Mega Metroid man
Comcept and Armature Studio whisked up a sizable following when they debuted ReCore at E3 2015, only to wind up with mixed reactions at this year’s convention. Those who walked away were sour over how the actual gameplay looked, and those sentiments only wound up proven at launch. It’s quite unfortunate, really, because underneath it all was a 3D action-platformer that had its heart in the right place.
To understand ReCore’s direction, it’s important to know that Comcept is Keiji Inafune’s indie gig and Armature is an out t founded by former Retro Studios sta , including Mark Pacini. What all that boils down to is this: Mega Man and Metroid Prime are huge influences.
Normally that’d be great news and ReCore’s opening moments do reflect that. Controls are dead-on, with double jumps and dashes granting me plenty of last-minute adjustments, something that comes in supremely handy later on. There’s a blaster too (hello Samus), except this time it’s a rifle with an over-the-shoulder view. And who can forget your robot dog companion (hello Rush), who is later joined by more Corebot friends. Combat is seemingly easy, and while boss ghts do get a little more interesting, thanks to the greater amount of projectiles you have to dodge from… that’s about it. Farther in, there’s a chance to alternate ammunition types to play o enemy weaknesses, though even those battles become a matter of quantity over quality.
Now, there is this neat move during combat where our hero Joule spears an enemy’s core to begin a tug of war minigame. It’s reminiscent of shing, with the line turning red if there’s too much tension, but ease it back and forth a little and the claw rips the core out, scoring upgrades for both your weapon and companions. Enemies also drop parts to craft new Corebot frames, but the only way to gather those efficiently is by racking up combo kills. While it does add variety and another layer of decision-making to combat, the mechanic itself doesn’t evolve over the course of the game. In fact, nothing much in ReCore ever does, outside of your little robot pets. Before long, the repetition starts to wear in, intensified by
the push-over combat sections, and then things begin to fall apart. Most damning of all is the open-world segment. Not only is traversing the drab expanse a huge pain, but it serves neither the gameplay nor what little story there is. Technically, you’ll need to comb it for optional dungeons and prismatic cores (gate keys), but the whole expedition feels forced; I’m not exploring out of a sense of adventure or because I know something awesome is waiting for me, I’m only doing it so I can progress.
The last few gates suddenly scale up in requirements for no reason whatsoever, other than making you backtrack out into the open-world and dungeons to hopefully nd cores you might have missed.
Then there are the environmental bugs, such as Joule deciding to phase through a platform rather than landing on it, or getting stuck in an animation loop. I’m no stranger to bugs on these sort of games, as even this year’s Ratchet & Clank on PlayStation 4 had clipping issues, but I don’t remember having to reload my save this often because of them.
I honestly don’t want to euthanize the game as the early-game did show promise. I was sincerely hoping for a fun Metroid Prime-like romp through deserts and secret underground bases, with a myriad of Corebot combinations, weapons and moves at my disposal. Even if they skimped on story, the game would have been ne had they focused on expanding content and refining combat. Sadly, it was not to be.
ReCore’s existence serves to highlight just how rare good 3D action-platformers are these days. Whether it’s worth the current RM156.00 price tag depends on just how much you love the idea of platform grinding, especially in a time when Forza Horizon 3 and Gears of War 4 are a thing.
A solid combination of action-platformer mechanics ultimately let down by forced repetition and a lackluster payo .
Everything in the game, including puzzles and doors involve pulling, pushing or retrieving cores.
Acquiring and upgrading your Corebot companions are some of the few interesting parts of the game.