Recore, for those of you that don’t know, is a sci-fi themed third person platformer with robots. Set in a dystopian Mad Max-style future, you are following the story of Joule Adams. But, in this deserted wasteland known as Far Eden, humanity is all but gone. So, with her trusty mechanical dog Mack, Joule goes adventuring to figure out just what has happened. An intriguing story. It has a lot of potential for interesting narratives. However, the story aside, I want to discuss the gameplay and why exactly it falls flat in terms of what it offers.
A little bit of everything, please
When it comes to describing this game, there are many words to choose from. Science Fiction, platformer, action, adventure, third person, etc. The list goes on. But, I am not entirely convinced that this is a good thing. Even playing the first fifteen minutes, I wasn’t sure what was going on. There are, of course, platforming elements to the game, much like Tomb Raider in the way it is executed. Then there are some small puzzle elements that can be solved with platforming or using your weapons. As you play, there are more and more elements introduced such as using Core Robots to help you solve other puzzles along the way. But, then there is the Mad Max style that is evident. Not just from the deserted wasteland but in the fact that there is some open world elements.
You can also find dungeons to loot, once again. much like Tomb Raider. Then there are so many things you can do with your weapons such as using the Extractor to pull cores from enemy robots in combat. And, you can upgrade them too later on using some form of customisation. You would think that with all this available content, it would be a master piece of a game but if you ask me, it is just too much.
So, why doesn’t this work?
Simply put, it has too many elements. Games are interesting because they have specific features that work for that game. However, Recore seems to have a bit of everything and it’s a little overwhelming. This does not make it bad at all, in fact, the story in and of itself is very interesting. And, to a degree, I admire the fact that they have tried to implement these elements into the game. But, when you are faced with so many different elements that just feel like they were taken from several other games, it seems less like a game and more like an homage.
The saving grace for this game is the robotic feature. Being able to solve puzzles using different types of robots is quite cool. Which is why this game should work. But, I find it hard to define what it is. Is it more of an adventure style game, like Tomb Raider with some combat elements and platforming? Or is it more action based like Mad Max, with combat at its fore front? Or is it simply another third person shooter that wants to be something more? The problem is, Recore doesn’t know what it is which, unfortunately, makes it hard to love.