Review by Ethan Baron
‘A city where any street criminal can become a kingpin and every meth head is an entrepreneur’
Breach. Clear. Collect. Destroy.
From Developers Ground Shatter, Rico is the new indie game on the block and is complete bullet mayhem.
You are working inside a special police force tasked with quick and brutal responses against the Kingpins of the San Amaro;
Don’t expect much story from this game however as aside from the introduction there is almost none. Instead the Dev’s have decided to focus completely on level design and gameplay, and it works, mostly.
Inside RICO’s gameplay the idea is to move through each level, shooting everyone in sight, destroying data, collecting evidence and diffusing the occasional bomb. When breaching a door, bullet time triggers temporarily to allow you to choose the important first few shots, those reading this who have played Call of Duty or Max Payne will understand this, but for those that don’t its basically slow motions. Simple, right?
The level design uses procedural generation so each time you play it, the objectives locations and enemies filling that area will change slightly. It’s a nice touch but doesn’t make the game feel alive as I’d hoped.
RICO gives you the option to play solo or online and offline co-op but I’d definitely recommend Co-op, the comical tension of working together to clear each room before accidentally shooting your partner in the head while bullets are flying everywhere or psyching each other up to breach a room, only to find you had already done it is fantastic and infuriating at the same time.
After beating each level, you are given a wealth of possible customization options like new weapons, grenades, attachments, even skins for weapons so there is always something you can work towards, and each weapon has enough recoil and different ways to use it that it is worth trying them all out. The Menu and HUD are very easy to navigate and understand, which is a bonus.
RICO’s art style stands out above all else, using cell-shaded graphics and black and white lines to emphasise different assets, it looks really good! The Explosions, Gunfire and Slow motion Visuals are on point as well. The problem is that’s pretty much where it ends too.
The enemies you face are deadly accurate and look cool to begin with, but they all use pretty much the same character models which seems like a half-hearted effort was put into designing them. This is much the same case with the level design, breaching and clearing levels inside, offices, warehouses and other locations seems bland, and while the aesthetics are marginally different, they feel the same and in turn this starts to feel incredibly repetitive.
Overall RICO is a fun new indie, that doesn’t try to hard to be anything serious. It’s a good little FPS that shines when played with a friend, emphasising all the best parts of co-op gaming. It definitely gets repetitive after awhile and some aspects of the game feel under polished slightly, but I’d say it’s worth picking up regardless.
Overall score 6.5/10