RoboCop: Rogue City PS5 Review – Great Justice is Served
The RoboCop franchise has been a staple in pop culture for many years. The original 80’s action movie, about a hero cop slain and reborn as half-man, half-machine who serves to protect Detroit from criminal scum, remains a blistering satire. While there have been attempts made in the past to bring the hero cop to gaming platforms, none have been fully able to recreate the magic of that world. However, Polish developer Teyon goes above and beyond to bring players into the shoes of the famous cyborg in RoboCop: Rogue City.
Teyon previously worked on another movie video game, Terminator: Resistance. While that game was fine, with RoboCop: Rogue City, the studio looks to have taken things up a notch with their development and created a high-quality title. Many aspects of the game successfully immerse you in the role and world of RoboCop, and while some things need touchups, almost everything works incredibly. RoboCop: Rogue City is a title that fans of the series and those looking for a fun single-player should definitely check out.
“Starting with the game’s story, it is cheesy (in a great 80’s way) and gripping.”
RoboCop: Rogue City’s story is cheesy (in a suitably 80’s way) and gripping. Taking place between the second and third films, players step into the shoes of deceased Old Detroit officer Alex Murphy, now known as RoboCop. As crime runs rampant through the city, a new major crime boss known as “The New Guy In Town” steps up to consolidate and control all crime. RoboCop, along with his partner from the movies, Anne Lewis, must get to the bottom of the criminal plot and stop the kingpin.
Everything about the story kept me interested, from the compelling characters and their personal motivations to the overarching narrative of keeping crime off the streets. Teyon has done the original source material justice, as I felt that the narrative in Rogue City felt like something straight out of the movie series. I was engrossed the entire time, and with every crime resolved and criminal put in jail, I only wanted to take down the kingpin more.
Heightening the narrative are the different dialogue options that offer difficult choices that alter the overall story. The choices you make within the story actually matter, and your actions also affect the public’s trust in you and how the events of the game will turn out. I found that this not only blended in perfectly within the narrative but also allowed for a greater roleplaying experience as RoboCop himself.
Surprisingly, Peter Weller, the actor who portrayed RoboCop in the films, has returned to voice the character once again. Having Weller is a huge win for both the fans and the game’s narrative, as it not only makes the experience more immersive to hear the original voice but also makes it feel like a true sequel set within this universe.
“It was a smart move on the developer’s part and had me more enthralled with each crime scene I looked into.“
As you progress through the story, you’ll encounter many instances where you’ll need to investigate crime scenes. The process of assessing crime scenes and collecting evidence, such as tire tracks and bullet holes, is fun and immersive and leads to the satisfying reward of eventually tracking down and killing criminals. It was a smart move on the developer’s part and had me more enthralled with each crime scene I looked into, regardless of whether it was for a main story mission or a side quest.
RoboCop: Rogue City has a lot of variety when it comes to mission structure. Whether it’s investigating murders or completing simple duties like helping out your fellow officers around the station, almost every task is a lot of fun and immersive. The side offerings, in particular, bring a lot to the game and help flesh out the overall world. There are even some more laidback ones, which felt like a nice break from the hectic nature of being a deadly robot cop with a penchant for gunning down bad guys.
“The gunplay is simple and doesn’t require much depth, as the main weapon, the Auto 9, is the main star of the shooting.”
Fortunately, the variety in mission structure is heightened by the game’s core gameplay. The way RoboCop: Rogue City plays feels very fluid yet accurate to the character, the game never sacrifices the immersive feeling of RoboCop’s rigid movements for a faster-feeling experience. However, in some of the open areas it can be a little tiresome. Even at a sprint speed, RoboCop feels like he is walking, and getting from point A to B in these areas can be exhausting. While increasing his movement speed would make a huge difference within these open areas, the more immersive walk speed works really well for the most part and is actually one of the highlights of the game.
The shooting in RoboCop: Rogue City feels aptly frantic as it does clean. There’s an almost methodical feel to combat, with the generous aim assist allowing you to sweep through encounters like a balletic battering ram. There are a lot of weapons to play around with, too, from LMGs to the aforementioned Auto 9. While there aren’t any attachments or ways to alter your weapons outside of upgrades, they all feel suitably enjoyable to use.
Unfortunately, while a lot of effort has clearly gone into RoboCop: Rogue City’s gunplay, barely any seems to have been put into the enemy AI. Often, they’d stand still in the open while shooting or reloading, essentially acting as sitting ducks. There were even moments of downright broken enemy AI, such as one character moonwalking backward while trying to fire at me. While it certainly makes the power fantasy of being an unstoppable robot cop a little easier to fulfill, it was quite distracting and quickly broke my immersion.
“Although RoboCop: Rogue City is predominantly a first-person shooter, these upgrades add a refreshing RPG twist that improves the experience significantly.”
Fleshing combat out further is the ability to upgrade both RoboCop himself and his arsenal of weapons. Scattered throughout the game are different upgrade chips that can be equipped to increase the stats of each weapon, including weapon damage, reload speed, and more. These upgrade chips are often hidden around each level, meaning you’ll really need to investigate every area you’re in to find them. This is a rather unique way of doing it, as the encouragement to explore the detailed environments, coupled with the benefit of each upgrade chip makes improving RoboCop extremely rewarding.
Each gun has a skill tree with branching paths. You place one of the upgrade chips to unlock a part of that tree, giving you access to even better upgrades. You’ll need to plan your route through the tree to get certain upgrades and may even have to select a negative one, such as a bigger weapon spread or less magazine capacity, in order to reach a really great one. This adds a fun risk-reward element to the upgrade tree. Although RoboCop: Rogue City is predominantly a first-person shooter, these upgrades add a refreshing RPG twist that improves the experience significantly.
You’ll also get to upgrade RoboCop too, gaining XP from shootouts with the many gangs in Old Detroit to investigating crimes and the more laidback side missions. Every time you level up you’ll get a skill point which can be used to upgrade many different things, including health, damage resistance, dialogue options, and much more.
“The minute details in RoboCop: Rogue City are incredible, such as streets filled with smoke or the glare of street lights on the litter smothered ground..”
Regarding the visual and audio aspects of RoboCop: Rogue City, they perform exceptionally well. I played in performance mode and rarely had any significant frame rate dips. The visuals also look great in this mode, even despite the slight decrease to get that better frame rate. The minute details in RoboCop: Rogue City are incredible, such as streets filled with smoke or the glare of street lights on the litter smothered ground. Teyon have done a great job of showcasing Old Detroit in all its grim yet beautiful glory.
Unfortunately, one issue I had with the visuals were the character animations in cutscenes. While some of the characters feel alive and emotional, there are many times where NPC facial expressions felt a little robotic. To make matters worse, NPC’s mouths barely move when they talk, which often caused me to lose focus on the cutscenes.
There were also several instances throughout my playthrough where characters would glitch out. One example was when a cutscene loaded with only the heads of both RoboCop and Lewis being fully rendered. The rest of their bodies were just a mess of sporadic pixels. These visual glitches were few and far between, but nevertheless took the focus away from the great dialogue. Ultimately , while the game performs well and looks gorgeous in many areas, the character animations and visual glitches are just not up to scratch.
“The limited accessibility feels like it will be something that will turn some groups of players away.”
Regarding accessibility in games, I believe it is always important to have a good range of options. A recent example, such as Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, has shown that having a good array of accessibility choices can branch out the game to more players and make it approachable. Unfortunately, RoboCop: Rogue City is lacking in this department.
While you can change HUD options and the game features a variety of difficulty settings, the only feature present within the game is the ability to change the subtitles. It would be great if Teyon added features like a screen reader, auto-aim, and more to help players who need them enjoy the game more. The limited accessibility options feels like it will be something that will turn some players away.
“RoboCop: Rogue City does what many others couldn’t and does an incredible job of allowing players into the fantasy of playing as Alex Murphy.”
RoboCop: Rogue City is almost a great adaptation of the iconic 80s franchise. Investigating crime scenes, taking down gangs, and delving into the line between man and machine is a lot of fun, especially when you’re controlling a 6 foot cyborg with a gun. While there are other movie-tie-in games that have tried and failed to recreate their magic, RoboCop: Rogue City does what many others couldn’t and does an incredible job of immersing players into the fantasy of playing as the titular robot cop.
The many gameplay mechanics, such as upgrading RoboCop and his Auto 9 to different dialogue options and side missions, make this a content rich and diverse experience. Unfortunately there are some major flaws with the game, including visual inconsistencies, poor AI and slow traversal in larger areas that bring down the overall package somewhat. Nevertheless, it is a a strong single-player title that will likely interest not just the fans of RoboCop, but even those looking to try their hands at becoming a cyborg cop.
*Disclaimer: Reviewed on PS5, code was provided by Nacon.
RoboCop: Rogue City Review
RoboCop: Rogue City plays and feels like a finely tuned AA game. It is about as close as a game can get to translating the famous cyborg cop to video games, thanks to the mixture of great RPG features, 80's cheesy story tropes, and unique detective mechanics. While there are issues such as visual bugs and slow traversal in some areas, they don't outshine the positives that make the game something that fans of the original films and newcomers should absolutely dive into.