Feature Article

Recore May Be The Mega Man Successor You’re Looking For

Discovering the core of Capcom’s blue bomber.

If you're looking for a spiritual successor to Mega Man, you may want to pay more attention to Recore. The Xbox One- and PC-exclusive is designed by Keiji Inafune, creator of Mega Man, and the similarities between them are obvious.

Our hands-on demo began with a quick introduction to Joule, the hero of Recore. She's a lithe young scavenger who is light on her feet and acrobatic to boot. Like the Blue Bomber, she zips around arenas, almost as if on skates. In the air she can follow up a jump with a double jump and also dash laterally using thrusters in her boots. This ability gives her some air control, much like you'd have during the descent of Mega Man's jump.

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While Joule may not have an arm cannon to fire laser shots from, her assault rifle does the job just as effectively. As developer Armature's co-founder Mark Pacini puts it, this is “not a game about aiming.” You can fire freely, but pulling the left trigger locks onto enemies. Holding the right trigger then fires a spread shot, while holding the right bumper, you can unleash a more powerful charged shot.

Recore challenges you to make use of Joule's mobility to stay alive, as the game's enemies, called Corebytes, are in abundance. They come in various shapes and sizes, but our demo opened with a robotic fly type. These float around and send volleys of deadly laser balls at Joule. Because there are so many of them, this creates a bullet-hell feel to the combat. You've got to strafe around to avoid incoming projectiles, learn the enemy's firing and spread patterns to leap through gaps, and get a few attacking shots in.

Adding an additional layer of challenge are the various enemy types, which behave in different ways. The robotic ape, for example, likes to get up close and personal to deliver melee attacks. He also has a ground pound that sends a shockwave of fire out. Another spider-like mech perches itself on platforms high above to take potshots from a distance.

These enemies are also color coordinated, creating another wrinkle to Recore's combat. Each one emanates a specific color (red for the ape and yellow for the spider), and Joule has corresponding color settings on her gun. Using the directional pad, players can match the energy Joule's rifle is firing to the enemy's color and dish out much more damage. Since the game doesn't pull its punches, switching regularly to use the best-suited ammo type for the enemy you're engaging is crucial to maintaining control of the battlefield.

The final piece of the Recore gameplay puzzle is the Corebots. These are companions that assist Joule in combat and puzzle-solving. Each one has a unique Lethal ability that runs on a cooldown. In our demo we were accompanied by Mack, a charming little robot dog that's loyal to a fault. Giving Mack sentience is a glowing core in his midsection; these cores are the key to adding more Corebots to Joule's support roster, but more on that later.

At our command, Mack will throw himself at enemies, dishing out big damage in a punch. In our demo, Mack's charge attack could be spammed three times in a row, making it possible to stack them on top of each other to create a combo.

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Another Corebot called Seth is a spider turret that prefers to hang back during combat, but activate his Lethal and he'll send a barrage of missiles at the enemy. Seth is also able to latch onto rails and glide along them, much like Samus's morph ball in Metroid Prime. Joule can hold onto him as he does this and use the momentum to launch herself into new areas.

Corebots are acquired by defeating enemies and are a key part of acquiring new companions. Although our questions about the exact nature of the process of obtaining one weren't answered, it was implied that players may need to gather resources and build them.

Combat in Recore felt fast-paced and intense. There's an ebb-and-flow between using movement abilities to avoid damage, and picking the right weapons to dish it out. However, like Mega Man, the game will often push players into rooms that mix platforming and combat.

One example of this was a large room that had what looked like jet engines under chain link flooring. One by one, these would head up and then expel a powerful blast of flames. This environmental hazard was another thing to think about when tackling enemies. In addition to keeping the red mecha-ape that’s trying it's very best to pound Joule with its giant robotic fists at a distance, or avoiding barrages from the yellow spider-bot harassing her from a distance, we had to keep an eye on which of the furnaces was about to activate, and ensure we were out of the blast radius. All while dodging a hail of bullets.

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It sounds overwhelming, but in the moment we were reminded of Mega Man, and how it would often require players to leap around different platforms, firing off blaster shots at enemies on the other side of the screen while dodging incoming attacks.

Mechanically, Recore has a lot going on with it. On top of everything mentioned above, there are systems such as the chain combo kills, which results in greater experience points rewards. As we attacked enemies, damage numbers would come out of them, suggesting there may also be a loot or upgrade system too. We didn't get to see this in our demo, however.

What's there meshes together in a satisfying way. The challenge of managing enemies, ensuring you're not falling prey to environmental traps, and making the most of all Joule's weapons and abilities to maximize rewards felt thrilling. Recore might finally be the Mega Man successor we've been waiting for.

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