Okay, that was dumb. Not on my part, of course—I went above and beyond trying to figure out what to do against the invincible boss facing me at the end of the last progress log instead of just dropping the game like a sane person. No, I mean the problem was so dumb that I legitimately can’t tell if it was a bug or some kind of poorly communicated grinding mechanism like the prismatic cores. Again, I’m going to cover my experiences here chronologically, and they’re again going to get a little positive before veering sharply into the heart of “why would any sane person design something like this”-ness. Before that, though, a broad take on the game and the Definitive Edition’s additions: the original Recore was mediocre beyond words, and while the update alleviates some of the busywork and tedium ever so slightly, it does nothing to address the fundamental issues of bugs, exploration being punished with radiation deaths, weak story content (the new story stuff is laughably thin), and mandatory busywork that ruin the game. There’s a small step in the right direction here, but then two more steps backwards into a volcano. This is beyond saving.
I tried everything to beat the invincible boss
I started to notice that the boss would shoot a lot of red orbs at me, kind of like my homing attack. Then it’d use a beam weapon when blue and an orb when yellow. “Those are all firing modes that I can replicate,” thought I, thinking that the code had finally been cracked. Setting all of my weapons to the correct firing modes before initiating the fight, I had high hopes that were immediately dashed as I continued to do no damage whatsoever. Not even when I attacked the projectiles it was shooting at me with the same color and firing mode. This is when I started to get desperate.
This sign is in the hallway leading into the fight. “Surely this must be a hint and Mack (or other robot in Mack’s frame) is required to beat the boss!” No dice; Mack’s normal and special attacks did no damage against the boss, and I had him scan every inch of the floor and found nothing. Apparently it’s just a random sign.
I changed back to my preferred party and tried various different things. I shot at the ceiling looking for something I could dislodge on top of the boss. I tried to platform higher. I maneuvered around until it was distracted by my robot ally and attacked from the back with every possible firing mode. Nothing worked, and in the process of experimenting the boss managed to get stuck inside the wall. Believe it or not, this wasn’t something that bothered me. It’s nice to be handed yet more video evidence to back up my claims that this game is poorly made and unsalvageable.
Eventually it dawned on me that if a solution exists, it’s elsewhere. I remembered seeing that I was underleveled when I entered to fight the boss, so I left the area and started fighting random enemies for experience. Before long, I had gained a level.
Fast-traveling to the Shifting Sands area, I found new content and leveled up again.
In the vanilla game, Shifting Sands was yet another place with white sand and brown rocks. The only thing that distinguished it from the other areas was the fact that it was more spacious and took longer to get places in, which isn’t really a good thing when you think about it. Imagine how nice it was to discover that these sandstorms were added that occasionally roll through. Basically, you show up and the area looks the same as always. Then it gets darker and cloudy. Then sandstorms roll in and the tougher color mix enemies show up (these are perfect for grinding, by the way), with the storm only subsiding once you enter an area transition and then return. Once you do, it’s alleged that the sands may have shifted to reveal new things, but that didn’t pan out in my experience. The changes might just be small, though.
Since I had gained some levels, I figured I’d go back and check everyone’s equipment to make sure they had the best possible stuff equipped. In doing so, I realized that the core fusion stuff that lets you upgrade your robots’ stats (up to a certain threshold dictated by their current level) has been streamlined so that you can max out a value by pressing X. Before you had to hold A and watch the bars slowly fill. It’s one of those small changes, but it’s definitely a good one.
And then I went back to the fight
I don’t know if it was the two levels I gained (I still wasn’t even close to the recommended level of 36), some kind of blocking bug triggered by me not having revisited Shifting Sands before getting to that point, or something else entirely that resolved itself when I wasn’t paying attention, but I crushed it without a problem:
Seriously. I have no idea what resolved the problem, but I could suddenly damage the boss. Turns out it’s a total pushover once it, you know, stops being invincible and stuff. It’s difficult to put the emotion I felt after this into words, but picture a mix of exasperation, relief, and rage rolled up into a soft taco that’s made out of an inner monologue questioning the life choices that led you to this point. It’s kind of like that. It certainly didn’t help that the DLC ends on a whimper that, like the base game, seems designed to set things up for a sequel. Because the world isn’t horrible enough already without a Recore 2 further darkening everyone’s days.
Some miscellaneous stuff
Oh, we’re not done. Not yet. There are two more things that I discovered that really got under my skin. You know how many prismatic cores are held hostage in dungeons, and dungeons are held hostage by little glowing robots who you have to run around and find so that they can unlock them? Wouldn’t it be annoying if you loaded up your save and it turned out that all of the dungeons you had opened up were locked again for no obvious reason, forcing you to look for them all again?
Of course that’s exactly what happened. I’m 100% certain that I had the one in the picture above open. I’m also 100% certain that the one that now leads to the new area was one I previously opened, as well (I even have a video from back when I reviewed it where you can see it open), and I seem to remember a dungeon there.
Finally, we have the fact that radiation doesn’t just punish altitude anymore. Now the developers couldn’t even be bothered to block off the edges of the world in the new area, so there are easily-missed markers highlighting radiation. Once you go beyond them, things start disappearing and going crazy and it’s unlikely that you’ll manage to get back before it kills you. So stupid. This video pretty much sums up Recore.
One random thing before we’re done
Hey, developers. Don’t think I didn’t see what you did there calling your robot “AOK.”
Anyway, that was the new content for Recore. It wasn’t worth the headaches that all of its bugs and terrible design decisions caused, especially since I’m not going to re-review it or anything, but it’s too late to un-play it. Believe me, I would if I could.