The RoboCop franchise holds a special place in the hearts of action movie fans. Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 original took the world by storm with its unique blend of ultraviolent action, dark satire, and memorable catchphrases. However, subsequent sequels and modern reboots never quite captured the same magic, often missing the point of what made RoboCop so special.
After being dormant for nearly a decade, developer Teyon is attempting to resurrect the man-machine law enforcer once again in RoboCop: Rogue City. Set as a direct sequel between RoboCop 2 and 3, it returns players to a futuristic Detroit overrun by criminals and corporate greed. You once again step into the heavy metallic boots of Alex Murphy, now more machine than man, serving the public trust, protecting the innocent, and upholding the law.
Teyon aims to translate the look and feel of the beloved films into an immersive first-person shooter experience. Between blasting criminals into bloody chunks with Robo’s signature Auto-9 pistol and uncovering conspiracies at the sinister Omni Consumer Products, they promise a loving tribute to 80’s action fans.
But does Rogue City truly do justice to the original masterpiece? Or is it just another failed cash-in on a once great franchise, like the aforementioned sequels and remakes? In this review, we’ll analyze the highs and lows, from the carnage-filled gameplay to the story and presentation. Strap in for the ride, and get ready to determine if Rogue City is worth a roll of your quarters or destined for the scrap heap. Dead or alive, you’re coming with us on this journey.
Becoming the Ideal Enforcer
Stepping into the heavy metal shoes of RoboCop presents some unique gameplay challenges. Unlike nimble super soldiers from the likes of Call of Duty or Halo, RoboCop is a lumbering tank. His movements are slow and methodical by design, built to feel like a walking industrial machine rather than a vulnerable human target.
Developer Teyon does an admirable job capturing RoboCop’s signature gait, with thunderous metallic footsteps accompanying his plodding pace. You feel the weight of each movement, the whirring of hydraulics as he turns, and the force of stopping on a dime. This sense of physical presence and power goes a long way towards selling the fantasy of being RoboCop.
The gameplay is built around this conceit. Charging headfirst into battles, shrugging off damage, and shredding enemies at close range feels immensely satisfying. The iconic Auto-9 machine pistol dismembers foes with gratuitous gore, living up to the franchise’s ultraviolent reputation. Heads and limbs explode in fountains of blood when hit with the high-caliber rounds.
Slowly walking through hails of gunfire as crooks futilely unload on Robo’s impervious armor captures his unstoppable presence perfectly. You feel like the terminator he was designed to be, doling out justice without mercy.
However, this design does have some drawbacks. Precise aiming and quick movements are obviously not RoboCop’s forte. Thus, segments requiring taking cover and engaging at longer ranges can become tedious. The added spongier enemies in later levels also turn thrillingly violent showdowns into grinds.
Still, activating a visor mode similar to RoboCop’s vision in the films helps mitigate these issues somewhat. It locks on targets to stabilize aiming and highlights weak points through smoke and darkness. Lining up clean headshot chains while enemies dive for cover remains satisfying.
Robust customization options also give you several tools to fine tune RoboCop to your playstyle. A comprehensive skill tree bolsters defense, unlocks special moves like rapid dashes or emergency recharges, and enhances weapons. Meanwhile, earned experience points can be spent on upgrades like more precise Auto-9 firing, increased bullet ricochet chances, or buffs to your arsenal of swappable firearms.
Two systems in particular stand out as capturing RoboCop’s versatility from the films. The first allows selectively bouncing bullets off hard surfaces to hit enemies behind cover. Pulling off these skill shots by targeting highlighted geometry feels great and recalls iconic sequences from the movies.
Secondly, a reflection buff causes incoming enemy fire to be deflected back at the shooter. Walking through swarms of goons while their own bullets rip them apart couldn’t be more appropriate for RoboCop.
However, not all activities in RoboCop’s day are wanton ultraviolence. In an interesting twist, you’ll frequently be asked to handle more mundane police assignments between action-packed missions. Issuing parking tickets, responding to petty theft calls, reprimanding curfew-breaking teens, and other average cop duties put RoboCop’s untested social skills to work.
These segments are often played for laughs, as you choose dialogue responses to defuse tensions or advance side stories. Do you sternly lecture jaywalkers about road safety? Or understandingly let them off with a warning after a tough day? The contrast between RoboCop’s imposing presence and relatively gentle treatment of minor offenders can be quite funny. It provides additional opportunities to shape your version of Alex Murphy.
Overall, Teyon does an admirable job realizing RoboCop’s abilities in an FPS format. While it may occasionally betray its budget ambition with repetitive enemies and environments, the core fantasy of feeling like a walking tank dispensing justice remains satisfying. Slowly plodding through levels while debris and blood cake your armor is a great encapsulation of the character’s brutal appeal. Fans should get a kick out of finally cutting loose as OCP’s ultimate enforcer across both action and social situations.
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More Than a Machine
While no means Shakespeare, Rogue City’s campaign provides an adequate narrative backbone to propel players through its gritty, rundown vision of Detroit’s not-so-distant future. The inciting incident involves a mysterious new crime lord muscling in on the city’s various criminal factions. With the power vacuum left after the prior game’s events, anarchy reigns supreme on the streets RoboCop patrols.
It’s a fairly barebones action plot: go forth and shoot all the goons until you reach the big bad pulling the strings. However, some additional threads surrounding supporting characters like RoboCop’s enthusiastic new partner offer worthwhile distractions between all the ultraviolence. The writing quality varies, but a few clever lines and the story’s earnestness keep things moving along well enough.
Where the campaign truly shines is in capturing the tone and iconic imagery of the RoboCop films. On this front, developer Teyon nails the assignment. The grimy, rundown streets of Old Detroit are realized in impressive detail. Corporate greed runs rampant, citizens suffer under incompetence and corruption, and violent psychopaths rule the shadows.
It feels like stepping directly onto the set of Paul Verhoeven’s original movie. Little touches, like 80s era computer terminals with green text displays and scans lines when zooming in with RoboCop’s vision, immerse you in the late-century dystopian future.
References and Easter eggs tucked into the world design show a clear passion for the franchise from the developers. Keep your eyes peeled and you may stumble upon sly nods to characters, locations, and memorable lines from the films. While the main story may be somewhat plain, the sheer nostalgic joy conjured from exploring this lovingly crafted setting more than makes up for it.
The most compelling narrative thread involves RoboCop’s ongoing struggle to retain his lingering humanity. Although never delving too deep into the philosophical ramifications, small moments like his soundproof chamber decorated with family photos or interactions with his psychologist offer quiet insights into the torn man within the machine.
These balance well against the over-the-top violence, providing humanity amidst the carnage. Letting him reconcile with his traumatic past opens up possibilities for his future, beyond being OCP’s disposable product.
However, a few cracks do appear in the storytelling down the stretch. In an attempt to ratchet up tension, previously unimportant side characters get shoehorned into the climax while conspiracies surrounding OCP’s corruption culminate haphazardly. This muddies the pacing considerably, bloating an otherwise lean tale. A few loose ends stand out, leaving certain narrative threads unsatisfyingly unresolved.
But in the end, Teyon clearly approached crafting this RoboCop chapter as devoted fans first and developers second. Their passion for the series is evident in every loving recreation of the movies’ iconic imagery and sounds. While unlikely to win any awards for writing, Rogue City’s campaign adoringly channels the scrappy B-movie charm that defined RoboCop’s origins.
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Sights and Sounds from Old Detroit
Rogue City’s visual presentation mirrors RoboCop himself – incredibly strong in some areas but revealing weaknesses upon closer inspection. The city environments and robotic elements shine as standout showpieces. However, many character models leave something to be desired.
The recreation of downtown Detroit impresses with an almost photorealistic level of detail in places. Paper debris floats through ruined streets lined by buildings displaying intricate graffiti and weathering. Plumes of smoke rise from burning barrels as subtle light filters through dingy windows. The mood and personality of the original film’s world is conveyed with painstaking accuracy.
Iconic locations like the towering OCP headquarters or grimy Police Precinct 13 also elicit fond nostalgia. Developers clearly studied the movie sets down to minor props to replicate their ambience. When RoboCop himself appears on screen, any visible parts of his mechanical body also impress. The whirring servos and intricate construction call back his clunky practical effects origins beautifully.
However, this level of fidelity falters with many human characters. While the signature RoboCop voice processing sounds right, conversations reveal the limits of smaller studio production values. Facial animations often seem unnatural or poorly synced to dialogue. Low polygon counts and textures undermine attempts to capture the original cast’s looks. The contrast between the two can be quite jarring.
The overall presentation resembles a B-movie rather than a modern AAA blockbuster. But for many fans, that scrappy charm enhances the nostalgia. It feels ripped right from a VHS tape of an 80s film sequel with a modest budget. Committing fully to accurately adapting the practical effects into video game form comes at the cost of polish but gains plenty of personality.
The audio mixes mechanical sound design and 80s cheese to great effect. RoboCop’s iconic clanking footsteps, hums, and servos heighten the immersion while basic weapon sound effects match their analog origins. The soundtrack emphasizes atmospheric synth tones and driving percussion ripped straight from the movies as well. Fans will immediately recognize many familiar audio cues seamlessly woven into the game.
In the end, Teyon nails the retrofuturistic look and sound that defined RoboCop’s heyday, imperfections aside. Their obvious passion for the franchise’s defining traits enables Rogue City to absolutely nail the style players expect. The technical shortcomings only enhance that scrappy, low budget B-movie feel that channels the series’ roots. While not as polished as modern mega-franchise releases, it oozes charm and heart. Stepping onto the streets of Old Detroit has never felt more authentically like returning home.
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The Parts That Make the Machine
Like the titular character himself, RoboCop: Rogue City is a sum of disparate parts. At its best, fans are treated to thrilling action and strong immersion within a lovingly adapted world. But some repetitive design choices and lack of satirical bite prevent it from truly excelling. Surprisingly innovative narrative elements demonstrate its biggest strengths.
Starting with combat, unleashing RoboCop’s arsenal against criminals and corrupt corporate entities captures his brutal appeal wonderfully. Movements feel heavy and impactful in first-person just like the lumbering tank Robo was designed as. Visceral destruction of environments and enemies with an Auto-9 headshot chainsaw elicits guilty giggles. There’s an engaging push-and-pull between caution and aggressively leading the charge befitting his resilience.
However, Teyon’s budget ambition reveal themselves in occasionally repetitive and spongy enemies. The combined arms approaches necessary in later levels betray the core appeal of feeling unstoppable. Given RoboCop’s limited maneuverability by design, drawn-out cover shooting suffers more than gratifies. The stellar power fantasy devolves into a chore at times.
Yet even when gameplay grows stale, faithfulness to the series’ signature elements maintains engagement. The visual design and attention to detail in realizing the film’s world is stunning. It feels like stepping right into old Detroit circa the 2030’s, from the rundown streets to towering corporate HQs. Lovingly recreated models, icons like the ED-209, and pitch-perfect sound design absolutely nail the RoboCop ambience.
However, this authentic adaptation misses chances to remix the franchise’s DNA rather than just replicate it. The storytelling rarely approaches the first film’s mix of ultraviolence and biting satire of corporate excess. Greater ties between a bland crime narrative and OCP’s shady practices could have modernized the tone. More humor regarding RoboCop’s struggles adapting to society would have brought levity between pure combat.
But speaking of narrative, Rogue City deserves immense praise for its unexpectedly compelling storytelling mechanics. The conversations with his psychologist and choices made during officer duties bring shades of nuance to Murphy’s character. His redemption gives hope for reclaiming humanity, rather than remaining OCP’s disposable product. The results for both main characters and civilians are genuinely interesting.
Though while Teyon mostly nails RoboCop’s essence, they stumble sticking the landing. The messy final hours undercut the patient worldbuilding and subplot undertones preceding them. A less hurried structure could have justified climactic beats arising more naturally. And many optional activities ultimately prove skippable padding rather than worthwhile depth.
At the end of the day, RoboCop: Rogue City accomplishes what it sets out to do. It thrusts fans back into the grimy, quirky world of the series with plenty of style, if not much mechanical refinement under the surface. The soul is absolutely there, but the execution leads to occasional tonal dissonance. However, it remains a must-play for diehard devotees, especially those craving more of the original’s glory days.
With a bigger budget, Teyon’s obvious passion could have smoothed the rough edges holding back the inspired parts present. As is, Rogue City merely flirts with fully realizing the promise of its ideas but falls just short. Like Murphy himself, the humanity is there but the machine needs some re-tuning.
One of Our Own
Like the character it brings to digital life, RoboCop: Rogue City is a thrilling but flawed creation. It successfully captures the iconic imagery, brutality, and charm that built an enduring legacy across various media. This passes both the eye and ear test as a legitimately great RoboCop experience. However, some bland gameplay segments and a lack of narrative invention keep it from truly excelling.
Make no mistake, this is first and foremost a love letter to fans. The sheer quantity of Easter eggs and attention to recreating the ambiance of the movies demonstrates true passion from the developers at Teyon. They perfectly understand why the franchise connects as cultural touchstone, even with its B-movie scrapiness.
That said, devotion to the past holds innovation back. More chances to remix expectations or modernize the satire could have prevented portions dragging. Leaner pacing and enemy variety would help combat alternate between thrilling and dull at times too.
Yet none of these flaws override the sheer nostalgic joy of stepping back into the RoboCop universe. Small narrative choices enabling you to shape Murphy’s perspective provide legitimate depth. The visceral combat captures the appeal of an unwavering mechanical dispenser of justice, even amidst the occasional grind. It just feels right in the hands of devotees.
RoboCop: Rogue City won’t dramatically overhaul your expectations or convert skeptics. But it provides an authentic, enjoyable trip down memory lane for established fans. Despite areas needing mechanical refinement, the heart and soul of what made this series special beams through. Teyon’s passion project suits up players with the tools necessary to feel like the one and only prime directive-dispensing machine. Dead or alive, you are coming along for an entertaining ride.
RoboCop: Rogue City
RoboCop: Rogue City is an affectionate tribute to fans, capturing the iconic style and charm that defined the quintessential 80s action franchise. However, repetitive combat segments and limited gameplay innovation hold it back from truly excelling. The game's ability to vividly recreate the look and feel of the beloved films as a big achievement. The story provides some surprising narrative depth as well. However, the repetitive grind of certain combat sections and lack of risks taken in modernizing such a classic IP keep it from scoring higher. Overall though, devotees should find plenty to enjoy in this nostalgic trip through Old Detroit.
- Great adaptation of RoboCop's abilities into satisfying FPS gameplay
- Captures look and feel of the movies impressively
- Surprisingly good narrative elements and dialogue choices
- Peter Weller reprising his iconic voice role
- Thrill of unleashing RoboCop's powers against criminals
- Faithful attention to detail from the films
- Destructible environments and gory effects
- Repetitive and grindy combat in later sections
- Lacks humor and satirical edge of the films
- Messy plot conclusions for some storylines
- Unpolished graphics and weak facial animations
- Most side content is skippable padding
- Limits to open world environments and activities
- Struggles adapting RoboCop to more tactical cover shooting
- Boss battles are simplistic bullet sponges