Welcome! In this guide I will be addressing some issues other players have had with this game, along with some gameplay tips that ReCore likes to hide away, and perhaps you too will be able to be as good at this game as this cool dude:
Clearly there are mixed feelings over this game, with its rating sitting at 700 Mixed reviews at the time of writing. Does this game deserve those negative reviews? Absolutely. ReCore is a optimisation nightmare, with loading screens lasting five minutes by default, some quite frustrating design choices especially in the final dungeon, and a flaccid storyline (with sequel bait, no less. Hah!). This game deserves every bit of criticism it gets, but beneath its messy exterior lies a truly enjoyable open-world exploration game and fun RPG levelling mechanics. I’m hoping that my guide will curb your expectations and enhance your experience, so you can have the most fun as possible while playing this game.
It will surprise most players to discover that this game is much like the collectathons of yore on the N64. Movement is key to progressing in this game, as Core Frame parts and the materials to build them are littered throughout each map. The basic gameplay loop is broken up into these stages:
- XP is gained by defeating enemies via Extraction or destruction, as well as gathering collectables around the world. Both Companion Coresbots and your gun (ie. Joule) will level up from defeating enemies as you would expect from any RPG. All Corebots level up regardless of who is in your crew.
- Levelling up boosts your Corebots’ maximum values, but only improves them a little. The majority of Corebot progression comes from infusing enemy cores into the three statistics: Attack (Red), Defence (Yellow) and Energy (Blue), to raise the value to the current maximum.
- You gain cores by Extracting them from an enemy once their health is below the white arrow on their bar (either from damage or catching them off-guard) and winning the “tug-of-war” mini-game.
- As your Corebots level up, they can equip better frame parts that you find in chests, which add fixed stat bonuses to the Corebots’ base stats. Building new parts after you find them requires materials, which can be acquired around the game map as collectables, opening some chests, digging in the ground with K-9, or by destroying enemy Corebots.
- With levelled up Cores and powerful Frames, you can now take on tougher enemies and start the loop again. Be sure to keep an eye on enemy levels, as they don’t scale, so there are some dangerous opponents out there that you’re not ready for yet!
Know What You Want
It’s key to know what you’re looking for when you venture out into the Mars wasteland. Now, this doesn’t have to be as specific as certain parts (though the track blueprints feature in the Objectives tab certainly caters to this), but it will help if you know whether you want more cores or more parts for levelling. It doesn’t matter much at the beginning of the game, but by the end you will probably only need one or the other, so play accordingly. Extracting is generally the win button, so you may need to consciously force yourself to destroy corebots if you want parts.
Cores are gained by Extracting them from weakened (or unaware) enemies, and Scraps are found by picking up those cubes scattered around the wasteland or destroying enemies. Be careful, as scraps will not come to you, so you must physically touch the drop to receive it, and don’t forget to Transfer Stash when you can–there’s nothing worse than a full inventory! Scraps of the same type stack, but cores do not! Dropped items will wait for you, so fast-travel (within the area) to Transfer and go pick them up!
Extraction is a simple process, but if you’re struggling, here’s a tip: You only need to stop pulling when the line glows white. Consider the red a warning, but keep on pulling, or feather it until it stops. People call this a “tug-of-war”, but in reality it has more in common with fishing games. Don’t let your line break!
Most bosses must be defeated by extraction, which is exactly the same process, but with a visible timer of electricity running up the line. It can get surprisingly close before damaging you, so don’t get flustered and just keep pulling!
No Lootboxes Here
This may come as a surprise, but those chests hidden around the world and given as rewards at the ends of dungeons are, in fact, not randomised! Aside from a few chests containing materials (mostly at the start of the game), each chest has one or more specific frame parts inside it, and finding every chest in an area will get you every piece of a specific frame. There are also “joke” parts for doing well in dungeons and Hunting Challenges in the Objectives tab, so make sure you train yourself and aim for gold!
It’s Dangerous to Go Alone
But luckily you have MACK, and later another friend with you at all times. When you’re given the opportunity to swap cores and frames, it might seem daunting at first, but worry not. Aside from the times later on when you need to use a fourth frame for travel skills, you can keep everyone comfortably in the frames you found them. Better yet, you don’t need to go back to the Crawler to adjust your party–you can do it all at one of V1-OLT’s fast-travel stations. You can swap cores and swap companions, but keep in mind that you can still only have two out at once, so there will always be some things you can’t do. At least you can swap them back fairly easily!
Health is a tricky thing in ReCore. Joule is an engineer, not a spacemarine, so she will die pretty quickly once an enemy locks on to her and can be stun-locked to death. Dashing can often not even be enough, thanks to homing attacks and AoE, so here are a few tips to survive:
- Extract! Extracting a core heals you, so if things are getting ropey, give up on collecting parts and grab a core just for the HP. If enemies aren’t damaged enough to Extract, try focusing on their adds (the small bots) to boost your combo meter and get that Instant Extract at 10. If worst comes to worst, remember that the blue gun has a stun effect on charge, which might just give you enough time to survive.
- Explore! Health Boosters are hidden throughout the world, and while they only add about 1% to your bar, that sliver of heath could be the difference between success and defeat.
- Distract! If one enemy in particular is hounding you, use your Corebot’s lethal on it to quickly pull it’s attention.
- Outlast! Remember, Joule is support, so keep her back and focus on destroying one enemy at a time, even if you’re being chased. Yellow enemy Corebots will always out-heal you if you let them, so keep the pressure up and take out all the adds you see.
You might feel a little stifled to begin with; it’s a big world and all you’ve got is a dash? Well, there’s a little more to this game than you’re openly told.
There is no fall damage and no penalty for falling off the world or dying (besides distance), so get out there and explore to your heart’s content! This game rewards you for exploration except when it doesn’t, so despite 70+% of the game being empty wasteland, there are hidden goodies here and there. Joule can grab edges and run up surprisingly steep slopes, so don’t be afraid to get creative, but keep in mind that Radiation and kill-boundaries do exist.
Just not getting the distance you want to cross that gap with a double-jump and dash? You can dash off of a platform and still get your mid-air dash, giving you double the distance. Don’t forget that you can also stagger your jumps, so you could dash-jump-dash-jump if you’re losing height at the end, and make sure you hold those buttons for the most distance. Can you believe that this mechanic is only mentioned in the loading screen tips?!
Need for Speed
Are you sick of dashing around the wasteland? Well fear not, as reaching the Shifting Sands (the fourth and final area, just over half way through the game–yeah, the critical path is kinda short) will unlock the DLC mission to recover the T4-NK frame. What does this mean for you? Well, the T4-NK is basically a vehicle for you to drive, giving you great speed just in time to drive across the massive Shifting Sands desert. This mortar-type frame takes up one of your two active frame slots, of course, so choose your second companion carefully.
Now you’ve got T4-NK, there’s a little trick you can pull off if you really need that extra height. Dismounting T4-NK will launch you into the air while retaining both your regular jumps, giving you the closest thing you’ll get to a triple jump.
The Meta Game
It’s not enough to simply play the game; you need to know the game. Working within its limitations will save you a lot of frustration, so accept it for what it is and make the most of what you’ve got.
Loading Time Management
The number one complaint of this game is its loading times, and rightly so. You will notice that the Recommended specs on the store page is a whopping 16MB of RAM, but I think it was supposed to say GB, as my 8GB of RAM gets me consistently five-minute-long loading screens, even to the title menu. On one hand this happens every time you transition from area to area, but on the other hand there is no loading on death or within an area, so make the most out of your journeys:
- Do everything you want to do in one area before moving on. Limit the number of times you move between areas.
- Plan when you’ll want to return to Joule’s Carrier for upgrades, rather than returning willy-nilly. For example, rather than moving between areas, return to the carrier then teleport to the next area when you’re finished. For this reason it’s good practice to find the next available fast-travel point for easy returns.
- When finishing a dungeon, unless you specifically want to return to the outside area, restart it instead so you can use V1-OLT to fast-travel anywhere (or do it directly from the pause menu).
Don’t Push Yourself
Unless you are taking your time and enjoying the exploration, you might find yourself struggling against higher-level enemies and having a miserable time. If there’s an area you are finding hard, back off an explore for a bit. If there’s a dungeon you keep failing, move on and come back later. As there is no level scaling in this game, all obstacles can be overcome simply by doing something else to gather resources. I never once had to grind in this game because I took my time exploring each area (and even unlocking advanced frame parts with some sequence-breaking manoeuvring). The most important advice I can give you in this game is just to have fun, so if something is annoying you or proving difficult, just move on, it will still be there later.
Got any specific questions about this game? I’ll try to answer them here.
With all that said, I hope you are able to enjoy this game for what it is and make the most of what it has to offer. Thanks for reading!
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