Robocop is so f*****g cool. I loved the films, I loved the TV show, I loved the cartoon series, I had all of the toys, and I’ve played pretty much every video game starring him, so it’s safe to say I’ve been a fan for a long, long time. Naturally then, I had been pretty excited for Robocop: Rogue City, and whilst I’d be lying if I said my expectations were high beforehand, I had still been counting down the days to check it out.
And you know what? I’ve loved playing it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s far from perfect, but it has never felt this good to play as the law-enforcing robotic superstar.
Check out some screenshots down below:
Taking place between the second and third movies, Robocop: Rogue City sees the titular machine policeman investigating a new crime wave throughout Detroit instigated by a villain named the ‘New Guy’. And by investigating, I mean ruthlessly wiping out the thugs and crooks that are looking to tarnish the city with their violence, of course. Ok, ok, there’s some policework to be done along the way, but come on, you’re Robocop… you’re at your best when you’re dealing with enemies with a bit of ‘tough love’.
It’s a simple yet slick narrative that ties into the movies perfectly, which is something that’s further strengthened when you see that original Robocop actor Peter Weller is back to reprise the iconic role. The game manages to nail the atmosphere and vibe that long-time fans would’ve hoped for, whether that’s with the futuristic tech that seems outdated, the over-the-top characters that feel like they belong in a dystopian future, or just that sense of humour that was interwoven into the movies despite their dark themes, ensuring everything feels authentic and true to the source material. And when you first hear that iconic theme song in the main menu? It’s magical.
At its core, Robocop: Rogue City is a pretty straightforward first-person shooter, with players progressing through an array of missions that mostly comprise of shooting baddies or throwing them around the environment when up close and personal. There’s an emphasis placed on environmental destruction in the game, which you’ll notice pretty swiftly when you see whole walls and objects blasting apart as you venture through missions on a rampage. This can be useful when destroying the cover enemies are hiding behind or when launching something explosive their way, which does add a bit of strategy to the shooting. If I’m being honest, though? Simply rampaging through any enemy you see with headshots (or nut-shots, which is a nice throwback) is the most effective way to deal with a threat.
“When you first hear that iconic theme song in the main menu? It’s magical.”
Robocop has his trusty Auto-9 pistol with him to deal with enemies, with its shooting style able to be customised to suit your needs – it also has unlimited ammo, which ensures the pace of the action never stops. Of course, there are plenty of other weapons to find and use, but come on, there’s something about the Auto-9 which makes the whole Robocop experience all the more authentic. Enemies are cleverly highlighted as you move through levels too, making it easier to spot them in the environment and ensure you’re able to clear each area of threats in a quick and satisfying manner.
The shooting in the game is a lot of fun, but it’s mainly because it plays it safe. Robocop: Rogue City doesn’t try to do anything too elaborate and the set pieces don’t show off much originality, but it’s so satisfying to gun down enemies and use the environment in destructive ways to deal with them that it’s hard to complain too much. The only real issue I found was that the enemy AI could be pretty dumb, whether that was when they seemingly refused to hide in cover, didn’t respond to getting shot, or would never move out of the way of a wayward grenade (which more often than not they would have thrown themselves). Don’t get me wrong, having dumb enemies that make themselves easy targets fits the agenda when you want to go on a killing spree, but it could be a little bit lacking from a gameplay perspective.
Whilst the main missions are mostly linear in design, there is still room for some open exploration within Detroit in between them. In fact, you’ll even get to do a bit more police work, with plenty of citizens to help out in a variety of ways. Do you try to be a cop that the city loves and look up to thanks to your fair judgement? Or do you use your violent capabilities to your advantage instead? You’re given a bit more freedom in how your approach your actions, which doesn’t only fit in well with the Robocop theming, but will also play into the narrative further down the line. There’s plenty of side stuff to get stuck into, ranging from small petty crimes to full-blown side quests, so you’ll certainly be kept busy whilst prowling the streets. It’s surprisingly rewarding dealing with standard police activity, and whilst the game doesn’t do anything too original when it comes to your investigations from a gameplay perspective, they’re always satisfying to deal with.
Check out some screenshots down below:
You’ll even earn experience points as you progress through the story and complete side quests, allowing you to level up Robocop’s stats in a variety of ways. That could be with increasing your efficiency with weaponry, improving your armour, unlocking new abilities, or applying perks to your current skillset, and so forth. There’s a surprising amount on offer, and whilst some buffs are more useful than others, it’s nice to see that you’re rewarded for taking the time to tackle everything the game has to offer.
I’ve had a lot of fun playing Robocop: Rogue City, but its greatest strength comes with the simplicity it offers when it comes to killing and causing destruction. At the same time, that simplicity can also be a weakness, with a lack of enemy variety, not much challenge to the experience, and a repetitive vibe that sees you doing a lot of the same things over and over standing out after a few hours play. Did these issues stop me from having a good time playing? Nope, but they are the issues that can make Robocop: Rogue City feel like a ‘good’ game instead of a ‘very good’ one.
Robocop: Rogue City Review
Robocop: Rogue City keeps things simple, but the chaotically fun action and authentic use of the source material ensure players will have a good time roaming the streets of Detroit as the iconic law-enforcing hero. I never stopped enjoying unloading lead into enemies, throwing them through windows, and causing destruction throughout the environment, whilst the engaging side quests add a neat twist to the formula where your actions will determine how others view you. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing you wouldn’t have seen before, but it was deeper than I expected.
The game is far from perfect, whether that’s with the dumb enemy AI, the lack of originality, and its repetitive nature, but it still makes for a really good time. I’m probably being half a point generous in my scoring here, but given that this is best it has felt to be Robocop in a video game, I think it deserves that bit of extra praise.
Platform(s): PlayStation 5 (Reviewed), Xbox Series X|S, PC