RoboCop: Rogue City preview - not your average cyborg

(Image credit: Nacon)

Traversing the mean streets of Detroit as a law-abiding cyborg in first-person shooter RoboCop: Rogue City has never been so enjoyable. When I was first let loose on the mean streets of Motor City, I was expecting intense firefights, impressive explosions, and cheesy one-liners. However, what I got was so much better than that. 

As someone who grew up watching the RoboCop movies with their Dad, much of the deeper issues that the films addressed flew over my head, as my smaller self was mesmerized by the explosive gunfights and one-of-a-kind 80s action. However, rewatching these iconic films years later, I realized that RoboCop is more than action; it’s also a heartwarming story of someone trying to regain their humanity, sprinkled with a few satirical stumbles along the way.

Between trying to find the mysterious and nameless big bad guy on the block and tracking down the violent gang leader Soot, I decided to walk the streets and get to know my neighborhood better. This led me to a heartwarming story about reuniting a family and saving a fellow police officer, all with the help of a chatty police informant nicknamed Pickles.

RoboCop isn’t the most empathetic cyborg on the streets, but watching him help Pickles atone for his past sins by encouraging him to return the missing police officer’s watch to his young son, giving the family something to remember him by, was a sweet sight to behold. I saw Pickles turn a new page in his life, a son receiving closure, and even RoboCop himself remembering how important family is after losing his own in a previous life. Moments like this made me want to keep stomping on in the hope of helping RoboCop earn the public trust and why this FPS title is one of my most anticipated upcoming PS5 games.

Art imitates art 

People roaming streets late at night

(Image credit: Nacon)

The first movies relied on a delicate balance of action, satire, and empathy; thankfully, developer Teyon nails this. “Figuring out the core of the atmosphere and mood from Paul Verhoeven’s movies were actually the most fun thing for me in developing this game”, producer Piotr Łatocha told TRG in an interview. 

The different situations that you can find RoboCop in was one of the most entertaining features of this shooter. During the two hours I spent with RoboCop: Rogue City, I found myself busy, alternating between dealing with community complaints at the police station, taking out a violent gang with an M60 machine gun, and even stopping to dish out parking tickets. Watching how RoboCop would react in each moment flipped between badass, heartwarming, and hilarious. 

“I'm really happy that it's not just about shooting in [RoboCop: Rogue City]; there's so much more than that”, Łatocha says. “There’s a ton of very interesting characters and small stories”. The various layers of dialogue make RoboCop feel like more than just your average FPS protagonist; it gives what could be a pretty lifeless character some much-needed warmth. 

The best of both worlds 

Robocop walking into a room

(Image credit: Nacon)

While I enjoyed the more empathetic and genuine stories while previewing RoboCop: Rogue City, it was more like the icing on an action-packed FPS-flavored cake. The fight sequences were everything a fan of the series could hope for. As I traversed the news studio in my first proper quest as RoboCop, I found myself using my faithful Auto-9 pistol and a bevy of assault rifles to mow down the evil gangsters in a blaze of glory. 

The poor souls that let me get too close got a pretty bloody taste of the melee options. Receiving either a savage fist to the face or being grabbed by the throat and flung across the room like a toy doll. Was it the most peaceful resolution? No. Was it the coolest? Definitely. 

There were many moments like this that reminded me of my cyborg prowess. I could stroll carelessly through enemy fire or jump down an elevator shaft without a snapped shin in sight. I even had a home-grown Matrix moment as everything slows down when Robocop breaches a door, allowing me to pick off the bad guys with seemingly little effort. As simple as it may sound, charging through waves of enemies and clicking heads was a great way to relax and feel badass. What more could you ask for?

Methodical mayhem

RoboCop's gun

(Image credit: Nacon)

The action sequences were only as cool as they were thanks to the extra content outside of the main gunfights and story. The fact that developers Teyon fleshed out the world with believable and entertaining characters and side quests meant that the copious amounts of violence never got old. 

There are multiple ways to confront each problem, thanks to the multiple skills available to upgrade. Even when confronting random NPCs sitting in a car playing music, “If you use psychology, there is an additional option that is the most peaceful course of action”, Łatocha says. “With engineering, you can trick them that their car is coursing with electricity, and they better move away, and they do that actually”. Depending on what you upgrade and how you interact with the world around you, you’ll get different benefits, hints, and even one of two different endings to the atmospheric sci-fi shooter. 

While RoboCop: Rogue City didn’t turn the sci-fi genre on its head or do anything particularly outlandishly creative, it did succeed in paying homage to the source material and creating a believable world that was entertaining to navigate. Where this journey will end up is still unknown, as Teyon’s title is simply taking inspiration from the movies. I just hope it keeps on championing witty satire and surprisingly personal moments all the way to the end.  

If RoboCop: Rogue City carries on this trajectory then there's not doubt that it'll make our best FPS list on release.  

Elie Gould
Features Writer

Elie is a Features Writer for TechRadar Gaming, here to write about anything new or slightly weird. Before writing for TRG, Elie studied for a Masters at Cardiff University JOMEC in International Journalism and Documentaries – spending their free time filming short docs or editing the gaming section for their student publications. 

Elie’s first step into gaming was through Pokémon but they've taken the natural next step in the horror genre. Any and every game that would keep you up at night is on their list to play - despite the fact that one of Elie’s biggest fears is being chased.