Saturday, December 31, 2016

ReCore (Xbox One) Review

ReCore is a third person shooting action and adventure game where the main character, Joule, must team up with three robot companions and brave the harsh environment of Eden Prime.  It's a pretty good looking game overall.  Sure, the prismatic cores look a bit...weird, but I'd say it is solid otherwise.

Another really good aspect of the game is Joule's movement.  She starts with a boost dash, that works in midair, and a double jump right off the bat.  She can also dash before jumping, and still gets her air dash.  This allows her to cover a lot of ground quickly.  Plus, it is super vital for many of the harder platforming segments.  In addition to that, one of the robot chassis can pull Joule up special tracks, and another allows her to glide, giving you even more movement and exploration options.  I loved how many movement options Joule had right from the get-go, and that a few were added later.

Sure, it's not perfect, since there were plenty of times I had trouble landing on small platforms because it can be hard to know where exactly you will land, but that's a problem in many 3D platforming games, so while I can complain, I don't hold it against this game only.  Many of the platforming checkpoints aren't too far back, but a few are annoying.  Plus, it is annoying that you can only take 2 of the 3 cores with you, also leaving behind 3 chassis.  Overall, though, I didn't find the platforming too hard, especially considering some of the other games I've played this year.

The shooting in the game is pretty solid, and it even has an automatic lock-on.  Since enemies can run around a lot, this is very, very helpful.  Predictably, it can be hard to pick which target you want when there are numerous enemies clustered together.  The lock on also has a far range, which is sometimes inconvenient in its own way.  Joule's rifle eventually has 4 different colored shots, each effective against enemies that share the same color.  It works much better than I thought it would, and it is worth your time to switch when fighting strong enemies.  If an enemy has one of the colors that Joule can't replicate, hitting it with either color that makes it up (hope you non-artists remembered your color wheel!) will get the bonus damage.

Besides the main dungeons, there are several optional ones.  Well, ostensibly optional.  You need to gather half of the prismatic spheres to actually beat the game, so you will probably need to try out the extra dungeons at some point.  There are three types: combat, traversal and adventure.  Combat involves only fighting, traversal is only platforming, and adventure is a mix of both.  To get the bonuses, you have to shoot all 8 hidden switches, get the yellow key, and do it under a time limit.  That would all be well and good, but unfortunately, you also have to do all of them at the same time for the last bonus.  Yuck.  (I unabashedly used the time cheat to do this, since I don't want to run each dungeon 5+ times.)


I have to also talk about why the game was likely released at a budget price.  It's simply not finished.  This is most obvious in the large areas of the map that have little to no things for you to do.  Sure, they have collectibles and a few chests thrown in there, but you can tell that there is so much  more they could have done.  One area isn't even technically accessible until future DLC makes it traversable (although there is a glitch that can get you out there).  Also, once you are near the end, you have to basically stop and go around to collect prismatic spheres to get through the final dungeon.  This just extends the game unnecessarily.  If it wasn't so obvious, it might not be as distracting.

Is ReCore a fun game?  Overall, I'd say yes.  It's clearly not finished, but I enjoyed playing it.  It took me 20 hours to get to the final dungeon, but several more to track down the cores needed to proceed, which I would have done anyway.  The game was easily worth the price I paid (Black Friday prices).  I would easily recommend the game for action-adventure fans.

The Good:
Fun game, Joule has great movement options and there is lots of exploration.

The Bad:
The game is obviously not complete, but still released.  Having to do all of the dungeon challenges in one run without a cheat isn't fun.

The SaHD:
You know, I'd actually like to see a sequel to this game, but I'm sure it didn't sell well enough to get one, which is a shame.

(ReCore was purchased by reviewer)

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