ReCore! It’s a new game from Comcept and Mega-Man designer Keiji Inafune. It’s also one that’s not a bad spiritual successor to the Blue bomber. Exclusive to Microsoft’s platforms. ReCore is an action-adventure shooter that initially had us very, very excited. When we first saw it mentioned at last year’s E3, we were delighted by it – but since then, that adoration has become somewhat muted.
But what do critics think of the game, now that its embargo is up?
Recore isn’t a disaster, as much as the bizarre structure and hoops it made me jump through left a bad taste in my mouth. At its heart, there’s a game with some good ideas and great spins on action-game conceits that don’t see a lot of play this console generation. When it’s working, Recore is a game that feels evocative of a different era of action games. But in its final half, Comcept and Armature let collect-a-thon structure and a poorly realized open world drag the whole thing back down to earth.
It is good, though. In spite of everything dragging it down, it’s a fun ride packed with stuff to do, from optional areas to replayable dungeons to passive “hunting” quests that reward players for taking out certain enemies using certain attacks. New Eden isn’t as big as No Man’s Sky‘s universe or even Far Cry 4‘s mountainous terrain, but it’s got far more compelling reasons to stick around.
But ReCore is a chore. A needless chore, with gates so artificial it ruins what’s otherwise a lovingly-crafted universe. Go here, fetch a random collectible—that’s not enough nowadays, and especially not when the game doesn’t even bother to dress it up with a hint of motive. Couple that with the lengthy load times and the overall lack of polish, and I’m going to have to recommend avoiding this one.
What this amounts to is a fundamental misunderstanding of what an open-world game should be. Giving the player the option to scour every nook and cranny for collectibles is a viable method of unstructured game design. But, requiring them to do this to finish the game (with a near-worthless map, to boot) is unforgivable. If you still had good will stored up for ReCore, it will most likely be gone when you get here.
ReCore’s missteps are a real shame, because it can be quite charming otherwise. It has the heart of a PS2 or Gamecube-era platformer, with its floating lifebars, bright laser beams that fill the screen like a Dreamcast shoot-’em-up, and glowing gems that bounce around. Amongst all the slick, modern day video game productions, it stands out as an endearing throwback.
I wanted to like it more, and had it not overstayed its welcome, I would have. But in the end, like its robots, ReCore is a game with a bright soul encased in parts that are used well past their prime.
What do critics think of ReCore? Not an awful lot, apparently.
Last Updated: September 12, 2016