[PAX EAST] Hands On With Streets of Rage 4

Written by Derek Wright

Hit the Streets Again

When I arrived at PAX East this year, one game stood upon my hype list more than any other game. That title was Streets of Rage 4 by Dotemu, Lizard Cube and Guard Crush Games. In the shuffle of all the excellent titles we saw over the four-day event, I did my best to try and keep my expectations in check. Surely some of the nostalgia that is seeping from the trailers has swayed my thoughts into believing this game is exactly what 8-year-old inside of me wanted all along.

When I arrived at my meeting with Arnaud De Sousa, the head of marketing at Dotemu, I was forthright in mentioning my dangerously high expectations. I was expecting him to state that I needed to keep them grounded and while this game is a labor of love, it can be impossible for these expectations to be fulfilled. To my disbelief, he told me I won’t be disappointed. Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to admit that he was right.

Whats Old is New Again

In my brief time playing and discussing all things SOR4, we played two levels in co-op. Each stage featured beautifully designed art in the now famous style of their last Sega redesign, Wonder Boy and the Dragon’s Trap. Not only were the stages eye candy, but all the characters and their animations were extremely fluid. But this is a beat-em up! It can look great, but how does it play? Better than you remember!

While playing with De Sousa, he stated that the team wanted to do more than just remake the Streets of Rage games, they wanted to bring everything people loved about the games and move them forward. Therefore, they decided to go with a full-on sequel instead of a remake. As a fan of the genre and fighting games, he gave me incite into all the additions the team added to make the game feel better than it has before. Things like air combos, wall bounces, and super moves have been added. While we just played with two players and were able to pull off some flashy combos, my brain immediately begins thinking how the newly implemented four player mode could make for some devastating combos. Mr. X (or whoever the end boss is) doesn’t stand a chance!

Beats of Rage

We can’t talk about SOR without mentioning music and De Sousa said they are very excited for the amount of talent currently involved in the project. Having series staples such as Yuzo Koshiro and Motohiro Kawashima was a must, he stated. Then they were able to get other VGM legends such as Yoko Shimomura (Street Fighter II, Kingdom Hearts & Xenoblade Chronicles), Hideki Naganuma (Ollie King and Jet Set Radio series) and Keiji Yamagishi (Ninja Gaiden NES series). I am eagerly awaiting the final tracklist and subsequent release of the game to fully appreciate this juggernaut of an OST.

After the demo came to a close, I asked De Sousa what we can expect for the game length, extras, unlockables, etc., and he told me to stay tuned. It is obvious that they want to keep their cards close to their chest and with the release date inching ever closer, I am more excited than I thought possible.

Streets of Rage 4 is releasing on the Nintendo Switch in Spring 2020.

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