Platform: Xbox One (reviewed) and Windows 10
Developer: Armature Studio, Comcept
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Release date: Out Now
tl;dr: A dude gets carried around by his robot spider because he only has one leg, how can you not love it?
Price: PC and Xbox One: £30/$40/€40
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I’ve fallen in love.
Fallen in love with this adorable little game with its robots and coloured laser beams. And yes, enough glitches to fill several Youtube videos.
There is so much that ReCore has done right, straight off the bat. Female protagonist, dog companion, story trailer, an actually original looking concept involving androids and post apocalyptic themes, a colourful environment – and that’s just the story trailer.
For the most part, ReCore is simply delightful.
The art style is that lovely mix of cartoon and realism, where it can exaggerate characters and make their features pop. Joule is sensibly dressed, has short hair, and the somewhat questionable lip sync is cleverly hidden by Joule’s scarf. The gameplay and combat are fluid and intuitive, where it’s actually fun to explore and shoot things, rather than a chore. The plot is interesting, Joule is absolutely charming, and you’ve got a robot dog. What’s not to love?
Admittedly, it’s not as plot heavy as I would like. I’m still looking for a successor to my beloved Beyond Good and Evil (we’re waiting, Micheal Ancel!), and ReCore definitely had the potential to be that. But we don’t get to see enough of the world to really feel immersed in it. It’d be like if we stayed in one deserted wasteland for the entirety of Fallout: New Vegas. It’s the towns and the people that make that game, and I really think ReCore could have benefited from this kind of depth. Joule is a sweetheart, and Seth the spider is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen – I just want more of it. Dust Devil’s ripped off Kai’s leg? Sweet! Can we shove Joule in one, because that’d be amazingly terrifying. Oooh, terraforming the planet? Maybe some of the quests could be about that – oh, nope. Fetch some more Cell Bots instead. Great.
This, wholly, is one of the problems with ReCore – graphically, it’s beautiful, but even I get tired of looking at the same sand-ruined buildings as I scramble to find another goddamn Cell Bot. Everything is so empty and silent, and the quests are largely repetitive. While I do appreciate the plot is fairly evenly distributed, it’s frustrating and pretty boring to be scrabbling about finding Prismatic Cores and not a lot else, especially considering ReCore could have one hell of a story to tell. Chronic dust storms start destroying everything, so they invent robots, go to space, find a planet that can hold human life, and start terraforming it, putting humans into cryosleep until it’s their turn to work, then putting them back until it’s finished. But something’s gone wrong, and Joule’s on her own. That’s interesting, but stop telling me this through datalogs and audio files!
Despite the massive open landscape and the wonderful platforming, ReCore’s world feels incredibly linear. It’s not quite running through corridors, but there’s no real incentive to explore – or anything to explore – just more ruins and tons of sand. Even in the buildings you do explore, you’re just running and jumping from point A to B. There’s no replay value for a largely linear game, and in this day and age, we want value for money. Even the gameplay is awfully repetitive – battles consist of spamming different coloured charge shots and dodging enemies, and while it’s fast and fluid, it’s just the same thing, over and over.
If I was being brutally honest, I’d say this game doesn’t feel totally finished, or worth the £30 price tag. I’m judging it along the same scale as Journey/Flower/Fl0w type of deal, and that entire collection was only £25! For a game that’s only about eight and a half hours long, and riddled with glitches to boot, it’s far too much for what it is. I’m greatly enjoying it (and buying the beautiful statue, to boot!) but even I can say that £40 is way overpriced unless they plan on adding to it with DLC. And then there’s the glitches.
Oh, the glitches.
I’m pretty forgiving; I’ve played hundreds of hours of Fallout games, after all, and I didn’t take to the Internet bitching when my Fallout: New Vegas saves started freezing a hundred hours in, but my God, ReCore has no excuse. It’s from the makers of Metroid Prime and already got delayed once. There’s tons of videos all over Youtube detailing these glitches, but I can personally attest to clipping through objects I shouldn’t be, the lock on aiming going wonky, and jumping up/climbing objects that I definitely shouldn’t be.
I’ve never had the falling through the world glitch, but the cutscene right after you fight the Bolt Cutter boss was inexcusable. I could see the frame rate stuttering and dropping as the cutscene played, and that’s really not on. This is supposed to be a AAA title. What was the delay even for, in this case? If pushing it back until 2017 would have ironed this out, I wouldn’t have minded, when you factor that and the abominable load times on the Xbox in. The devs have apparently said they’re releasing a patch addressing these issues, but it shouldn’t have been necessary in the first place.
Look, all in all, this is a great game. I absolutely appreciate Microsoft’s efforts to release more story driven games on their home console; titles like Quantum Break, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and ReCore, are exactly what I want to see. ReCore is a damn good attempt – it’s got a cute and quirky design, an interesting plot, and the method of pulling cores out actually reminds me of Folklore, where you had to tilt the controller back and forth. But it’s shallow, repetitive, and riddled with bugs, so I say pick it up on sale, and let it be a happy medium.
- Great concept.
- What little of the characters and world we see are charming and fun.
- It’s had a bit more thought than usual put into the worldbuilding and plot.
- Glitches, glitches, glitches.
- Pretty linear with not enough worldbuilding to pad it out.
- It’s a pretty short, broken game for £30.
It’s rated 12 for realistic looking violence towards humans, and that’s fair. A tram gets smashed up. and Kai lost a leg, plus there’s a dead body or two… pretty safe for kids, overall.