WARNING: This post may contain spoilers for the first hour of ReCore.
My hype for this game made me take the plunge and finally add an Xbox One to my gaming family. It’s not that I have anything against Microsoft consoles. They are just usually the last ones I purchase. The marketing line about this game being created by the team behind Metroid Prime was enough for me to preorder the Collector’s Edition. After the review embargo ended, I was a bit uneasy after glancing over the negative reviews. I decided to keep my preorder and try it out for myself. Most of the reviews say that the game has a great story, and that is a really a big factor for me enjoying a game. I can usually forgive other faults if the story pulls me in.
What I Did
After a brief load time, I’m told about a “Dust Devil Plague” that happened on Earth. That doesn’t sound very pleasant. Shortly after the ominous words, a cutscene showing Joule and her K-9 Corebot trekking across a desert wasteland setting plays. Okay reviewers, I agree. The the sand’s graphical effects seem flat. Do I care? Not really. I’m playing this game on an old 720p TV. The game not having super hyper realistic HD graphics isn’t a deal breaker for me. I’m given control of Joule and a few instructions on how to control things. Joule’s movement is smooth, but it seems a bit off in contrast to the landscape. But yeah, whatever. The graphics aren’t perfect, and I can live with that. Let’s go find this Core thingy she’s after to fix something she called a “Crawler”.
I come to a chasm and get to try her awesome boost jump abilities. Very fun and seems like something Samus would have. I run into some angry pushover robots. The lock on targeting makes killing them a breeze. I also noticed they get added to a log system. I remember trying to scan everything in Metroid Prime to fill Samus’s logbook. This could be dangerous for my inner completionist down the road. Joule is puzzled about why they are attacking her. Well, I’m just going to say it wouldn’t be much of a game if there was nothing coming after you. I keep moving forward and make my way over to a cave on a cliff. The platform jumping really reminds me of the game Jak II. When I reach the top Mack, Joule’s loyal companion, shows me this green flying robot that unlocks a door for me. Into the blue crystal lined cave we go.
A few steps in, and poor Mack is dragged away by an evil robot. I have to find him, and I charge ahead. I see an opening in the cave wall, and I try to jump through it to save my little robot buddy. Joule doesn’t go, and I remember an old mechanic called invisible walls from a couple generations ago. I sigh before turning and following the linear path I’m suppose to. After learning how to use her boosters to dash, and how to extract things with Joule’s hook, I forget about my invisible wall encounter and resume having fun. I find an injured Mack up ahead. Luckily, Joule is able to revive him and further into the cave we go.
The next robots I run into resemble big spiders and are more difficult to take out. I have to use her boosters to dash around and dodge their shots. After I skillfully take them out, more show up. Mack starts viciously barking and charges at them with his lethal attack. Now I’m told I can use that during combat. Sounds useful! The spider bots are obliterated. I continue on meeting more types of rabid robots, and Mack’s search ability eventually helps me get to the shiny core Joule was after. It appears to be stuck to something in the ceiling. I send Joule down to the ground below, and try to use the extract ability to pull it off the ceiling. I have a feeling she’s not going to get it that easily…
Sure enough, attached to the other end of the Core is the first boss, Iron Fang. I furiously start shooting at the huge spider bot with charged shots, and command Mack to use his lethal attack on it. Soon it turns white, and Joule says I need to extract its core to defeat it. Sounds easy enough. I’m new to this game, and it takes me a few tries to successfully pull it off. I sigh when Joule keeps telling me how to defeat it by saying the same sentence every time I fail. Yes, I know how.. I just need some practice with the controls. Okay lady?
After my learning curve is overcome, the big bad boss bot goes down, and Joule is rewarded with the shiny Core. She says its unlike any she has ever seen. It’s the only one I’ve seen and it looks pretty cool. Suddenly poor Mack starts whimpering and holds up his injured metal paw. Joule rushes over and comforts him. This is a cute moment, and it shows how Joule is protective over her little robot buddy. Very admirable. Now time to get this core to the Crawler thing and fix Mack properly!
Back out in the desert, I fight my way to Joule’s Crawler. It seems to be her base of operations. Inside Joule uses the shiny Core she found to power the Crawler up, and I’m given a tutorial on how to upgrade Mack. My inner completionist is delighted to read that there are many upgrade blueprints to find out in the world. There is also space for some more friendly Corebots. I’m looking forward to finding those, but Mack will probably be my favourite. A video from her Dad suddenly starts playing. Joule wonders what happened to everyone, and she seems lonely. Aw! This really highlights why she cares about Mack so much. He’s the only friendly companion she has in this hostile wasteland. It would definitely suck being the only human on a deserted planet full of angry robots. I really want to find out more about what’s going on here, so off to the next mission I go.
Joule’s next objective is to power up a “terraforming pylon”. Joule’s Dad narrates about what’s going on as I go. On the way, I traverse a zone aptly named “Lonely Basin”. I fight through more robots, and I meet some very unfriendly doglike ones similar to Mack. Joule wonders who reprogrammed them to be evil. An incoming dust storm makes me rush into the next cave area. Some strange robot called Violet rambles about a shut off. Joule makes a cheesy joke about Violet “missing some bolts”, and I laugh hysterically.
I need to find three more shiny Cores similar to the one I ripped out of Iron Fang in order to power on the big pylon machine. I snagged two Cores by solving jump simple puzzles and using Mack’s search ability. I also found an upgrade for my weapon that fires Red shots. These are effective against red enemies, and the charged shot can set blue enemies on fire. Awesome! Reminds me of the different shots Samus has in the Metroid series. The first hour ends as I head off to find the third shiny Core.
Sadly, this is not the AAA masterpiece I was hoping for. There are noticeable load times, invisible walls containing the game to a linear path, and slightly disappointing graphics. There are faults in this game for sure, but it has provided me with something I’ve been longing for in a game: simple fun! Blasting through rogue Corebots, commanding Mack, and boost jumping have been really entertaining for me so far. I like Joule’s character a lot, and I feel sympathetic to her forlorn situation. The connection she has with Mack is very heartwarming, and the overall story seems promising. I’m glad I got the Collector’s Edition with the sweet premium statue of Joule and Mack.
Yes, open world games where you can do anything are engaging. but I think I’m severely burnt out on them. I am actually thrilled this game is more linear than I expected it to be. It’s nice and relaxing considering that I’m also playing through Fallout 4 and The Legend of Zelda right now. The reviews warn that the game gets stale down the road. Despite the warning, I think I’m going to keep enjoying it. It feels a lot like Jak II on the PS2, which was a game I really loved. If its biggest fault is being too much like older games, that isn’t going to be an issue for me at all. It’s actually triggering some pleasant memories for me (minus the invisible walls *shudders*). My inner completionist wants all the Achievement points, but I’m going to focus on unraveling the story first.
Other Game Progress
- Fallout 4 (PS4)– I’m finally getting into this game, but I still haven’t done the “Go to Diamond City” quest yet. I have been plugging away at the Minutemen and Brotherhood of Steel side quests. My character is now at Level 10. My latest accomplishment was taking out a building full of Feral Ghouls. The Legendary monstrosity and the Glowing One were a pain, but nothing a few Molotov cocktails, several Stimpaks, and a sawed off shotgun couldn’t overcome. It almost felt like I was playing a Resident Evil game. I was tempted to go get my Power Armor, but I’m saving that for when I’m really stuck on something.
- The Legend of Zelda (NES) – I’m on the 6th dungeon. Those rooms full of Wizzrobes are really kicking my ass, but I managed to snag the Magic Wand. Just have to fight my way to the boss somehow. 8-Bit Hyrule is an unforgiving place.