Think of Super Mario 64 and all the character driven platformers it inspired. Think of Mega Man and how it made your childhood so fun. It’s always fun to jump and dash around a place, not giving a single care about the laws of physics, isn’t it? Now combine all that fun with adorable robot companions that come with infinite customization possibilities, and you may begin to understand what makes ReCore such a great game.
The game starts in quite a beautiful manner, handing you the control of a girl named Joule Adams, the lone woman on a seemingly deserted desert planet of Far Eden. Along with her trusty robot dog Mack, she is on a quest to solve the big mystery behind what rendered Far Eden so desolate. The gorgeous surroundings comprising of cliffs, sand and wrecked terraforming machines are begging to be explored and climbed upon.
Movement mechanics are pretty impressive. The jumping, dashing, jumping and dashing controls are really snappy, and it’s a hoot to have the mechanical doggy sidekick around. The caverns look pretty detailed and distinguished from each other, and you’re a heartless soul if Joule isn’t one of the cutest video game characters you’ve seen recently.
The world of Far Eden is filled to the brim with mysteries. The music compliments the sense of suspense and wonder. You’ll see magnetized rails in the sky whose use you won’t understand until much later, corrupted K-9 machines which actually seems to be a modified corrupt version of your own K-9 unit, other robots in shapes of apes, flies, dogs and whatnot. There is plenty to keep you hooked.
At its heart, ReCore feels like a remake of a PS 2 era game, with modern engine and mechanics. And this is one of the best things about the game. It’s not a skill shooter, but more of puzzle shooter. Combat is pretty easy, with automated target tracking making it child’s play. Hence, your primary focus while fighting is a mixture of dodging and getting combos. The robot companions also join in, helping you fight the corrupt machines. You can change the colour element of your weapon to match the colour of the core of the enemy robot, in order to amplify your damage and add status effects. It’s a lot of fun, really, and feels brings back a few childhood memories.
You encounter multiple robot companions, each with their unique abilities. In addition to helping you in combat, each of them has one ability you’ll need sometime or the other in order to traverse a cavern or proceed through a quest. The dog, for example, can dig out stuff from the sand. Your second mech buddy, in the shape of a spider, can help you climb the magnetized rails, and man does it look exhilarating. As a platformer, ReCore downright nails it, with its breathtaking movement mechanics and novel, out of the box approach.
Another fascinating thing about the combat is that you can simply shoot at your enemies and kill them, or bring their health down to a threshold and then yank their cores out of the frame using a fishing line/grappling hook kind of a thing (not very clear on what it actually is, sorry). Now, why this is fascinating is because when you kill the enemies straight up, they drop certain components, and by taking the cores, you get the core of the respective enemy colours. And you need both of these in order to customize your bot buddies. The customization options are seemingly endless, each with their own attribute advantages and aesthetics.
The game, in all its greatness, is not devoid of problems. From technical glitches to touchy feely issues (come on, we all know how video games can be a little emotional), the game can be a little disappointing at times. However, playing on the PC, we did not encounter a lot of the technical bugs as they seem to be more prominent on the Xbox One. Loading screens can be frustratingly long, and textures may not load at times. A friend of mine started it on the Xbox One, and when he came out of the first cavern, a part of the desert failed to load, showing it as invisible. Dying and respawning solved the problem. Which brings another thing to mind; it is possible to die and spawn mid-fall in the air, only to die again, turning it into an endless loop. It may sound fun for the first couple of times, but it gets irritating real quick.
One sad thing is the fact the robot companions’ personalities are attached to their cores, not the whole bots themselves. Which means you can take the core out of your spider named Seth and put it into the ape, and the ape will then become Seth. But Seth was the reliable partner that took you for rides and swung you from the rails. And Mack is your dog that you’ve had since the game began, just putting the core in the spider shouldn’t make the spider Mack, he should remain Seth. It gets confusing in terms of character differentiation, and after a certain point it becomes a little hard to feel related to the robots. *sobs silently in the corner*
The grinding and looting in the game also gets kinda old after a point of time, and while it’s a lot of fun to go around collecting parts to customize and upgrade your Corebots, all the backtracking involved can be a pain in the neck.
At its (re)core, the game (hehe) is an adorable blend of character driven 3D platforming and crafting, and even with all its flaws is a pretty great game.
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