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ReCore Review: Beautiful Mess

/ Oct 7th, 2016 No Comments

ReCore Review

A lot has been said about ReCore. The game isn’t without faults, but it isn’t as bad as it has been made out to be. In fact, it is a lot of fun. If you can play the game with an open mind, you will discover some cool ideas and plenty of charm.

Unfortunately, some of these ideas just don’t come together all the time.

Mack and Me

Devastating disasters have hit Earth and left the population decimated, so scientists have found a new home for humans. That new home will be Far Eden, but first it needs to be terraformed to be habitable.

Corebots, androids powered by special cores, will make the terraforming process smooth, if not lengthy. Since the process will take so long, many humans are put into cyrostasis until Far Eden becomes habitable.

Unfortunately, something goes wrong during the terraforming process, as you might expect in any last ditch effort to save humanity. Not only did the terraforming go awry, the cryostasis lasted far longer than intended. As a result, Joule becomes one of the last humans alive on Far Eden.

ReCore Review

Joule makes plenty of new friends during her journey.

After she wakes up from her lengthy cryostatis, she and her trusty Corebot, Mack, must contend with a planet of hostile Corebots and figure out what exactly went wrong on Far Eden. What are the mysterious prismatic cores they’ve found? Where are all the humans?

To complicate matters further, there is an ominous figure lurking in the shadows waiting to take Joule and her Corebots out.

ReCore’s narrative is solid, even if it repeats many sci-fi tropes — the most egregious being an AI gone bad. In spite of some clichés, the story is actually compelling.

ReCore Review

A dark history occurred while Joule slept.

The pacing of the story continually builds your anticipation of what will happen next. There are also some dramatic moments at key points in the narrative that catch you off guard.

What the story succeeds most at is making you care about Joule and her different Corebot pals. Joule’s determination to find her father and figure out what happened to Far Eden is admirable. Even in the face of overwhelming odds, Joule never falters from trying to make things right.

Her Corebots, Mack, Seth, and Duncan, all have unique personalities. As you move through the game with them, the different ways you use them further gives distinction to the types of characters they are.


ReCore challenges players on two fronts. Combat tests players’ ability to stand up against the ferocity of rogue Corebots, both with Joule’s trusty rifle and agility and the specific skills of her own Corebots. Joule also has to overcome difficult (sometimes punishingly so) platforming sections.

The combat, which revolves around a decent level of strategy, is satisfying. Joule’s rifle can switch between three primary colors, which when activated do extra damage to enemies of the same color. Each Corebot also falls under the three primary colors.

It is important when facing an arena or an onslaught of tough enemies to keep these colors in mind. The difference between surviving and having to face a long reloading screen often comes down to proper strategy. Combat can get overwhelming, but figuring out the best way to tackle tough sections and overcoming the challenge feels good.

ReCore Review

Using the correct colors on Joule’s rifle is an important part of combat.

Besides switching colors for more damage, Joule’s rifle can lock onto enemies and fire charged shots to destroy shields easier. However, relying too much on the rifle’s auto-lock is a mistake. Accuracy drops the more you use auto-lock, and you can’t get critical shots on stunned enemies when using this feature. A mixture of auto-locking and free aiming is key to success.

One of the more addictive aspects of the game is finding new blueprints for Joule’s Corebots. Each Corebot frame can be customized with new, stronger parts to give them an edge in combat. Blueprints are earned through hunting quests, as rewards for completing optional dungeons, and found in chests around Far Eden. Tinkering and tweaking your Corebots not only can lead to cool aesthetic choices, but can also improve their combat prowess.

Combat is only one aspect of ReCore’s gameplay. The other is the tougher-than-overcooked-steak platforming sections. As fun as combat can be, the platforming aspect of ReCore is where the game truly shines. What makes platforming such a joy is not only the smart level design of traversal dungeons, but Joule’s mobility.

Joule’s ability to combine her powerful dash with her jump and double jump creates a ton of maneuverability, both in and out of combat. Besting the toughest of ReCore’s platforming challenges often comes down to mastering the rhythms of Joule’s dash and jumps. Knowing when to use dash after a jump or when to use a second jump makes all the difference, especially when dealing with large gaps and moving objects.

ReCore Review

“Welp,” you’ll be saying that to yourself a lot when getting the lay out of the platforming challenges.

ReCore is a sandbox game with a few large hub-type sections to explore. The game is split up between main story missions and optional missions. Most of the time, people may ignore the optional content in favor of finishing the story.

ReCore smartly gives players a reason to explore its world fully and try out optional dungeons. Much of it is tied to story progression. While that usually feels like a road block, it works here because some of the most exciting stuff is in the optional dungeons.


ReCore is flawed, but despite its rough edges, it is a wildly fun game. The gameplay is engaging and addictive, and there is some wickedly tough platforming.

It is full of great ideas that maybe don’t always come together, but it succeeds in creativity. Due to that, ReCore is one of the more exciting and original Xbox One games this year.

ReCore was reviewed on Xbox One using a code for the game provided by the publisher.


Kalvin Martinez

Kalvin Martinez

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Kalvin Martinez studied Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He writes reviews, prose and filthy limericks. While he is Orange County born, he now resides in Portland, OR. He is still wondering what it would be like to work at a real police department. Follow Kalvin on Twitter @freepartysubs
Kalvin Martinez

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Gaming Illustrated RATING



ReCore's gameplay is a lot of fun. Between utilizing your robots in combat and the intense platforming challenges, the gameplay is always engaging.


ReCore's world, bots and characters all have a good look with some fantastic platforming level design. The main drawback of the game is horrendous loading times.


The voice acting and music is pretty good.


There are some well-worn sci-fi tropes in ReCore's story, but it makes up for those short comings with charming characters and good dramatic tension.

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