When ReCore was first announced last year at E3, it wasn’t really presented as premium title for the Xbox One.
The game’s lacklustre status has been borne out by the fact that there’s been far less of a marketing push for the game than say, a Triple A exclusive like Gears Of War or Halo.
Upon playing it, one can understand the reason for this lack of fanfar: ReCore shows a lot of potential, but ultimately it could have been much better than it is.
The game isn’t bad, it just feels like a missed opportunity from developer Armature Studio.
Out in the wild
ReCore kicks off with an opening that recalls the first 30 minutes of Star Wars The Force Awakens.
Players take on the role of Joule Adams, a young woman stranded on the desert world of Far Eden after waking up from a century-long cryosleep.
Far Eden is certainly not as she remembers it before her 100 years of slumber. For one thing, the land is filled with vicious corebots and for another, it seems the salvation of humanity is solely down to her.
Corebots function the same way as any dangerous wildlife, except in their case, they’re robots.
Joule has a small corebot army (five exactly) of her own, to help her out. They’re shaped like a dog, a spider, an ape, an flying octopus and a tank; they’re all pretty cool but sadly only two can accompany Joule at any given time.
Players should be selective about which two they allow to travel with them, as each corebot has a different special ability. Duncan, the ape, can smash rocks, while Seth (the spider) can crawl on special platforms.
Just like Rey, Joule has to wander the desert looking to salvage parts scattered across the world, accompanied by a robot. These parts are used to upgrade the corebots with different frames that provide better attack, defence and energy statistics.
Open world, lack of colour
Taking place primarily in the deserts of Far Eden, the world is almost void of any real colour, except for when Joule crosses paths with an angry corebot or get near an abandoned building.
Attacking a corebot is a bit of a messy affair, as all bots are divided into four colour groups and have to be attacked effectively with the same colour rifle.
So if an attacking corebot is yellow, Joule will have a much easier task when she fires her yellow rifle attachment.
The same goes for the red and blue corebots. Telling a companion corebot to attack a target of the same colour will also be beneficial.
The world is also (somewhat) peppered with dungeons which Joule can explore. But there is a caveat: in order to enter a dungeon, Joule needs to have the correct amount of Prismatic Cores and be at the right character level.
Here the game starts to take on a bit of a Tomb Raider feel, as the dungeons are areas which she has to explore and make it through to the other side. There are also three secondary objectives to hit, which increases the loot at the end.
Completing a dungeon usually rewards the player with Prismatic Core, but if they don’t have enough to enter, they’re left stranded.
See where this is going? Joule will have to set out into the rest of the world, hoping to high heavens that she comes across another dungeon that she can actually enter.
While we played the game, we couldn’t progress with the main story at one point, as we didn’t have enough Prismatic Cores to open a gate. Oh, before we forget: Prismatic Cores are sometimes also scattered in the wild, but you’ll have to beat a burly corebot (or three) for one.
Fine on the surface, cracked underneath
So… you have your mission, your trusty (chosen) corebot is by your side, and you set off into the world to save humanity with your laser rifle. And then you die…
That is probably the worst thing that could happen to you – not because you died, but the loading times are ridiculous. Really ridiculous. As in, there’s is enough time to make a cup of coffee before the game reloads ridiculous.
Besides the loading times, the game in general feels a bit bland and uninspired. That has partly to do with the constant brown dust that is shoved into your face and the boring combat system. It really is just ‘point gun, shoot, dodge, kill’.
After a while the we tried to avoid combat in the desert, not because the corebots where a higher levels than us, but simply that fighting them had become an annoyance.
The plot is also a bit on the weak side, with predictable dialogue and seemingly impossible challenges in some of the dungeons or access to areas.
But…with that said, there is something about ReCore that should keep you playing for a couple of hours a day. It’s not a fantastic game, but it is one of those that fall into the Sunday afternoon category. You know, when you are looking to play something that wouldn’t require too much thinking power but still entertaining to some degree.
Review on Xbox One, and a download code was provided by Microsoft South Africa.
To give you a better idea, have a look at the trailer: