ReCore quick final impressions
September 18, 2016

So ReCore came out this week. I bought it and finished it. It did not score well with professional critics. Between review scores, Mighty No. 9's recent failure, and the $40 'kiss of death' price tag from Microsoft, I went in expecting the worst. I was very pleasantly surprised with how much fun I had.

Probably the biggest complaint most critics had was the combat. Most complained the lock-on shooting was outdated compared to modern third person shooters. I liked it. The focus is more on playing defensively rather than careful aiming. This isn't a cover shooter. You have to run, jump, and dash around enemy attacks. With the different ammo types, charge shots, and mobility options, it feels a lot like Metroid Prime in third person. Add in corebot allies to assist and a core extraction feature to kill off weakened enemies with a "tug of war" like mini game. It's great if you fondly remember the PS2-era.

I'm a huge sucker for exploring, so I enjoyed combing the map looking for cores, loot to upgrade my corebots, and optional dungeons. As you progress, you find new bots that add new traversal abilities like smashing boulders and traveling along rails. It's typical Zelda and Metroidvania fare. And the world of New Eden is pretty huge.

Granted not everything is perfect. The collision during platforming can be awkward. The combat can get dicey; there needs to be more invincibility frames after getting hit because now you can easily be combo'd by multiple attacks during your "stun" animation. The Xbox One version is plagued with long load times (we're talking typically around 1 minute per area, 1 min 30-45 seconds for the bigger areas).

Then you get to the last dungeon and the game just kinda falls apart. The last dungeon is 5 floors that are essentially mini-dungeons, and they're obviously thrown together. It is literally a bunch of platforming segments in a nebulous space with combat arenas in between. After each floor you're hit with an arbitrary progress wall requiring a certain amount of collectable cores and XP level. Since I explored freely, I finished the game with 13 more cores than necessary, but I did have to stop to flat out grind 1 level before the final floor (which amounted to 15 minutes of playing floor 1 three times). Otherwise you're forced into mandatory backtracking to pad the game out.

The game is clearly not finished. The further you get, the more glitches pop up like respawing endlessly in walls, not being able to interact with prompts, core extraction instantly failing on start up until you reload the game, textures disappearing. Worse there's an entire corebot cut from the game yet its spot is still in the menu, it has loot drops, there's one finished in-game area rendered inaccessible with its exclusion, and it's even still on the cover art and disc art. Clearly the game needed at least another 6 months of development, and I don't think Microsoft cared.

I'd really be curious to know what happened in the development process. Was ReCore mismanaged and Armature/Comcept just blew their budget? The game was supposed to out in the Spring and already got delayed nearly half a year. My guess is Microsoft didn't feel they'd make enough profit if they put more money into the project considering how relatively niche the game is. I'd imagine they knew it'd come out in this state given that they announced the $40 price at E3.

As it stands, 85% of the game is a lot of fun but heavily flawed and the last 15% is pretty bad. The $40 price tag is appropriate. You're paying a fraction of the price for a fraction of the game.

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honestgamer honestgamer - September 18, 2016 (11:03 PM)
This was both heartening and disappointing to read. I love buying games through Amazon, now that they have the 20% discount on preorders, so this game was even cheaper for me (yes, I bought it). $32 sounds like it was a decent price to pay for this. Of course, it'll probably drop to $20 by the time I actually get around to playing it, if I ever do, but I did my part as a consumer, anyway.
Genj Genj - September 19, 2016 (12:51 AM)
I also got it on Amazon (that 20% off adds up quick). I was satisfied with $32, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's under $20 for Black Friday. This isn't going to sell.

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