As a long-time fan of the first movie, I couldn’t help but be excited about Robocop: Rogue City. Luckily, the people who worked on this seem to appreciate Murphy’s story as much as I do.
The game can feel off at times and suffers from technical issues worth mentioning, but it’s ultimately an excellent experience with many good moments and a surprisingly fun twist on first-person shooters.
The Robocop Sequel We Deserve
In contrast to the disappointing sequels of the original film, Robocop: Rogue City grasps what made Alex Murphy an intriguing character and builds upon it. Although it never reaches the dramatic heights of the original movie, and there will never be another shocking moment like the first time Alex removes his helmet, they still manage to keep the plot interesting by focusing on transhumanism and corporatism, the two ever-present themes in Robocop stories.
The game starts like most Robocop stories. There’s a new bad guy in town, Detroit’s situation worsens, and suspicions arise about OCP’s potentially shady plans. That said, the story is more focused on how Murphy deals with each situation and how the story unfolds based on the player’s choices.
Despite Robocop sounding more robotic than ever before, witnessing Peter Weller reprise his role as Murphy is truly a dream come true. Seeing Robocop interacting with Nancy Lewis while the duo fights crime is one of my favorite things about this game, and I wish we got more of it.
Dead or Alive, You’re Coming With Me
I didn’t believe that Robocop: Rogue City would remain entertaining until the end, but I was wrong. I can’t imagine how challenging it was to come up with a first-person shooter about a slow-moving, nearly indestructible hero and make it so enjoyable. From the camera shakes to the sound effects, numerous elements contribute to making Robocop feel like a human-shaped tank. When controlling Robocop during an action sequence, you feel like you can take down an entire army on your own.
Rather than constantly seeking cover, shooting, and ducking, you must strategically expose yourself during gunfights. Robocop can’t run or crouch. You can unlock a dash later, but it works on a cooldown. You can’t avoid taking damage, and you must accept it. Being slow and big makes you an easy target, so your objective is to mitigate damage and eliminate the thread before it eliminates you.
Although it might seem weird at first, it doesn’t take long for you to get used to the idea. Once you accept the basics of what makes this FPS unique, the real fun begins. Robocop can enter a room with a dozen armed men and shoot them all one by one, but harder difficulties force you to be smart about it.
For instance, you may need to utilize Robocop’s deduction skills to slow down time and prioritize eliminating targets with the most powerful weapons first. Alternatively, you could grab a nearby enemy and throw them at another while dealing with a third target. The whole idea of the game is prioritizing targets, being as quick as possible to eliminate the thread, and using all of Robocop’s abilities to take as little damage as possible.
Besides slowing down time and performing a short hop, he can activate his armor to significantly reduce damage for a short time, hack enemy turrets, activate a shockwave that works like a flash bang, grab enemies, throw enemies and heavy objects, and perform a punch so powerful that is often enough to take down a target.
As the game progresses, you will find more enemy types that force you to think outside the box and use all of your skills to deal with them effectively. Alex Murphy is incredibly fun to control in Robocop: Rogue City. Unfortunately, he is only fun during action moments. While I appreciate the downtime and humorous interactions between Murphy and other police officers, some side quests can feel like a drag.
This is particularly noticeable when the game requires you to slowly traverse large areas in search of cars parked in front of hydrants or youngsters playing loud music. These moments could have been used as jokes here and there, but as quest objectives, they are nothing but an annoyance that you feel obliged to go through not to lose precious skill points.
Good to See You Again, Murphy
Robocop’s model is impecable. The developers managed to faithfully recreate not only Robocop’s armor but also Alex Murphy’s head without the helmet, which is both cool and terrorizing. Detroit is also a work of art. It looks impressively close to how it was presented in the first movie. It’s dirty and decadent, and you can almost smell it.
Unfortunately, the other characters didn’t get the same treatment. Their models are not as detailed, and their faces don’t move like you’d expect in such a good-looking game. In many ways, Robocop: Rogue City looks like an old high-quality game during cutscenes or interactions with NPCs. Still, I doubt that this will be an issue for anyone.
What stands out about the game’s graphics is the considerable effort invested to create an immersive gaming experience. I’m still amazed by the character design and good use of retrofuturism that brought me back to the 80’s idea of a cyberpunk world in the year 2043. Although there are a few exceptions, most of what you see makes the world feel authentic and elevates the experience.
I’d Buy That For a Dollar
Although I’ve mentioned this already, the game carefully crafted its sound design to make Robocop feel heavy and powerful. From the sound of his heavy footsteps to the loud shots of Murphy’s Auto-9, every element harmoniously blends together, giving you a sense of what it feels like to be a heavy, walking metal cop.
That’s not all, though. The one thing that raises this immersion to a whole new level is the soundtrack. Robocop: Rogue City uses the movie’s original theme song during some of Alex Murphy’s heroic moments. It is impossible not to feel excited when the theme song kicks in.
You Call This a Glitch?
One of the initial challenges our hero encounters in the game is his malfunctions. Unfortunately, that is a very meta aspect of the game since I found my share of malfunctions when playing Robocop: Rogue City. At times, shooting an enemy would make them disappear. I also encountered NPCs who occupied the same physical space. That said, the more troubling issue I faced was constant crashes during high-stakes moments.
I was also forced to restart the game due to sudden frame rate issues that made the game temporarily unplayable, even in Performance Mode. For the most part, the game worked well. These issues didn’t happen very often, but when they did, they were impossible to ignore. It can be immensely frustrating when you’re on the verge of winning a particularly challenging fight, only for the game to crash for the third consecutive time.
I’m very thankful for the time I spent with Murphy and the other members of the Detroit Police Department. Despite a few things that might feel off, Robocop: Rogue City is likely the closest we’ll ever get to the original movie. Like Murphy, the game sometimes malfunctions but ultimately gets the job done. Not only does it manage to be a great FPS, but it also delivers a well-written story and an immersive, authentic 2043 retro-futuristic cyberpunk Detroit. It makes me happy to see more single-player games being made with so much passion and attention to detail.
This game was reviewed using a copy of the game provided by the game's publisher,public relations company, developer or other for the express purpose of a review.
- This article was updated on October 31st, 2023