Well, I never thought I would be sitting here in the year 2023 talking about a brand-new RoboCop game, but here we are with RoboCop: Rogue City. While this game may not be the best-looking or most highly polished game you’ll pick up this year, it definitely deserves your attention if all you want to do is walk around like an overpowered tank and kill bad guys.
In RoboCop: Rogue City, you will step into the giant metal shoes of the legendary cyborg OCP Crime Prevention Unit 001, also known as RoboCop. This game is set after the events of RoboCop 2 after Alex Murphy put a dent in the Nuke supply and selling its off-brand successor. Nuke is still a problem in old Detroit, but it is a new crime boss who is the main concern for our favourite robot policeman.
A nice little touch is that original actor Peter Weller lends his voice and likeness to the titular character, and our robo buddy looks amazing and is one of the high points from a graphical point of view. You will also be joined on your adventure by iconic side characters such as Lewis, Sergeant Reed and your old rival, ED-209.
The one thing I did not expect from this game was how gory it is. I shouldn’t be so surprised given the nature of the movies, but still, the number of blown-off limbs you will see in this game is quite high and make the visuals quite gruesome. There is even a trophy for shooting someone in the unmentionables.
The actual shooting in RoboCop: Rogue City is as weighty as you would expect it to be. While RoboCop moves very slowly, which feels accurate, he makes up for it with his brute strength and shooting accuracy. You will be able to use his technologically enhanced vision to highlight enemies and easily decimate every enemy you see.
The combat and pretty much everything else improves as you use the game’s light-RPG mechanics to improve RoboCop’s abilities. You can use a bullet ricochet ability that is so cool and makes headshots a lot easier to land. You will also get the ability to dash, which helps to offset the slow movement speed. The progression throughout the game is decent, but it does feel annoying when you are in the early hours and can’t get into a particular safe or go through a certain door.
In terms of the story, it starts with the classic hostage situation at the local tv station, and Robo is sent to deal with the issue. Then, you go on the hunt for a new bad guy that is related to a former antagonist. The real heart of the story relates to the relationship between yourself and Lewis, as well as two new friendships, a drug addict named Pickles and the therapist who evaluates RoboCop’s psychological profile to see if he is fit for active duty.
There are some nice little vignettes from the supporting cast, and the writers do try hard to make you form meaningful relationships with them, even including a trip to the video rental store to find Pickles something to watch. Still, it does feel a bit at odds with most of the missions as you blow a dude’s “boys” off.
A fun little thing you can do throughout the game and as you travel from area to area is, if you spot a parking violation or indecent exposure, you can issue the person a ticket. Having seen how this plays out in real life, let us say you can understand why they don’t argue so much with the walking tank as you would on any street in England when a traffic warden issues a parking ticket.
While it is fun to shoot people, throw computer monitors at them and generally cause a lot of destruction, my biggest gripes with the game have to do with the environments you play in and some finicky controls. By design, RoboCop can’t do what you would normally do in an FPS, like look for cover or flank the enemy, because he is a big, slow-moving destruction machine. This leads to levels being simple corridors for you to go down and decimate every enemy in your way. While this is fun, the environments are just a bit bland and could do with some more detail and pop.
The controls, for the most part, are great, but sometimes when you need to interact with something, you have to be in a specific window on the screen to do it, and it takes so long to hold the button down to perform the interaction.
Also, shout-out to the guy who thought getting a 250-point score on the shooting range was a good idea. It’s not that the movement speed of our mechanical friend is not fast enough to keep up with those targets, and you know it.
Overall, if you love RoboCop, then you will love this game; if you don’t love RoboCop, then you won’t like this game. Simple as that. No, in all seriousness, this game has to be my surprise game of the year for the sheer quality and love that the developers have put into making this the best RoboCop game there has ever been.
The way RoboCop moves, shoots and talks feels just like the movies. It helps that the original actor decided to reprise his role. If you can look past some of the more dated visuals and accept that RoboCop is no Soap MacTavish and will move at the speed of a glacier, then you will have bundles of fun with this one, I guarantee it.
Platforms: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC
Release Date: 2nd November 2023