(Game provided by the publisher)
By Sam Coles:
I grew up in an era of gaming where movie in video games were ubiquitous to say the least, where would rush out a game to coincide with the release of films. Sometimes, you would get some hidden gems such as X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which was of higher quality of the film, but nine times out of ten they would be soulless with little effort put into them. However, in the mid to late 2000s there was a trend of making games based on older film intellectual properties, such as The Godfather, Scarface, and The Warriors to name a few. FastForward to 2023, and we finally get a good adaptation of Robocop. Not to say there weren’t any adaptations in the past, but most if not those games were not the best in terms of the quality department, this new game from Teyon is fantastic! Let’s get into Robocop: Rogue City!
Robocop: Rogue City continues right after the events of the first film, you can consider it an unofficial yet superior sequel to the first film as we don’t talk about Robocop 2 and 3 but I digress. Anyway, the game goes into Alex Murphy’s human mind, because if you remember at the end of the first film, he remembers his human side again. It does retread a lot of the first film, where he malfunctions and starts to see hallucinations throughout the game, but this is remedied in the therapy sessions he has, adding an extra layer to his broken mind.
These sections and dialogue in general have an impact in the story, where certain characters will have different reactions to you later depending on your response in a conversation you had earlier. It is a typical Walking Dead style of morality system, even down to the little disclaimer in the corner of the screen showing that said character “Will remember that” or “Acted favorably to your response”. It adds to Alex Murphy’s character that the films didn’t really go into, as the films action as they are not particularly long movies.
Speaking of action, the gameplay as one would expect in a Robocop game is a first-person shooter. Now, I remember when the first gameplay previews came out for this game, and a lot of people’s responses were complaining about his movement. Yes, he does walk slowly but this is not an advanced movement shooter, it is about allocating targets quickly and using the environment such as explosive barrels, enemy weapons, enemies themselves or cover you can . It is about certain threats, like he does in the film as he can’t take cover like a normal human being, he must rely on his to take most of the damage.
Let’s talk guns, of course it being a Robocop game you have the iconic Auto-9 machine pistol but you can upgrade this weapon. You get the standard three burst fire to begin with, but with a few tweaks you can turn it into an automatic killing machine which turns bad guys into bloody red giblets. I know the diehard Robocop fans may be opposed to this, but you can also pick up enemy weapons and use them too. Now, this is nothing too exciting, it is your usual modern weaponry you see in most shooters, AKs, Uzi’s, Shotguns, Handguns of various calibers, Sniper Rifles and many more. You can stick to your Auto-9 as it has infinite ammo which sounds broken, but certain weapons you pick up do have better damage against certain enemies, such as criminals to the malfunctioning ED209 bipeds you will come across. Plus, it just adds variety to firefights, and you can’t go wrong with a shotgun to clear a room as Robocop shoots it with one hand, and all is left is a bloody mist where a person once stood.
It’s not all about shooting criminals with reasonable force, as a police officer you scout areas and crime scenes for evidence. There are certain areas you cannot enter until you have enough evidence to gain a warrant, as this falls into one of Murphy’s directives. You can explore various open ended hub areas, not too dissimilar to Deus Ex not as though, but it is a welcome change after gunning down criminals. You can solve side crimes, and if you want to unleash your inner parking attendant issue tickets to illegally parked cars.
Visually it is great for the most part, the only real issue with the visuals some of the character models. Now, I am going to cut the developers some slack as this game was made by a small team on a minuscule budget, but some textures do standout compared to the higher quality ones. The character model of Robocop is perfect, almost beat for beat from the film, his looks great, and his movements are on point from the film where it is intentionally stiff. However, some character models do look like upscaled PS2 models, but this is most NPCs you tend to walk past. The environments suffer with the same issue, the game really shines at night where you see the neon lights reflect in puddles with the distant police lights lighting the dark and gritty alley ways of crime. However, a lot of the daytime levels can look a bit washed out, but again I will cut the developers a bit of slack as this is neither a triple A game nor an indie game, it is smack bang in the middle.
Robocop: Rogue City is a blast; it shows amazing attention to detail to the source material which is amazing considering this is not a big budget title. We need more of these types of games, middle of the ground experience that delivers a fun and entertaining gameplay experience. If you are a Robocop fan then this is an immediate play, but even if you are not familiar with the source material it is fun, nonetheless. I highly recommend it!