Review – Rico

What do you do with a criminal who you know is guilty, but you can’t arrest? In the real world, this is a major issue that law enforcement has to deal with every day. In the world of the first-person shooter roguelike RICO however, they found a solution for cases like this. It involves trampling over basically every suspect right in the book as well as a couple laws of nature, but the success rate speaks for itself.

Your mission if you choose to accept

The biggest question is what a British officer is doing in America. Is their no longer crime across the pond in this world?

RICO is a procedurally generated roguelike shooter. Every level, enemy, and item are randomly spawned in. As is often the result of relying entirely upon randomized levels, they quickly start to all feel the same regardless of the decent variety of level themes available. However, enemy placement is usually dynamic enough to shakeup gameplay, meaning each level may look similar, but plays drastically different. Random adjectives and item placement also do a great job of diversifying your playthrough.

Room cleared

Destructibility is more dynamic than you’d think and damage to walls on levels doesn’t disappear. So feel free to decorate the walls at your leisure.

The shooting and general gameplay mechanics are solid. All of the guns feel great and distinctive from one another, there’s a plethora of upgrades and unlockables, and movement is fluid with one great mechanic that brings it all together. Every time you break down a door and rush inside, time slows down “bullet-time style” allowing you to take enemies out en masse. It’s very well implemented and never stops being cool, weaving through oncoming bullets and landing those head shots one after the other. It feels great and never cumbersome like other implementations of slow-down. You never feel restricted, but rather empowered.

Like flack before the wind

When enemies get hit they don’t simply fall, they fly. They’ll even knock down other enemies if they hit them in mid-air.

It’s not all run and gun however, there’s also the upgrade and progression system. As you progress throughout the levels, completing objectives, you get Merits. At the end of a successful level, you get to use your total collection of Merits to unlock guns, mods, and grenades from a randomized list. While a good idea in theory, all it ends up doing is leaving you with is a bunch of stuff you can’t use. Each gun has it’s own selection of mods which is great for customization, but because you’re never guaranteed to get mods for guns you actually have or get the gun that works with the current mods available, it takes far too long to get what you want. It’s far from game-breaking, as there’s an entirely separate leveling system that handles the main progression, but it can be very annoying and is RICO’s biggest flaw.

Im DA MAP

The UI is simple and to the point, just how it should be.

While RICO does little to separate itself from the unending stream of roguelike releases, it doesn’t need to. Randomized objectives, items, and enemies combined with solid shooting mechanics more than offset the too-similar levels and frustrating upgrade systems. It may not have much of a plot or breathtaking graphics, but that doesn’t stop it from being addictively fun to play.

Graphics: 6.0

The design is basic, a bunch of mildly different office buildings. There is a nice cel-shaded effect that puts it slightly above average, but this isn’t a graphics powerhouse.

Gameplay: 7.5

It’s an incredibly solid first-person shooter, with some passable procedural generation, and just plain annoying roguelike progression.

Sound: 5.0

What needs to make noise, makes noise. There’s no voice acting present or needed, and the music is the definition of background noise.

Fun Factor: 8.0

RICO uses its simple gameplay loop to its advantage. Break down doors, kill all the baddies, collect what you find, and repeat. Simple, but effective.

Final Verdict: 7.0

Rico is available now on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Steam.

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of Rico was provided by the publisher.

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