Kotaku UK is live on the Gamescom show floor all week, bringing you the hottest news about games that you might soon be playing with your friends. Or you might be playing them solo, who knows?
Back at the start of the year, Kotaku UK published a huge list of British developed games, due out in 2018, that we were excited to keep an eye on closer to release. One of those was Rico, a co-op first person shooter with a unique visual style which, while now delayed to Q1 2019, is now coming to PS4, Xbox One, and Switch well as the initially announced PC release.
In Rico, the idea is that you and a friend, either locally in couch co-op, or online, work together to storm a series of buildings, complete objectives, and leave the building safely. These objectives may vary from just killing all the villains located inside, to diffusing bombs before the building blows, or a number of other objectives. The key to the game when played in co-op is that by kicking in doors simultaneously with your partner, you can activate time slowdown which allows you to bullet time storm the room.
This is facilitated in online play, where lining up timings is more difficult, by a map-marker function mapped to the right bumper which, while useful generally for telling your partner where to go, activates a three second countdown when used on a door. This makes it easier to line up timings and storm a room as one.
If a room has multiple entrances, you can also use this functionality to storm from two different angles at once, again activating a burst of bullet time to smoothly take down the room. You can also slide across the floor, kicking a door down and activating a slow down mid-slide, which felt pretty badass.
Levels in the game are procedurally generated, with a level seed number — a reference for that particular stage — produced so you can share it with others. The game also rates each procedurally generated level with an 'estimated difficulty', which doesn't seem like the most reliable thing right now, as one 'easy' rank level loaded in with many more bombs than it was meant to and caused a swift death, even with the developer beside me. With the exception of that mishap, though, the difficulty seemed more or less correct, and the levels generally having interesting layouts.
While I only played Rico in co-op mode, the game is fully playable on your own as well. The levels are not scaled to account for player number, but the developers believe this is balanced out by ammo and health drops no longer being split between two people, and by slow mo room entries being automatic when you don't have a second player to co-ordinate with. The game also features a horde-style mode set in an underground car park, which seemed fun enough, but lacked the flourish and style of the main game.
Rico might look like a fairly basic room-clearing shooting game, but the secret sauce here is the pacing of storming rooms in slow motion with a buddy. If you and a friend can consistently cause time to slow as you barge into rooms, it takes on an almost TimeSplitters-like quality, where you have a burst of action, a frantic shootout, then a moment of rest before the next encounter starts. It's a fun co-op arcade style shooter, and I'm excited to sink some proper time in and see if the consistency of quality holds up to extended play sessions.
Rico is due to release on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch in Q1 2019.