There’s a whole lotta love for nostalgia, one can argue it’s something that works every single time. Luke Skywalker holding Grogu, Anakin completing his training of Ahsoka, the ghost of Qui-Gon appearing to Obi-Wan (wait, geez Star Wars really have nothing else right now, do they?)..the list seemingly goes on and on and whilst we await a genuine bonafide new entry in the RobCop film series (the threequel releasing way back in 1993. Let’s not talk about the reboot), it would appear that there is still an audience enough for Teyon to Teyke on (!) a full 25-hour action adventure about the mighty mechanic policeman officer and release it slap bang in the middle of the 2023 gaming season.
Has their gamble paid off? Or will RoboCop remain fodder for Money Supermarket to flog their wares to nostalgia-ridden millennials?
Playing as its kind of own RoboCop 3, Rogue City is set between the events of the second and third movies. It appears to suit the developer fairly well after taking on other 80’s classics such as Rambo and Terminator in recent years. Both of which were solid if unspectacular experiences and that’s more or less where Rogue City finds itself. It’s a technically sound, accomplished shooter that is exactly what it says on the tin. A RoboCop simulator inside and out with little room for much else.
If you’re at all familiar with the movies you’ll find yourself instantly at home with Rogue City. Teyon has done a stellar job of recreating the seedy underbelly of Detroit that was so prominent in the original films with dark alleyways, neon-drenched streets and arcades full of childhood-returning sights and sounds. The design of Robo himself remains an iconic work of art, and as such Teyon have been incredibly faithful to the source material and he looks every bit the RoboCop you remember, even if you only see him in cutscenes.
And wouldn’t ya know it? Detroit is a wash with criminals and gangs all over selling a new drug called Nuke to kids, and the cops are grossly outnumbered to take on this pandemic. Step in RoboCop who joyously smashes down doors – hello there slow-motion CoD breaching – and shoots the ever-living shit out of everything before him without asking any questions because questions are for the humans that don’t have microchips in their brainholes. It’s all stupendously B-movie which allows for some hilariously over-the-top shootouts and delicious murderings that don’t ever get old. Did I shoot half of that guy’s face off? Why yes, yes I did. Sweet. And you grab people by the neck and throw them out of windows or into walls which is about as fun as you can imagine it being. They’re all talk until they’ve got a robot copper squeezing the vocal chords out of their neck.
The cheesy one-liners are seemingly neverending, also. Whilst it may become frustrating to some, I had a blast hearing the quips of not only the cops but the enemies that fill up every corridor this Detroit has available.
Sadly, Alex Murphy (the ‘dead’ cop inhabiting RoboCop, if you weren’t aware) is a little on the serious side throughout the game, taking his Prime Directive distinctly seriously. He has one note and that’s murder murder murder, something he’s terribly good at, it has to be said. Though the odd quip wouldn’t have gone amiss here and there.
And whilst this approach to RoboFuzz may divide the fanbase, what the game gets exceedingly right, amongst other things, is the detective angle of Mr Murphymech. Your Prime Directives are as such the game won’t let you move on until you’ve swept up every piece of evidence available to you in each area.
A quick touch of L2 allows you to go into detective mode and the game is fairly generous to you in terms of pointing you in the direction of what you’re looking for, whether it be crime evidence, drugs to stash and return to the station or footprints on the floor.
I’ll admit in certain levels I was a few steps ahead in who had done what and how it was all going to play out but I still needed to find each piece of evidence for the game to trigger telling me where to go, even though I had walked there and nothing was happening.
This will either frustrate or delight you and thankfully I’m in the latter crowd. It’s terribly fun deciphering clues as RoboCop, simply because his internal CPU just does it all for you. The spirit of jumping through plotlines like a knife through butter is very much on display here. RoboCop doesn’t run – though he can pick up the pace if you think he’s moving just a little slowly -, nor does he chase his targets down with any kind of velocity. He’ll get there and he’ll get his criminal, he just takes his time with a creepy confidence.
Taking cover? RoboCop doesn’t take cover, he *is* the cover dammit. Though your health can shoot down fairly quickly if you don’t take down your enemies quicker than they can shoot you in the face, you’ll find yourself pretty much always stocked with resupplies to keep your health bar at 100%. Rogue City in that regard has more in common with Doom than say, Rainbow Six. You’re playing a character who is fully aware he’s the most powerful being in the room and isn’t afraid to enter any area to show off this fact.
And you’ll become pretty familiar with Murphy’s classic Auto 9 pistol which resides in his right leg. It allows you to tear through enemies with little cause to react or pick weapons off your fallen foes. The weapons range from pistols to SMGs and machine guns (of course if you can get an AK then get an AK, but only for when you absolutely have to kill every motherfucker in the room). You can use your handy HUD to outline enemies and make them far easier to find in a firefight and pull off some pretty swish headshots if you’re targeting well enough.
I did have to jot up the sensitivity somewhat as the game starts with very heavy robotic movements that feel as such if you’re used to playing shooters like CoD or even Fortnite, where whip-fast and near-instant movement is so prominent. I didn’t feel hugely at ease with a much heavier weight to my movement so jogged it a tad and found the sweet spot which allowed me to move with ease but still feel like I was freakin’ RoboCop.
Away from the main story, the sidequests are a mixed bag of day-to-day police work and just being a darn good civilian. From the office desk to taking out dealers who just wanted to do their laundry that night, there’s a nice selection of differing missions to take on and a good amount of fun to be had. Certainly more light-hearted than the fairly heavy plot you’re working through.
And you know what it just all comes together in a rather great video game which certainly has its flaws but seldom holds it back. Rogue City is a glorious 80’s rock’n’roll adventure featuring a protagonist who isn’t ready to be ditched in the annuls of history just yet.
Whilst lacking in genuine ‘wow’ moments that we’re becoming accustomed to in modern shooters, Rogue City keeps its feet on the ground and tells a solid story that is well worth investigating.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go. Somewhere, a crime is being committed. Oh dear, someone has started the Modern Warfare III campaign again with high hopes. Better tell them RoboCop has Soap beaten this year.
RoboCop: Rogue City is an absolute blast of 80’s goodness from beginning to end. From the gorgeous visuals built in UE5 to the nailed-on Robo atmosphere, Teyon has poured a whole lotta love into this one and it’s paid off in spades. You’ll buy this one for a dollar. But please buy it for more than that if you can.
RoboCop: Rogue City is out now on PS5 (review platform), Xbox Series S|X and PC.
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we were provided with a promotional copy of the game. For our full review policy, please go here.
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