Release date: November 2, 2023
Platforms: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows
Engine: Unreal Engine 5
Mode: Single-player video game
Genres: First-person shooter, Adventure game, Role-playing video game, Adventure
"Review Copy Provided By Teyon"
RoboCop: Rogue City" emerges as a thrilling tribute to the storied franchise, boasting an authentic and spirited homage to the world of Alex Murphy, despite a few rough edges shaped by budgetary confines. Let me tell you, it's not every day that the RoboCop series sees an incarnation that does the badge justice like this one. Hats off to the folks at Teyon, who didn't just craft a game that's a hoot to play, but they treated the legacy of RoboCop with the reverence it deserves, crafting a tale that stands shoulder to shoulder with the 1987 cinematic gem.
This game cleverly nestles itself in the timeline between "RoboCop 2" and "RoboCop 3," sidestepping the less beloved aesthetics of the former, and plants gamers squarely in the titanium-shod feet of Murphy himself. Our metal-bound hero patrols the gritty streets of Old Detroit, diving into the city's criminal underbelly, all while clutching tightly to the shreds of humanity that set him apart from your garden-variety android lawman. And if that's not enough to rev your engines, Peter Weller is back, lending his inimitable voice to RoboCop, encapsulating the character's blend of machine-like justice dispensation and the human struggle within. The ensemble cast is rounded out with voice actors who could've fooled me into thinking the original cast was back. The script? Sharper than RoboCop's targeting system, and it doesn't miss a beat of the lore we hold dear. The plot throws Murphy against a smorgasbord of societal menaces, corrupt corporate goons, and garden-variety baddies. But it's not all doom and gloom; the game's got a heart, giving players a chance to do things like save a feline in peril or mentor a rookie on his first day. That's the RoboCop way, after all.
The game unfolds over a series of about 20 chapters, some of which offer sprawling levels to comb through, while others serve up a hub for exploration, ripe with secrets and side quests. The opener's a doozy, with Robo storming a hostage situation, but it's just the appetizer. As you proceed, you'll revisit Downtown Detroit, each return trip revealing more of the city's gritty charm. The environments are sizeable, and while you won't be tripping over interactive spots every step of the way, the hidden content is like finding Easter eggs left by the Easter Bunny himself. Now, don't rush through; take your time, because the game's upgrade system is a treat. Racking up skill points with every cool 1,000 XP lets you beef up Murphy's arsenal and abilities, like bulking up armor, enhancing combat moves, or even tweaking dialogue options. It's like choosing toppings on your favorite pizza, but for crime-fighting.
The Auto-9, RoboCop's trusty sidearm, is more than just a gun; it's a hobbyist's dream. Circuit boards and chips can be mixed and matched to create a firearm that's music to a gun aficionado's ears. And speaking of music, the sound design is a character in itself. The iconic thud of RoboCop's footsteps is music to my ears, a constant reminder that justice is on the move. As a shooter, "RoboCop: Rogue City" knows its business. It's got the charm of a classic arcade shooter with the finesse of a modern FPS, though it's not trying to outdo the flashier titles out there. Think "Max Payne," but with a cybernetic twist. Combat is fast-paced, visceral, and neatly woven into the narrative fabric of the game. Enemies might not be winning any smart cookie awards, but they know how to put up a fight. They'll lob grenades, take cover, and make you work for every takedown. And while you can snag weapons from fallen foes, once you get the hang of upgrading the Auto-9, you'll likely stick with it like a trusted partner.
The downtime at the precinct between chapters isn't just filler; it's some of the most compelling content in the game. Mini-quests galore offer rich, character-building moments, from collecting signatures for a get-well card to troubleshooting a station blackout. The precinct is a slice of nostalgia, meticulously modeled after the movie's setting, from the server racks to the gender-neutral locker room. Chapters vary from linear shootouts to complex tactical engagements. Take the jail riot, which could give "Natural Born Killers" a run for its money, as RoboCop reclaims territory in a dance of bullets and justice. There are fiery rescue missions, intense battles with gangs, and upgrades that make combat feel fresh every time you pull the trigger.
The game's attempt at boss fights is earnest, pitting RoboCop against behemoth robots in claustrophobic showdowns. While these encounters are a hoot, they're not the game's crowning achievement. That honor goes to the narrative, which never strays from the essence of RoboCop.
The graphical fidelity won't trick anyone into thinking they're in a next-gen game, but that's hardly the point. The aesthetics capture the '80s vibe perfectly, with a pixelated charm that’s as much a part of the experience as the storyline. There are hiccups – frame rate drops and occasional texture pop-ins – but these are minor distractions in an otherwise engrossing game.
To put it bluntly, "RoboCop: Rogue City" is a diamond in the rough similar to how the Terminator game from 2019 was (of which you should go out and play if you haven’t). Its a game that understands its roots and respects its audience which is rare these days. It's a blast from the past that feels entirely relevant today, and a game that'll have you saying, "Thank you for your cooperation" every time you put the controller down. It's a testament to the franchise, an experience that's unmistakably RoboCop, and one that any fan of the series would be remiss to skip.