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Game Review #185: RICO (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Chad M.

Developer: Ground Shatter

Publisher: Rising Star Games

Category: Arcade, First Person, Action

Release Date: 03.12.2019 (Physical) | 03.14.2019 (Digital)

Price (at time of review): $29.99 (Physical) | $19.99 (Digital)

Buy RICO (digital) from the Nintendo eShop here.

Buy RICO (physical) from Amazon here.

Calling All Cars! The Bust Is Going Down

The eShop is overflowing with games from every genre and type of gameplay, but one in particular seems to be under-represented, and that’s the first-person shooter action games. Now, I’ve seen a few from indie developers, and there are even a few from AAA studios, like Doom and Wolfenstein 2, but compared to the other more powerful consoles that have numerous titles in that genre, the developers haven’t seemed to really make the move just yet, even though the Nintendo Switch is the fastest-growing console in the world at this moment. But, more and more indie developers keep taking stabs by throwing their hats into the arena.

The developers, Ground Shatter, based out of the UK, have done just that with RICO. RICO is an arcade style, first-person shooter that’s said to be inspired by modern action cinema. The idea is you play as a loose cannon on an elite organized crime task-force sent in to eradicate the criminal scourge that’s laying waste to the city. You have twenty-four hours to crack the case and bring the criminals down by storming the building and taking the fight directly to the criminals on their home turf.

You’re Between A Bullet & A Target

If you’ve played Payday 2 (also on Switch), you jump in as a team or duo of criminals to run jobs. This is the other side of that, where as a single cop or a duo, you will besiege criminals in a number of different missions, from destroying servers, collecting evidence, defusing bombs, taking out enemies, and clearing buildings. During the campaign if you die, that’s it. You go back to the start, no matter how far you’ve gone. So, you’ll have to keep an eye on your HP, as it doesn’t refill after a successful mission, leaving you to locate med kits for health. You’ll also have to pick up dropped ammo and hunt for ammo boxes.

If you’ve played a FPS Action game before, you’ll know the controls for the most part: left stick moves you with right stick looking/aiming. Everything is as you’d expect with throwing grenades, reloading, and switching weapons. The two controls that are not new to the gameplay, but a big part of this game is kicking in doors, which slows down time, turning into a small time-bullet/time-effect matrix style where everything goes into slow motion briefly. Also, you can run and push A and slide through the door, busting right into the heat with no slow motion and right into harm’s way. Each level you choose will show you the difficulty of the level with a skull meter.

Each level starts with closed doors, which, as soon as you kick open, 3-5 random bad guys would immediately jump to action shooting at me, and some without guns would run towards me with bats or some other melee weapon. I noticed, after playing a while, that there were only a handful of enemy types, and the AI wasn’t very smart. I could kick a door in, shoot who was in front of me, then back up, drop to one knee aiming at the door, and pick them off one by one. There are some doors that are locked up, and you’ll have to find and destroy a number of computers to unlock the doors and move forward.

Dead Bodies & They All Look The Same

So this one took me right back to old arcade game shooters from the 90s like Time Crisis. This is where the game shines, and the best part of the game is the mindless action and fun. It harkens back to the days when it was more about style over substance, with the action being over the top. You start out with a normal handgun, and can purchase a number of different gun (primary & secondary) attachments and items, from grenades to armor and health kits. I found myself playing the game on easy, rather than the other difficulties, as the game isn’t very forgiving—and I’ve beaten most games like Doom on the hardest difficulty! Plus, there’s no other way about it, as you will get shot quite often, and I was struggling to find med kits the whole time. The aim was very loose, and unfortunately, you can’t tweak the sensitivity in the options. Most times I wouldn’t aim down sites, I’d just hip-fire on everyone, as I found it to be more sufficient.

One thing that killed my soul is that you have to go to the training level EVERY time before starting a new campaign, and it’s very boring. I wish there was a way to bypass this. After running through the campaign a few times solo—and co-op, which is the best way—I also checked out the quick mode and online mode. The quick mode lets you run one-off missions or go to a parking garage or roof top and make a last stand against waves of enemies, or, if you like the sound of fingernails going down a chalkboard, you can play the training level over and over. They give online leaderboards in online mode, which is a great feature as well, not only local co-op, but online co-op as well.

Audio & Visuals

The soundtrack I heard during the menu screens isn’t bad, as far as an upbeat pop/hip hop sound, but the most shocking thing is, once you start the actual game, there is absolutely NO music. I, of course, thought there was an error or that I was doing something wrong, as I went to options and turned the music up to 100% and still heard nothing. It really made the gameplay and levels feel empty, as I would only hear sound for the brief moments upon breaking into a room, there are moments filled with yelling, screaming, grunts, and lots of gunfire, but after that, just dead silence aside from the occasional ticking of a bomb. The art style is a cell-shaded style, and honestly doesn’t look bad, it’s just minor tweaking as far as fun-to-screen ratio, more character designs, and little things that could’ve made the game pop more.

It’s A Wrap!!!

I’m being optimistic that, with a patch or two, the little issues I encountered can be fixed, and this can be more of a solid experience. This is definitely one where you need to set expectations. If you go into the game knowing that it’s meant to be hardcore action and fun, it’s not so heavy on the story, and the controls aren’t perfect, then you can have a hell of a time. I want to be able to bypass the training after playing through the campaign, and tweak a few things like the audio and the controls. But, for the price, the value is perfect to snatch up a fun over-the-top FPS with a lot of blood, bullets, and co-op gameplay.

Score: 7.5/10

Buy RICO (digital) from the Nintendo eShop here.

Buy RICO (physical) from Amazon here.

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*Review Code Provided by Thunderful

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