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TAC Reviews...RoboCop: Rogue City

Date Posted: 01/04/24


Originally released in 2023, RoboCop Rogue City features the titular RoboCop taking on a new batch of enemies as he struggles to keep the not-too-distant future city of Detroit from crumbling under the weight of crime, poverty and a powerful corporation called OCP. The game is a continuation of the story from the films and canonically takes place between the events of RoboCop 2 and RoboCop 3. Peter Weller, who played the character in the first two films, reprises the role here.


Cover Art


Now, full disclosure before we continue, as of playing the game I hadn’t ever seen RoboCop in its entirety before. I had seen bits of it, and its first sequel, but it was a 1980s movie that passed me by. I honestly don’t quite know why it did because some of my favourite movies came out of the 1980s, The Terminator, Batman, The Shining, Ghostbusters, Aliens to name but a few. It seems that the 80s were a time when Hollywood was experimenting with new ideas and themes, which unlike today, pushed the envelope of what a film character could do or be, whereas now all we have a remakes, reboots and superhero movies. Now, since playing Rogue City I have purchased and watched the Blu-Ray of RoboCop and it has immediately fallen under the blanket of 1980s films I really liked. Still, I am getting ahead of myself so let’s look at Rogue City.


In case you don’t know the story of who and what RoboCop is as follows. A police officer named Alex Murphy was gunned down in a vicious gangland execution. His body was turned over to the OCP where he was transformed into a cybernetic organism, think Terminator-ish, but with a human mind that was programmed to be the ultimate police officer. RoboCop’s mind was supposedly wiped but during the events of the film RoboCop started to experience the memories of Alex Murphy before finally recognising himself as such. As a result “RoboCop” is the mind of Alex Murphy in a virtually indestructible titanium body, and sees himself as the resurrected form of the deceased officer Murphy.


Right, hopefully that is clear, but to be honest reading that back, kind of confused me a bit, but let’s not dwell.


Getting back to the game, let’s talk about Rogue City


The game opens up with a film studio being stormed by a gang called the Torch Heads, and hostages being taken. RoboCop is dispatched to the studio where he and his partner Anne Lewis enter the building. Despite the firepower of the gangs, the two are swiftly able to get to the hostages but after the gang’s leader flees, RoboCop starts to glitch. He sees Alex Murphy’s wife pleading with him and freezes up. The hostage is saved by Lewis but as the incident was filmed, OCP assigns Max Decker to be RoboCop’s overseer, who installs a monitoring chip in his head to keep tabs on him.


Meanwhile, Sergeant Reed tells his officers that there is a “New Guy” in town, and Lewis and RoboCop must find Soot, the leader of the Torch Heads. RoboCop’s problems are just beginning as the leash OCP puts on him gets ever tighter, and his glitching seems to be growing in frequency and severity…


You may be wondering why I decided to play this game despite not being that familiar with the source material and the answer was three-fold. First, a guy that my skin-sack works with recommended it, two, Angry Joe did a review saying how good a game it was, and three, it was on sale.


My understanding of RoboCop is that he is basically a tank, and therefore can brush off bullets like drops of rain on a miserable day. However, his health can and will, very quickly plummet if you just go striding into combat situations. Naturally there are no cover mechanics so initially you do have to be careful and keep an eye on your health bar lest you get shot to pieces. I was initially puzzled by the ease at which RoboCop took damage but this game features an upgrade menu. Basically everything you do earns you XP which can be used to upgrade RoboCop’s abilities and as I worked through the game I basically devoted all of my upgrade points on Vitality and Combat. It was only after maxing out both that I started to actually feel what it must be like to be RoboCop. I could walk up to enemies whilst shaking off their bullets and punch them to death. Larger enemies could still be a threat or enemies with armour piercing rounds could cause major damage, but both of these work because whilst RoboCop is tough, he is not indestructible. Therefore heavy ordinance can pierce his armour and damage him.


The game also has a few mini sandbox maps with the main one being downtown Detroit in which you can find random crimes and events happening, then intervene. These include following clues to solve a murder, or even helping someone find their cat. Again, whilst this was not the most action packed sequences it reminds you that RoboCop is a cop so he will do the kinds of things that ordinary police offers do. He can work a desk at the Police Department, and must choose when to fine citizens for misdemeanours or give them warnings. Both of these decisions have consequences because you can Uphold the Law or Protect the Public Trust, in the former instance citizens will most likely be angry over getting fines and in the latter they support RoboCop. In one early mission you find a graffiti artist and can fine him or give him a warning. In my first playthrough I fined him, and he told me I’d made an enemy. Naturally I was shaking in my boots. Later on I spotted graffiti in the same area which said “RoboCop Sucks!” which made me chuckle. In my second playthrough I gave him a warning so later on the graffiti said “RoboCop Rules!” so the decisions you make help to shape the world around you.


You have you main objectives and numerous side missions that you can do if you want. When leaving an area if there is stuff outstanding then the game promotes that there are things left uncompleted and you can’t do them later, so you can go back to do them, or just ignore them to continue the story.


One of the early side missions that had me scratching my head a smidge was one in which you are helping a kid who has gotten over his head with a gang. You talk to some people, tacking him down, and discover him hold up and petrified of the gang finding him. During your conversation with him the gang storm the place and he was terrified saying that they kill them both. I was staring at the screen with my head cocked and a frown creasing my brow wondering why this kid seemed to be seeing a frightened kitten standing before him instead of six-foot cybernetic police officer. I took the gang apart in seconds and the kid seemed surprised. Again, does this guy not see ROBOCOP standing before him?? Generally the side missions were fun and the XP they rewarded you with made playing through them fun.


As you explore the world you come across combat chips which can be used to upgrade your starting pistol. You can find and pick up guns from enemies and generally with first-person shooter games you are almost immediately ditching your default pistol for something more powerful. The addition of these combat chips mean that you can upgrade your combat pistol to make it more powerful, as a result I was happily using it throughout the game. By the end it had armour piercing, maximum damage and no reloads. As the ammo for it is infinite then I was able to mercilessly tear through anything and everything.


One of the aspects of the combat chips I never really got my head around was the fact that you unlocked, I guess you could call them, Direction modifiers. When upgrading your gun you effectively have a circuit board and must connect everything to the gun’s power supply. If the track went up and down then you needed a vertical chip to slot in to continue the power flow, if it split up, down and left then you needed a chip that could fit into the slot. Now, what I could never figure out is that when you combine chips to make them more powerful the resulting chip seemed to be completely random. The chips contain negative effects if you link them to the power source which affect the gun’s effectiveness. So it is not just a question of sticking whatever chip you want and job done. So, if I needed a vertical chip, and combined three vertical chips, why did the game spit out a horizontal one instead?? I didn’t understand what I was doing wrong because I never seemed to be able to create a chip I wanted. More often than not just combining weaker ones and fitting them in somewhere. It was a weird crafting system that did not seem to have an actual logic behind how it worked.


Sadly things were not all good.


I found the boss fights more annoying than anything else. One in particular when fighting a malfunctioning walking mech called ED209 (something that you’ll be very familiar with if you have seen the film). The fight involves you trying to get behind it to shoot its weak spot. The trouble is that RoboCop is very slow, he cannot run, and ED209 can swivel on a dime. As a result I died over and over again because I would get gunned down, or blown up by rockets, or stomped, because I was not fast enough to get around the cluttered environment to shoot his back. It immediately made a game that I was enjoying shit because I had smacked straight into a wall that I did not know how I was supposed to get past. Eventually I was able to brute force it, and by the time I encountered more ED209s I had upgraded my gun with armour piercing rounds which tore through the mech with ease without needing to hit the weak spot.


You also encounter snipers in one area and they are armed with armour piercing rounds that can rip your health bar to shreds in short order. The only way to fight them is to get hold of a sniper rifle of your own and shoot back. The problem arises because you have to cross quite a large open area with snipers that can easily pick you off from a distance. RoboCop is a cyborg and moves at a walking pace, or slightly faster than walking pace. He cannot run, is my point. As a result you are just left to plod slowly along whilst snipers smash large percentages from your health whilst you can do sweet FA about it


RoboCop can pick up objects (and perps) to throw them at enemies. These including flaming barrels, which can just be shot to make them blow up, but will also get shot by the enemies if you have picked one up. So you could be getting shot by a tonne of enemies, pick up a barrel to throw to clear out their number, only for them to shoot the barrel in your hands causing you more damage than they had been inflicting before. I get that it is more realistic if they can also shoot the barrels but it is still a pain the arse and made me very reluctant to pick them up.


I also encountered a few bugs, two of which broke the game, and the third was linked to the Trophies. The first happened when I finished a cutscene and somehow ended up in the abyss below the map so just started plunging into infinity, and had to reload a save. Fortunately the game does autosave frequently so I did not lose much progress. The second happened during the end boss fight when I was frozen in place, unable to move, unable to shoot and the enemy couldn’t do any harm to me either, so again, reload a save. The third kept causing the trophies to not ping. One of them meant finding the secrets in one area, which, on my second playthrough I looked up how to do and where to find everything. Found the secrets, and the level summary at the end acknowledged that I had found them all but no trophy. You can’t revisit that area after finishing it so that trophy was seemingly lost. I played on and was part of the way through the next mission when I called it a day and quitted the game. When I resumed a few days later the trophy popped saying I had found all the secrets. It was a delayed reaction but hey-ho I got the trophy. Sadly there is a final one in which you need to kill three enemies with an explosion that I just cannot get to work. I have walked into crowds of enemies with an exploding barrel in hand, thrown it at the floor, blown all of them to pieces and nothing happens. I find it sooooo annoying when trophies don’t work because I don’t know what I can do to fix it. I have tried reloading, I have tried blooding up enemies with different types of explosions, and when I looked on YouTube the method to use was exactly what I had already tried which wouldn’t work for me. As a result I have got all but one of the trophies which does not do my OCD any good.


All in all, Rogue City was a really fun game to play and you’ll have probably noticed that I mentioned my second playthrough, and that is because basically all of your unlocks are transferred into a New Game+. This meant that in my second game I was basically bullet proof had an unlimited max powered armour piercing gun, and upgraded everything else to the max. Bizarrely when I started a third playthrough I started with a maxed out gun, but the other upgrades I had unlocked during playthrough two had mysteriously disappeared. As the game autosave and I generally only have one save file, I don’t know if this was a bug, so couldn’t go back to an end of second playthrough save and try again.


It is a testament to the game that it provoked me to go out and get the film that it is based upon because I wanted to know more about the characters. I think if you are fan of the movie then this is defiantly worth your time because whilst I don’t know if it is canon, it was cool seeing these characters develop over the course of the game. Even if you are not a fan of the film, this is still a decent first person-shooter that has enough variety in missions and side activities to keep you interested.


At the end of your game you also get a summary of the actions you took and events you influenced which was cool to see and adds some variation to subsequent playthroughs because you can make different decisions to see how things play out. Naturally the game is getting a strong Thumbs Up because any game that makes a player seek out the source material has hooked you into its world and made you want to experience more of it.



7.5/10 – Good fun game play, but it takes quite a few upgrades before you being to feel like RoboCop, but at the end of the day, it was fun to play and I charged from one playthrough straight into another.  


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© Chris Sharman