- Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows PC
- Publisher: Jordie Asension (indie)
- Developer: Jordie Asension (indie)
- Genre: Beat ‘Em Up
A game known for its “timeless gameplay” and dance electronic music
The Streets of Rage 3 is one of the best games in the Sega Genesis. Twenty-six years after the original trilogy debuted, Streets of Rage 4 arrives as one of the best single-player PC games of 2020.
The new entry of the franchise, though, doesn’t take the game forward. Instead, it takes you back two decades, when gaming was more straightforward, and graphics were 2D.
You still wander the streets while listening to Yuzo Koshiro tracks. And you’re going to do the same as you did before: kick and punch rotten cops and punks.
Once again, the story is about cleaning up the streets from corrupt police officers and crime gangs. This time, though, you’re fighting on a neon-filled city with refined “old-school” graphics and the sweatest 2D gameplay you’d find.
Even though this is an old-school experience, Streets of Rage 4 brings some modern twists to make it work in 2020.
The new features include several new fighters going alongside the classic characters.
It’s still a 2D beat ’em up game. You continue moving to the right side of the screen while punching everyone and everything. It’s a simple arcade-like game with smooth gameplay and satisfying combat mechanics.
For example, you can knock your foes and steal their knives and their pipes. Or you can do the classic: break mailboxes for apples and turkeys to refill your health bar.
Every character has two special moves. One of those drains your life; the other requires rare stats you get along the way.
Streets of Rage 4 is full with ’90s aesthetics and music
Graphics-wise, this game is gorgeous. It trades pixels for smooth hand-drawn art for the classic ’90s comic book feel. The look is gritty, rough, and colorful at the same time.
Then, it all comes together with an excellent soundtrack.
Simple & sweat
Overall, the game is much more dynamic than the originals. Compared to the vintage trilogy, Streets of Rage 4 feels different and delivers different types of characters. For instance, Axel is a slow-moving brute, whereas Cherry is an agile, subtle fighter.
Playing around the five different characters is fun and gives the game plenty of replayability. In the end, you get to choose which tactics and playstyles suit you better.
The character selection is the most complicated thing you’ll find in this game. Aside from that, Streets of Rage is entertaining and straightforward.
Going through the levels is a matter of walking down the street and punching people in the guts. Yet, things get interesting with new scenarios and a large display of enemies.
There’s one high level when you have to break out of prison. That means fighting the prisoners as well as the guards. Both sides are also fighting each other for a chaotic level that ramps things up with riot shields and taser guns.
That said, most levels inject fuel and ideas to an otherwise linear premise. It makes the game a joyful ride.
Your experience matters
I have to note Streets of Rage 4 is very welcoming. Classic games tend to be impossible to beat, as that’s part of the appeal. However, Streets of Rage gets around with various difficulty options.
You can also customize your experience to precision. For example, you can choose to have new lives, more power, or a bigger health bar. Doing so lowers your high score, but the rest remains the same.
Hardcore players can still enjoy an unforgiving game. Everyone else can find other ways to get frustrated.
Streets of Rage nails the 2D beat ’em up genre and the series ’90s stile. Even though it follows a classic game design, this title doesn’t quite feel like anything else.
For what it is and what it delivers, Streets of Rage 4 is a perfect 10.
There are plenty of modern games attempting to catch the retro feel. What we’re seeing is something else. Streets of Rage 4 is a sequel that maintains the classic tone with updated graphics, animations, music, and gameplay that works to perfection.
Available for: PS4, PS4 Pro, Xbox One, Xbox One X, Windows PC