I am a child born in the eighties. The time when titles such as Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Robocop (made by none other than our own Paul Verhoeven) saw the light of day. So a game with these names always deserves my attention. Will this Robocop take me back to my teenage years?

Robocop: Rogue City centers on Alex Murphy, a cop who barely survives an attack by drug criminals, and has had to pay for it with basically everything. His entire body has been replaced by a robotic prosthesis and all that remains is his face. The robotic Alex Murphy now patrols the streets of Detroit, a city that appears to be run by a Corporation (OCP), the makers of Robocop. The underlying plan is bigger, replacing old Detroit with Delta City, driving poor residents out of the city.

The story in the game is new. It has no familiar parts from the films. A new enemy has appeared and you investigate what is going on. You scan crime scenes to look for clues and tackle groups of criminals. We see many familiar faces from the film in the game, such as his partner Anne Lewis, and everything breathes the atmosphere of the film. One-liners and Robo’s cheesy¬† and awkward humor.

It is a story that will certainly not win any Oscars, but it is the perfect motivation to go all out as a mechanical officer. And the game does that while remaining surprisingly faithful to the source material. A lot of well-known characters are also present, the iconic sound effects from the original films thunder from your speakers and the icing on the cake is perhaps Peter Weller who is present to once again provide the voice of RoboCop.

The game does not shy away from secretly hinting at some social criticism, just like the original liked to do. But the human side of the cyborg also gets enough screen time. For example, RoboCop experiences various flashbacks to the time before the attempt on his life and he talks several times with a psychologist who gives his human side space to shine. It is clear that the developers have a clear passion for the license and that authenticity shines through on all sides.

The key question then remains: does such an authentic basis also translate into entertaining gameplay? That answer is a bit more twofold. Rogue City does a number of things very well, but there are also a few clear caveats that detract from the gaming experience. The core of that gameplay, shooting down hordes of criminals, is by far one of the highlights of the game. Armed with your trusty Auto 9, you will blast kilos of lead through all opponents. RoboCop doesn’t do subtle, so taking cover is rare.

Often you run straight into the crowd and shoot everyone without hesitation. The punch that your weapons deliver and the sound that the Auto 9 makes with every volley fired will never bore you for a moment. You can fine-tune your playing style as the game progresses with skill points that you can spend to, for example, do more damage or improve your armor.

But the Auto 9 itself can also be customized with various circuit boards and upgrades, which can be quite drastic. For example, one circuit board ensures that you never have to reload, at the expense of the accuracy of your shots. Another circuit board does exactly the opposite and turns your gun into a real sniper, with single shots that do much more damage each.

It gives the shooting that extra depth that benefits the gameplay, especially if you have been hopping around the digital streets of Detroit for ten hours. It is the depth and variety that is sometimes a bit lacking further in the game. In addition to all the lead shooting, as RoboCop you also go to the streets a lot to do old-fashioned detective work.

The game’s semi-open world structure gives you the opportunity to explore Detroit at your leisure amid the violence and interact with the countless side missions the game offers. The problem here is that the city itself feels quite barren and deserted at times. Apart from a handful of NPCs, you will find little excitement in the world of Rogue City, which is a shame. How fitting would it be to have to solve a street fight or shoplifting as Robo.

The missions you are presented with are often very simple in design. Walk from point A to point B, talk to person It is not very special and sometimes even a bit boring. Moreover, the conversations you have with the residents of Detroit often feel superficial and have little impact. You are given the opportunity to choose dialogue options more than once, but the consequences of those choices are hardly noticeable in the further course of the game.

Only at the end are you presented with the consequences (the game has multiple endings), but there too the differences are very small. As a result, RoboCop Rogue City sometimes feels a bit too superficial and that is a shame, because the first impression is so strong. It is also a little later in the game that the technical finishing is lacking in many areas. Voices are not always synchronized, the animation of characters is sometimes very wooden and cutscenes stutter and have clear blocky artifacts. Although you would think that this might have been done on purpose, it is the 80’s baby after all!

RoboCop Rogue City is out for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series S and X and PC.

Score:

7,5

+ Authentic 80’s feel
+ Beautiful graphics
+ Shoots away nicely
+ Nice and violent, like the movies

– Skills, “builds” and consequences not clearly explained
– Game has some performance issues wile on Graphic mode