In 1987 a movie was released that you would think would become a long-running franchise, but Robocop was handed its own destruction with Robocop 3. Metro Goldwin Myer would try to resurrect Robocop with a 2014 remake that would go on to be despised by modern audiences and long-time fans alike. Now, a decade later, Robocop returns with Robocop: Rogue City. Does returning to the original cast and Robocop bring glory to Old Detroit? Or does Robocop need to remain deactivated?
Name:Robocop: Rogue City Platform(s): Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S Developer: Teyon Publisher: Nacon Game Type: Action-Adventure Mode(s): Single Player Release Date: 2 November 2023
While rescuing hostages from the Channel 9 studios that were occupied by Soot and the Torch Heads, RoboCop suffers hallucinations of his past life as Alex Murphy when he sees one of the hostages bear an uncanny similar appearance to Murphy’s wife, causing him to hesitate and forcing Lewis to directly intervene. As RoboCop’s breakdown was filmed live, OCP assigns Becker as RoboCop’s overseer, installing a monitoring chip on his head to evaluate his performance.
As Sergeant Reed instructs on the rising threat of the “New Guy,” RoboCop is sent to locate and inquire about Soot. He and Lewis track Soot down to an abandoned slaughterhouse where a Torch Head concert is in progress. As RoboCop apprehends Soot, Lewis is taken hostage by the “New Guy,” who kills Soot for drawing too much attention to the concert, while RoboCop mysteriously malfunctions again. The “New Guy” identifies himself as Wendell Antonowsky, brother of Emil Antonowsky (one of Clarence Boddicker’s gang members who was killed in RoboCop). Criticizing RoboCop for his attachment to his human side, he shoots Lewis in the heart, leaving her comatose.
Determined to seek justice for Lewis, RoboCop uncovers a connection between Wendell and the Street Vultures, tracking them down to their territory by a steel mill and quarry. As he arrives there, he discovers multiple corpses once reported stolen from the city morgue and hospital, including a police officer reported missing. RoboCop musters a police squad along with an ED-209 unit to storm the hideout, but the ED-209 malfunctions and engages the squad and RoboCop, allowing the Vultures to escape. RoboCop learns that all of the bodies found in the quarry had their brains intact and that they were brought to the quarry by the Vultures as hired hands and extracted by Wendell. RoboCop tracks down and arrests Wendell as Lewis awakes from her coma, and the OCP CEO, the Old Man, suffers a heart attack and later passes away.
In City Prison, RoboCop learns from Wendell he was hired by OCP for “Project Afterlife,” the extracted brains being used as part of a mass resurrection program inspired by RoboCop and orchestrated by the Old Man. Mercenaries later attack the prison and break Wendell out during a riot as Becker takes over as OCP’s new CEO. Becker unveils his Urban Enforcement Droids (UEDs) meant to replace the police force, which Wendell later hijacks in retaliation for Becker terminating Project Afterlife. As RoboCop once again tracks down Wendell and confronts him, he discovers that the monitoring chip installed by Becker is triggered by Wendell’s lighter to degrade RoboCop’s mind and prevent him from accosting Wendell. RoboCop removes the chip and pursues Wendell amidst the chaos caused by the gangs, mercenaries, and hijacked UEDs. Tracking him down to the first construction site of Delta City, the pursuit ends with RoboCop finally killing him.
RoboCop then receives a call that the OCP main office is under attack. He arrives there to see Becker being held by RoboCop 2 (OCP’s failed Law Enforcement droid from RoboCop 2, once piloted by Cain). RoboCop 2 plays a video message from the Old Man before he underwent the procedure to upload his brain into RoboCop 2. The Old Man explains that he did it to feel closer to and understand RoboCop and kills Becker during the recording by crushing his windpipe. RoboCop fights and defeats RoboCop 2 (aka The Old Man) in a grueling battle that collapses the OCP building. In the aftermath, OCP is considered for buyout by the Japanese corporation Kanemitsu, slowly leading towards the events of the third film.
Story Review – Some Vague Spoilers
Taking something like Robocop and making it into an interesting first-person shooter is a very hard thing to do. The story of Robocop takes a lot of psychological work on the end of the writer, who is handling the part man, part machine himself. The constant struggle between Alex Murphy, the man in the machine, and the OCP protocols play heavily into the overall story of Robocop, and it’s good to see that the writers for Robocop: Rogue City have kept this in mind. Then you have to keep the feel of the Robocop movies, too, especially since the team at Teyon has placed the game’s story between Robocop 2 and Robocop 3, known as the best and worst of the series, respectively. Teyon nailed this as well, putting Nuke and OCP front and center in the story as well as linking Robocop: Rogue City to the first Robocop movie with “The New Guy”.
While some of the side missions do feel a bit boring and long at times, when it comes to the main storyline, you’ll want to pay attention to everything that is shown and said as its easy to miss something that you might want to pay attention to later in the game. The foreshadowing and twists in Robocop: Rogue City come at you hard and fast, but not to a discouraging degree. To give you an idea of how good the story is here, there is a reason that this review of Robocop: Rogue City is almost a month late… It’s because I was too busy playing the game to stop and write about it. Robocop: Rogue City is surprisingly that good.
1987 Style, 2023 Graphics
Robocop: Rogue City does a great job of keeping the look and feel of Old Detroit from the movies, using the main city for part of the game, a recreation of the infamous warehouse area from Robocop, and other locations that have been seen in the movies and TV shows. Even the characters look exactly like their original actors, with Robocop coming out looking amazing in his blue-tinted grey armor. Even characters like Chief Reed and Officer Lewis look identical to their Robocop 2 looks, right down to the face scans being dead on… How do I know? While writing this, I’ve been rewatching Robocop and Robocop 2 to compare the likeness of the characters.
Unlike other video games lately, Robocop: Rogue City comes without any bugs that I could notice (Though I am playing the PC version that’s had two patches since release). Teyon has done an amazing job with Robocop: Rogue City, much better than some of their other titles like Rambo and Terminator: Resistance. However, if there was one thing I would say needs improvement when it comes to Robocop: Rogue City, it’s that characters seem to have that “deadpan eyes” effect to them. What I mean by this is that all characters have eyes that stay in the center of their eyesockets, not moving at all when they look around, and they don’t blink either, giving them a very unnatural look to the point that it really takes you out of some of the more dramatic moments.
Search and Arrest
Robocop: Rogue City is a very straightforward action game. You’ll spend most of the time walking (or walking slightly faster through the use of a “sprint” button) through locations like Old Detroit, the DCPD, OCP, and other locations looking for either the main storyline quests or doing sidequests that you find around each location. Some of these side missions will involve things like helping someone find a 6000 SUX, returning someone home, issuing parking tickets, doing busts, and other things. Each mission ends with some sort of shootout, using Robocop’s scanning software to target threats. But along the way, you will do some detective work, gathering evidence and scanning for clues to complete each side mission correctly according to Robocop’s three prime directives. Though shooting is the main thing you will be doing in Robocop: Rogue City.
You do have some upgrades available to you in Robocop: Rogue City too. You’ll be able to upgrade your skills through an XP system that works around your performance in each main mission and also collect evidence along the way. You’ll get more XP by following your prime directives, mainly the one to “Protect the Innocent,” as failing this one will downgrade your overall performance to a whole letter grade. You do get moments to “Serve the Public Trust” while in the DCPD through answer choices you make to stories given to you by civilians. Another upgrade route you are given is in relation to your M9 sidearm or your Pistol. This upgrade system allows you to increase specific things in relation to your sidearm, unlocking other things like rapid fire along the way, but for almost every upgrade, there is a negative cost that will reduce other things along the way, so balancing your sidearm requires the sacrifice of some features you could unlock. Robocop: Rogue City provides a complete Robocop experience that is both action and Police work that suits the character really well and keeps everything fun and challenging throughout the game.
Winners Don’t Do Nuke!
Robocop: Rogue City does give players a lot of hours of game time with lots of side missions to enjoy alongside a well-thought-out and long main storyline. However, Robocop: Rogue City is very much a one-and-done game, with no New Game Plus available or even DLC in the works. It’s a real shame since Robocop: Rogue City is a really good game at its core and deserves more time in the sun than it’s got. Hell, I’d love to see a rewrite of Robocop 3 as DLC so we could see what a real adult version of the story could have been, or even some more “what if” style stories adapted from other media like the comic books, or just fresh new stories. Robocop: Rogue City being a one-time game really sucks to know.
Robocop is back!
When people heard there would be a new Robocop game, I don’t think anyone thought that Robocop: Rogue City would be anything worth playing. However, after playing Robocop: Rogue City, I want more! It’s a shame that Robocop: Rogue City didn’t sell huge from the outset, with around 60,000 units moved in the first week. However, this might improve after all the reviews and Christmas rolls around. For now, Robocop: Rogue City stands as a surprising gem in a very packed 2023… I’d buy that for a dollar!
Review Disclosure Statement: Robocop: Rogue City was provided to us by Nacon for review purposes. For more information on how we review video games and other media/technology, please review our Review Guideline/Scoring Policy.
Robocop: Rogue City brings the world of Old Detroit back to life with a slightly populated slum of a city while keeping the soul of the Robocop franchise intact. Placing Robocop: Rogue City between Robocop 2 and Robocop 3 was a risky move that paid off for Teyon. If nothing else, you deserve to give Robocop: Rogue City a try in a world where nothing else from the 1980s seems to be allowed to be revived and enjoyed.