Developer Armature Studio, Comcept Publisher Microsoft Studios Format PC, Xbox One Release 2016
When Retro alumni Mark Pacini, Todd Keller and Jack Matthews previously collaborated with a Japanese company on an original game, we got the Metroid
Prime series. So when the news broke that the three were heading up new company Armature Studio’s collaboration with Mega Man director Keiji Infune’s Comcept, there was every reason to be cautiously excited. Last year’s announcement trailer hinted at an enigmatic, heartwrenching open-world adventure. So it was hard not to be a little disappointed when this year’s gameplay trailer revealed what looked like a flimsy action platformer.
While we were underwhelmed by the uncharismatic montage used to show off Recore during Microsoft’s conference, it proves a little more charming once a controller is placed in our hands. Players are cast as Joule, a member of a terraforming crew working on a distant planet called Far Eden, who is suddenly faced with the inexplicable absence of her colleagues, plus the presence of an army of hostile robots. While you’ll spend time exploring the game’s open overworld, much of it takes place in subterranean dungeons that tightly blend action and puzzle solving. Even the basic act of shooting has a light puzzle dusting as you use the D-pad to match the colour of your laser to the enemy being targeted in order to deal twice as much damage. Once we reach busier rooms with variously coloured robots, the setup quickens the pace of the game’s already urgentfeeling combat. Your basic laser feels rather weak, however, even when correctly matched, and we soon ignore it altogether in favour of the charged blast mapped to RB. Some larger enemies can only be defeated by yanking out their cores with your extractor tool (also used to open each facility’s blast doors).
Over the course of the game you’ll also amass a gang of robotic allies, each with different colour and attack attributes, which can be switched between on the fly by tapping LB. Mack, the dog-like machine from the trailer, can maul enemies while dealing electrical damage, while the arachnoid Seth fires a yellow laser beam. They also play an important role outside of combat: Mack can track and find items, while Seth attaches to a series of rails, flinging us around simple platforming challenges. Joule is no slouch, either, with the ability to double jump and dash forward. While it’s all perfectly serviceable, however, Recore’s multitude of systems fail to gel over the course of our demo, leaving the game feeling unfocused. More damningly, despite all of the colours involved, and a large-scale boss fight, Recore’s gameplay ends up feeling disappointingly beige.
You’ll also amass a gang of robotic allies, each with different attributes, which can be switched between