ReCore has been available on Xbox One and Windows 10 for the past few weeks, and while initial thoughts on the game weren’t glowing, I myself walked away with a much different impression. This game does a lot of things very well and it showcased itself in beautiful fashion. Visuals are stunning, combat is dynamic and fun, plus its characters are impossible not to fall in love with.

The blend of its mysterious world, human narrative and lovable characters all equal a wonderful experience. You might have gotten the wrong impression of ReCore from some, but personally I feel it’s a thrilling experience and one many of you will enjoy.

ReCore sends gamers to the semi-open-world of Far Eden where main protagonists Joule and her companion dog or corebot Mack explore the sand-covered lands to search for answers to what happened 200 years ago when the Dust Devil Plague ravaged the Earth. While you might think the desert setting would become redundant, environments in ReCore are actually quite varied.

The enemies Joule encounters along the way also add different variations of color, and the same can be said for her weapons. The desert-landscape of Far Eden makes the world feel like something we would find on Tatooine. There’s something beautiful about the desert landscape, but the many dungeons in ReCore delivered the necessary diversity to its color palate.

Art of the desert-covered landscape of ReCore (Courtesy of Microsoft).
Art of the desert-covered landscape of ReCore (Courtesy of Microsoft).

Far Eden, its dungeons and secrets all help create an intriguing sense of discovery. It is one I wanted to feed from start to finish, and its gameplay rewards that behavior too. Gameplay presents a wonderful blend of exploration, combat and platforming.

Exploration is a key part of ReCore and taking the extra moment to scavenge will show you why. You can just blaze through the campaign and not take time to search for secrets and resources, but you will miss a lot. Armature’s world rewards the player for searching and feeding their curiosity side.

Another benefit of exploring Far Eden to its depths is the upgrades it yields. As you progress through ReCore, needing more powerful weapons becomes essential. There were a number of times I searched through a dungeon, turned a corner I wasn’t meant to turn and ended up finding a blueprint or resources.

Blueprints are items that Joule can use to craft weapons upgrades or perks that improve attributes for both her and Mack. You will need to find a workbench in order to upgrade your equipment. The upgrades can improve attack, defense and energy levels, something you’ll want to be mindful of as you play. Deciding which area is the one you want to focus on will be a subjective choice, but one that helps personalize your experience.

Some of the unique platforming inside ReCore (Courtesy of Microsoft).
Some of the unique platforming inside ReCore (Courtesy of Microsoft).

Combat is one of my favorite elements of ReCore. Gameplay becomes dynamic and fun for players during battle, and maintaining long kill chains is just one of the bread trails that kept me wanting more combat. The longer your combat chain, the more XP you were rewarded with.

As I mentioned earlier, enemies are coded by color and it is through these colors that your weapon of choice is decided. At any given time, gamers can be facing enemies that require either her red, yellow or blue ammo to take out.

While it may seem simple as it is written above, ReCore is at its best when there are multiple enemies of all the different ammo types at once. This forces the player to be more reactive and thoughtful with their movements and decisions. Combat proves to be its most thrilling during the boss fights you’ll encounter throughout your playthrough, and those battles are more than worth playing for.

Joule can call upon Mack in combat, but using him is something gamers need to be careful of. Sending him into a throng of enemies can result in him being temporarily killed. Mack is a great asset for Joule, so deciding when to signal him to attack is important.

In addition to a standard automatic rifle fire that Joule has, she can charge up her rifle and deal a great amount of damage to enemies. Players had to be careful though, since there are only a few shots you can use. A missed shot could prove quite costly. The automatic rifle has a cooldown meter for gamers to be mindful of, and this adds further tension to combat.

Extracting cores from enemies is a central part of ReCore and it becomes a challenging, but necessary part of gameplay throughout. Each core you pick up will possess a different set of abilities or attributes, so it is in your best interest to extract as often as you can for variety sake.

 (Courtesy of Microsoft).
Dashing and shooting through ReCore (Courtesy of Microsoft).

ReCore did a fantastic job of implementing platforming into its gameplay experience. The game imaginatively thought up different ways for Joule and Mack to work together to solve puzzles. Whether you are using Mack to traverse a sideways facing platform or double jumping and dashing your way through an enormous lava field, ReCore keeps you on your toes.

As someone who really enjoys when games introduce characters you become attached to, it was hard not to love Mack and Joule. These two make a great team and the adorable dynamic between them makes the pair extremely difficult not to love.

Mack’s barks and convincing canine behavior made him all the more lovable. Had Armature gone the way of giving him something like a robotic voice, that might have ruined some of the charm of Mack. He humanizes Joule in a way that wouldn’t be there without him. ReCore is an extremely charming experience already, and Mack helps accentuate that even more.

The narrative of ReCore was a surprisingly touching tale, and one I wasn’t expecting. As you progress in ReCore, Joule and Mack meet Kai Brehn and his corebot Seth. I’ll hold off on specifics, but the relationship between these four becomes the hook that lures you in for the long-haul. Microsoft said narrative would be a key focus in ReCore and it wasn’t only a focus, the story was one of my favorite parts of the game.

Overall, ReCore is an experience I thoroughly enjoyed and will enjoy in another playthrough. Microsoft and Armature produced a mysterious rich world with a touching story and unique characters to fall in love with. Combat is engrossing and makes me look forward to each new encounter. I’m not sure ReCore was given a fair shake by some in the industry, but it is a game more than worth extracting on your own. Stick around here at We Write Things for more on ReCore and Xbox. Microsoft provided We Write Things with an Xbox One code of Forza Horizon 3 for the purposes of this review. 

About Steve Ruygrok

Gaming, Spirits, and Craft Beer enthusiast. If you say you don't like beer, then you just haven't had the right type yet. Great spirits keep away the bad ones. Video games are art in the finest of forms, yes, even when someone goes on a 20 player kill streak. Contact me at weplaythingssteve@gmail.com

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