ReCore: Original title marred by repetitive gameplay

The game world in ReCore is beautifully crafted, and audio is realistic. Gameplay is interesting with elements of platforming and third-person shooting.
The game world in ReCore is beautifully crafted, and audio is realistic. Gameplay is interesting with elements of platforming and third-person shooting.PHOTO: MICROSOFT STUDIOS

In ReCore, you assume the role of Joule Adams, a volunteer for the colonisation of a planet called Far Eden, set in the distant future.

The colonists were supposed to be in 200-year cryo-sleep while Corebots - robots to help colonise Far Eden - terraform the desert planet.

You wake up to find that the colonisation has gone awfully wrong. Most of the Corebots have gone rogue, while equipment lies in tatters and many colonists have vanished. It is now up to you to find a way to restore the terraforming process and defeat the corrupted Corebots.

  • 7/10

  • RATING

  • PRICE: $45.90 (PC; Xbox One, version tested)

    GENRE: Action-adventure platform

Accompanied by a loyal Corebot dog, called Mack, you venture into the wasteland fighting the Corebots and finding power cores to reboot the terraforming machines.

The game world is beautifully crafted. Far Eden looks like the Jakku desert world of the movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens, with wreckage dotting the landscape and sandstorms raging.

It was a joy to explore the game world. You can also salvage items and blueprints to upgrade your Corebot companion along the way.

Audio is realistic. You can hear the howling wind of nearing sandstorms, and the piercing shrieks of the Corebot enemies. The voice-acting of Joule is measured without being over-dramatic, and you will grow to like the character and her interaction with Mack.

Gameplay is interesting with elements of platforming and third-person shooting. Joule wears an exo- skeleton with thrusters that allow her to do a double-jump in midair, or dash forward at high speed. This allows her to transverse the difficult terrain.

Another important tool in her arsenal is a grappling hook that she uses to pull out objects, usually power cores from Corebots or wreckage.

Enemies come in various interesting forms of Corebots, such as moth-bots, spider-bots, horse-bots and even gorilla-bots.

Combat requires more than mere brainless shooting, as the Corebots are powered by different colour power cores. For example, using red ammo will work better against enemies with red power cores. So, you need to switch the ammo's colour quickly in battle.

In addition, you can instruct Mack to help in battle as well. Later on, you will recruit more Corebot companions. And you can even switch among these Corebot companions to give you an edge during battles.

However, the gameplay gets repetitive after a while. It is always a case of find cell-bots to unlock the door in order to enter an area; kill enemies along the way to finally meet a big boss enemy with the required main power core; and kill the big boss to advance the storyline.

To defeat a big boss, you usually have to extract its power core with grappling hooks. The tug of war- like mechanics leave Joule vulnerable to attacks from the big boss' minions. It is frustrating to die this way, especially when the big boss battles are usually quite long.

Another downer is the long loading times - up to four minutes - when you move from area to area. It is great for toilet breaks though.

However, ReCore is the first title that supports Xbox's Play Anywhere program. So when you buy the game on Xbox One, you can also play it on your Windows 10 PC (you have to upgrade to Windows 10 Anniversary Edition).

Saved games are synced across both platforms via Xbox Live. I found playing ReCore on Xbox One and my gaming desktop to be quite seamless, as I could continue playing from my last saved point on PC.

• Verdict: ReCore is a great original action platform game that would have been better if the gameplay was not as repetitive.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 05, 2016, with the headline 'ReCore: Original title marred by repetitive gameplay'. Print Edition | Subscribe