ReCore is the latest game to come out of Microsoft Studios and represents the first title in Microsoft’s Play Anywhere strategy. There is plenty to love about ReCore as an action platformer but there are moments when the size of the world perhaps hinders the game from making the step up from good to great.
Being a play anywhere title means that anyone who buys the game on Xbox One has access to it on Windows 10 PC and vice versa. The added benefit is that any achievements and progress and synced between both platforms. Unfortunately we don’t currently have a PC to game on (I know right, a gaming site without a machine that can review on PC), our review was spent entire playing on Xbox One.
Waking up on Far Eden with her loveable robot dog, Mack at her side our Protagonist, Joule immediately realises that things don’t appear to have gone to plan. What that plan was and what went wrong is at the very heart of the adventure ahead. Throughout this journey of discovery, Joule will discover some people along the way and be added by a spider bot named Seth and a robotic gorilla named Duncan. These robotic animals are more charming than I anticipated and add to the overall appeal of exploration. Each corebot has their own unique abilities to assist Joule. Mack can find hidden things under the sand and charge headfirst into enemy corebots to deliver damage. Seth can crawl up walls to get Joule into those high out of reach areas and Duncan can use his strength to break down rocks and gain access to areas that were previously impenetrable.
As I progressed through the story one thing that become apparent was the size of Far Eden. It ended up being larger than I expected it to be which should have been a good thing but I just couldn’t escape the fact that reCore would have been better served with a smaller world. There are plenty of Dungeons to explore and things to discover along the way but the journey of getting from A to B is for the most part a lonely experience. Sure you have your companion robot animal in tow but aside from a few randomly spawning enemies around the place the journey through the sands of Far Eden is pretty uneventful.
Levelling up is a core aspect of ReCore and can be a tad frustrating at times. Levelling up is achieved through combat and since there aren’t that many enemies found when wandering around the sand, it makes it more tedious than it should be. If the world was smaller I feel like the process would have been more fun with more enemies found within closer proximity to each other. The actual story itself isn’t particularly long and placing the key story moments a far distance from each other takes away from what would otherwise be a compelling adventure.
Unfortunately the biggest gripe I have with game is the load times, they are some of the longest I have had to endure and really detract from the atmosphere and continuity. Fast travel is an option to get from A to B but I cringed when I had to use it due to the time it took me out of the game. Going back to a Crawler or dying also initiates a load screen which again takes a lot longer than it should. At one point I decided to start keeping time of how long these loads were taking and on average it was about 2 minutes.
The world itself though is absolutely gorgeous. Plenty of effort has been put into creating this mysterious planet that is filled with sand. Effects like sand blowing across the surface or the way ripples are formed when dashing around are very impressive. The dungeons where the core story progresses are well thought out, if a little short. But provide a fun platform adventure that isn’t particularly hard. The difficulty and problem solving is on the easy side but as I thought more about that I couldn’t help but feel like that was a good thing, this is definitely the sort of game that you can sit down with younger family members and have them take control of the action without getting too frustrated.
The combat in the game when it does take place is a real highlight. Enemies has a core within them that can be extracted and used as fusion power to increase attack, defence and energy requirements. Choosing to destroy enemies rather than taking their core leads to other loot like parts that can be used to fulfill blueprints to increase the overall powers of your friendly corebots. The one exception comes by way of the bosses, in order to defeat those you will have to weaken them to the point of being able to extract their core. Failure to do so will see their health replenish so timing it right is key.
In most combat situations enemies will have a colour bar above them, Red, Blue or Yellow. Each colour tells players which type of ammo they are most susceptible too and a quick click of the controller will change the colour of your ammo to take them down quickly. Every hit will help trigger combo attacks which increase the effectiveness of the attack. Couple all of that with a really simple and effective targeting system makes the combat side just downright fun and easy for anyone to get it and intuitively get used to.
As an action platformer, ReCore does a good job. Unfortunately it is ultimately let down by a vision to make the game bigger than it needed to be and is hampered by horrendous load times. Well thought out dungeons and an intuitive and fun combat system help make up for the shortfalls to an extent but it just can’t make that jump from good to great.
- Loveable Characters
- Excellent Combat System
- Good Dungeon Design
- Terrible Load Times
- Feels larger than it needed to be