Streets of Rage 4 – Game Review


Streets of Rage 4

(Available on PlayStation 4, X Box One, Nintendo Switch and PC)
(Nintendo Switch version used for review)
 
So right after Sega announced a remake of Panzer Dragoon it was announced at an Nintendo indie showcase that Lizard cube who developed the wonder boy 3 remake were going to revive the Streets of Rage franchise with it’s 4th entry. Sega seem to have really distanced themselves from this since their logo is nowhere in the game and since they haven’t taken a role in publishing or licensing the game that’s probably fair enough, it’s just surprising that it’s yet another revived Sega franchise they had to hand over to someone else to get made. If you owned a mega drive back in the day Streets of Rage was one of the best exclusive series you could get for the console though like many of Sega’s numerous Intellectual Properties they haven’t been in an ecstatic mood to make more entries with a failed revival on the Dreamcast being the most recent attempt to revive it (if anyone who tells you Nintendo should stop making consoles to become a third party developer so that they can make more games for more consoles, Sega and Atari lack of use of a majority of their in house franchises are proof that it doesn’t always work out like that and Nintendo would probably go the same way in that scenario) .
 
This game is the 4th entry in the franchise though it largely retains much of it’s classic side scrolling beat em up gameplay across several stages where you play as 1 of 4 characters with various fighting styles taking on various gangs, police and a wide variety of enemies which can be played in single player, offline multiplayer and online multiplayer with one extra 1 on 1 multiplayer mode added to the mix and in all honesty it’s great to have it back. Games like this have been gone for a while since they tend to be more suited to the arcade environment and with the way modern consoles work with largely expansive games being more of the norm. however, the advent of digital releases for quick fun games has led to a revival of this style as demonstrated with the release of River City Girls last year. like River City Girls this is another really good example of the genre in action though I think it’s better and worse on certain systems. This game has an excellent pick up and play factor and is really good fun for the co-op multiplayer which suit the switch well in both regards but the lack of built in voice chat on the switch means it struggles for communicating with online multiplayer which in this game is really crucial for success. multiplayer however is the best way to play the game, playing single player is a lonely and much harder experience and I think like many others in this genre it’s built for and is most fun with multiplayer, especially offline. Online multiplayer does work out in my experience but as I stress on several occasions I happen to live in an area with good wi-fi so online experiences vary. I just didn’t have that much fun playing the game by myself and thought it would be greatly improved if I could have mates over to play it with and it really seems like the game was designed with multiplayer in mind since I died a lot more and had to use the level aids in most circumstances to beat the level which lowers your overall score. It’s also not a long game by any stretch but that’s to be expected and online leader boards add to the level of replayabilty if you like comparing scores with your friends as well as your console of choices player base and it makes good use of thetime it has.

Pros

  • Combat: the actual combat is precise and really requires an extra level of strategy and introduces a lot of a high risk/high reward element to the fights. Particular mechanic I liked was the special attacks which temporarily drain your health but can be recovered through successful combos, however failing to pull this off means that health is gone. Trust me pulling off combo’s is one of the most satisfying things you can do in this game
  • A few extra challenges: there’s quite a few extra challenges including an arcade mode that requires beating the game in 1 life, a boss rush and a one on one multiplayer mode to play with friends. All adds up to extra replay value which is greatly appreciated
  • Enemy variety: some enemy’s have returned from the original trilogy but I find the best ones are new enemies which give off an extra sense of strategy and is an excellent edition for returning fans and it completely maintains the excellent strategic combat
  • Art style: I really like the new art style that has been put in the game, they’ve traded the pixelated art style for a more anime esc style similar to River City Girls. It manges this very well giving a modern look to Streets of Rage whilst maintaining a lot of the look and style and has set a high standard to the upcoming Battletoads release
  • Level length: unlike Panzer Dragoon remake these levels really have a feel of being just the right amount of time.

Cons

  • Weapons seem to be much less effective: I swear I was better off avoiding weapons this time round since most of the time they did minimal damage and opened myself up for attacks this might be something worth patching
  • Parts of it feel like you need multiplayer to get through in 1 life: this is confined to certain environments where it seemed like I only just scraped by and it wouldn’t have been that way with a friend.

Overall thoughts

This is what I want from an Arcade game in the home, quick and fun gameplay and has cool strategic combat. Between this and River City Girls the genre still has some life and I would recommend if you’re interested jump on the bandwagon. It’s longevity depends a lot on your enjoyment of challenging your life and online leader boards but it’s still a really good game.
 
Score: 8/10
 
It’s a relatively cheap game with no physical release yet but there will be one in June. It won’t take up too much space on your hard drive if you decide to go digital
 
Calvin – Nerd Consultant

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