Recore is a single-player, third-person, auto-locking shooter where players traverse an open-world area, or the dungeons found in it, taking down enemy robots while gathering the necessary collectibles to continue through the game. It implements heavy platforming, and a very combo-based combat system where friendly CPU robots fight with you to add a unique twist.
Recore begins with an epic and touching story-line with a specially unique plot and a very strong, compelling theme and characters. The world gives a great area to expand on the theme with the impressive structures that are scattered across the world, and with the amazingly designed platforming physics, it makes for a very exciting exploration experience. The game also includes audio logs, with great voice acting, that are distributed throughout the world for lore and hints as to the events that have taken place, well revealing the mysteries and back story of the game. The gameplay is decent and its physics are particularly precise in a way that old classic games are, but instead with a generally easy difficulty.
The combat of Recore is done with a simple combo system where landing a variety of attacks on a number of enemy bots gives you the necessary combos and damage bonuses to take enemies out effectively. It's not a particularly impressive system and includes some downfalls that bring it a level below most games. One of these downfalls is the kind of chaos there can be on the battlefield. The game is always very wild with the numerous lasers and bombs that the enemies fire, and while it is usually in a way that is manageable enough, there are certain battles that it becomes too much for a player to process. The game's difficulty level becomes limited at these points, becoming near impossible without allowing more skill and practice to solve the problem. You then have to proceed by collecting more upgrades and xp in order to survive the mission. Even the easier of battles are generally not as fun as they could be with this kind of chaos, and still don't seem as though you're really implementing your skills in them, so a bit of a change in statistics would be very welcome.
The chaos is a significant issue particularly in the tight dungeon environments where evasion is reduced. Though in the open-world things tend to work much better. There are no obstacles to keep you bound in a specific area and the chaos doesn't overwhelm you. It instead allows for an increase in difficulty and enemy number, requiring players to use some extra, much needed, strategy. But it doesn't only improve the chaos, players also get to enjoy the scenery and use the environment and structures around them to succeed. Unfortunately, there is a considerable lack of missions in the open field. And, while you can redo dungeons as many times as you like, anything of challenge that's completed in the open-world is done and cannot be repeated, taking away the full potential of combat and re-playability.
Recore does provide a fairly unique and exciting implementation of the core-bots. Along with dealing damage automatically, the bots also have various abilities you can activate manually that are unique to each combination of bot parts. You can collect a very large amount of different armor pieces for each of the five frame types with more of their own stats, adding an impressive level of customization. The disappointment of the various armor pieces, is that each one has set statistics that cannot be improved. Whenever a player wishes to increase the power of their bot, instead of upgrading the frame they wish to use, they must instead purchase a different piece that is higher grade and may not have the look desired by the player. This manner removes much of the potential of customization that players could have had. One other problem in the setup of the core-bots is how you can have only two out of five different core-bots readily available at the same time. In the open-world this proves to be a large obstacle in exploration because many areas require that one or two specific core-bots be equipped to achieve an item or access an area, forcing you to come back later and re-travel with the right core-bots.
While the core-bots are exciting in ways, in general there is nothing really very notable about the combat, so, with the combat being the largest game physic and with the problems it has, the game loses a lot of the motivation in the range of just wanting to play it, leaving the story to be most of the incentive. Playing on X-Box, the loading times take even more motivation out of starting up the game as they have proved to be very long.
Recore does compensate some of the combat issues with dramatic platforming challenges that are well designed both in dungeon and open-world. Players are given fantastic movement capabilities granting, in any order, two jumps and a boost that all travel great distances. This makes platforming very exciting, particularly, with the open-world's large structures. It also includes a small edge climb physic that allows for climbing large rocks and structures actually to be very practical and fun. The controls are very precise, letting you control your character effectively throughout the environments and are enjoyable also in combat for dodging the various enemy attacks.
The content of the game is decent with an astounding world environment that is exhilarating to travel through. And, with such a large amount of dungeons and challenges, some integrated even throughout the open-world, the game offers a lot to do before finishing the game. However, there is a flaw in the order of your given objectives. The game starts with such a well flowing story for the first while, but is then interrupted by requiring you to go to the numerous dungeons to continue; a slightly more monotonous effort that removes much of the initial vigor of the story. While this may not be undesirable to some people, players may always go back and complete dungeons after reaching the end, making this a generally undesired setup.
Among its failures, there is the unfortunately obvious wrong in Recore, and that is the numerous, numerous bugs. Many of these bugs prevented us from either collecting an item until later, or forced a game restart, which is particularly bad with the long loading times. Among the worst of the bugs was a very concerning event where the game actually crashed following the after-credits video. This left us not knowing whether or not it had finished saving progress, or showing us all of the story content.
Finally, the ending. While the story is so well done at start, the gameplay intermission disrupted the flow of the story and ended the game with a very small amount of actual storyline, and, a finale that did not go how we would have hoped. The final sequence was a not as momentous as it could have been with you expecting there to be a lot more resolution to the characters predicament than there was, and leaving you kind of dissatisfied. It felt as though it was rushed in some way, like the development didn't get quite where the makers wanted. This was a large disappointment being how the story drove the game as it did.
There was so much contradiction in the feeling of playing this game, because while starting out, the potential was so blatantly obvious. And, at the same time as really wanting to love the game, bugs and gameplay issues, and then finally story started to falter. While the game has a uniqueness not found in many games there are just too many obstacles preventing it from reaching it's potential, and, the decency to make it a really great game. All in all we rate Recore to be 2.5-stars.
If you've read this review before you've bought the game, it may not seem worth purchasing but depending on who you are, you may still enjoy the game. The theme and plot are still unlike anything else, and for me, worth the experience. Even with what I consider such large problems in it, Recore still holds and will hold as one of the most significant games I've ever played.