Beat 'em up

Streets of Rage 4 finally upgrades an essential part of the game's multiplayer

Streets of Rage 4 is making the biggest change to cooperative play in the Sega Genesis series' history.

Streets of Rage 4 is the long-awaited revival of the classic Sega Genesis series, and thanks to a new upgrade to its multiplayer mode, it'll be much more than just another side-scrolling beat'em up.

In a new trailer released Monday by co-developer Dotemu showcasing the striking comic book art style, new characters, and important gameplay improvements, the most noteworthy new update is that Streets of Rage 4 will have 4-player co-op.

If you remember playing Street of Rage or other popular beat 'em ups from the 1990s, you'll also remember that co-op has always been an integral part of the experience. This genre tends to get quite repetitive, so having some friends to beat up enemies with enhances the experience tenfold.

While many classics supported four-player co-op, the Streets of Rage series was always limited to two characters during its famous tenure on the Sega Genesis in the '90s. Now that the series is finally coming back after 26 years, the developers are moving the gameplay experience forward in a commendable — and necessary — way.

As long as you are playing locally, four controllers can be hooked up and you can dive into Streets of Rage 4 like you would an old beat 'em up. The feature is limited to local play, but the consolation prize is 2-player online co-op, a first for the franchise.

While Streets of Rage 4 introduces online co-op, another first for the franchise as that simply wasn't possible back in the 90s, it is limited to only two players. If you want to get a taste of this mode, Dotemu has confirmed that the developer will still be attending at PAX East 2020 to show off Streets of Rage 4, even as prominent companies like Sony continue to pull out of the show.

Today's announcement also unveiled Floyd, a new playable character that's brand new to the series. He stands out thanks to his cybernetic enhancements and serves as a successor of sorts to Streets of Rage 3's Dr. Zan. He apparently moves and recovers health quite slowly but has a gigantic range and hits very hard. He seems like a decent pick for co-op as his long-range has the ability to set up combos that other characters can follow through on and finish.

While Streets of Rage 4 includes familiar characters like Axel, Blaze, and Adam, this interesting new character is just another way that Lizardcube, Guard Crush Games, and Dotemu are doing the series justice after so many years.

Streets of Rage 4 is the first game in the series to feature four player co-op.

The Inverse Analysis

Even though a release date remains unconfirmed, especially now that we are about a year and a half out from Streets of Rage 4's initial reveal, it's good to know that the game still has some cool tricks up its sleeve. Floyd looks like a very fun character to use, and co-op for up to four players is a game-changer and may end up being one of the best aspects of the game. While it's unfortunate that four-player co-op won't be available online at launch, and perhaps ever, there's still a lot to look forward to with this retro revival.

Streets of Rage 4 will be released sometime in 2020.

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