ReCore: The Best Game You Haven’t Played
And I haven’t either. But I’m working on it!
Recore first launched last year as an Xbox One “exclusive” published by Microsoft…which means they also put it out on Windows.
Now, it’s getting a miraculous second shot at life and I think you should play it. And so should I.
I bet no one involved in the making of this game expected it to fail. But business realities got in the way.
Its pedigree was great. The studios behind it (Comcept, Armature, Asobo) have a lot of legendary development talent.
Its concept was great. It was to be an open world Metroid-style game with fun platforming action and a plucky well-written female character.
But then after two years of development, it released out of nowhere with little marketing and… some problems.
As a result, it was poorly received. It got a 63 on Metacritic. And no one bought it.
ReCore ultimately fell victim to a slew of technical and design issues. Its performance was rough on Xbox, with long loading times and frame rate troubles. Large chunks of the game were cut out late in development. A character appeared on the box and in the menus that you could never actually unlock in the game, and the ending fell in out of nowhere.
It was pretty clearly rushed out the door by Microsoft, and in a world where it’s easy to say “Wait for the patch,” everyone did just that.
And then no one expected a patch to actually happen.
But now, Microsoft has given ReCore a second chance for some reason. They’ve just released the Definitive Edition for 20 bucks…which is also a free patch if you already owned the game. The unfinished and cut content is now back in the game! Loading times are much shorter! Performance is much better…though still a little rough on my Xbox One S.
It seems crazy to me that this is happening a week before Destiny 2, because ReCore is actually an awesome game…and it’s probably about to not be played again.
I first bought the game last year after the price dropped out from under it due to its poor reception…and then I played an hour of it.
During that hour, I could see all the technical issues without any digging at all. But I also saw a game with fun controls, great writing and acting, and perfect pacing.
It felt like a game I really wanted to play.
So I put it on my shelf and decided to wait for the patch that would never come, like everyone else.
I’m so happy that they got the chance to finish this game, you guys. And I’m having a blast with it!
ReCore follows the adventures of Joule, a cool mechanic lady what also shoots things with guns and jumps. She has various robot companions that help you to unlock certain areas and fight enemies. She has a cool grappling hook thing she can use to pull Cores out of enemies and open doors and stuff. She’s also a surprisingly well-developed character with excellent voice acting from Erika Soto.
In the game, you explore the desolate and mysterious planet of Far Eden…which is filled with platforms, enemies to fight, items to collect, and dungeons full of secrets. It mashes together elements of classic 16-bit game design and modern open worlds, and always presents easily-accessible stuff for you to do.
Because the game world is sectioned off into digestible areas, you never have to worry about the Map Icon Fatigue that plagues so many other modern games. Like a Super Nintendo game, you’re always running forward, jumping, and going somewhere…but like a modern game, you’re doing so in a vast interconnected 3D world.
Joule is one of the only characters in the game, and through her dialog with her robot pal and others, she totally sells the world of the game. It reminds me of the stuff they did with writing in Horizon: Zero Dawn.
I have fun just traversing the world and using the game mechanics, which is the sign of a great action platformer. The load times are still a little long in spots, and I’ve seen some minor frame rate hitches, but this seems like a real finished game now.
I booted this up right after writing this morose article about how games aren’t fun, and it just so happens to be the perfect antidote. I’ve only managed to cover the same ground I did a year ago so far, and already I’m having more fun than I’ve had in a while.
This is absolutely worth your 20 bucks and your time if you find it appealing, and it might be the perfect palette-cleanser for you before you disappear into the world of Destiny, if you own a PC or Xbox One.
Also Knack II is out next week what. What is this world we’re living in? They finished ReCore and a new Knack is coming out!