Under development for over two years, ReCore is finally here on the Xbox One and Windows 10. ReCore is also the first title that supports Microsoft’s fantastic Play Anywhere initiative wherein players get access to the game by simply buying it once on either platform. It’s a fantastic initiative by Microsoft and it worked seamlessly when we switched playing the game between the two platforms.
Perhaps unknown to many, ReCore runs on the Unity Engine, an engine that is largely used by indie developers to create small scale experiences. This is not to say the engine can’t handle high end games, but given something like ReCore will end up using it is rather surprising. It must be noted that ReCore looks like a AA game so as expected the results are rather mix, especially on the Xbox One.
The Xbox One version looks like it’s running at a native 1080p resolution with a 30 frames per second cap. However, the console version lacks a decent AA solution; the screen is literally filled with jaggies which drastically reduces the image quality. In all honestly, ReCore on the Xbox One does not really look like a current-generation game and we may have bit forgiving towards it, if the performance made up for it. Unfortunately, the game struggles to run at a locked 30fps all the time, especially when the action gets intense. One can clearly observe that the game drops a lot of frames when there is too much happening on the screen. Fortunately, there are no torn frames (so no visible screen tearing), so there is that.
Adding insult to injury is the atrocious load times on the Xbox One. What makes it worse is that these aren’t just numerous load screens in every corner of the game, but terribly long as well. Getting through a fight in the game put me under extreme pressure; if I died, I’d have to go through an unbearably long load screen — and it happened, again and again. These load screens happened so much so I pulled out a timer to get an approximate time I was sitting there wasting away looking at a load screen (these averages may vary from each user’s experience):
- Game loading to the start of the main menu – 1 minute 5 seconds
- Game loads from current save point – 1 minute 23 seconds
- Opening a sealed door to a new location – 1 minute 41 seconds
- Dying and coming back to life – 1 minute 45 seconds to 56 seconds
- Loading time to get to the Crawler – 1 minute 21 seconds
Those are just a few of the times I recorded out of the numerous load screens throughout the game. I haven’t experienced such awful load times since Sonic the Hedgehog (2006). And it really drained the enthusiasm of playing this game substantially.
In complete contrast, the PC version of ReCore fixes almost everything we mentioned for the console version. Gone are the atrocious loading times that will leave you hanging for several minutes doing nothing. For a AA the graphical options are surprising. You can adjust the quality of AA (a big win over the Xbox One version), set the target frame rate from 30fps to Maximum (another huge win for the PC version ), along with support for higher shadow quality, different types of motion blur (which we recommended switching to off because it’s rather jarring), bloom and ambient occlusion.
In order to run the game at 1080p/60fps, the developers recommend a GTX 1080 along with i7 4770 and 16GB memory. We ran the game on the same hardware and witnessed a solid 60fps gameplay experience. Toning it down to the recommended requirements which is an R9 290x and AMD FX 8350, we witnessed frame rates in the 40-60fps range with stuttering during cutscenes.
All in all, there is a massive difference between the Xbox One and Windows 10 versions of the game. The image quality and the boost in fps make the Windows 10 the superior version. In many ways, ReCore also showcases the weakness of the Unity engine in handling games like ReCore on consoles. The difference between the PC and the console version seems to indicate that there is something within the Unity engine that does not seem to be gel itself with the console SDK. Obviously, this is an assumption on our part but the differences are rather eye opening.
Overall, ReCore is a great game with some cool gameplay mechanics but one that should be experienced on the PC should you have the hardware. The Xbox One version is rather disappointing. It compromises a lot of features and the game’s low resolution textures (even on the PC build) makes matters even worse on the Xbox One.