By Diana "DumeeGamer" Dumee on March 20, 2019
Waaaay back, say two years, when I was visiting the Indigo 2017 game event, my eye was caught by a coop action game called Rico. Now, being a bit of an action girl myself, naturally I was drawn to the booth of the game's developers, the Bristol, UK based studio Ground Shatter Ltd. I even had the honor to meet game director James Parker and play Rico with him. If that isn't a once-in-a-lifetime experience, than I don't know what is!
Now, a year and a half later, it's finally time for Rico to be flung (quite violently) into the wide world of gaming! This time around, I didn't have the expert help of James, but this loss was somewhat made up for by the fact that I got to enjoy the game in the comfort of my own living room, including comfy couch and my coop partner in crime... Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams! Yay! (Confetti, flags and fireworks, please... yes, what is it now? Oh, and a beer for Ferry!)
So what is Rico, when you get right down to it? Well, I thought you'd never ask! Rico is a very, very, VERY cool, blood-pumping, fast-paced first person arcade shooter which, in my opinion, is best played coop. Sure, you could play the game on your own but this would probably mean that: a) things will get really difficult really, really fast, and b) you have no friends. So, your best bet will always be playing the game together with a friend. You can play Rico online or even as a split-screen couch coop. In the game, a special team has been put together to put a stop to major crimes in these violent times. Together with your partner in crime (busting), you will assume the roles of two law enforcement characters who all made the team because they always, as well as by all means, get the job done! They will have 24 hours to close their upcoming case, so time is not on their side. The basic concept of the game is very simple: kick doors open, kill the bad guys, collect evidence and then get the hell out of there before more bad guys show up!
During the intro video it quickly becomes apparent that there will be four characters for you to choose from. Now, you might think this choice doesn't seem to make that much of a difference at the start, apart from the obvious difference in appearance. This is mainly due to the fact that you don't see different abilities or something like that listed. Even later on, while playing the game, you will unlock the same skills as your partner, even at the same time. But in the armory, you will notice some differences, so do pay attention during the briefing video to learn about the traits and experience of each character and make damn sure to select the character that best suits your personal playing style.
Any given case consists of multiple missions. Before you enter a mission you can buy some necessary items, like weapons, attachments, health and armor. But here's the tricky part: and every time you'll come across this screen, it will not necessarily show you the same items as it did before. As you can probably imagine, this makes planning ahead a bit tricky, because you never know what is going to be on offer the next time around. And, seeing as how the bad guys you're hunting down shoot back at you (don't you just hate it when they do that. I mean, come on! I just washed this shirt, for Pete's sake!), your armor and health will eventually start depleting. Now, if you do nothing about this, you will start the next round with your semi-depleted armor and health. So, being able to buy these items between every round would be somewhat easier but, on the other hand, it's actually very cool to see how far you will make it without an endless supply of health and armor.
Your current case overview has the layout of a multi-tiered, multi-path route from left to right, with the left most point being your starting point and the right most point being your main target in the case at hand. Circles represent the various missions within the case, which should be completed one after another. Now, you don't need to complete every single mission to reach the end of a case, you'll just need to make sure you create a path from left to right within the time limit. Time limit? Yes, time limit! Remember how I told you that our team of specialists has only 24 hours to solve a case? Well, this is where the timer on the "case map" screen comes in. In the top right corner, a clock is counting backwards, showing you just how much time you have left to complete the case.
Here's another tip for you when selecting missions. Make sure to check the difficulty of each mission before you enter it, and prepare yourself because dying means completely restarting the case, without taking into account the progress you've managed to make before meeting your untimely demise. Now wait, don't start crying, it's not all that bad. You see, your progress in terms of character level, weapons and items are saved, but in terms of map progress... yeah, well, you'll need to start over from scratch. And because cases, operations and missions are randomly generated, you are assured a brand new experience every time you play the game.
I love to play coop games together with Ferry and Rico is definitely an excellent addition to our ever-growing collection. I like the shell shaded art-style as well as the cool soundtrack. Plus, there are a few benefits to be had when playing together like, if you and your partner manage to kick open two doors at the exact same time, said time slows down for a little while, giving you the opportunity to kill bad guys in bullet time! I personally can see myself picking up Rico again and again, because it's really fun to play. Of course, you might put it aside for a bit when you die late in a case, but you can easily pick it up after some time and have another go at it. Rico is an awesome game that is easy to learn, and literally kicks ass... ehm... doors. Plus it's simply one of those games that screams to be played cooperatively at the top of its digital lungs!