Review: Damaged Core


Slightly damaged

With all of the madness that is the launch of the PlayStation VR, I've gone back and discovered a few other projects on the Oculus that I've missed recently.

One of those is the shooter Damaged Core from High Voltage Software (so that's what it's doing now besides PC ports). And if you miss it too, that's fine.

Damaged Core (PC [reviewed with an Oculus Rift])
Developer: High Voltage Software
Publisher: Oculus
Released: September 1, 2016
MSRP: $29.99

High Voltage isn't exactly known for its riveting shooter setups. The Conduit (and its successor) were basically re-imaginings of Independence Day, and Damaged Core is basically the same just with a far-future sci-fi tint. In short, an AI called "The Core" was created, it rebelled, and now everything went to shit. You're an AI fighting back in turn. That's all you need to know!

The idea is that you're "jacking in" to new bodies, with the option to head into an omnipresent, cloaked camera bot at any time to get your bearings. "Peeking" (read: tilting your head) is required, and it can be played sitting down without any need for room-scale VR because you're basically jumping from body to body instead of moving about. You know, like those old-school Mad Dog McCree arcade machines? It even has red exploding barrels!

But that half-measure approach really just serves to highlight Damaged Core's biggest fault, and a meta-reference to the current state of VR right now. While High Voltage could have un-tethered itself, and the player, it is instead providing a training wheels type experiment which appropriately plays like a giant training mode.

Yet when it works, it works. Directional sound and the isolation of the helmet works in its favor, cutting down on "cheap hits" because you can see (or hear) them coming with a little awareness. There's only several guns to choose from (and they're mostly of the "rifle" and "shotgun" variety), but they have weight to them and the system of using your head to control the reticle is more than satisfactory. Oh, and jacking in behind enemy lines and tearing up unsuspecting enemies is a blast, especially as the hulking Sentry.

Core also has some semblance of depth to it too, as there's different enemy types, like "Jammer" robots, which can prevent players from entering new bodies, making them a priority. For the most part you can get by with a hard and fast "shoot first ask questions later" rule if you're aiming for the head, but you can see what the developers were going for in spite of the ability to brute force their intentions.

VR needs more than Damaged Core. It's a good thing to add on top of the pile for people who are already fully invested, but as what essentially amounts to a novelty XBLA game, the asking price is a tad high.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]

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Damaged Core reviewed by Chris Carter



Slightly above average or simply inoffensive. Fans of the genre should enjoy it a bit, but a fair few will be left unfulfilled.
How we score:  The Destructoid reviews guide


Chris Carter
Chris CarterReviews Director, Co-EIC   gamer profile

Chris has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff! ------------------- T... more + disclosures



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