Originally published at: Review | Robocop: Rogue City - XboxEra
Robocop: Rogue City is a loving homage with a low budget that knows exactly what it should be. You are Alex Murphy, anti-Nuke enthusiast, and Robotic policeman. Along with your partner Lewis, you’re looking to clean the streets of Detroit from slimeballs and scum. Over the course of a dozen or so hours you’ll shoot off dicks, throw perps 50 feet, and have a damned good time doing it. There are issues of course, the writing is rough when it tries to be serious and sometimes it looks like a weird asset flip Russian game from 2004.
Robocop: Rogue City takes place after Robocop 2, wisely avoiding the dreck that was the third movie’s plot. Murphy is remembering his family, glitching out, and you get to choose if he’s a real boy or not. R:RC is an RPG-lite first-person shooter where you’ll begin living the day-to-day murder-thon that is RoboMurphy’s norm.
The game has the likeness and voice of Peter Weller, which helps sell it a ton. Lewis kinda looks like a Nancy Allen-bot along with a few other of the movie’s cast. They’re like a porn parody version, with odd character models who sit firmly in the “these belong in a weird German simulator game” category. Robocop’s model has had the most love put into it by far. Weller’s signature lips and chin are sculpted perfectly, with high-quality textures that are matched on every part of Robocop’s suit.
The plot of the game is fine, it doesn’t get in the way nor does it get as silly as the third movie. OCP, aka Omni Consumer Products, continue to be dinks and there are lots of gangs running rampant in “near future of 1987” Detroit. Nuke, the drug from the 2nd movie, is everywhere and you’ll use your Auto-9 pistol to make mincemeat out of thousands of slimeballs.
The game’s main focus is on blasting the shit out of every perp you come across. Robocop has unlimited Auto-9 pistol ammo and can swap between burst fire and full auto. Aiming on controller is a tad slow by default and I’d recommend upping the X-axis a few notches and the Y notch at least one. You can carry a 2nd power weapon which vary from pistols to shotguns, assault rifles and more. Secondary weapons have limited ammo which can be found after killing enemies or in the environment.
Aiming feels perfect on PC using a mouse and makes the game far easier as headshots tend to one shot most unarmored enemies. Gore is king and carries what is otherwise rudimentary combat with predictably stiff/slow movement. Heads explode, arms and legs go flying, and blood paints every surface as you destroy your enemies to achieve… justice.
Right bumper is a big old power punch and as you level up you’ll unlock the ability to dash forward which sends enemies flying. There is a shockwave that felt underpowered the entire time and I barely ever used it. Upgrades are tied to an experience system. XP is earned by completing objectives, finding evidence of crimes in the world or through picking up OCP training manuals which instantly earn you a skill point.
Outside of “murder every mf’er around” quests tend to be fetching items from one place and bringing to another or scanning items in the environment. It is video game quest objective 101 with nothing new to be seen. The game is carried by its love of the source material, though it does lose the more satirical nature of the first film due to its clunky writing. It tries to lampoon American culture in the same way but it falls flat or feels forced more often than not.
On Series X the game looks ok in quality mode, though it’s not a smooth thirty. While the framerate doesn’t drop the motion blur used isn’t great at blending the image and it feels jumpy. I played on performance mode which is a mostly solid, and fuzzy sixty fps. Certain areas and some bigger fights did see the framerate tank but I’d say that 99% of my playtime felt locked to the target. On PC the game looks and runs as good as your hardware will allow. Running on a 5800x and 7900xtx rig I could push 4k and 120fps with little concern at max settings.
Reflections aren’t ray-traced on consoles. Through the use of what appears to be screen space reflections that fall back to cube maps when objects are out of line of sight it looks fantastic. It’s a similar situation to what The Division does and unless you’re looking for it you’ll rarely notice the large dips in image clarity when the switch occurs. Robocop’s model is by far the best-looking one in the game, with most NPCs, objects, and the elements that fill them up looking decidedly mediocre. Rogue City isn’t a bad looking game but it’s filled with enough cheap-looking elements that it is a jarringly cheap-looking one at times.
The voice acting is decent, trying to carry mostly mediocre writing and succeeding occasionally. Murphy and Lewis get the bulk of the voicework and while Robocop fits the part the Lewis imitator doesn’t really sound like Nancy Allen to me (the original actress). They don’t do a bad job, it just pulled me out of this being a Robocop game when the character model and voice of the second main character were so off. The music doesn’t kick in often, but when it does it’s fantastic at pulling you right into the best parts of the original films. I didn’t run into any major bugs in my 12+ hours with the game, with only a few minor graphical hitches.
Robocop: Rogue City is a 7, but it’s a really fun 7. It knows what it is, and it sticks to that no matter what. The writing isn’t the best, and some of the characters look straight out of a $3 steam simulator title. Still I had a ton of fun beating this one over the course of a day and a half so if you love the series it’s well worth checking out.