In my eyes, Teyon, the developers behind the awful Rambo video game, have already redeemed themselves with the 2019 sleeper hit, Terminator: Resistance. When it was revealed that they are making a new RoboCop game, the first one in 20 years, I knew exactly what we were going to get- a budget AA FPS made with a ton of love and passion for the IP. After Resistance, I wouldn’t trust anyone else with adapting one of the best sci-fi action films ever made into a video game. After playing RoboCop: Rogue City for 20 hours and obtaining all the achievements, I can gladly confirm that my intuition turned out to be correct. Rogue City is everything it needs to be, especially if you’re a fan of the part man, part machine super cop. Here’s me presenting you Gameffine’s RoboCop: Rogue City review.
New Guy in Town
RoboCop: Rogue City is an original story, taking place between the events of the flawed RoboCop 2 and the utterly terrible RoboCop 3. While the story is not a direct adaptation, it seeks to fill in the gaps between the two sequels, depicting the events that lead up to the formation of Delta City, the bankruptcy of Omni Consumer Products and the fate of the Old Man. Even though Murphy has thwarted the efforts of Cain, the designer drug Nuke is still plaguing the dystopian city of Detroit, the second-worst place to live after Gotham city. Moreover, there’s a new guy in town, seeking to control its seedy underbelly. Two warring gangs, the Torch Heads and the Street Vultures, are competing to grab the attention of this new guy by wreaking havoc. On top of all these, there’s a strange case of bodies going missing from the morgue. RoboCop, who now fully identifies as Alex Murphy, and his badass partner Anne Lewis are on patrol to keep the streets clean from criminal scum, one bullet at a time.
The main plot of RoboCop: Rogue City isn’t going to win any awards. But, it definitely feels like a RoboCop story featuring Verhoeven’s iconic blend of dystopian singularity, corporate satire and urban degradation. Tonally, the game is more akin to RoboCop 2 than the first one, as the satire and humor is more on the nose and once again takes a jab at the already-explored (twice now) question of RoboCop’s identity. Even still, Teyon approaches the source material with the utmost respect and care that it deserves, and the characterization of Alex Murphy is done justice. Throughout the course of the game, you are going to meet friends and foes, both returning and new, and gives each of them the space they deserve. By giving the player the ability to interact with them in meaningful ways and influencing their fates as well as that of the city, Teyon has crafted a story that, while derivative, comes across as more than the sum of its parts.
The decision to bring back Peter Weller as the titular character has got to be the best decision Teyon has made while making Rogue City. Even after 35 years, he effortlessly fits the metallic suit of Alex Murphy. Whether chasing criminals or finding a missing cat, Weller’s RoboCop is calm, collective and has a seemingly endless supply of quips and one-liners. Even during the most humanist moments, Weller shines in his role. The voice acting for the other characters is also pretty decent, even though there are some moments where the budgetary constraints of the game sticks out. It’s The writing is filled with throwbacks and fan-service moments, but doesn’t become jarring for its own sake. Rogue City is the story RoboCop deserves. Calling it B-movie equivalent is just plain distasteful.
Somewhere There is a Crime Happening
The gameplay loop of RoboCop: Rogue City is divided into good ol’ first person gunplay and exploration. If you’ve played the excellent demo, you know what to expect. Similar to the first level they’ve shown off in the demo, the core of Rogue City lies in its combat. As RoboCop, you’ll visit both linear and fairly open levels to maintain his first three Prime Directives. Which basically means shooting the ever-living crap of criminal scum with a wide variety of firearms including RoboCop’s signature Auto 9, two types of SMGs, pistols and shotguns, three tiers of assault rifles, a machine gun, a .50 cal sniper rifle, a grenade launcher and a missile launcher. You look like a tank, feel like a tank and move like a tank, in a good way only a RoboCop fan would know.
The gunplay is extremely satisfying thanks to good hit feedback, beefy sound effects, exaggerated physics and copious amounts of gore. Furthermore, you can also reduce enemies to bloody chunks using Murphy’s fists, grab and throw enemies for some ridiculous moments as well as use environmental objects to play catch with them. While fewer at first, there is also a decent amount of enemy types ranging from mooks, elites, supports, droids and the stair-fearing ED-209. All missions feature secondary objectives, bonus directives and more, if you’re up to the task. While the mission structure is fine as it is, it could have used a bit more variety. I do feel like the game should have had some set pieces thrown in, like a chase scene like in the first film or something. But I’ll take what I can get.
The other important aspect of the game is exploration and problem-solving. After each mission, Murphy returns to the police HQ for debriefing, and it’s here that you get to meet his fellow officers and do some trivial tasks for them like taking complaints and carrying prisoners to their cells. These moments of mundane provide players with much-needed respite after firefight-heavy missions and gives them the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the side characters and the lore of this dystopian world. Kudos to Teyon for painstakingly recreating each nook and cranny of the police HQ from the movies, right down to the minor details.
Now and then, you get the opportunity to explore the Downtown area. This plays out similar to the hub areas of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Here, you are free to explore the area, meet citizens, enforce the law, discover side quests and find collectibles. The quests are here are bigger than the ones from the HQ and includes cases like solving murders, protecting the locals from troublemakers, assisting fellow officers, etc. Some of these even have different approaches and outcomes, which is refreshing to see in a no-nonsense FPS. Often, you get the option to either uphold the law, or serve the public trust. Similar to relations with secondary characters, these invisible meters affect RoboCop’s public reception and decide which endings you get. While the different endings and character outcomes are limited to an epilogue video, their presence is appreciated.
Because Bigger is Better
Since Rogue City is a modern FPS, it features an upgrade system – not one but two. The first upgrade is for Murphy himself. By completing objectives and picking up lore notes, you accumulate XP which is used to improve his passive stats like HP regen, number of consumables, damage reduction, public trust points gained, as well as unlocking new abilities like slow-motion, deflecting bullets, a dash that knocks over enemies, a shield that absorbs 80% of damage, alongside stuff that affect the RPG part of the game such as likelihood of success in dialogue checks, lowering outcome threshold for secondary characters, etc. Suffice to say that the skill tree is not an afterthought and even the passive boosts definitely come in handy if you play in a higher difficulty setting like I have. An exception would be the Psychology tree. You could definitely do without it.
The second upgrade system is for the Auto 9 pistol. Throughout the game, you come upon a slew of motherboards for the pistol. Similar to the upgrade system of Dead Space, each of these motherboards feature several upgrades and penalties that are spread apart and connected by inactive nodes. By slotting-in OCP chips of the corresponding shape (which you also come upon), to these nodes you are able to unlock passive stat boosts (like boosting damage and reload speed, reducing spread) new abilities (different firing modes, explosive ammo) as well as penalties, if you’re not careful. You can further enhance these nodes by slotting-in higher tier OCP chips. Towards the end of the game, my pistol was so ridiculously overpowered that even the toughest of enemies could only stand a few hits from it. While a bit unclear at first, I like that this system actually requires some effort from the player, rather than being arbitrary boosts you unlock by pressing a button.
Old Detroit Has a Cancer
RoboCop: Rogue City is a good-looking game for the most part. While it doesn’t have the visual fidelity you expect from an Unreal Engine 5 game, it can look bloody great at times thanks to the detailed texturework, high-quality reflections (not Ray Traced), detailed environment design and a key attention to detail to bring old Detroit from the movies to life. That being said, the character models are not up to par. Except Murphy, he’s very well-rendered (except for the edges of his face). Everyone else looks like they came straight from an early last-gen title, or worse. The same goes for the facial animations and lip-syncing – they’re awful and sometimes even non-existent.
As for bugs, there are a few. I’ve had the game crash on me twice randomly, and faced a recurring crash upon picking up a specific consumable in the video store mission. There are also plenty of glitches like clipping out of terrain, character models doing goofy stuff, janky animations, AI being brain-dead at times, etc. All usual stuff and nothing game-breaking. As for performance, I feared that the game would be a shader stutter fest since the demo had those. Thankfully, Rogue City runs fine. On my RTX 4060 with frame generation and DLAA on, I was getting more than 100 frames at all times at 1080p. On an RTX 3070 however, I could only get up to 80 fps on max settings with DLSS on quality. There are two missions where the fps would drop below 40, but other than that, it was smooth sailing. Do note that there’s a fair amount of visual bugs present as well. The most annoying one is reflections shimmering when using any form of upscaling. All in all, the game turned out to be less janky than I expected.
RoboCop: Rogue City is the type of game you get when a developer stays faithful and respectful to the source material without compromising their vision to suit modern sensibilities. It’s a game specifically made with for RoboCop fans by RoboCop fans, and that shows in each and every frame. Rogue City embraces the essence of what makes RoboCop great – be it the social satire, or the power fantasy, adapts it into an entertaining gameplay loop and goes to town with it.
FINAL RATING: 85/100
RoboCop: Rogue CityRoboCop: Rogue City
- Looks like RoboCop, feels like RoboCop
- Satisfying gunplay
- Nails the tone and themes of the source material
- The missions could have had a bit more variety in them
- Bad facial animations and awful lip syncing
- Some level of jank present