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

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