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Streets of Rage 4 Review

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The last Streets of Rage game released in 1994. It’s 2020 now and Streets of Rage is back and it’s better than ever. Here’s what I think of Streets of Rage 4.

The Great:

Gameplay:

Man, it feels good to play Streets of Rage again. Streets of Rage 4 is everything I wanted it to be. The classic gameplay from previous games is back and I can argue that it’s better than ever. Streets of Rage 4 is a side scroller beat em up game and it’s brilliant. The game may seem simple at a glance, but it can be brutally hard and incredibly rewarding. If you’re willing to put in the time and learn this can be one of the most fulfilling games out there.

Streets of Rage 4 pays homage to the first and second game more than the third one. There’s no way to run around and zip through stages as you could in Streets of Rage 3. Instead, you have to slowly walk around and beat the living crap out of everyone around you. The only character that can run is Cherry and she’s incredibly satisfying to use. As a matter of fact, everyone is really good in this game. I enjoyed playing with everyone and I think my least favorite character might actually be Axel this time around.

That’s no slight against Axel. I think he’s great. Everyone else is just better. At the end of every stage, you’ll fight a boss and they’re great. They range from really, really east to really god damn brutal (I’m looking at you biker dude!) and learning their move sets and how to properly beat them was great. Streets of Rage has always had some of the best boss fights and Streets of Rage 4 added to that legacy in my opinion. There are no bad bosses in this game. They’re all good and I want to try my luck on the hardest difficulty, but I’m also scared that I’ll have my ass handed to me.

Streets of Rage 4 isn’t just a nostalgia trip. This game feels like a modern 2020 game with just enough retro to make us relive the glory days of the early 90s. While you play the game you’ll collect stars. These stars can be used to perform a special ability. Each character in the game has a unique move that’s special to them. Blaze can briefly levitate in the air and perform some sort of magical aoe attack around herself that’s super useful for taking out groups of enemies that are surrounding you. Cherry has my favorite move. She literally performs a powerslide across the stage while screaming. It’s fucking awesome.

Graphics:

Streets of Rage 4 is beautiful. I love the designs of the new characters and the 3 classic characters from the first game. Blaze was always my favorite character and she’s done justice here. She’s incredible and beautiful and whoops some serious ass. The character models (the new ones anyway) blends in perfectly with the beautiful backgrounds and this game ran like a dream. It is a little buggy, but it didn’t take anything away from my overall experience.

Sounds:

The soundtrack here is absolutely fantastic. Streets of Rage has always had some of the best soundtracks in gaming and this is honestly the best soundtrack I’ve played in a game this year. It’s brilliant and so nostalgic. I can play this game all day and I can’t praise the music in this game enough.

There is no voice acting at all in this game and that’s honestly a bit disappointing. I know they wanted to stay true to the originals, but since there are more cutscenes in this game than all the of the other ones some voice acting could’ve gone a long way. Instead, all of the cutscenes are voiceless (which is fine) and I had to read every line of dialogue that was spoken.

The Good:

Story:

Streets of Rage 4 isn’t going to change the way you look at life. But it will take you down a nice nostalgia trip to the 90s and that’s all I wanted it to do. The story is basically about the old gang (Axel, Blaze, and Adam) getting back together one more time with newcomers (Cherry and Floyd) to bring some peace back to the city by kicking some criminal, and policemen, syndicate ass! And you know what? What more can you ask for in a game like this? It’s brilliant.

The Bad:

Unlockable Characters Didn’t Get A Makeover:

I love the way Axel, Blaze, Adam, and the two new characters are designed and I love that the developers didn’t try and remake this game from the ground up in 3D and change everything we knew and loved about the series, but I was really hoping that the unlockable characters, Shiva and Skate, in particular, would have been updated to match the beautiful art style of everyone else in the game. They both stick out like a sore thumb when I’m fighting through the game in it’s new, beautiful, art style.

It’s A Little Buggy On The Xbox One:

There’s a pretty nasty pause menu bug that prevented me from unpausing my game. I was trying to get the highest score possible but started off doing really bad on one of the stages. So I decided that the best course of action was to restart the stage and start over. Well… that was a bad idea because as soon as I paused the game I was unable to click on anything. The only way for me to quit was to get out of the game and reset it. This happened to me 3 times. I also crashed a single time during my 9th, or 10th, playthrough. That was the extent of my problems with this game, but I would like no problems.

The Verdict

Streets of Rage 4 is a great retro trip into the 90s with just enough improvements to make it feel like a 2020 game. If you've never played this series before you're in for a really good treat and if you have you already know what you're getting into. The greatest side scroller beat em ups of all time. Streets of Rage 4 is everything I wanted it to be and it easily earned my recommendation.

9
Final Score :
9

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