RICO Reviews

1,196,612 (560,005)
TA Score for this game: 2,175
Posted on 10 May 19 at 05:48
This review has 6 positive votes and 11 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
The Roguelite genre is the one utilized by the creatively bankrupt and lazy development teams who want to make a video game but don't want to put any time or effort into things like "story" or "level design". Of course, Rico is no exception since it is a Roguelite FPS that randomly generates levels, enemy placement, item placement, and weapon pickups each run. To the surprise of no one, it doesn't work.

The little context given in the games "tutorial" (a tutorial that doesn't tell you the controls, fun fact) sets up the premise that you are a member of a new police force known as RICO which has decided to abandon the idea of due process and encourages you to kick down doors and start gunning people down no questions asked. With all that said, you're now dumped into your operations. You can choose to do individual operations (single randomly generated levels) or cases (a number of operations strung together which need to be done without dying) with an endless horde mode thrown in there out of obligation.

I don't know why anyone would actually play an Operation, however. They don't award XP or give you a taste of what the game is actually like, it's just a randomly generated level. I also don't see why anyone would play cases, because winning them is based entirely on RNG and seeing any progress is a slog. I've lost many cases at the very end due to the horrible bomb mechanic. Each level you are given a certain amount of tasks to do, which can include killing enemies in particular ways, collecting evidence, or defusing bombs. If you don't defuse the bombs, you fail the case, meaning you have to start the entire thing over from scratch. In the later levels, you are given impossible tasks, such as defusing 5 bombs within 2 minutes or 3 bombs in 30 seconds. Every single 45 minute run I've gotten to the end of so far has been ended by the game giving me too many bombs and not enough time to defuse them, which is what puts this title in the bottom 10.

Like most Roguelites, there is some persistence across attempts. The more you bang your head against the wall during cases the more XP you gain, allowing you to level up and unlock perks. the only 3 that matter are 25% damage taken reduction, 25% damage output increase, and 25% fire rate increase. If you combine these with a Reed shotgun you will be an unstoppable killing machine, though that won't save you from bombs that are physically too far apart to reach in a certain time limit. While perks are persistent, weapon loadouts are randomized. Considering the only 3 guns that are worth using in this game are the AK-47, the Reed shotgun and the AER rifle you might be waiting a very long time to buy something other than your starting pistol. Aside from this, your secondary healing item is also random between levels. You may be allowed to buy armor which doubles your health and can't be replenished during gameplay or be given a revive syringe which gives yourself or your partner the ability to come back to life after inevitably being blindsided by reinforcements. I know which one I'd rather use, which also happens to be the one the game never allows me to buy at the end of runs when they're actually necessary.

The gameplay itself is very janky, running feels like gliding and walking feels like crawling over broken glass. There's a health system that requires you to pick up health packs/cases throughout levels to recover, but since everything is randomly generated you could easily face a long stretch of brutal rooms without a drop of extra health to assist you. Even worse, you could be faced with the cruel fate of having a health case and an ammo case spawn next to each other behind an object randomly placed in the environment that you can't climb over, making them inaccessible. Enemies are braindead, walking directly towards you once you open the door to their room. This means that you can open a door, stand off to the side, and wait for enemies to walk in front of you as you bash them with a nightstick. More often you'll just be bashing the wall next to the door though, since enemy arms and guns poke right through the wall like this game was made in 2002 instead of 2019. In order to compensate for the Forrest Gump IQ AI the game just overwhelms you by spawning them behind you after enough time passes or objectives are completed. This means in a game where you aren't able to easily recover health you will often be blindsided by a group of 3-5 heavily armed enemies from a room you already cleared.

If there's a moral to this story it's that you can't randomly generate a good game. Take a look at the games often lauded as the best of all time, titles such as Resident Evil 4, Final Fantasy VII, BioShock and Half-Life 2. These are games with carefully crafted levels that flowed from one area to the next in a coherent structure, items being placed in these environments with care and consideration alongside enemies and obstacles. Indie developers are seemingly obsessed with the notion of "infinite possibilities" provided by random generation, but they're merely infinite ways of rearranging the furniture in a very small apartment. The space will always be the same, despite the content being different, and nothing will be as effective as hiring an interior decorator to get the job done right the first time.

A code was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.

There is 1 comment relating to this Review | Please log in to comment on this solution.