“RoboCop: Rogue City” is a heartfelt tribute to the iconic sci-fi franchise that has spanned 36 years. Developed by Teyon, known for their work on “Terminator: Resistance” and “Rambo: The Video Game,” the game encapsulates the essence of ’80s action movies, particularly the first two RoboCop films. While it successfully immerses players in the nostalgia of the series with its design, soundtrack, and satirical style, the game faces a challenge in balancing faithfulness to the source material with delivering an engaging first-person shooter experience.
A Journey into RoboCop’s World:
The narrative of “Rogue City” weaves a new tale within the familiar framework of the RoboCop universe. Set between “RoboCop 2” and “RoboCop 3,” players step into the titanium frame of Alex Murphy, resurrected as the cyborg RoboCop after a fatal encounter. The game introduces a crime-ridden Old Detroit, with the highly addictive drug Nuke making a return. As RoboCop, your mission is to quell the rising crime wave, offering a mix of familiar and new elements to the overarching RoboCop narrative.
Authenticity and Reverence:
The game thrives on authenticity, with Peter Weller reprising his role as RoboCop, delivering deadpan lines and catchphrases that resonate with fans. The attention to detail extends to supporting characters like Anne Lewis and Sergeant Reed, contributing to the game’s genuine feel. The visual homage to the era of the original movies, including set recreations, adds a layer of immersion rarely seen since “Alien: Isolation.”
The Dichotomy of RoboCop:
“Rogue City” attempts to explore the internal conflict within RoboCop, delving into his past life as Alex Murphy and the existential questions surrounding his cyborg existence. The narrative introduces therapy sessions, allowing players to shape RoboCop’s responses and influence how others perceive him. While these moments provide insight into Murphy’s psyche, the game struggles to offer fresh perspectives on the themes explored in the original movies.
Pacing and Sub-Plots:
The game introduces sub-plots involving corporate corruption, an investigative journalist, a new cop learning the ropes, and a mayoral election seeking RoboCop’s endorsement. While these elements contribute to the overall narrative, they often tread familiar ground covered by the first two movies. Some pacing issues arise in the latter half, with multiple storylines colliding, diluting the sense of momentum.
Rogue City’s combat reflects the power fantasy of being RoboCop. The deliberate movement, inability to jump or roll, and the absence of typical FPS agility make it a unique experience. Players become a walking tank, withstanding damage and methodically dispatching enemies. However, as enemy numbers and health bars increase, the combat can devolve into prolonged shootouts behind cover, losing the essence of the unstoppable force portrayed in the movies.
Patrolling and RPG Elements:
The game introduces a change of pace with patrol missions, allowing players to engage with minor crimes in Old Detroit. Issuing parking tickets, handling noise complaints, and exploring side quests add a layer of humor and depth to RoboCop’s duties. The RPG mechanics come into play during these segments, offering choices that impact the game’s ending.
The game’s rendition of downtown Detroit serves as a miniature open world, reminiscent of Deus Ex games. The environment embraces the sci-fi ’80s aesthetic, complete with payphones, an arcade, and CRT televisions. While exploration is rewarding, some performance issues arise in open areas, affecting frame rates despite different mode options.
“RoboCop: Rogue City” is a nostalgia-packed experience for fans of the franchise, offering a genuine trip down memory lane with its meticulous attention to detail. Peter Weller’s reprisal of RoboCop and the visual homage to the original movies contribute to the game’s authenticity. However, the game grapples with finding a balance between staying true to the source material and providing a compelling gameplay experience. While combat excels when embracing the power fantasy of RoboCop, it falters when veering away from this core identity. Despite its shortcomings, “Rogue City” manages to capture the essence of being RoboCop, making it a worthwhile experience for fans, even if it falls short of reaching the heights of the iconic films.