Updated: Nov 6
Though it's a terrible shooter, this still manages to be a good RoboCop game.
RoboCop: Rogue City
Switch Release Date: 11/02/2023
Review Score: 8
While this is not a great first-person shooter by any regard, for fans of the original films, RoboCop: Rogue City is like a playable sequel.
Reviewer played on PlayStation 5. A code was provided by the publisher.
RoboCop: Rogue City is available now on PlayStation 5, PC, and Xbox Series X/S.
There's no sugarcoating it: RoboCop: Rogue City is a terrible first-person shooter. But if you're a fan of the movies — and can be forgiving of the character's idiosyncrasies — you'll really enjoy this gun game.
Set between the second and third movies, RoboCop: Rogue City finds the titular cyborg cop still patrolling the crime-filled streets of near-future Detroit, Michigan. But when a new crime boss moves in, setting off a gang war, it's up to the officer formerly known as Alex Murphy to clean up the streets.
Well, as clean as they can be when you shoot nearly every bad guy you run across.
"All licensed games are terrible."
As a first-person shooter, RoboCop is just awful. Mostly because of how it's faithful to the films.
RoboCop doesn't move very fast in the movies, so he doesn't move fast in this game. He kind of lumbers along, and even when he gets a bit quicker later in the game, you'll still wish he'd pick up the pace.
Similarly, like their cinematic counterparts, many of the bad guys in RoboCop: Rogue City are so arrogant — or, more likely, so high on drugs — that they think they can't die. So they often just stand there, shooting at you, when they should be ducking behind cover.
Though, maybe they're unaware that RoboCop has enhanced sight, which engages when he brings up his gun to use iron sight. This not only gives him the usual boost in accuracy, it also highlights his enemies in green, even when the air is so full of smoke that a non-robotic cop wouldn't be able to see anyone.
All of which makes RoboCop: Rogue City feel like a cross between a shooting gallery and an arcade lightgun arcade game. TimeCop comes to mind.
That said, there are just as many times when the bad guys have some semblance of self-preservation, and shoot at you from a second-story window, or from up on some scaffolding. Though certainly not enough for people raised on a steady diet of Call Of Duty, Halo, and Battlefield.
You down with OCP (yeah, you know me).
But while fans of serious shooters will hate RoboCop: Rogue City, fans of the movies will get a real kick out of it. Especially if they recognize that Robo not moving fast, and the bad guys being idiots, are in line with the movies and the character.
They're not the only ways RoboCop: Rogue City is like the movies. It also has the same kind of explosion-rife action, unapologetic gore, social satire, dark humor, and overall gritty look.
They even got the original RoboCop, actor Peter Weller, to do his voice. Though he's the only returning cast member, as his castmates are either retired from acting (Nancy Allen, who played his partner, Anne Lewis), or passed away (Dan O'Herlihy, who was "The Old Man" from OCP).
That said, there are ways in which RoboCop: Rogue City departs from the films, though always in ways that would've still fit them, and the fiction.
For starters, RoboCop can pick up any gun an enemy drops. Which is somewhat unnecessary, given how your service weapon is a machine pistol with unlimited ammo. But when facing off against one of those big ED-209 robots, it helps if you can use a mounted machine gun like a handheld.
RoboCop: Rogue City also adds a leveling-up system that lets him improve himself (health, armor, etc.), as well adds new abilities. For example, he can unlock a shockwave, or become capable of using electrical junction boxes to replenish his health.
Now, not every mission has you shooting up the place (just most of them). You also have to solve crimes by using your enhanced vision to examine crime scenes, find clues, and even follow someone's footsteps.
You also have to run errands for your fellow officers, as well as do community outreach. These include getting your fellow police officers to sign a get-well card for someone, as well as chasing after a cat that's gone missing in someone's basement.
Even these can turn bloody. While it's nice that you help someone find a movie, only you could turn a trip to the video store into a bloodbath.
"You call this a glitch?"
Sadly, even the most devout RoboCop fan will find fault with this game. Especially where the visuals are concerned.
While he and the environments look good, many of the people you interact with in RoboCop: Rogue City look like they're from a last-gen game that wasn't a visual powerhouse.
There are also times when the dialog doesn't match the way someone's lips are moving. And in one case, they didn't move at all. Though it doesn't help that the dialog often sounds like it was recorded on cheap audio equipment.
Similarly, some of the explosions look weird and detached from the thing that's exploding. If you've ever seen something blow up on a TV cop show like NCIS: Hawai'i, where they have a small CGI budget, you'll know what I mean.
The thing is, as low rent as this can look sometimes, as slow as RoboCop may move, and as dumb as the bad guys may be, RoboCop: Rogue City still manages to be a fun shooter. Not a great one by any stretch of the imagination, but fun in a mindless way.
There's just something satisfying about being the tank-like spawn of Dirty Harry and The Terminator as you methodically plow your way through near-future Detroit's criminal underbelly, splattering anyone and everyone who dares to dent you. Like the movies — well, the first two — this is just big dumb fun.
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