I've never watched the Robocop media - movies, tv shows, or prior games. I saw a preview for Robocop: Rogue City not too long ago, and it gathered my interest - a post-humanist character, cyberpunk stylings, and an Unreal 5 engined game.
This looks like a previous generation game in a current gen game engine; but this is okay, because at the core of its metallic, non-beating heart, is a proper old school game that reminded me more of Soldier of Fortune than Cyberpunk.
Long story short, you play Alan Murphy, a dead cop who gets to to live again, in a unique all metal, all law abiding body. The game opens with a high stakes hostage situation at a local TV station in a future Detroit, and takes you through a layered, linear, mechanical story reminiscent of shooters of old with uh, well, appropriately "robotic" gameplay.
It is a good game. It puts its self together well, but has the feelings - visually of contradiction. This is clearly a powerful, stable engine; but the graphics are muted outside of the lighting, owing to lower quality assets and environments than you would expect, given the quality of the lighting in the game.
The game is a lot of fun, with wave of wave after enemy running toward you in all sorts of places - even within a video store, where there was cash stored in a VHS case; waiting for a gang pick up.
The combat and enemies are mindless, but you're rewarded for your steady aim with gratuitous violence. Heads explode into fine red mists with an accurately placed headshot, but the combat feels on rails, mechanical, and low stakes - I mean, you're a justice robot with a pistol that is pretty much capable of doing everything once you've upgraded it using the small gimmicky upgrade packages which aren't well explained, but easy enough to understand.
There were moments where the atmosphere felt on par with Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, but this was only due to the fact that it was a night time city, the ground was dirty, and there was the entire illusion of agency within what is otherwise a fairly linear area and game.
You can't jump. You can't save manually, but you can collect evidence, level up your skills and sub-systems, and you even get some Max Payne-esque sequences where Robocop must come to terms with his own psyche. All up, it is an adequate representation of the robocop universie.
Could it be better and more polished, more fluid, perhaps? Of course, but everything can be. With some higher quality models, and better textures (given this is an Unreal Engine 5 game, modders rejoice (I guess)), that should come later on down the track; and there's a lot of potential here for a sleeper classic.
Wait til it goes on sale, but then play it through a single sitting or two on a weekend, and you'll regret very little.
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