Streets of Rage 4 reunites the old cast back together again to take down the children of Mr X – the mysterious Y Syndicate led by Mr X’s children. The Streets of Rage series was never known for its complex storylines, so I am happy to see this hasn’t changed here. Where Streets of Rage 4 does deviate from the formula is the art style and the combat system. The new comic-book look fits the game perfectly.
If you haven’t played Streets of Rage before, this game is largely the same as the older ones. You’ve got twelve stages to blast up enemies, with a boss at the end of each level to keep things nice and difficult. Though you can play on your own, these games are much more fun when played alongside friends. Streets of Rage 4 takes the local multiplayer fun to another level by letting you play with up to four players, plus there is a Battle mode if you want to prove who is the best fighter.
The changes made to the combat system give the game considerably more depth, especially when playing solo. There’s a focus on combos this time around now that you can bounce enemies off the walls with powerful attacks. Special attacks are also much more important thanks to their invincibility frames. Unlike the previous games where players were punished for spamming special attacks by taking away health, Streets of Rage 4 takes away grey life that can be reclaimed by attacking enemies. You also have the option of a Streets of Rage 1 style super move that can only be performed if you are holding a star.
Streets of Rage 4 is made to be played several times over, and that is made very clear by the game’s length which clocked in at around three hours. That three hours also includes me having to retry a few stages because I ran out of lives. When playing the game co-operatively, things are significantly easier, even with friendly fire attacks on. If your first playthrough of the game is with a friend, don’t be surprised to reach the ending within two hours. The developers could’ve made things tricky for players by having them play on Arcade mode like the older games, but now you have to finish the game before unlocking that as an option.
I haven’t had the chance to try the game online as there was a bug in the review build. I spent my time playing the Steam version which in theory should be the best place to play Streets of Rage 4. Not only does the Steam version feature two-player online co-op, but you also have the option to use remote play giving you access to the four-player local co-op. If you are looking for a cheap way to play, Streets of Rage 4 is heading to Xbox Game Pass. It’s important to note that the PC Game Pass version is incompatible with the Steam version, so keep that in mind before attempting to play online with your mates.
As a Streets of Rage fan, this game is more than I could’ve ever asked for. Streets of Rage 4 brought together all the things that made the series special but made enough tweaks to improve the gameplay. I had almost as much fun playing this game on my own compared to co-op thanks to the changes to the combat system, and that’s something I couldn’t say about the other three games. Streets of Rage 4 on the same level as Sonic Mania – it’s the perfect sequel to a series that I always wanted but never thought we’d get.