Switch version tested
Review code provided
From the trailers, when we saw RICO By Rising Star Games rock up we were pretty stoked. A quick paced, stylish first-person shooter on the Switch. Would it live up to these expectations?
You play the part of a cop working to take down a criminal organisation. For those of us outside of the good ol’ US of A, the title RICO stands for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisation, and you have 24 hours to solve your case. The game being a first-person shooter handles the way you would expect any modern shooter too. Using twin sticks, one to aim/look/head movement and the other to move you around the environment. There is a button to switch weapons, on the shoulder buttons one to zoom down sights and one to fire. You click a stick in to run. All pretty much a standard affair, if you have played a first-person shooter in the last 15 years
The game features a bullet time mechanic activated when you kick in a door, time slows and gives you a vital few seconds to place some well-aimed shots in the bad guys foreheads. It is incredibly satisfying kicking open a door and killing everyone in sight before returning to the usual real-time speed of the game. That is pretty much it as a game in a nutshell. We would have maybe liked to have been able to have the option to take a preview of the room, something akin to Rainbow Six/Splinter Cell’s fibre optic camera to make entering a little more strategic. We would be guessing the developer opted against that, as it would take away from the fast-paced nature that the game captures well.
Rico’s graphics and presentation all feel slick and cel-shaded games always look great. In handheld mode, standing on the opposite side of a large room the draw distance often does not always reach across to the far side, but it’s not that noticeable whilst you are on the move during the frantic play. RICO’s art style did not have the impact XIII had on me back in the day with it using comic book frames and replays. Games have moved on and this is a great effort from an indie studio, especially with cartoon blood splattering around from headshots and bullet trails.
It took a while to get used to the menus as they are not too intuitive, but pretty quickly you will not have too much of a problem traversing around them. It is certainly worthwhile paying attention to these as you can upgrade your weapons or purchasing invaluable health (when you die, its case over and you start from scratch, thanks to the perms death mechanic) using any earned merits through completing levels and challenges. On top of the main game, sits a daily challenge and quickplay all with randomised rooms, across all levels.
Playing alone can feel a little empty as an experience, playing for an extended amount of time just kicking in door after door you do tend to lose a bit of interest. As the game can feel a little repetitive. We found we enjoyed the game most playing for quick, sharp 20 – 30 minute sessions. Part of this may be that whilst the Nintendo Switch is ideal for those quick gaming sessions, on the sofa or on the move, in handheld mode, we are not convinced it is best suited to a first-person shooter in this mode with its smaller analogue sticks (particularly if you have shovels for hands). Playing on a fully fledged controller really did reap dividends
Probably the biggest draw to the game is you can buddy up with a partner and take the scum out together. The game really does come alive as a two-player cooperative experience, working together busting through opposite ends of the room is what knocks the enjoyment up another level. If you don’t have any friends….well….er….you are going to miss out on the best part of the game, but fear not you can play with a random person through matchmaking. You never know, you may even make friends, now you have something in common.
As a single player game, the game did not captivate me as much as it should have if I am honest. If you have someone to play with I would recommend this as a fun, arcadey, first-person experience. Certainly whilst there is a lack of first-person shooters on the Switch today, RICO may give you the fix you need
TBG Score: 7/10
(6/10 if you have no friends)
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 14/03/2019
No. of Players: 1-2
Category: Action, First-Person Shooter, Arcade
Developer: Ground Shatter Games
Publisher: Rising Star Games
Download link: eShop