Xbox One, PC
September 13, 2016
Armature Studio, Comcept
ReCore started out as a game I always thought the Xbox was missing from its repertoire. A solid, fun and engaging 3D platformer for the younger generation or those of us from the 80s and 90s with some hardcore nostalgia goggles for games like Super Mario 64, Banjo Kazooie and Ratchet & Clank. ReCore has all of the ingredients to line itself up against these much-loved classics and be the makings of a classic franchise in its own right. With super fun combat, easy-to-control platforming and even a laser robot dog, it has plenty going for it and my hopes were high going in.
However, I’m sitting here having a really hard time reviewing ReCore. As I just touched on, it has everything required that quote “should” make it a good game, but then I just run into speed bumps while I’m trying to get into it. As soon as I feel like I’m starting to immerse myself… BAM! I hit a wall that just takes me straight out of the experience
ReCore introduces us to Joule, a fun loving protagonist who is lost and alone-ish on a distant planet, Far Eden, with no one to keep her company apart from her spunky robot dog companion, Mack. Joule and Mack must go venturing out into the desert wastelands of Far Eden to… well, I’m not sure. This is where the game first started to lose me. I had no idea why I, Joule, was doing this, why the world had dungeons everywhere, why they were referred to as dungeons, why all these random platforming sequences existed in the context of the world. The narrative struggled to express the universe and explain the situation.
I would never ask these questions of Super Mario 3D World, or a plethora of other titles. ReCore’s realistic art-style made me expect more from the world than what it was prepared to give, or even wanted to. The universe that the game built seemed half-realised; it was both too developed to allow my mind to forgive what didn’t make sense, but also under-explained so that what didn’t make sense was simply glaringly wrong.
The combat was something I really enjoyed. The combination of high octane, snap targeting shooting, robot combat with solid direction and assistance is enjoyable and quite smooth. The “Quick Kill” combo of attempting to pull the core from an enemy Corebot and then directing Mack, or one of your many other robot companions to deliver the killing blow is highly satisfying and I thoroughly enjoyed it. When the combat just flows and gels in a way I haven’t seen enough in games today, it’s a joy to behold.
Now for those of you that are platform junkies, ReCore manages to hold its own for maybe the first couple of hours. For me, the game very quickly became repetitive and tiring. The boss battles present similarly to platformers of old, with clear patterns and specific areas to target. They felt a bit few and far between from what the rest of the game gives. ReCore left me wanting for it to end and wanting something else to do. It lacks a greater variance in its gameplay that we’ve come to expect. The environments also didn’t really help this: Nothing but deserts and caverns for the majority of the time. I was begging for a change up, a big twist in the style and adventure that never came.
- Likeable characters
- Inventive combat
- New ideas
- Repetitive gameplay
- Samey enviroments
- Struggles to engage
ReCore doesn’t measure up to the high standards of today, which disappointed me. It has plenty of original ideas and concepts, but unfortunately, it’s missing something. Whether that be better direction or more time to refine its positive traits… whatever it was it was sorely felt. I wanted to enjoy ReCore more than I could. The flow of the combat came together too infrequently to allow me to forgive it’s more major short-comings. If you’re keen on a new 3D platformer I’d still recommend it if you want something to zone out with, but I wouldn’t necessarily blame you if you got bored.