bots, so don’t be afraid to extract as many as possible!
At first, I thought this game was going to be very linear. At $40, I assumed that you would go from Point A to Point B in the story and that’s it. I am so happy to report that it is far more open than expected. Throughout the game, you will find different dungeons with challenges, cores, and treasure. Each dungeon looks different and can be pretty difficult. Areas of the game and new dungeons will open as you collect specific cores. Also, some dungeons have challenges where it gives you a goal to beat the dungeon in a specific time. These challenges were really fun to tackle. I wasn’t very good at completing the challenges on time, but I enjoyed the fact that it was an option for gamers.
Graphically, the game looks pretty good. They are not really going to scream “next gen graphics,” but the art design is looks really nice. There are nice animations with the characters and the desert landscape. Some of the dungeons can look similar in lighting and colors, but luckily the gameplay feels different in every dungeon. Besides graphics, there are some who had an issue with the load time. I admit, they do feel a little long for this type of game. However, I don’t think the load time is that big of a deal. An update is coming this week to fix the load times and a few other tech issues.
If you can’t tell already, I really enjoyed ReCore. It is a fantastic platformer with more exploration than I originally thought. Despite a couple technical hiccups here and there, I had a great time throughout my playthrough. Thanks to the story, customization options, and dungeons to explore off the beaten path, ReCore has a lot of appeal that will bring you back to Far Eden again and again.
ReCore is available for $39.99 on Xbox One or Windows 10. Thanks to the Play Anywhere program, you can buy a digital copy and play on console or PC! If you start the game on one system, then you can pick up right where you left off on the other system. If you are still hesitant about trying it, Microsoft announced today that you can try the first 30 minutes of ReCore for free on Xbox or Windows 10! You won’t regret adding ReCore to your game collection.
Challenging Platforming and Combat
More to do than anticipated
Load times a little long
Core extract mechanic a little sluggish