Sooooo given how I come to games and their subsequent write-ups basically whenever I have the time and creative spark to do so, I do end up reading reviews from bloggers and professionals alike. I personally find it interesting to mix and match how their wordings fit with my own level of annoyance or ennui at the features and fixtures throughout whichever game. It’s also important to have a finger on the pulse of general zeitgeist trends, especially with jerks like me who subtly attempt to walk that line between informative and irrelevant.
All of that is to say that I read the original reviews of ReCore and could practically swim in the tedium as it jumped from the page. Doubled gates or worse per some dungeons, loading as slow as my grandmother’s 40 time, and a whole basket of other quality slashes made the prospect of approach and study seem nasty.
Keiji Inafune and the rest of Comcept used their mulligan card inexplicably not used on Mighty No. 9 to reshuffle and sort ReCore into a Definitive Edition. To my amusement in several ways, I quite like it in its evolved form.
It’s amusement in the way of a slow nod. A hesitant ability to accept a game I’ve heard so very much about as an object in my own opinion. That is, of course, pat of the reason one usually doesn’t slap a score on a game after reading another’s review.
Man, what a sweet gig that would be.
ReCore presents us with a third-person action game where you control Joule amongst a machine-infested wasteland with her own robo-pals in tow. I actually love the angle taken for the story because of how it balances what I call “being hopefully bleak.” Joule’s mission is to maintain robotics that will enable Far Eden to become habitable by a slumbering human race. This is a vein that shares shore real estate with Nier: Automata and Horizon: Zero Dawn on the edge of oblivion, though never traveling to quite such dark soil.
Hopeful bleakness in Recore, though, walks that line between civilization and destruction. You end up meeting another human mechanic on the surface that has to rely upon machine limbs to stay active. That’s a perfect encapsulation, that image of being down but not out.
The enemies trend towards Nier and Horizon as well as machines gone haywire. The lines between existence and sentience oft explored in such constructs doesn’t hit on all cylinders, falling to the wayside quickly.
That actually works in the game’s favor as the action, while simple, is engaging with snappy cycles set up and executed. Your sole weapon collects color-coded ammunition to take out the various bots, including some mixes that keep you on your toes. I found myself several times wishing I could upgrade the weapon in a meaningful way, but what you collect simply isn’t meant to help Joule directly.
Instead, you’ll be slapping new parts on your old robo-animal friends. The dog model seen in promo materials is your first followed by a spider and a gorilla type. All three can be retrofitted with the latest blueprints for upgraded power, defense, and usability.
One annoying aspect attached to this trio is their assigned special power (ex: gorilla smash, dog dig, caveman grunt). Since you can only have two of the three to switch at any time, you’ll very likely be caught without a needed ability if you run too far from a fast travel point. There’s no conceivable reason why this was made the case, by the way. Not even a story reason. Just a pointless rap on the knuckles for exploring and not guessing for the area ahead.
In order to grab the cores out of the machines to use for these upgrades, Joule has to weaken and suck them out in a “would be horrific if it were human” tug of war game. Charging up your combo meter enough allows you to automatically suck it out like an oyster from a shell, which can be incredibly helpful during more crowded sections of fighting arenas.
And speaking of hell, ReCore has a doozy near the end. As you’re making your way up through the final gauntlet, you’re absolutely lampooned by special enemies with degrading health on a shrinking platform…multiple times. It’s every hallmark of an endgame that’s out of ideas thrown into one including perilous jumping between tiny platforms just barely within reach. Until this point, I was basically in love with this game, unaware that a bucket of acid was about to cut off my hall of fame speech like slime at the Kids Choice Awards.
It seems that no matter how many redos ReCore takes, there’s never going to be a fully realized version of it for mass consumption. I’m glad the other headaches of the past are lessened and that this game offers a lot of addicting collection and exploration. It’s part of the reason I wanted to do ongoing reviews to give games another chance in a different light. ReCore made good on that second chance, so for that, a tip of the cap for all involved.
Recore: Definitive Edition Score: