Streets of Rage 4 Xbox One Review

August 30, 2020 by  
Filed under Xbox One, Reviews & Features, Xbox

Publisher: Dotemu Developer: Dotemu, Lizardcube, Guard Crush Games  

Genre: Action/Fighting  Players: 1-4  Age Rating: 12+  

Other console/handheld formats: PS4, Switch

26 years is a long time, and that’s how long fans of Streets of Rage have had to wait for the fourth game in the much cherished franchise. As the Streets of Rage series will be celebrating its 30th anniversary next year, it’s somewhat surprising that SEGA didn’t hold off from releasing Streets of Rage 4 until then, although, trust me, I’m not complaining one iota, as the fourth game in the side scrolling fighting game series is one that I was delighted to play, and it really is a game that hits the spot on so many levels.

Taking place 10 years after Streets of Rage 3, the story sees the uprising of Mr X’s children, the Y twins, who are brainwashing people, and it’s up to the likes of Axel Stone, Adam Hunter, and Blaze Fielding, along with newcomers including Adam’s daughter Cherry, and Floyd Iraia (a character defined by his bionic arms) to clean up the streets. Typically, when it comes to the plot, it means sod all though, and all I want to do in a game like this is to bash some faces in. 

There’s quite a bit to unlock, courtesy of an ever rising lifetime score. There’s extra characters and more to unlock.

Luckily, the fighting in Streets of Rage 4 looks and feels fantastic, and thanks to distinct characters, additions and fine tuning, it is satisfying in all the important ways. SEGA put their good faith in Dotemu, Lizardcube and Guard Crush Games to make sure that this fourth game would live up to its name, and the results truly speak for themselves; respecting both the past and the genre and just assuring that it is a very well-made side scrolling brawler. 

Fighting on your own, with another player online, or up to three others locally, you have your basic attacks (which can be powered up by holding the attack button down), as well as specials which are based around a risk versus reward mechanic. As in Streets of Rage 2 and 3, using these attacks will come at the cost of some of your health, although if you are able to follow up with an attack, you’ll regain this lost health, although if you get attacked before you manage to do so, your opportunity at recovering the health will be lost for good. Then there’s the star moves, which are the most powerful moves in each character’s arsenal, and these can only be used when you have a star under your health bar, and are definitely best to store for the stronger enemies or the bosses. As you fight your way through the levels, combining all these moves just adds to all the fun. 

A combo counter has also been added, and seeing this rise is gratifying, particularly when you are juggling enemies, and bouncing them off the side of the screen. Doing so will also increase your score, and it’s all the more satisfying when you have another player or two (or three) beside you, and you work together to build huge combos. It’s one of those games that is very simple to play, but mastery for the high score chasers means that it will keep such players brawling for a long time yet.

When it comes to the challenge of the game, you get different difficulty levels, although the game doesn’t stop there, as Streets of Rage 4 is a very welcoming game. You no longer have credits upon losing all your lives, although before you restart the stage, you are given the opportunity to increase the amount of lives as well as the number of star moves. This assures that anyone should be able to get through a stage, although it does come at the cost of reducing your final score at the end of a stage. 

Like always, melee weapons can be found, wielded, and tossed, although they break through use.

The 12 stages as well as the art design are also very impressive. Typically, you are fighting through the streets, on top of trains, in lifts, in bars, and so on, going from the left of the screen to the right and beating up an assortment of bad guys on the way. The divisive look of the game may not exactly be in keeping with the three games that came before it, but the comic book-style visuals still look very attractive, and the game definitely catches the eye with its mixture of bright colours and moody lighting. There are even some nice little visual nods towards the other games in the series, which is something worth looking out for, and it’s even possible to play the game with a retro style filter. 

As for the music, many of the tracks have a nice beat to them, although none of the tunes are up there with the series best. If you’d prefer, it’s possible to play the game with the retro soundtrack though, which is a nice touch, even if it would have been appreciated for more focus to be placed on the Mega Drive music as opposed to the addition of music from the Master System version. 

It may have taken 26 years, but Streets of Rage 4 was definitely well worth the wait, and it has actually turned out to be one of the finest entries in the iconic series. As was the case with Sonic Mania, SEGA put the series in safe hands, and the finished product is exceptional in its genre. Now let’s hope that it won’t be another 26 years until the release of Streets of Rage 5.