Preview of RoboCop: Rogue City—An Homage to the RoboCop Movies
If you have ever wanted to know what it feels like to be RoboCop, you will soon have the chance to find out, because coming later this year is RoboCop: Rogue City, a first-person shooter featuring the voice and likeness of Peter Weller. RoboCop: Rogue City will put players right into the cyborg enforcer’s helmet and onto the streets of Old Detroit, with the goal of putting a stop to a dangerous new gang running drugs around the city.
RoboCop: Rogue City
Rogue City is part of the popular RoboCop franchise. The original 1987 cyberpunk action film directed by Paul Verhoeven spawned merchandise, two sequels, a television miniseries, an animated series, two comic book adaptations, and several video games. The upcoming RoboCop game will see RoboCop and Officer Anne Lewis take on the Torch Heads, a gang with ties to the Nuke trade. Warren Reed, the tough, no-nonsense sergeant from the movies, is also slated to have a role in the game. Rogue City is a product of video games developer Teyon. Founded in 2006, Teyon has released nearly 100 games, its two most well-received of which are action titles that also feature 1980s intellectual property: Rambo: The Video Game (2014) and Terminator: Resistance (2019).
RoboCop: Rogue City storyline
The story of Rogue City is set between the RoboCop 2 and RoboCop 3 movies, and the campaign will be approximately 20–30 hours long depending on how fast you play. In Rogue City, you play as Old Detroit cop Alex Murphy, who, after being fatally wounded, was rebuilt as a cyborg called RoboCop. Armed with enhanced strength and durability, advanced scanning technology, and other cutting-edge tools, you are tasked with bringing lethal justice to the growing criminal element of the city. After a hostage situation leaves you partially damaged, however, you begin to remember the life you once had, causing you to accidentally hesitate in a dangerous situation. With your higher-ups wary of your mental state and the general public unsure if you can be trusted, you have to figure out how to proceed forward in each case to earn that faith back, all the while shaping the future of Old Detroit. In several instances, the game will let you decide whether to punish crimes with aggressive force or take the time to resolve situations amicably.
Rogue City captures the look, sound, and overall feel of the first two RoboCop movies exceptionally well thanks to the use of Unreal Engine 5, which has brought the environment to life in a faithful representation of the source material. Adding to the authenticity is the inclusion of Peter Weller, Robocop’s original voice actor, who returns to lend the dialogue a certain stilted charm. Other faces from the first two movies’ supporting casts are also present and help to better ground players in this natural extension of the universe created in 1987.
The voice acting throughout the game is excellent, although the eerily stiff facial models make for some strange conversations. The game even features some intriguing role-playing game–inspired elements that provide a welcome balance to the violence of the combat missions.
RoboCop: Rogue City gameplay
The gameplay in Rogue City is similar to a rail shooter with modern first-person shooter navigation functionality and light role-playing game elements. As you would expect when playing the role of RoboCop, you will be conducting investigations, finding clues, making arrests, and killing those on the wrong side of the law who get in your way. The game does not have jump, duck, or dodge mechanics—you can only move forward and backward and point yourself in various directions. The weapons targeting system outlines targets to help you identify enemies in the often dark rooms, and there are plenty of side rooms to explore for ammo, weapons, medical supplies, and evidence. The more items you collect, the higher score you obtain at the completion of the level.
You start off with the classic RoboCop gun, the Auto 9, which has unlimited ammo and can be upgraded over the course of the game. During combat missions, your main task is to get through an area alive and reach a specific exit point. You can also do things like pick up additional weapons from dead enemies, recover ammo for these weapons, pick up nearby objects or enemies to hurl at others, and heal yourself after taking on a barrage of fire, which basically happens in every room you enter. The game offers multiple difficulty settings, and we recommend going for the most challenging setting: combat can be rather lackluster otherwise. RoboCop is depicted in the movies as a juggernaut of destruction, taking bullets and dispatching criminals with the slow but lethal precision of a machine. Rogue City gives you a similar degree of power, which means you never feel like your life is in danger. After a fight has erupted, RoboCop is able to simply stand in place out in the open and slowly turn to kill everyone in the vicinity one bullet at a time. The health he loses from the experience is trivial, and given the prevalence of medical supplies in the game—RoboCop can typically find caches of medical supplies in every few rooms he passes through—firefights can feel too easy after a while. A room of gunmen is not an engaging challenge for RoboCop, it is more like a speed bump slowing down the momentum of the game’s story. Hopefully Teyon is planning to introduce stronger enemies later in the game that present more of a threat to RoboCop.
The shooting mechanics are fairly basic. As is the case with all of RoboCop’s movement, you cannot adjust your aim quickly (presumably to match the slower and mechanical nature of RoboCop). The recoil of the automatic firearms makes it tricky to land headshots, but thanks to the unlimited ammo, there is never any difficulty with dispatching enemies.
RoboCop: Rogue City role-playing game elements
Rogue City features side quests, interrogations, and other role-playing game–inspired choice-driven moments. After each level concludes, you gain a certain number of points according to the score you racked up for that level. Points can be applied in an expansive skill tree to upgrade combat, health, and movement stats, enabling you to perform new feats, such as landing shots by ricocheting bullets off walls to strike enemies from behind.
Between combat missions, you spend time in various locations completing side quests, earning more points, gathering evidence, and generally exploring the world. The game is linear, so although you can replay combat missions to be able to access various locations again and explore them differently, once you have left an open area for the first time to move onto the next level, you cannot return to complete those side quests or pick up the area’s collectables again. This means that if you do not have the requisite skills to, say, pick that safe, there must either be another way to open it or it never contained anything essential to the storyline.
One of the more useful skills that can be unlocked is the ability to inherently know which responses in dialogue best appeal to the common good. This skill gives players more direction during conversations to know which dialogue option is going to yield the best outcome. Another useful upgrade is to RoboCop’s scanning technology; with more efficient scanning gear, RoboCop is better able to find the necessary evidence to proceed on certain cases.
Overall, Rogue City looks to be an excellent addition to the RoboCop franchise. Seeing RoboCop use lethal force against drug dealers, struggle with his humanity and painful memories, and aid a crime-stricken city is hardly new, but the familiar storyline is bound to be popular among longtime fans. The minor flaws we identified should be relatively easy to address before final release later this year. The role-playing game–inspired elements have promise, especially if those elements are used to tell a fresh story for the RoboCop mythos. RoboCop: Rogue City is scheduled to launch for Xbox Series X|S, PS5, and PC in September 2023. Whether the title will be available on Xbox Games Pass has not been confirmed, but make sure you check out the Xbox Games Pass and see why Acer is an official sponsor.
Ashley is a technology writer who is interested in computers and software development. He is also a fintech researcher and is fascinated with emerging trends in DeFi, blockchain, and bitcoin. He has been writing, editing, and creating content for the ESL industry in Asia for eight years, with a special focus on interactive, digital learning.