How Xbox One’s ‘ReCore’ Isn’t What You Expected

If all you know about ReCore comes from the game’s first trailer, which debuted at E3 2015, I’m sorry to say you got the wrong impression. That’s not your fault, of course, but the ReCore from that trailer is very different from the ReCore that’s actually coming out on September 13 for Xbox One and PC. Unlike what the trailer would have you believe, it’s not a somber, narrative-driven game about a woman and her beloved robot dog crossing the desert. It’s something else entirely.

And that something looks pretty good so far, which is no surprise, seeing as ReCore is being spearheaded by some seriously talented game makers. One is Keiji Inafune, one of the masterminds behind classics like Mega Man, Resident Evil, and Onimusha (to say nothing of his contribution to DuckTales and Chip and Dale’s Rescue Rangers). To make the game a reality, Inafune has partnered up with some of the key figures behind the classic GameCube and Wii series Metroid Prime. That’s some considerable talent all working on something that’s becoming increasingly rare: a new game that’s not a spinoff or sequel to anything else.

Despite the apparent misdirection from the first trailer, the setting remains the same, at least. The game does take place on a vast desert planet called Far Eden. It’s a post-apocalyptic setting, so humans have nearly been wiped out, and the planet is overrun by robots. You play as a woman named Joule Adams who teams up with a few good robots to fight off the bad robots and bring humanity back from the brink of extinction.

This year’s E3 trailer cut much closer to the root of what the game is. Gone is the melodramatic stringed instrument soundtrack. In its place is an upbeat dance/pop song that fits better with what players actually do in the game: run, jump, and shoot. This is a fast-paced action platformer that requires quick reflexes and a whole lot of on-the-fly weapon changing.

The game uses different colored enemies that are weak to bullets of the same color. The idea is for you to switch out your bullets on the fly as you fend off multi-colored swarms of enemies. You also have a rapid-fire rifle that doesn’t do much damage but somehow replenishes your ammo when you hold down the right trigger. To put a real dent in an enemy’s health, you have to use the right bumper to charge up and unleash a powerful attack.

You’re not all by your lonesome as you blast robotic enemies to oblivion. You’re accompanied by several robot companions, each of whom has a color that lines up with your bullets and enemies. These friendly robots also grant you unique abilities, much like the various forms of Rush the dog in the original Mega Man games. For instance, Seth is a spider-like robot who can climb on walls and ceilings to help you grapple to otherwise inaccessible areas. Duncan is the heavy-hitter of the group, with a stomping attack that causes area damage.

ReCore Joule and Mack Interacting

ReCore | Microsoft

The levels play out with enemy choke-points for you to blast through, platforming sections that require precision jumps, and giant robotic bosses that can take a whole lot of damage. While the game is full of shooting, the developers say that aiming isn’t the important part. What’s important is that you choose the right bullets and robo-companion for the enemy in your crosshairs. It’s a game about combos, not headshots.

So no, ReCore isn’t the somber, lonely experience it appeared to be in the initial trailer. It’s a much more intense game that rewards quick thinking and an itchy trigger finger. Which is probably for the best, seeing as Mega Man games don’t give you much time for reflection. To see if it’s a successful blend of platforming and strategic combo-based shooting, we’ll have to wait for the game to launch on September 13.

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