I’ll cut to the chase, if you’re a huge fan of nostalgia, pick up Streets of Rage 4 ASAP. if you’re not, don’t worry about waiting for a sale, this is far from a “can’t miss” (or praise the Game Pass gods).
SoR4 is the perfect Game Pass title for Xbox One. It’s short, classic feeling, very pick up ‘n play, offers both couch and online co-op and just brings back the beat ’em up feels. But it certainly doesn’t change the “game” of side scrolling beat ’em ups, and, again, it’s short. With the plethora of RPG’s that have released in the past month, I was pleased as porridge to play a 2-3 hour game full of punches, kicks and electrical hi-jinx. As someone who also picked up the Capcom Belt Collection in Japan earlier this year — and played the shit out of it — it was great to jump back into that same gaming space with Streets of Rage…
FELIPE: Yeah. The gameplay is perfectly okay, but it brings nothing new or innovative to the table. The only reason this made a splash is franchise roots. It’s 2020; they really couldn’t add even 3-hit combos when using weapons? A blocking mechanic with a meter? You’re still confined to the one attack whenever you pick one up– even worse in a game with an emphasis on combos.
MOODY: Oh, don’t get me wrong, Fel. Some of the gameplay choices irked the shit out of me too. No blocking is a major fail and that rear kick (from any of the 5 initial characters) is wonky as hell. Clicking the right trigger only worked half the time, and half of the half of the time it can spam rear back-kicks just fine; the other half of the half of the time, the mechanic felt jammed and I was slammed to the concrete in my attempt to not spam the Xbox ‘Y’ special move. Take a wild guess! Uh, huh. By the end game I was spamming the jump and special attack over and over and over again. It was fun, but that’s not how games should play.
FELIPE: Ha! I can already hear the “it’s staying true to the series, man!” arguments, but it just feels lazy. The combos are easy to execute — for every character — and they’re all the same. They each have some special moves that cost you some health and have some “barely there” differences depending on the character you choose. Quick character guide: big guy slow, main balanced, small fast.
MOODY: By the end, I liked two characters: Blaze Fielding, because she’s super hot, has a great special and just an easy character to use (and sleep with) and Floyd Iraia because he’s a cyborg with a lot of power, he’s easy to spam (and perhaps easy to sleep with too *I mean, probably.. but..*). Now this review has gotten way out of hand, but we’re talking 80s Cyberpunkian Arcade Fuckery anyway, so it’s fitting. I’m sad that in order to play as Streets of Rage 2 and 3‘s Max, Skate, Zan and Shiva — and retro sprite versions of these and the base game characters — I have to build up a preposterous amount of points and play the stages/story multiple times to unlock.
FELIPE: Not the best, although the unlocking of characters from previous SoR entries is a nice touch. There are some more things I like, too: The actual character and background designs are great. Everything is bold and colorful, and has a decent variety of enemies thrown at you. There’s a lot of life to this retro beat ’em up.
MOODY: Yeah, Lizardcube/Guard Crush def put a lot of juice behind the atmosphere. The music is outstanding too, with the ability to play newer, more harmonic versions of classic SoR themes and, of course, the juicy retro MIDI versions (that I unsurprisingly opted for). Overall, it’s a wonderful “few hour” experience that serves as a nice “break night” from the Persona‘s and Final Fantasy‘s. But, beyond that, is just a fine arcade-at-home experience. 3.25/5 Bibles.
FELIPE: The game has a range of perfectly average to great (the former in my eyes), depending on how much nostalgia is a factor for you. Ok, bye, buddy, bye-bye. Wash your hands and wear your masks. 2.25-2.5/5 Bags of Moneys Just Lying Around.
-Felipe Crespo & Travis Moody