Story: While DeadCore has some narrative elements, the story is told via logs you can discover in the levels. So you can learn more about the world the game takes place in, but the game isn’t narrative driven. This is all about gameplay, with some story peppered in if you’re motivated to track down the logs. I think it is worth hunting the logs down, as it is neat to get a glimpse beyond the gameplay, but it is optional and you can focus on just the gameplay if you so desire. I know this seems sparse, but its up to you how much of the story is uncovered, if any at all.
Gameplay: I’ll be honest right from the start, DeadCore is a game that kicked my ass in grand fashion. This can be a tough, demanding game that requires you to have sharp reflexes and fast reactions, not to mention the ability to read the environment on the go, so you don’t plummet to your death. I imagine DeadCore will test even skilled players and push others into insanity, but I appreciate that the developers made this one such a challenge. You are dropped into a world of platforms and tasked to move upwards, using small footholds and winding tower pieces. One false move and you’ll drop off, forcing you to try again from a checkpoint. I will say that the checkpoint system is very fair, so you will rarely feel frustrated in that respect. At first you just need to manage you jumps and timing, so you progress quickly and learn the basics. But then the game starts to slowly introduce new mechanics, which means as time passes, you will need to grasp and master a host of techniques. So instead of just navigating between platforms, you will be climbing the precarious footholds, using jump jets, hitting switches, and even shooting turrets to ensure you succeed. This sounds like a lot to handle and it is, but the game does a great job of introducing the mechanics and helping you get a feel for them, then dropping you into the fire.
This first person platformer mixed with kinetic puzzle solving can be tough, but it is such a rush when you pass those checkpoints. I was unsure about a first person platformer, as a lot of games have tried and few have nailed the concept. But DeadCore is one of the rare success stories, as it boasts fantastic controls and polished mechanics. This means that while you will likely fall often, you will know why it happened and the game isn’t responsible. Bad controls could have tanked this game, but we have sharp, responsive controls that never disappoint. In those harrowing near misses where you barely make it past an obstacle, you will praise how precise these controls are. The graphics are simple, but that approach works well. You need all your focus to make it here, so the simple graphics make that possible. Even when you’re moving at a breakneck pace and need every second to count, the level layouts are clear and you’ll never feel like the game has cheap shotted you somehow. This is a fun game for anyone who likes a challenge, but DeadCore seems destined to become a speedrunning classic. I can only imagine the kind of breathtaking, daredevil runs possible if speedrunners can tame this beast. I had a blast with DeadCore and while it gave me a beating often, I was never frustrated and always ready for another chance. The game is available on PC, Xbox One, and PS4 and for this review, I played on Xbox One.