Shooters featuring dystopian worlds, merciless villains and raging robots are legion. But they're not all the same. Which brings us to the sci-fi game ReCore.
A New Beginning
Microsoft Studios' latest trigger-puller centers on the story of a young woman named Joule. She's not a seasoned fighter. She's just a techy, capable gal who fled Earth—along with several other ships full of humans—after our once-green globe turned green-no-more thanks to a nasty plague.
The survival-oriented few who made it out set their course for an inhabitable, desert-like planet called Far Eden. Since this place of possibilities was many light years away, Joule was placed in cryo-sleep. The goal was that the majority of the colonists would hibernate for 200 years or so and awaken to a Far Eden that had been terraformed into something much more flourishing and homelike.
When the Joule comes out of cryo-sleep, however, that's not what she finds. At all. Not only is the planet she's on still pretty arid, but the other colonists have vanished. She's seemingly all alone except for her faithful Corebot companion, Mack, a robot dog that's juiced up by a glowing power core.
With a little exploration, Joule makes an ominous discovery: It seems that all the other Corebots have become corrupted. Instead of being helpful companions designed to give humans some mechanical aid, they've all somehow been reprogrammed for mechanized annihilation. So she'll have to pick up a gun and see if she and Mack can get to the, uh, core of the problem.
Shooting for the Cores
As this game's title suggests, those power cores—which give everything from bots to terraforming machines their electric charge—are a central part of the story here. Joule must seek out special prismatic cores throughout the game's open-world map in order to save what's left of mankind's future.
This game therefore becomes one of platforming (Joule can double-jump and dash to distant spots thanks to a jetpack and power boots), collecting (there are cores, mechanical scraps and robot-improving blueprints to be found everywhere) and shooting (she must defend herself from scores and scores of bad bots).
So just how messy does all this roustabouting and robo-strafing get? Not bad at all really. The targets are always robots. And the energy weapon Joule uses never splatters anything. When foes are weakened to a certain point Joule can use a grappling hook device to snatch out their power core in a brief fishing-like game. Otherwise, the baddies are simply zapped until they explode and disappear.
The firefights can get a bit frenetic at times as Joule and her robot pal shoot it out with groups of mechanical opponents. But if Joule herself is bested, she tumbles and the screen quickly fades to black. No blood or mess. And then she restarts at an earlier spot before a missed jump or an overpowering encounter.
Other than that—as well as some painfully long load times that make you feel like you may have slipped into cryo-sleep—there's little else negative to report here. There's definitely a lot of trigger pulling in the mix, but ReCore is as much about exploring, jumping and swooping as it is blasting bad bot baddies.