Yikes, the new Robocop shooter does not look very good

IGN has shared a 10-minute preview of the upcoming future-of-law-enforcement FPS Robocop: Rogue City, and I'm sorry to say that despite our 2022 optimism, it really doesn't look very good.

Robocop: Rogue City is set between the events of Robocop 2 and Robocop 3, neither of which I can remember a thing about. (I can't even say with certainty that I've ever actually seen Robocop 3.) But I'm enough of a fan of the original to say that all the surface-level trappings appear to be present: The gun, the partner, the put-upon sergeant, the overworked cops, the crumbling city. What I don't see, though, is the heart and soul, or even the brain, that made the film such a subversive and effective satire. That aspect of the game is probably more suited for a full review, yes, but I see nothing in this preview that suggests any part of it is going to land with the impact of, say, a "Dick, I'm very disappointed."

(Image credit: Orion Pictures)

But even looking at it as a simple shooter with nothing to say, Robocop: Rogue City doesn't seem very exciting. Robocop himself is basically a walking tank—he moves slowly and deliberately, with no visible lateral motion (although IGN's video says his movement speed can be upgraded to "a heavy, brisk walk") and instead of evasive action he just walks straight into gunfire, which seems to have little (if any) impact. The firepower is equally unimpressive: Robocop can pick up dropped weapons and use them until they run dry, but by and large he's relying on his Auto 9 sidearm. I expect we'll get time with other famous Robocop hardware, like the Cobra Assault Cannon, but given that the Auto 9 has its own separate upgrade tree it sounds like it's going to be the go-to gun for most, if not all, of the game.

Enemy animations look slow and clunky, the AI seems unimpressive (Emil at least had enough sense to try getting away, instead of standing in the middle of a room blasting away), and the NPC interactions look straight out of a mid-tier RPG from 2017. Even the voice isn't right: Yes, it's Peter Weller back in the title role, but it's old Peter Weller (he's 75 now, you know), not the deep, metallic timbre from 1987. I don't often say this, but this is one case where a stand-in really would have been a better fit for the job.

Robocop: Rogue City is still a few months away, and a 10-minute preview is no substitute for a proper review based on the full game. The trouble is that I don't see anything in this preview that gets me excited for more: There's nothing inherently wrong with mid-tier shooters looking to capitalize on a license (I genuinely loved Necromunda: Hired Gun), but this just looks sort of half-assed.

We'll have a better idea about how the full game comes together soon enough: Robocop: Rogue City is currently set to come out sometime in September on Steam and the Epic Games Store

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.