Rico

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Rico Game Poster Image
Ambitious but flawed (and violent) buddy cop shooter.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

You're fighting against criminals, but overwhelming amount of violence and force eliminates any positives here.

Positive Role Models & Representations

You can play as one of four playable male or female police officers shooting enemies while trying to take down a kingpin. Little is known about any of the characters, so there's no way to know what their motives are.

Ease of Play

Randomly generated levels and mission types might imply extra difficulty, but game isn't very challenging. That said, you can select from various difficulty levels to add a challenge. The controls are fairly straightforward to learn, but sometimes feel clunky and unresponsive.

Violence

A lot of violence and blood, as you shoot several enemies while tackling missions. Often the combat's dramatized with slow-motion effects for added entertainment value. Enemies may cry out in pain. You can also stab enemies from behind. One of your objectives may be completing a certain number of "headshots."

Sex
Language

Frequent strong profanity, including words like "f--k" and "s--t."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some missions require you to find and collect illicit drugs, plus there are dialogue references to "junkies," "meth heads."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Rico is a downloadable "buddy cop" shooter for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PCs. Players assume the role of a police officer out to take down a criminal organization. While you can play by yourself, it's promoted mostly as a co-op (cooperative) game. Playing from a first-person view, you can shoot guns (you may be rewarded for "headshots"), toss grenades, and stab enemies, while performing missions like diffusing bombs and collecting evidence. There's violence, blood splatter, and strong profanity (including frequent use of "f--k" and "s--t"). There are also lots of drug references and missions where you have to find and collect illicit drugs.

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What's it about?

In RICO, you're a "loose cannon" police detective and you've got 24 hours to solve a case. Up for the challenge? In this first-person "buddy cop" shooter, you team up with someone beside you or online to take down a criminal organization. The game features procedurally generated missions and levels, which means it randomizes what you see and what you do, but the activity mostly surrounds taking down a kingpin and his loyal minions. You'll roam from room to room using weapons -- like pistols, machine guns, grenades, and knives -- to eliminate threats, while looking for evidence, diffusing bombs, and unlocking new content. The game can be played solo, if you prefer, but it focuses heavily on the co-op element. There's also a Daily Play mode, which gives you a fresh objective each day, and a ranked leaderboard for competitive types.

Is it any good?

While the concept of the game is fun, this shooter falls short due to repetitive play, technical bugs, less-than-smart AI (artificial intelligence), and other assorted issues. While there's variety in Rico's missions, weapons, and building layouts of its four main environments, it really doesn't feel that different. It's usually a combination of "kick in door, clear room with weapons, collect something, and move on." Even the environments tend to look alike.

Unfortunately, there are many technical issues, ranging from "clipping" glitches (where you might see someone stuck in a wall), as well as freezing and crashing, too. A recent update fixed some but not all of these problems. A quick scan of some online forums have many players complaining about connectivity issues that can cause a game to come crashing to a halt. The game also doesn't look so good visually, and without music, it feels empty. The concept is great -- a fast-paced cooperative "buddy cop" movie experience, not to mention, procedurally generated content and a daily challenge -- but the overall experience is mediocre at best.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Rico affected by the fact that the visuals are cartoonish, even though there's a lot of brutal action going on? Would the violence be intensified if the visuals were more realistic?

  • Is it better to play games by yourself or to team up with a partner? What are the advantages and disadvantages of playing a game by yourself? What about with others?

Game details

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