A little lacking in polish.
ReCore on Xbox One
ReCore puts you in the shoes of one of the last remaining humans as you visit a distant planet that goes by the name of Far Eden- a planet that was supposed to be a refuge for those humans that had survived a devastating attack on Earth, turned into a desert hell thanks to the hostile robots covering its surface. You’ve been chosen to be one of Far Eden’s first colonial contingent and must prepare this new planet for the rest of human civilization. As Joule, you and your adorable robot dog Mack will begin an adventure of platforming, shooting, and frustration.
Your objective in ReCore is simple: Put an end to the hostile robots and make Far Eden safe for humans once more. It turns out that the Prime Core isn’t in its rightful place powering Far Eden Tower. This has led to the atmospheric processing pylons dotted across Far Eden to stop working. That’s where you come in. You’ll have to get the Prime Core back to the top of Far Eden Tower allow the planet’s atmosphere to continue to be cleansed. Of course, it’s not all that simple, and a Corebot that went rogue by the name of Victor is determined to make this planet his own and wipe out any human life that stands in his way.
In order to complete your mission, you’ll have to utilize the skills of not only Joule, but also the Corebots that join her along the way. Each Corebot has a distinct strength and weakness, and switching between them in battle will help continue to give you the upper-hand against the metallic beasts that stand in your way. You can also upgrade these with new parts, increase their power, and change their frames to help you along with your adventure, but more on that a little later.
ReCore’s gameplay focuses predominantly on platforming and shooting, though not shooting in the traditional sense. Rather than having players aim and fire, ReCore does the hard bit of aiming for you, leaving you to hold down the trigger, evade incoming attacks, and command your Corebot to dish out some additional damage. It must be said that, while it doesn’t necessarily sound like it would work in practice, an auto-lock feature is quite beneficial to ReCore’s combat. The action is always fast-paced and is quite possibly the most enjoyable portion of the game. Especially in later areas where you’ll be taking on multiple enemies at once, or some far tougher enemies than the basic bots you were shooting with ease at the start.
Platforming, on the other hand, felt very familiar and, for the most part, was great. Thanks to the fluid controls, Joule handled like a charm and made reaching platforms that required precise jumping simple. That’s not to say it’s all a wonderful affair in terms of the platforming, though. With Far Eden being a work-in-progress planet for humans to settle down, there are a couple of environmental hazards. These are largely used to prevent you from wandering off the edge of the map, or raising the stakes of that jump you’re making 100 ft. above the ground. However, there are moments where, thanks to the need to manually position the camera as you automatically zip around aerial sections of track with the help of another one of your Corebots (the adorable Seth), you’ll have trouble gauging a jump or just completely missing the platform you’re supposed to be leaping towards.
It’s not often, but falling to the floor, only to find you’ve got to spend five minutes making your way back to the start of this platforming section thanks to the sinking sand plaguing the environment is frustrating. When things run smoothly, ReCore plays and looks great. When things start going wrong, however, the whole thing becomes a little too laborious.
ReCore starts off slowly enough, simply introducing you to the world of Far Eden and the foes that inhabit it. Once you’ve delved into its first dungeon and emerged victorious, the game then opens up a little bit more. Players are now given the ability to explore Far Eden as they see fit, alleviating my initial concern that this was going to be a very linear and short adventure. ReCore has a bunch of extra dungeons that players don’t necessarily have to venture into as part of the main story. These adopt a slightly different approach to the normal dungeons. Rather than being tasked with simply completing them, there are a number of additional objectives that can also be completed. These range from shooting a number of switches scattered around the environment, picking up a yellow key, and reaching the end within a set time.
By completing each of these additional objectives, players will receive the likes of blueprints for new Corebot components, Prismatic Cores, and other crafting materials. While we’d advise you to go and explore each of these, as they’re a good bit of fun, you don’t necessarily have to do these to beat the game. However, if you choose not to and opt to simply make your way through the main story, you’ll be penalized for doing so and will find yourself coming back later.
At different points, ReCore will require Joule to be of a certain level and have a set number of Prismatic Cores (essentially keys) to unlock the next dungeon or area. While this may not be an issue to those who opt to explore off the beaten path and clear everything that appears on their map, it’s the lack of warning that can get a little frustrating.
You see, ReCore’s world isn’t all that interesting to explore in the first place. The environment is very much the same combinations of sand, rock, and metal, and while I appreciate the idea of maintaining the aesthetic of the planet, it’s just not remotely interesting to explore after the first 30 minutes. This makes checking your map, treading through sand, and rinse repeating this process until you’ve nailed the location of one of these Prismatic Cores (or the enemy that is being powered by it and needs it ripping out of them) feel more like work than fun. Of course, once you’ve got the Core in your sights, the real platforming and combat fun can begin, depending on what stands in your way.