This really is one of the best brawling games I’ve ever played, possibly the best in decades as the genre has really shrunken over the years. With this fourth main entry in the series we welcome back some classic characters, while bringing new ones into the fold. They set up an interesting story set a long time after the last games and have us jump into the action. You can play the game alone, or with up to four players. The local multiplayer allows up to four, and you can have online coop with two players locally combined for four total online players.
This is great, and helps keep the action going if you can compile a brawler team to fight with. If not, just enjoy playing it yourself. The campaign has a good set of twelve stages to it, and lots of replay value as well if you so choose. The narrative is delivered in comic style cutscenes for the most part. Aside from the main story offering there are a number of other modes present. There’s one for finding online matches, that’s important to mention I suppose. You can also just battle it out in a number of arenas.
There’s a boss rush if you want to hit high scores by just tackling the larger enemies out there from the story. A final option is the arcade, so more of a classic straight play. It definitely feels like a well rounded package in terms of content and what it provides. Additionally, once you beat the campaign you can just go back to stage select, so that’s a nice choice.
This is one gorgeous looking title, the art aesthetic is stunning. It looks fantastic, and is incredibly smooth. The hits feel as though they have a healthy weight to them and the impacts felt exciting to land. While there are limited moves based on the style of the game, they do really create some unique combative moments. It flows very well, whether you’re hitting some standard punches or doing an intense sweep the legs. I enjoyed the extra bonus abilities present that you collect through stars, or the somewhat penalty based ultra hit option. This is a very interesting way to create a reward system for combat, and I thought that was neat.
It was great to be building towards a score on the levels through what you did, and how you performed. You’re basically collecting cash, and food of which the latter heals you up. There are even food options from the pause menu which I thought was fascinating to see in action. I did find the game to be rather challenging, and there are options present to make it a bit easier if it’s too overwhelming. It’s nice that there are some accessibility options in that regard.
I did find it slightly annoying that running out of lives sent you to the start of a level, felt there could have been checkpoints or something to that end if people didn’t really care for the extra difficulty. It’s not too long to work through a level, but it’s still a fair bit of time lost. That’s especially frustrating as I’d be near the end of a level and just not quite have enough life to take on that last boss challenge. I also wasn’t a huge fan of them re-using boss characters later on as regular characters. I honestly feel that sort of cheapens their earlier appearances in the game. With that and going back to the art style, the environments were quite varied. Even with stages, you’d enter almost entirely new and fresh areas as you progressed along. There were always new enemies, or old ones coming back in some new ways.
Streets of Rage 4 is an excellent brawling title, one of if the not the best within the genre in literal decades. It really does deliver an exciting campaign that I was thrilled to work through in a sitting. It brought a good amount of time to it, constantly changing environments and a good challenge. I liked that there were options to make it easier if needed, and that they offered multiplayer coop both locally or online.
It feels like a complete experience with the various extra modes that do help round out the package. This was a generally thrilling time and it was a lot of fun to play. I really did enjoy this one, and it’s certainly a worthwhile time for sure. It features gorgeous aesthetics, smooth animations and a bumping soundtrack to tie it all together.
This is one of those gems that should hopefully stand out for a long time. It takes the classic releases of that genre, and streamlines it into a modern style almost perfectly. I’m sure some might desire additional innovation, but they really did provide something that felt right for now.
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Streets of Rage 4 Review on Xbox One X