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Finally, after over half a year of waiting, the much anticipated FPS for the Nintendo DS, C.O.R.E., is finally to be released on August 17th. Luckily enough for flash card users such as me, the rom has already been dumped and is ready to play.

The game loads with the logo of Graffiti entertainment and NoWay Studios. Then an interesting cutsceneappears of a meteor striking the Earth starts up. “In the year 2028 and unidentified object hit Earth…” I’m too lazy to write out the rest of the introduction, but it basically goes that the US army built a secret site on the base, but now the communications there are down and people are being sent in to investigate. Now on my review of the opening scene where the meteor hits Earth. It was weak. It tells me that this game was most likely poorly funded. It is SO unlike the impressive opening cutscenes of most RPGs on the Nintendo DS. The meteor looked like a round sphere with blue dots in it and the way it moved seemed to fake it appeared as if the meteor was simply an expanding circle with a background picture of a circular Earth. I’m very disappointed that this new company was unable to create a more impressive opening. Let’s hope the gameplay is a slightly more satisfying than the intro.

The C.O.R.E. logo does look very cool with its V-shaped emblem behind the text. But the text where the choices are being made (such as single-player campaigns, settings, or multiplayer) is hard to read. NoWay Studios chose a terrible background for the touch screen to pair up with the white text of the gaming choices. Maybe it’s just a petty note that I’m pointing out, but a note is a note and this is going to add into the deduction of rating points that I will rate C.O.R.E. with later.

WOW. I am incredibly impressed. Right away after clicking on Single-Player mission, a head pops up. Unfortunately this head is supposed to be a human’s head, but it doesn’t look like a human. It looks like a face that a 5 year old had drawn; somewhat simple, but extremely ugly. The face is an awkward oval with beady eyes that stare right at you. What makes it worse is that the text used when the captain is talking is incredibly scrawly and looks like the same 5 year old had written it and the creators had decided to throw it into their game. So far I am thoroughly disappointed with what C.O.R.E. had to offer me. I am seriously praying that the gameplay, story, and music will make up for what I have seen so far.

The graphics are just killing me. It looks like an old N64 game shooter game was ported directly into the DS. Many people are comparing the graphics to the old game, Doom. Unfortunately, this is a DS game and is definitely not old.

GAH! This game is tough. Surprisingly I’ve actually played for almost 10 minutes now without taking my eye from the DS screen. The gameplay isn’t terrible, the graphics really take away from it. The enemies just seem to blend into the colors behind them and they simply become hard to aim at. Now on to the gameplay. Like the actual site claimed, the game contains lots of corridors. At every turn there’s basically another single enemy ready to be shot down with an assault rifle or pistol. Although I did get 2 game overs from them(it’s even on easy mode) without getting a chance to find a save point, the game is probably going to seem repetitive soon enough. It’s the same shoot and cover behind a wall technique that will probably be used throughout the rest of the game. Also, the enemies are just way overpowered. A single shot from them takes away about a tenth of your health bar. Ten shots and you’re done. Oops. Turns out that enemy bullets are easy to job as long as you simply hold down the right or left on the movement pad. So far enemy bullets are simple red dots that come at you rather slowly. Maybe this game will be too easy with the ability do easily dodge bullets.

Yay, I’ve reached a save point without dying thanks to my new technique of dodging bullets. So far there really is absolutely no depth in the storyline. It’s not an RPG, so I won’t be too critical about it. The whole point of a FPS game is to complete missions while feeling awesome gunning down enemies after enemies. The only thing I’ll say about the lack of a story for C.O.R.E. is that even the missions don’t make any sense. I have absolutely no idea what I’m being told to do, but the game pretty much instructs you to run around in a specific order by locking down doors that aren’t to be entered. All in all a very poor display of story-telling and mission guiding is found within C.O.R.E.

And finally, the sound will be judged. The background music isn’t too noticeable as first off, it is being played rather quietly. Secondly, it’s just light beat playing on different types of drums with the occasional guitar camo. Nothing special, but at least it doesn’t take away from the game. Unfortunately for C.O.R.E. the music isn’t the only thing that’s being judged here. The sounds of the guns and of enemies must be looked at as well and things aren’t looking so bright. On a good note however, the assault rifle has the standard shooting sound with its fast moving bullets. The pistol on the other hand isn’t really a pistol. It’s more of a mini ray gun that shoots out a red dot and it makes a strange futuristic sound that can’t be described. I think I’ll just stick with the assault rifle. Finally, some things are better to remain silent, and these somethings are the alien or human or whatever the walking non-robotic enemies are. When they die they make the strangest grunting noise that is incredibly disturbing. If it weren’t for the occasional grunting of dying things, then the music and sound combination of C.O.R.E. would receive a decent rating from me. Too bad it’s not so it will not.

In conclusion, C.O.R.E. for the Nintendo DS has severely stomped on my hopes and dreams. Expecting to find a beautifully crafted First Peron Shooter, I was crushed to find an underfunded DS game with absolutely no aspiration to becoming a top DS seller. And now I will rate the game with what my eyes have seen just moments ago.

Graphics: 3/10. I guess old school shooter graphics just aren’t my thing especially when the pixelated backgrounds distract the gameplay. The assault rifle was well drawn out in its classic format, so that gave the graphics a little bonus.

Gameplay: 4/10. After learning how to dodge bullets to not take damage, the game suddenly seemed way too easy. Maybe it was because I was still on easy mode, but I’m sure the AI in such a poorly made game wouldn’t make much of a difference.

Story/Missions: 3/10. I didn’t know what I was actually supposed to be doing, I only knew that the game was simply leading me through the doorways. Basically it led me to whatever item I needed (in this case a card key) and then forced me to go to the only doorway with a card key lock. LAME.

Sound: 4/10. The background music is okay. At least it’s not distracting, but the fact that the dying enemies make strange grunting sounds really bothers me.

Overall, the average turns out to be 3.5/10, but I will have to round down this time instead of up.

C.O.R.E. final score? 3/10. Don’t bother buying it. It doesn’t even have WiFi multiplayer.