DeadCore is a game that was originally released on PC about three years ago, in a time when first person platform games were few and far between and featured the likes of Portal, Mirror’s Edge, Metroid Prime and Half Life. I did not get to experience it then, but fortunately we were treated to a PS4 review code for the latest version on console. In retrospect, if I knew then what I was heading in for, I would have handed this review to someone else.
Before we begin, here’s my painful gameplay video that is perhaps embarrassing to show:
There isn’t really a story to DeadCore, although it would like to pretend there is. Your main mission, although not quite spelled out properly, is to traverse the towers and make your way out of wherever you are. You will find notes in the form of text logs around various random areas, bringing to light the story of some previous explorer. But that’s about as exciting as the story gets. It’s all about testing your skill to get to the top, and I am sure you’ll find some speed runs on Youtube if the fancy strikes you.
As an author, screenwriter and gamewriter, story is the essential element I need to really get wrapped into a game. Jumping around with a gun and getting blown off into the nothingness just to respawn a million times is not my idea of fun.
So let’s get into the crux of the matter. This is what the game is all about. If you watched my video, you will see I did a lot of running, jumping, speed jumping, and using my weapon for… switches. That’s right, even though I had this awesome looking weapon, the only times I really used them was for switches. Sure, there were droids later on, but I found it best just to avoid them and keep going than to waste any time actually shooting them.
This game is like a futuristic version of the TV show Ultimate Beastmaster. It’s pumped full of steroids and the pace is hell fast, some areas requiring you to jump again the moment your toes touch the platform. Thankfully, there are checkpoints where you respawn when you die, without which I would have turned the game off much sooner.
Which brings me to another frustration. Landing on platforms. There were so many times I actually had to look down at where my ‘feet’ land to make sure I land properly, while being pelted by jet blasts and drones and shifting grounds. There’s no jumping and hoping your feet touch, as I fell one too many times to my death that way. I found this to take away any hope of enjoying this game.
GRAPHICS, SOUND AND ATMOSPHERE
This is one element where the game really, really shines. The graphics are superb, with your firearm something reminiscent of the weaponry in Quake or Doom. Even as you’re falling to your death, you can admire the beautiful storms raging around you, and the parts of the tower that you may never ever see. There isn’t that much variation in detail, with some Tron-style lights on certain platforms, but it makes for some really wonderful eye-candy.
The music matches the pace of the game. It is upbeat and makes you want to jog and shoot in tune. It gives it that edge that drives you forward, pumping your heart as you rush through platforms and shoot jets and make your way past the malevolent drones intent on shoving you off into the nether.
This atmosphere the game creates is perfect for a first person platformer, and it really made me want to keep trying to play the game. Unfortunately, it was the only element that did.
WHAT IT COULD HAVE BEEN
The one recurring theme I had in my mind while playing this was that this would have made one hell of a Quake Arena style game. If this had been multiplayer, with less jump arounds and more focussing on smiting others, this would have been ridiculous fun. Yet, I spent most of my time motivating myself to continue through the hardships, hoping that the game will show some promise.
If DeadCore turns itself into an Arena-styled Battle Royale within the world they have created, I might come back and give it another go. For now, it presents challenges that are just not enjoyable enough for me to return. I don’t feel the need to prove myself to anybody, or even finish the levels.
I try not to be too mean when it comes to reviews. Developers work so hard to bring you a product like this, and slamming it down is really unnecessary. This is actually a beautiful game that sets the pace with its music. You cannot fault the graphics at all. It’s the constant dying, being shoved off platforms, watching how you land, taking routes a very specific way and no other way, that really became frustrating. It’s so unfair to review a game only after one level, but after fighting so hard on the first level, I just didn’t see fit to carry on.
Having said that, many OTHER gamers will enjoy this game. If you’ve played games like Portal and Mirror’s Edge, neither of which I did for the same reasons that I don’t like DeadCore or any First Person Platformer, then you may actually love this game. I believe this game was really created for guys like you. For me, I have not converted into a fan of this genre, and DeadCore simply encourages me to stay away from them altogether.
I would have easily joined so many others in giving DeadCore 3/10, but the game has too many redeeming qualities. Graphics, sound, challenging towers (that someone else would enjoy), and the fast action pace that reminds me of Quake and Doom. I’ll bump the score up a bit, as it deserves more than a 3.