Bad boys, bad boys, what ya gonna do, what ya gonna do when they come for you.
Rico is a first-person shooter that according to the makers is a “buddy cop” game. The game is all about taking out gangs on the way to the head honcho at the top of the crime family.
The game offers up cases that play out in a roguelike system. Each case will offer a spider web of smaller cases that are all linked to the target at the end of the web. To get to the target you have to make your way along the grid of “leads” taking out lieutenants on the way to the big bad. As you go along you are graded and given merit points that you can use to buy more weapons to alter your loadout for each level. The levels are randomly generated and if you die the case is over and you have to start again (including the tutorial mission which gets a bit old fast), your unlocks don’t carry over to next playthrough and you have to buy them again.
The game uses a cel-shaded style. Now I’m not sure if this is what they always intended or if they did it like Tony Hawks 5 and added the cel-shading to cover up the fact the game looked a bit rough. Graphically the game doesn’t look far off a PS3 title and the gameplay is pretty basic to boot.
I’ll lay it out for you. You kick in a door, kill the bad guys, move to the next door kick it open kill the bad guys. Occasionally you may have to collect evidence or defuse bombs but ultimately it’s very much rinse and repeat gameplay. When playing solo the game offers a slowdown bullet time mechanic to help you out, if you play co-op then you just plan and take out the bad guys without the slowdown.
The game also doesn’t seem to run with the buddy cop thing all that much. You get a short into at the start showing you this team that make up the Rico taskforce and there are loading screens showing the characters and you get an idea of their personality from the art but there is no real cutscenes or anything to push the buddy cop American tv show narrative.
The shooting itself is a bit dated feeling, playing it I felt the mechanics were a bit clunky and more in line with the types of FPS doing the rounds when things like Timesplitters was all the rage. They try to mix it up by offering a slide and shoot mechanic John Woo style but ultimately I found it harder to kill people while sliding than I did just shooting them head-on.
There is not a lot of modes either, you can team up online and try to tackle a case, you can take on a challenge level (this changes) or you can select quick play, that’s it and it doesn’t mix up the gameplay in any meaningful way.
Overall I feel like Rico is a perfectly serviceable game but it feels like it firmly slots into mediocre territory. About 10 years ago I might have said it was better but it hasn’t aged well for a brand new title.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*