A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know ReCore is a challenging sci-fi action game with frequent gun combat. Enemies are robots that explode and disappear when destroyed. There's no blood or gore, but in one scene the player stumbles upon the bony remains of a long-dead person. It's a difficult game, but players are rewarded for strategic thought and perseverance.
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What's it about?
In RECORE, players step into the powered exoskeletal suit of a space colonist named Joule. After a long hypersleep voyage to Far Eden, the world destined to become mankind's new home, she awakens to discover she might be the only human active on the planet surface. The robot workers who were supposed to be terraforming the rocks and desert are malfunctioning and now attack her on sight. Working with a small team of friendly robots who behave like pets, Joule begins exploring the planet in an attempt to find out what happened and get the terraforming project back online so the rest of her people, asleep in orbiting ships, can come down and join her. Exploration requires players to skillfully jump and dash up and around obstacles, sometimes enlisting the help of Joule's robotic pals, who can climb, hover, dig, and smash objects. The robots also come to the player's aid during combat encounters, launching attacks at enemies as Joule targets them with her energy rifle. Between missions, players can return to Joule's headquarters to research blueprints for robot upgrades, then build them with spare parts they find on their adventure.
Is it any good?
A host of technical problems keep this otherwise enjoyable sci-fi adventure from reaching its full potential. ReCore's action will remind some players of Nintendo's Metroid Prime games, thanks to a world that's largely free to explore, but it has areas that remain inaccessible until Joule finds the proper technology necessary to bypass a specific type of obstacle. This usually involves some form of satisfying skill-based traversal, such as dashing and jumping before grabbing hold of a climbing robot that will help her scoot up a track to a higher point. Combat is fun, too; it demands sharp thinking and quick reflexes, with players forced to constantly switch between color-based ammunition types to ensure they're dealing maximum damage before launching an extraction line to yank out enemy robots' power cores.
But, sadly, the action is often hampered by a wide array of technical problems. Exceptionally long loading screens -- often well in excess of two minutes -- will test most gamers' patience, especially when they come again and again as Joule repeatedly dies only a few seconds into a tough fight. Other problems include game freezes, floors that suddenly seem not to exist (you'll fall through the ground and into Far Eden's polygonal underbelly, unable to escape), and boss fights in which a key mechanic -- pulling enemies' power cores from their chests -- suddenly stops working, forcing a game restart. There's still fun to be had with ReCore, but to experience it, the player will need to be both patient and forgiving.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the impact of violence in games such as ReCore. In this game your enemies are robots, but do you experience a different emotion playing games in which your enemies are not human? Why might that be?
Discuss the role of women in games. Joule is a non-sexualized female protagonist whose character is defined by her courage, determination, and perseverance, but what other games have you played with a similar type of heroine?
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