ReCore is a game that is clearly battling with inner demons. It’s an almost-AAA game that kicks off beautifully but quickly squanders any potential it has to be a mid-budget legend with a host of problems. And that’s a pity. Because the more you play ReCore, the more you want to like it. Sort of like eating food with hot sauces lathered generously on it. Sweet Grodd it tastes good, but you’re going to regret that burn the morning after during your AM constitutional.
There’s some superb talent behind ReCore as well, as Keiji Inafune and his Comcept team have joined forces with Microsoft Studios and veteran writer Joseph Staten penning an interesting tale that binds all the various elements together into a cohesive narrative. And it all starts off with a promising setup. As Joules, it’s up to you to get to the bottom of the mystery of Far Eden, humanity’s future homeworld that was supposed to be ready for our civilisation to begin anew on.
Something naturally went wrong however, as the sandy climate is still a tad bit uninhabitable and apparently populated with a corrupted army of worker robots who’d sooner wipe their rectal gears on Asimov’s three laws of robotics than follow it. Fortunately, the peppy Joules has an arsenal to play around with and assistance from robotic pals that don’t want to murder her in her sleep.
The actual start of ReCore isn’t too shabby either. There’s a sense of adventure there, a sandbox of interconnected dungeons that blend influences of Metroid and The Legend of Zelda nicely together while a snappy auto-target makes Joules lethal to any hostiles. It’s properly solid here, as the gameplay feels like peak Keiji (peaKeiji?) Inafune: Robots, dashes and unlimited ammo. Coupled with the tag-team use of your mech mates and a colour-based ammo system, and it has all the right ingredients to succeed.