|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: NoWay Studio||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Graffiti Entertainment||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug. 11, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
An unexciting weapons arsenal proves to be one of several major downers. Picking up a new armament packs little fanfare, and it's often hard to really tell the benefit of using one weapon over another, unless you compare the completely ineffective pea shooting pistol with a high-powered laser cannon. Some weapons inherently seem completely worthless. The shotgun, for instance, is actually worse than the machine gun you'll pick up before it. It lacks accuracy, is heinously sluggish to reload, and ultimately will lead you to a quick death should you choose to wield it for any given amount of time.
C.O.R.E.'s level designs leave much to be desired. With no map to consult, you're often stuck meticulously trudging through long corridors filled with tons of doors (half of which don't open, but you can't tell unless you walk into them). You'll also spend time hunting for colored passkeys to unlock new areas. Even so, it's easy to get lost, and the brooding gloom and drab colors mix poorly with low lighting. Save points and health restoration chambers are so far apart that you'll frequently die at the hands of one or two weakling foes at the worst possible moments and be forced to retread through the level again. Visually, the enemies and environments are functional in a generic sort of way. The game doesn't look particularly bad. It's just not very memorable or interesting graphically. One the other hand, the game's audio stands out like a sore thumb. The heavy metal soundtrack is great for about a minute. After that, it grows highly repetitive and annoying. Sounds effects - especially when you get wounded - are similarly unpleasant.
Though it takes an absurdly lengthy amount of time to download them, the single-card local multiplayer matches are a nice addition to the main game. Up to four players can drop into several different styles of play set across 10 different cramped arenas. These short bouts can be fun in brief bursts, but they grow tiresome for many of the same reasons the rest of C.O.R.E. falters. Multi-card local matches let you access and tweak the gameplay options much quicker and offer a certain measure of enjoyment.
Even with gameplay, story, and presentation that are all highly derivative, C.O.R.E. might have still been a solid pick for a handheld FPS title if it weren't for the many problems littered throughout its design. In the end, it's pretty unremarkable when compared to the competition.
CCC Staff Contributor