22/09/2021

๐Ÿ’ฅ RICO | Nintendo Switch | Review | 3/10 | "I wouldn't call myself an expert in police procedures" ๐Ÿ’ฅ #IndieGames #GameDev

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Although I watch Line of Duty, I wouldn't call myself an expert in police procedures. 

That said, I'm reasonably sure that if, as an officer, you spot some dodgy types toting automatic weapons, you should call for backup. 

What you shouldn't do, I would imagine, is enter the building, pick up the first gun you find and start systematically killing everyone in the building. 

It all seems a bit too, I don't know, murdery...

Anyway, that's the premise of RICO London. You play DI Redfern, who has been given a fairly cushy, if boring, assignment on New Year's Eve 1999. Then the aforementioned spotting of some gangsters happens, and it all kicks off. Although to signpost the co-op, Redfern asks her partner, who is set to accompany her, if he is firearms trained, to which he luckily replies in the affirmative. I mean, even if you are trained, I don't think it means you're allowed to go full ED-209, but again, what do I know.

It turns out that there's a big arms deal happening, so the coppers decide to stop it from happening in the only way it seems possible for them to do. So you dash through a series of rooms, smashing your way in and cleaning house. 

I say cleaning, you actually make quite a mess, with all the blood and corpses you generate. You enter a room by literally kicking the door in, at which point you get a couple of seconds of slow-mo to take out as many enemies as you can before real-time begins, which makes things a bit harder. 

The quicker you kill everyone, the more your points multiplier increases. Then, once you've cleared the room, you 'breach' the next room and do it all again. And again. And again. One thing you don't get here is much variation, even if you do get a few hostages to rescue, or objectives to fulfil later on.

There's a decent amount of weapons in this game, along with unique variations of each with different characteristics. Ammo is scarce, so you have to take what guns you can get a lot of the time. I quite liked this aspect as it forces you to use different playstyles - I couldn't do my usual shotgun-from-point-blank routine in every single room. 

You can also use a range of throwables, from knives and axes to flash and frag grenades. There's a shop between levels where you can spend medals (the in-game currency) for supplies, weaponry and stat boosts.

The cel-shaded visuals are reminiscent of Borderlands, or if you can remember that far back, XIII, so the game is nice to look at. The frame rate is absolutely all over the place though - even in docked mode it suffers, which for a twitchy shooter is a cardinal sin. The music is fine, although the SFX and speech are really muddy - I use subtitles anyway, but it becomes a necessity even if you don't.
The main problem with RICO London isn't the core gameplay - it's pretty fun, for the first 15 minutes or so. It's that you are literally doing the same thing room after room, level after level until the end. 

You do encounter the occasional super-tough enemy who takes a lot of punishment, and as mentioned above the odd objective to complete, but there's very little to discover beyond that. 

There are daily challenges, but as you can imagine, it's the same game, just with a leader board at the end. If the game cost a fiver I wouldn't mind so much, but at a premium price tag (around £30) there needs to be more to get your teeth into. 

The graphical issues also aren't really acceptable in a game like this either, along with a plethora of glitches that can cause enemies to fly around the room, or corpses to dance like it's Thriller.

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