RoboCop: Rogue City Review

Richard Walker

You know that bit in RoboCop when Alex Murphy remembers how to twirl a gun on his finger like a cowboy gunslinger – a gesture representing one of the last vestiges of his waning humanity? In RoboCop: Rogue City, he can still do that, and you, inhabiting the iconic shiny armour of the cyborg law enforcer, can do pretty much anything RoboCop can. You can even write tickets for parking infractions, and punish really petty crimes, like some sort of jobsworth. Rest assured, this is the ultimate RoboCop fantasy, especially if you like the idea of RoboCop as a traffic warden.


Coming from Teyon, the Polish developer behind Terminator: Resistance, RoboCop: Rogue City is a similarly faithful love letter to a gloriously violent '80s action film, set after the events of the (not-even-slightly-as-good as the first) second movie, which actually released in 1990. Clearly, however, there's a greater affection in evidence here for the 1987 Paul Verhoeven-directed original, and rightly so. As such, many of the callbacks are to that beloved classic, including the game's central villain – a criminal mysteriously referred to as 'the new guy in town', who happens to have a personal beef to settle with the chrome copper.

Meanwhile, the mayoral elections are about to take place, and OCP, the ubiquitous dodgy corporation at the heart of the RoboCop series, has plans to build the new Delta City. Tensions are running high. As such, Old Detroit is sparsely populated and a place of abject poverty and crime. While the few streets you'll patrol are relatively confined, Old Detroit is an immersive and detailed place, but it's the main missions proper that provide all of the best action. The gunplay in particular is very good, giving you limitless ammunition using Robo's Auto-9 handgun and his computer vision, which outlines hostiles in lime green.

Blasting your way through abandoned industrial buildings, banks, courthouses, and other institutions riddled with criminal scum is not only a lot of fun, but it's also uncompromisingly violent, with skulls popping, and blood splattering up the walls. Environmental destruction lends to the dynamism of a gunfight, too, as masonry crumbles, glass shatters, wood bursts into splinters, and unwisely discarded red containers explode in balls of bright-orange flame. There are also enough slow-motion breach and clear moments – through brick walls and doors alike – to fill about fifty Call of Duty games, but, in fairness, they seldom get old. Just don't forget to protect the innocent when all of those bullets start flying.


There's shared DNA with Teyon's Terminator game in Rogue City, but this is a more polished, and better presented package, even if it does still suffer more than a handful of technical shortcomings. Characters wearing glasses feel compelled to touch their eyes, hands clipping through their frames; and there's an awful lot of texture pop-in. Character animation in general is horribly janky – most of the attention, it seems, was lavished upon making sure RoboCop and ED-209 look and behave authentically, at the expense of almost all of the other peripheral characters. Fans of the films will recognise all of the key players, including RoboCop's long-suffering partner, Anne Lewis; the blustering Sergeant Reed; and the stern-faced Omni Consumer Products CEO, 'The Old Man'. Likenesses are all present and correct, even if not all of the voices are (save for Peter Weller returning as RoboCop).

This being an '80s vision of the future, there's also a slimeball OCP corpo sleazebag hanging around the Detroit Police Department, and he likely knows more than he's letting on about a sinister plot known as 'Project Afterlife'. Mixed up in it all is the aforementioned 'new guy' and some of Old Detroit's nastiest gangs, all of whom are fair game for a dose of lead-flavoured justice at the business end of RoboCop's Auto-9. Said gangs also peddle an uber-addictive drug called Nuke, which you'll find all over the place. Rogue City's bad guys they're all unreservedly bad, revelling in the rampant violence and anarchy, pelting poor old Robo with grenades and bullets from all angles. They started the fight. And you'll have a lot of fun finishing it.


Light RPG elements, like those found in Terminator: Resistance, enable you to earn skill points and upgrade RoboCop's abilities, granting neat tricks like being able to ricochet bullets off certain surfaces, punch foes with Robo's hacking spike for an instant kill, recharge health using fuse boxes, or crack safes without having to find the code. Enhancing Robo's attributes succeeds in making enjoyable gunfighting against crims even more so. When you're plodding through the somewhat lifeless Old Detroit back alleys (why is it so quiet?) and decrepit, rubbish-strewn thoroughfares, detective work can seem a tad mundane by comparison. Some side objectives manage to draw you in, providing a nice break from the story, but the process of finding 'serve and protect' instances soon grows dull. You're best swerving them altogether at times, unless you happen upon them by pure luck.

Focus on the narrative, the side missions that are actually worth doing, and that robust, hugely entertaining shooter action, and RoboCop: Rogue City is a guilty pleasure to be relished. Peter Weller does a fine job in reprising his role for the first time since RoboCop 2, while decent character likenesses make this feel like a proper companion piece to the trilogy. What's more, it's nigh-on essential stuff for RoboCop fans, especially those with a soft spot for the '87 Verhoeven original (the best one). Your move, creep.

RoboCop: Rogue City

A lack of polish and a smattering of (optional) filler content aside, RoboCop: Rogue City is a good, solid shooter, imbued with a clear love for the movies it's based upon. I'd certainly buy it for more than a dollar.

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The RoboCop theme makes the cut, while Weller convincingly reprises his role as the title character after thirty-three years. There's an inconsistency to the audio, however, with the robo effect on RoboCop's voice simply not there at times. And why is it almost silent in Old Detroit? Weird.


RoboCop himself looks great, but the quality of the game's NPCs is patchy at best - their skin with texture like orange peel. Frequent texture pop-in can also pulls you out of the game, but environments are packed with plenty of detail. Those puddle reflections and neon signs look lovely, too.


The moment you draw RoboCop's classic Auto-9 pistol from its holster and start filling punks full of lead, it just feels right. Secondary weapons you can pick up pack a nice bit of heft, too, but it's all about that sidearm and that fun shooter gunplay.


A fairly substantial chunk of single-player shooter campaign, with various choices and consequences to take into consideration, tying into multiple endings. Some extra modes might have helped increase replay value, but what's here is more than decent enough.


Missable trophies are a bit of a pain, but you can always load up a chapter to mop them up once you've finished the story. There are some fairly nice and creative tasks to take on here, but, for the most part, this a fairly straightforward, unfussy list.

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