A Grand Return to Glory
Being absent for 26 years, Streets of Rage finally makes a return with its newest edition, featuring new hand-drawn graphics, gameplay mechanics, extra features and much more.
Taking place 10 years after the previous game, Streets of Rage 4 once again sees protagonists Axel Stone and Blaze Fielding return to fight the new threat in Oak Wood City. This time it’s The Y Syndicate, led by the offspring of the previous games villain, Mr. X, known as The Y Twins, who want revenge for their deceased father.
You will once again be seeing yourself fighting through groups of enemies, with a mix of new and familiar faces. There are 12 stages in total, each with a boss at the end and 5 difficulty settings, allowing for me replay value.
Streets of Rage 4 retains the same gameplay style to that of its predecessors, with some new additions that make it easier and more satisfying to perform combos – such as adding new techniques like the ‘star move’, which allows each character to create a devastating attack to allow for additional damage.
It also has a variety of different gameplay styles, in the form of different characters, to accommodate for people’s preferred way of play. While Axel and Blaze are very similar, the new additions, Cherry Hunter and Floyd Iraia, couldn’t be further apart.
The daughter of Adam Hunter from the first Streets of Rage, although not very strong, Cherry is very quick and acrobatic, making for fast-paced gameplay, while accommodating some of her father’s techniques in her own unique fashion. Floyd is the slowest of the cast, but makes up for it in terms of power with the aid of his mechanical arms, created by Dr. Zan.
Graphics & Soundtrack
Graphically, the game is a visual masterpiece: all characters are animated smoothly; foregrounds and backgrounds are all well-drawn; and all cutscenes are in the fashion of a comic book.
The soundtrack is perhaps the best the series has seen so far, with tracks that range from jazz, synth and techno. Some of its highlights being ‘An Exhibition’, ‘Rising Up’, ‘It’s Extra’ and many more. The themes in the stages are also dynamic, so as you progress throughout a stage, the style of the theme changes.
But There’s More…
After completing the story, Streets of Rage 4 has plenty of replay value, ranging from a boss rush, versus mode, and the ability to play locally or online.
There is also plenty of bonus content, such as a lifetime scoreboard that can be used to unlock characters from the previous games and prototypes of concept art for characters and stages. And for long-time Streets of Rage fans, there is the ability to use the OST’s from the first two games and filters to make the game feel like it’s 16-bit predecessors.
Mr. X Nightmare DLC
With the high praise that Streets of Rage 4 received, the developers decided to give the game even more bonus content, compiling a mix of 3 additional characters, a new game mode, new moves sets for characters and style changes.
The Mr. X Nightmare DLC has three new additional characters: Estel Aguirre, Max Thunder and Shiva. All of which come equipped with their own unique skill set.
The highlight of the DLC would have to be the addition of the survival mode, which has you fighting infinite waves of enemies that increase with difficulty every time a level is cleared. Your chosen character can be upgraded each time you have cleared a level, giving you an advantage and helping you to keep up with the difficulty curve. These can be done in the form of an added jump, additional damage, or defence and elemental properties added to your attacks.
All characters have also received additions of their own, which range from aesthetics to gameplay mechanics, new moves to better suit the player’s preferred gameplay style, and different colour palettes for HD characters.
There is also the addition of a training mode, which not only helps players adapt their skills, but also let’s them get creative by adding as many enemies of their choosing to make for some fun and chaotic combat.
My Streets of Rage 4 (2020) Review Conclusion
Overall, Streets of Rage 4 is a great game and makes a near-perfect comeback to the series. All aspects from the gameplay to the graphics and soundtrack hit the mark and make for a fun and enticing experience.
And not only has Streets of Rage 4 surpassed expectations, but its DLC has allowed for endless replay-ability with the additional characters, the survival mode, and the fact it gives players a new way to play with the new moves sets for different styles of combat best suited for them, making for a better and more rounded playthrough.