Streets of Rage 4 Review – Written by Jose Vega
Purchased product for this review.
Back in the 1990s, there was a genre that dominated video games… beat ’em ups. Final Fight, Double Dragon, Golden Axe, The Punisher. It goes on and on. But in 1991, SEGA would release Streets of Rage. Sure it was meant to cash in on beat ’em ups but one year later, Streets of Rage 2 would come and would mark it’s series highest point. Sure SEGA would bring another sequel two years later but afterwards, the franchise went dormant. It had been more than 25 years since. But with franchises getting revived left and right in 2020, SEGA decides to give many franchises another chance. One being Streets of Rage 4. Entrusting a sequel to DotEmu, Lizardcube & Guard Crush Games, have they made the right decision in giving the game another chance? Let’s find out.
Streets of Rage 4 takes place ten years after the events of Streets of Rage 3. The city has entered a state of peace and tranquility but like all good things, it’s fated not to last. The Syndicate has risen up once more, this time under new leadership. Mr. X’s twin children, Mr. and Ms. Y has already gotten the city in an iron fist. Alex Stone and Blaze Fielding must rise up again to free the city but they aren’t doing it alone. Adam’s daughter Cherry Hunter is joining in alongside Dr. Zan’s protege Floyd Iraia. Together the four must take the city back from the Syndicate once more and they do so within the Streets of Rage.
I like how the story plays out in this game. It’s done so via the cutscenes that happen at the start of every level. They’re well done and they also get the point across to boot. I commend the artists for doing such a good job because they get me excited over what’s to come in this game.
Streets of Rage 4 is a beat ’em up and a very good one to boot. It’s easy to get into but can be a bit addicting. Players go through 12 stages while battling against thugs, mooks and anyone else that gets in their way. You have a choice of four different characters each with their own unique style of play. Alex Stone relies on his fists to deliver the pain while Blaze Fielding mixes between punches, kicks, somersaults and energy attacks. The two new characters: Cherry and Floyd share similarities to other characters. Cherry is similar to her uncle Skate, as she relies on multi-hit attacks and can use her guitar to send enemies flying. Floyd is similar to Max and Dr. Zan, relying on brute force, grabs, throws and even lasers. Every character offers something different and can pull off amazing techniques.
Speaking of techniques, there are plenty. Returning from previous entries are the special moves. Every character has special moves that can help them out if things get tough. The caveat is that your life is diminished slowly in exchange, but you can regain it back by attacking your enemies. They also have access to super special moves. Throughout the levels, you will find stars that you can collect. In exchange for a star, you can have your character perform a super special move that deals massive damage to all enemies. Not only that, the game has a combo system in place where the higher the combo, the more points you earn. But should you get hit, it gets broken. Players that are really skilled should take into account of this. At the end of every level, there is a boss that will challenge you and your skill. You also get graded on how you do in every level so to get the high ranks, you need to be at your best and not go down.
Streets of Rage 4 is a challenging game. It’s also not a long game either. On average, the game can be completed in 2 to 3 hours. But with five different difficulties, it’ll last a lot more. Plus the game will test your patience in the harder settings. When you lose all your lives, you get a Game Over. You can restart but the game offers you the chance to do so with more lives and special stars. There’s one catch. Use them and your overall score will be reduced to at most 90%. It’s a risk/reward option that will need players to be at your best. Not only that but players can play this game solo or with up to 4 friends offline or online with another player. The fact that Streets of Rage 4 added this is really worth the asking price. Not only that but the game has additional modes such as an actual arcade mode, a battle mode where you and a friend can do battle and a gallery mode to look through art and the soundtrack. The game has plenty to unlock like retro versions of the Streets of Rage cast, a boss rush mode and an even harder difficulty. This will give you a lot to do and I can’t say enough how much time you’ll be putting into this game.
The game looks amazing. For a 2D game, the art is just so well done whether it be the character models, backgrounds and even the cutscenes. It’s just so good. The music is great. Some of the songs are good and even Yuzo Koshiro has lent his talent to the game. That is great. The game also has the option of a retro soundtrack, basically adding music from the Streets of Rage Genesis games. It’s unlocked by default so if you want to enjoy some old school music with the game, be my guest.
Streets of Rage 4 has a lot for players to enjoy and for $25, it’s a steal. However there are some issues I have with the game. The game is a challenging one, especially if you are doing it on the harder difficulties. Enemies will gang up on you and beat you down. It can get hectic when tons of enemies gang up on you. It can also be downright unfair too. Not only that but I feel the game had a few missed opportunities such as having some of the boss characters be playable. Streets of Rage 3 did that with Shiva. Why not this game? I really don’t understand. Also the online co-op can be a bit questionable when it comes to connectivity. Though if you and your partners have a strong connection, you will do fine.
In conclusion, Streets of Rage 4 is a welcome return to a franchise that hasn’t seen much for more than 2 and a half decades. The gameplay is refined and in some cases, perfected. So much to do and unlock. Single player fun along with couch co-op and online co-op. Battle Mode. Gallery. Arcade. There is a lot to do for a $25 game and I can say enough that DotEmu, LizardCube and Guard Crush Games have done well. They made SEGA proud and I hope that SEGA continues to give more forgotten franchises a second shot… though they should have done that years ago with Streets of Rage Remake. But regardless, Streets of Rage 4 is worth your time and your money.
I give Streets of Rage 4 a solid 9 out of 10. It earns my personal Seal of Approval.