REVIEW: ‘RICO’ is Nostalgic Action Fun (PS4)

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RICO

When criminal empires have infiltrated your city and begin running the place, the only available option is to fight back. From Ground Shatter Games and Rising Star Games comes a refreshing take on old-fashioned police-focused combat, RICO. Adopting the classic drama of 1990’s shows, such as Walker Texas Ranger and buddy-cop movies such as Lethal Weapon 3, RICO puts players into the classic action scenario of door-busting and criminal chasing that makes for a fun game that players will be frequently come back to, though it is not entirely smooth.

Criminals have taken over the city, and you are part of RICO, a no-holds-barred team with access to the latest tools and firepower. What dangers lurk in front of you is completely unexpected, as RICO is a procedurally generated game. Each mission you embark on will be entirely different from the building layouts, to enemy placement, to the objectives that must be accomplished. After a quick training session in the kill house players are off to take a bite out of crime.

RICO works as a fast-paced but traditional first-person shooter, where players will kick down doors and dispatch enemies. The objective is to clear the entire structure by clearing each room. Along the way, players can collect evidence, money, and defuse bombs. The hard part is staying alive.

The enemies in RICO are incredibly dangerous and in some cases will attempt to breach you and eliminate you as well. When kicking a door in, the game slows down, giving players an opportunity to clear entire rooms right away. After a short time, the slow-motion will expire, putting players in a lightning-fast shootout with the enemy. The enemy variations will change as they equip more dangerous weapons as well as body armor.

RICO

Random objectives further the challenge, as does the fact that there is no place for cover in these urban environments. The sooner enemies are dispatched, the better chance to stay alive. The shooting gameplay in RICO feels tight and responsive. RICO adopts the cel-shaded visual style of a comic book which gives it the impression of a hard, mature-rated graphic novel.

The lightning-fast shooting is intense and fierce as well as challenging. When swarmed by criminals, RICO can become quite overwhelming since there is no cover. In fact, any semblance of cover is completely destructible, as bullets will shred through wood and chip away at the porcelain. At some parts during the stages, enemy reinforcements will randomly appear further heightening the danger level.

Where things get most intense, however, is when RICO generates the random objective of bomb defusal. At any one given point, the game will challenge players to defuse multiple explosives. They are scattered throughout a floor and players are given an incredibly short amount of time to locate and defuse the explosives. While there is a map player can access, it will not display the explosives, which suddenly makes RICO an extremely wild case of search and disarm. All it takes is to enter the wrong room and run out of time to end your run.

RICO is best played with a partner and the game provides both online and offline co-op to its players. In addition to the main rouge-like campaign, players can enter training sessions, waves-based modes, and daily challenges of various difficulties to compete on. There is no shortage of entertainment or enjoyment with RICO giving players that ” one-more-time” feeling, which is always a sign of solid game design. Overall, the gameplay experience is immeasurably fun and exciting, striking the artery of fun to play and enjoyable challenging, which is a trait not seen often in first-person shooters. I never found myself terribly frustrated when being defeated.

However, RICO is repetitive, and it will show fairly quickly. You breach a room, enter slow motion, clear the room of hostiles, and then rinse and repeat until the level is accomplished. Once again, this is made fun with a partner, but regrettably, I was unable to find one on PlayStation 4 servers. Additionally, the objective of defusing bombs can be quite unfair. When these objectives appear, players will have two minutes or less to defuse several explosives. This leaves the player to furiously guess which room to breach to find the bomb.

In several playthroughs, I breached the wrong room and was unable to defuse the explosives in time, sending me to the Game Over screen. More variety in the level designs would have been welcome and I can imagine an abundance of interesting level presentations in a sequel. Finally, I would have wanted some music to play during the course of missions, as playing the game without any music feels hollow.

RICO is a good, old-fashioned co-op action that, while limited, is nonetheless fun and perhaps even nostalgic. Playing solo is fun, but in co-op is where RICO shines brightest. Sometimes, in life, you just got to bust some doors down to get the job done and make an impression. RICO succeeds in doing just that.

RICO
  • 8/10
    Rating - 8/10
8/10

TL; DR

RICO is a good, old-fashioned co-op action that, while limited, is nonetheless fun and perhaps even nostalgic. Playing solo is fun, but in co-op is where RICO shines brightest. Sometimes, in life, you just got to bust some doors down to get the job done and make an impression. RICO succeeds in doing just that.