ReCore is an unusual brain-child. Developers of the Metroid Prime series got together with Keiji Inafune of Mega Man creation fame. Is this game some sort of hybrid of the Metroid Prime and Mega Man series into a modern retro classic?
And for the first 5 hours, this combination formula succeeds with smooth progression. By essentially creating a sort of Metroid Prime, color coded lock-on combat system (that operates similar to using Samus’ various beam types) combined with the 3D version of what Mega Man’s platforming would be like, we have something that easily impresses the avid adventure game enthusiast. When the combat works, it works well, giving you split second decision-making options in order to fully maximize the depth of the combat system. Sometimes you need orbs, sometimes you need materials, and other times you just need them all to die before you do. When the platforming works, which is a majority of the time, it’s reminiscent in so many ways of Mega Man platforming in 3D. Pure platforming hasn’t put a smile on my face since Super Mario 3D World until I took on some of this game’s more challenging sequences. So far, everything seems fine and dandy, right? This is when it all falls apart. The early and mid-game is good, and then it all takes a turn for the worst. The collectathon that only briefly set you on moments of needing to grab a few things will suddenly turn the end-game into a long, drawn out grind. Then, to make matters worse, many late-game combat sequences can get you killed in a matter of seconds if you are unprepared and didn’t grind for upgrades. These seconds are met with a punishment that normally goes in the presentation section for technical issues, but belongs here because it affects your interest in continuing on: loading screens. Each time you die out in the main world, you stare at a loading screen that varies between 45 seconds to A LITTLE OVER A MINUTE AND A HALF. This is a VERY long time in 2016, and there were moments where in trial-and-error, I died within seconds of coming back. Many people will be enamored by the early game, but anyone who sticks it out will see just about all of it unravel towards the end-game.
Between that fun early and mid-game to that painful and dreadful end-game grind towards the credits is fortunately pretty good value. Keep in mind that this game is only $40, and yet it provides a sizable game world for the exploration enthusiast. Add to that many ways to upgrade and fiddle with your corebots, and hours can just go by making bots more powerful and deadly. By the way, I actually recommend doing that so your end-game may go a little smoother than mine. Speaking of which, completionists who are keen on doing everything on the first go through will probably fair better towards the end. Without spoiling it entirely, let’s just say they’ll face less backtracking.
As the game’s price denotes, this game was clearly on a budget. From the ridiculously embarrassing loading screen lengths to some heavy framerate dips and hiccups all the way to some dungeon glitches, there’s a somewhat unpolished feel to it. When it really tries to look good, it DOES actually look good, but the Unity 3D engine just doesn’t seem to be designed well for ambitious projects as the game does suffer shortcomings such as heavy aliasing indoors and some draw distance issues outdoors. On the non-technical flip-side, the story and bots all deliver themselves in surprisingly simple yet effective methods. Cutting down on big budget cinematics, the game relies on voice logs and highly characterized companion bots. Once again without spoiling it, the story is worth picking up voice logs for, and your companion bots are something out of a fun cartoon. Their bleeps, boops, and overall behaviors keep the mood light-hearted, and they definitely grow on you more than you expect them to.
I really enjoyed the game while it was in its stride. It starts out and continues along for quite some time in a wholesomely enjoyable fashion. It’s even impressive that Microsoft saw to price it fairly at $40 despite its sizable game world and fun-to-tinker-with corebots. To have it fall apart and turn into a painful and irritating grind to collect orbs is a pity. This grind results in just about everything you once enjoyed turn into tedium with the exceptions being the platforming and the character development. Add to that many technical flaws, shortcomings, and loading screens that come straight out of the PS2 days, and all I can say is that if it wasn’t for the fun, retro-modern platforming and my continued curiosity of what happened on Far Eden, I don’t even know that I would have wanted to finish the game. There’s so much done right, but a greater amount of things that go wrong in what I can only surmise as an attempt to pad the game’s length on budget.
I give ReCore…