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Graffiti Entertainment



NoWay Studio





August 11, 2009



- The game turns on
- You can walk past it in favor of more quality, newly released games
- You can laugh at me for having to play it



- Uncomfortable, unreliable controls
- Frequent, unavoidable deaths
- I could have been reviewing Uncharted 2 instead



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Score: 1.0 / 10


core          core


We, as a society, are taught not to judge a book by its cover. This applies to all sorts of covers, whether literal or metaphorical, and it applies to videogames as well. Just look at how many ignorant people ignored a masterpiece like Ico due to the hideously westernized box-art.

And yet while this is sound advice, sometimes you can spot a stinker from a mile away. One look at C.O.R.E.’s box-art can tell you not so much what kind of game it is, but what kind of game it wants to be. The resemblance the game’s name and




- DS Game Reviews

- Shooter Game Reviews

artwork shares with a certain highly successful, highly more recognized FPS series confirms the convenient timing of C.O.R.E.’s release. Developed by NoWay Studio and published by Graffiti Entertainment, C.O.R.E. was originally scheduled for a late 2008 release, but held back due to fine tuning. Even with an extra five years of development time, however, nothing short of a complete overhaul would be enough to


save C.O.R.E from its fundamentally excruciating flaws.

C.O.R.E’s story begins with a not terrible/not exciting FMV where a meteor crashes into earth in the year 2028. Over the next twenty years, a facility is built over the area where the meteor crashed. Finally, in 2048, a covert team has been sent in to investigate the facility, which has dropped all contact with the outside world. You have to give C.O.R.E credit for summarizing a twenty year spanning story in less than thirty seconds, but that’s about all the game can get credit for.

After being briefed by your grotesquely large headed mutant commander, players are thrust into a maze of interconnecting brown-colored hallways filled with locked doors, laptops, and killer robots and soldiers. Why are these people attacking you? Who cares? Just shoot everything that isn’t you…or at least, that’s what the developers were going for. Unable to resist the implementation of touchscreen controls, C.O.R.E features the non-customizable control scheme of controlling your soldier with the d-pad, while navigating the camera with the stylus, while also using the left shoulder button to fire.


core          core

You can imagine how frustrating such a control scheme can be. If the game allowed more customization, things may have been more bearable. Adding insult to injury are the enemies, who immediately fire upon our hero on sight and without stopping until one of you is dead. The most major issue here is that when taking damage from enemy fire, our soldier is briefly stunned from the damage, and is unable to fire back. It isn’t uncommon for a robot sentry or disgruntled soldier to continuously drain your health while you can only get a couple shots in for every ten shots fired by the enemy….in fact, it is incredibly common and will result in constantly frustrating deaths. There are also load times to deal with when restarting, at least 30 seconds worth, which is absurd for a cartridge game. Save points are available, but not frequent enough given the constant deaths. There are also health packs and ammo to collect, as well as different keycards required for opening doors. Once you reach a certain point, you’ll be given orders to explore another area for a while, and so forth.

Clearly, the biggest source of inspiration for C.O.R.E. is the original Doom, which is imitated in almost every aspect, from the faux-rock music, to the additional weapons, to the constipated grunt the soldier bellows when attacked. But as purists have argued for years how Doom’s keyboard and mouse controls don’t hold up in console ports, it can be unanimously agreed that they especially don’t work on the DS. Had the controls and difficulty been fine-tuned, the game could have been written off as a passable imitator, but instead what we have is pure, unrelenting torture. Local multiplayer, which includes the usual clichés of Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag, could be a fun way to test the patience level of friends, but good luck finding three other people dumb enough to own this game.

What more can be said? C.O.R.E. is the kind of low budget crud that would be sold in drugstores, hastily bought by an uncaring relative to pass on as a birthday gift to a poor, unsuspecting gamer. At least that plastic Transformers knockoff can serve as a chew toy for pets or a test dummy for firecrackers. There is no redeeming factor for a game like C.O.R.E., and the time it took you to read this doesn’t amount to the time I suffered playing through it.


- Jorge Fernandez

(October 15, 2009)


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