It's got great graphics, solid animation, quirky characters, an original central theme and, for just the second time this year in a triple-A title, a strong female lead.

Recore should be a reason for Xbox fans to celebrate. After all, it's the first major Xbox game to be released after the Xbox One S upgrade, and its blinding desert scenes and furious action sequences make full use of the new console's graphics capabilities.

A scene from Xbox One exclusive Recore.
A scene from Xbox One exclusive Recore.

At first, Recore's gameplay is insane fun too. As Joule Adams, you tear around the futuristic planet of Far Eden with your robodog sidekick Mack, searching caves and deserts hellbent on tearing out the throbbing hearts - or "cores" - of anything that moves.

Mostly, those enemies are giant mechanical beasts in the form of evil spiders, spitting bats and fire-breathing wolves. Joule needs to attack them, bringing their damage down until their cores are exposed. Then you can latch onto them, tear them out and make them explode in a kind of tug-of-war dual.


That's as fun as it sounds it is. Yanking and cradling a still beating core - which throbs like one of those old lava lamps from the '90s - while a beast collapses around you is a damned good gaming experience.

But what's fun at first soon becomes a grind. Recore quickly gets bogged down in pointless and repetitive missions, like searching for mini-bots, collecting minerals and activating pylons. Loading times are lengthy and level designs start feeling empty.

Even though Joule is a strong lead character, she can't quite stop everything from feeling a little like you're playing Ratchet & Clank for adults. That's not a bad thing, but for a game that makes you search for beating hearts, Recore didn't manage to include one of its own.





Xbox One