RoboCop: Rogue City is the unlikely poster child for Unreal Engine 5 — and an absolute blast to play

RoboCop: Rogue City
(Image credit: Nacon)
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You know what doesn’t seem to exist anymore? The “AA” game. These days, you’re either an almighty AAA like Starfield or a surprise indie hit like Unpacking. Titles are either produced on colossal or shoestring budgets, and it feels like there’s nothing in between.

Yet there was a time (particularly in the 2010s), where AA games were very much a thing. Think of them as the “direct-to-video” of the medium. I’m talking games like NeverDead (a title that involved controlling a decapitated head for much of its playtime) and Rogue Warrior (a game that somehow snagged Golden Globe and BAFTA-winning actor Mickey Rourke, then broke the record for virtual cuss words). 

It might look a whole lot better than those two titles I mentioned, but RoboCop: Rogue City is very much a AA game. If this was 1995, you’d absolutely be renting it from your local Blockbuster. Thankfully, the year is 2024 and I’ve been playing the crap out of this surprisingly ace tie-in to one of the most beloved action films of the ‘80s through the Epic Games Store on one of the best gaming PCs.

Hot damn if Rogue City isn’t a hugely violent surprise package"

And hot damn if it isn’t a hugely violent surprise package. A relatively low budget but beautiful-looking game that uses Unreal Engine 5 better than any other title I’ve seen to date, it places you into the thundering metal shoes of one of the most iconic movie characters ever.

Cop to it 

RoboCop: Rogue City

(Image credit: Nacon)

This is very much the RoboCop of Paul Verhoeven’s legendary action flick, too. Developer Teyon convinced actor Peter Weller to reprise the role of his career, automatically lending Rogue City an instant authenticity that most licensed games lack. You sound like RoboCop, you look like RoboCop and hoo-boy do you ever feel like RoboCop.

Just as it should be, controlling “OCP Crime Prevention Unit 001” makes you feel like a badass walking tank. Yet while the metal shell of Alex Murphy may not zip around quite like Sonic the Hedgehog, Rogue City feels refreshingly slick in its moment-to-moment gameplay.

A lot of that has to do with the fact the game simply won’t stop throwing enemies at you, and thankfully, you can throw ‘em straight back. Literally. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve chucked (a usually mohawked baddie in a denim vest) through a 20th floor window.

Murphy’s iconic service weapon, the Auto 9, is also responsible for RoboCop: Rogue City being such a hoot to play. The rat-a-tat sensation of emptying clips into goons never fails to raise a grin, with the added bonus that the game’s default gun never runs out of ammo.

This isn’t a brain dead shooter by any means, though. Teyon has the sense to mix proceedings up pleasingly with sandbox-style side missions that revolve around solving crimes dotted throughout sections of Old Detroit.

Murphy's law

RoboCop: Rogue City

(Image credit: Nacon)

It’s in these moments where RoboCop can act like, well, an actual policeman… albeit one who’s more tanked up than The Terminator. Bizarrely, these optional side tasks remind me of indie hit Papers, Please. Bureaucracy is the name of the game when it comes to these civilian-focused distractions. Murphy is all about upholding the “Public’s Trust” and you can either boost or tank this in-game meter by going strictly by the book or letting offenders off easy.

Do you let that decent kid who’s just fallen in with the wrong crowd go because he stole (yet ultimately wants to return) a car? Do you decide to issue parking tickets like they were criminal confetti? Or do you just simply blast every morally-torn NPC in the face with lead because you’re Robo freakin’ Cop?

Whatever sort of bullet-proof police officer you decide to be, Rogue City is one of the best-looking games I’ve ever played"

Whatever sort of bullet-proof police officer you decide to be, Rogue City is one of the best-looking games I’ve ever played. Not only does it run smoothly in its performance mode on PS5 and Xbox Series X, but it’s next level buttery on my RTX 4090-powered PC.

Considering developer Teyon wasn't exactly working with Rockstar Games’ budget levels, it’s hugely impressive to see RoboCop: Rogue City deploy advanced Unreal 5 graphical features, like Nanite geometry that boosts background details and Lumen GI reflections. This is a game that legitimately looks better than Starfield, and one that was made for a fraction of Bethesda’s somewhat divisive sci-fi epic.

While overall review scores have been a little mixed, I heartily recommend you give Rogue City a chance. It’s an old school shooter running on cutting edge tech that’s often a delight to play. The only problem? It’s left me desperate for a decent single-player Predator game.

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Dave Meikleham
UK Computing Editor

Dave is a computing editor at Tom’s Guide and covers everything from cutting edge laptops to ultrawide monitors. When he’s not worrying about dead pixels, Dave enjoys regularly rebuilding his PC for absolutely no reason at all. In a previous life, he worked as a video game journalist for 15 years, with bylines across GamesRadar+, PC Gamer and TechRadar. Despite owning a graphics card that costs roughly the same as your average used car, he still enjoys gaming on the go and is regularly glued to his Switch. Away from tech, most of Dave’s time is taken up by walking his husky, buying new TVs at an embarrassing rate and obsessing over his beloved Arsenal. 

  • Lroyb
    Once I saw the first alpha footage of this game, I've followed the development since.
    As a fan of the franchise, not so much 3, so laughable, jet pack anyone; or the reboot.
    I knew I wanted rogue city, and boy I'm so happy with it. I've noticed graphical glitches in it (series x quality mode).
    Going round blowing heads of slime balls never gets old. The ED-209's make their appearance.

    The motherboard upgrades for the auto-9 is a good touch, allowing you to modify the damage, reload speed, armour peircing, magazine size and the extra perks that are given is a good touch.

    Only issue I have is; from the first Misson you need level 6 engineering of open safes or scanning level 3 to reduce extra clues.

    I'm still on my first play through 🤞🤞I'm hoping that they have incorporated a new game + mode to take advantage of using higher skill levels in the early missions.

    There are some surprises in store with characters back from the first 2 films (no spoilers as to who is back), chronologically it's based between the 2nd and 3rd films. I didn't expect Peter Weller to return to voice Alex Murphy, but boy did he do justice to an iconic film character.

    I'm hoping for more Robocop games from them. As rogue city is awesome