One of the surprise video games we got to demo at PAX East this year was a private demo of Streets Of Rage 4 from Dotemu, Lizardcube, and Guard Crush Games. We were led off into a small room that was all decked out in '90s posters and furniture. All that was missing was a futon, a lava lamp, and some 7-11 nachos in the corner and it would have been perfect. This sequel was created by both French companies in partnership with SEGA to bring the arcade game of old with a brand new art style and feeling, and man did they nail this one perfectly. We weren't given any backstory or reasoning for the fights, we were dumped right into the demo build which had us brawling on the streets in moments.
This whole game was comfort food for the gamer mind! It hit all the beats it needed to when it came to the action and variety as we made our way through each section to battle different enemies, some more powerful than us, some holding weapons, other just plotting destruction even at their own peril. You beat people up and charge up a special ability to clear the room a lot quicker than you'd expect. There is friendly fire on as you can hit your own teammates, but the tag-team option when you get someone trapped between two fighters and you can trade off blows is one of the best perks to the game. There's very little for me to complain about when it comes to Streets Of Rage 4, beyond the fact that a game this good isn't even confirmed to be released this year. Everything you expect from the series is here, and I hope to play more of it and maybe get a release window at E3 this year.