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Tales from Telltale: A Telltale Games Retrospective

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The shutting down of Telltale Games was heartbreaking to watch unfold, and not just because so many incredibly talented people were out of a job, but because many of us here at Goomba Stomp have spent a fair amount of time playing many of the studio’s games over the past decade or so.

With the recent news that the company is being revived, we’ve decided to re-run this article which looks back at a few of the games that we have fond memories playing. Let us know which Telltale game is your favourite and feel free to share any other thoughts, memories and general feedback in the comments below.

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Batman Telltale

Batman: The Telltale Series

One of the biggest properties that Telltale ever had the good fortune of procuring also led to one of their best franchises. What set Batman: The Telltale Series apart from other Telltale games was its focus on tactical takedowns of enemies, and a QTE system that really fit with the Caped Crusader and his bag of tricks.

However, what really made Batman: The Telltale Series stand out was how it revamped the Batman mythos for its own purposes. Drawing inspiration from a wide range of sources (including Batman: The Animated SeriesBatman v SupermanThe Dark Knight and The Long Halloween) Telltale’s take on the World’s Greatest Detective still managed to have its own unique voice.

Putting a heavier focus on Bruce Wayne allowed the game to have a different kind of storytelling, and the ways which the game re-wrote the history of the Dark Knight were truly shocking. One need only look at how classic characters like Thomas Wayne and Vicki Vale were dynamically retooled for this story to see the kind of brass balls on the writers of Telltale’s Batman series.

Introducing a compelling new villain, while offering vastly different takes on Batman’s classic rogue’s gallery, Batman: The Telltale Series is a wonderfully fresh take on a character who has been around for eight decades, and it belongs well within the company of great Batman stories. (Mike Worby)

Enemy Within

Batman: The Enemy Within

If Batman: The Telltale Series was Telltale’s attempt at putting their own unique spin on Bob Kane and Bill Finger’s Caped Crusader, then Batman: The Enemy Within was where they doubled down on their vision of Gotham City’s unique cast of characters.

The Enemy Within isn’t just one of Telltale’s best games, it’s also one of the best Batman stories in years. Focusing on Bruce Wayne’s attempts at infiltrating an international cabal of villains known as The Pact. This boldly dynamic tale introduces plenty of new blood into Telltale’s Batman universe, including fresh takes on Harley Quinn, the Riddler, Amanda Wallace, and most importantly: The Joker.

A character who has truly been done to death over the last decade, managing a fresh approach to the Joker seems like something of an impossibility in 2018. Yet Telltale truly pulled off a masterful new Joker in The Enemy Within by allowing you to shape the madman as he soul-searched for his purpose in the world. Treating him like the unstable creature he is would lead to something like the classic Joker we’ve all come to know and loathe but for players that tried to steer him away from his villainous path, a daring new version of the Joker was waiting to be unveiled.

Featuring 2 completely different scenarios for the final episode based entirely on how you handled the Joker, The Enemy Within is a compelling and shocking take on the Batman mythology, and easily one of the best games Telltale ever crafted. One of the greatest tragedies of the studio’s closure is that we won’t get to see any more games set in their brilliant vision of Gotham City.  (Mike Worby)

TalesFromTheBorderlands

Tales From The Borderlands

It’s hard to imagine anybody could have had high hopes for Tales From The Borderlands prior to release. A mash-up of Telltale’s patented narrative focused adventures and co-operative, loot-grind first-person shooter series Borderlands? I was a big fan of the work Telltale had done with their previous titles since The Walking Dead, but this one seemed destined to disappoint from the moment it was announced. What’s so surprising about Tales From The Borderlands is not that it didn’t bomb, but that it just might be some of Telltale’s finest work. The game throws together a rag-tag band of anti-heroes and ne’er-do-wells who – largely for reasons pertaining to fortune, glory, or survival – must unite to take on common foes, and maybe, just maybe, learn some valuable life lessons along the way. The cast is quickly likable and the writing is sharp with the sort of back and forth witty banter you’d expect from a movie like Guardians of the Galaxy. The story begins in medias res, with two of our heroes being held captive by a masked kidnapper, and each offers input into how they wound up in the pickle they’re in. This narrative style allows Telltale an opportunity to subvert their trademark tough, morally ambiguous decision-making style, and instead play the choices for laughs as the two leads remember the events of their tale very differently, each blaming the other for what went wrong. What starts as a charming but silly and disposable yarn transforms throughout the series into a genuinely interesting tale with a strong emotional core as the cast begin to trust one another and reveal hidden depths to their characters. The apex is probably episode four, which delights from start to finish, from an outrageous opening title sequence to a heroic sacrifice and ultimately the greatest QTE in Telltale history – it hits all the right notes, and proves that Telltale couldn’t just make you cry but could have you laughing out loud as well. (John Cal McCormick)

Walking Dead Season Two

The Walking Dead: Season 2

The Walking Dead: Season 2 was about Clementine finding her way on her own. The player questions who Clementine is while growing up with her hero gone and her future changing rapidly every day. She’s alone now, and even though Lee taught her to care for others, the second season dares to teach Clem, and the player, that the only person to save is yourself.

Clementine, with her new set of survivors, has to figure this out on her own, and she and the player’s hand is forced to make some harrowing and challenging decisions. Telltale was most successful in getting players to challenge their beliefs, morals, or the choices they ultimately make. The brilliant mechanic of only having an allotted time to make that choice gives the player no thought process, only gut reactions.

Telltale creates in Walking Dead an inescapable and hardening truth that conventional morals have no room within a zombie apocalypse. While Season 1 provided relatively clear-cut decisions, Season 2 challenged that by reminding the player over and over again that you cannot save anyone besides yourself. That’s a lot for a little girl growing up in an extremely unsafe world. It’s clear that Clem didn’t know, or neither did the player, of who she really is outside of Lee.

The core of this particular game is patience, peacefulness, and conversation. Even though the hellhole has only deepened, Season 2 is about finding those moments of quiet and how to talk to each other, rather than just life or death decisions.  (Katrina Lind)

Michonne

The Walking Dead: Michonne 

Telltale means a lot to me. Not just because it’s games are good, but because it’s games have had such a big role in shaping my life over the last few years. The first Telltale game I played was The Walking Dead: Season 1. I was in high school at the time, had just recently begun listening to Podcast Beyond and was in the middle of my second to last year of exams.

It was the point in my life where I moved beyond just playing games and actually became invested in the greater industry around them. I hadn’t heard of Telltale’s The Walking Dead until Greg Miller spoke about it on Beyond. It wasn’t available on consoles in New Zealand at the time, so I started playing it on my iPad. I had no idea how important that game would be to me. It was emotional, riveting and the first game to ever make me cry. From that day forward I’ve regarded it as one of my favourite games of all time, viewed the opinions of Greg Miller crucial to finding new games and thought for the first time that games might be able to tell better stories than movies.

I loved their follow up projects like The Wolf Among Us and Tales From the Borderlands, reviewed Batman: Season 1 and Guardians of the Galaxy during my time as a game reviewer and wrote countless news articles in the lead up to A New Frontier. However, there is one Telltale game very close to me, that I’ve never spoken about.

For the last few years, I’ve struggled with mental illness. When I was first diagnosed I found it hard to understand my condition and find appropriate representations of it in media. I wanted to feel I was understood, that I wasn’t alone in this. Then I found The Walking Dead: Michonne. It’s a spin-off title, three episodes long and released between seasons 2 and 3 of Telltale’s ongoing series.

Most push Michonne aside for not progressing The Walking Dead formula further, viewing it as a bland derivative of the past games. I saw another character who’s inner struggles were eating them alive. I saw a story of someone who appeared strong in front of others, but weak and vulnerable when alone. It was a powerful message to me at the time. Even the strongest of us can be tortured by invisible demons. The Walking Dead: Season 1 meant a lot to many people. The Walking Dead: Michonne meant a tremendous amount to me despite being panned by others. Not every game needs to connect with everyone, one person is enough. So it’s saddening to know that both I and others won’t continue having experiences like this in the future. (Chris Bowring) 

The Walking Dead Final Season

The Walking Dead: The Final Season

As I have been very fervently pointing out over the last month The Walking Dead: The Final Season is already among Telltale’s finest work, even as a half finished game. The bummer of it all is that it might remain that way.

As most reviews have pointed out, the new engine that runs The Final Season is just the breath of fresh air that Telltale needed to reinvigorate their formula. Things like totally free control of the camera with the right analog stick and a more strategic combat system are the precise things that Telltale needed to bring their gameplay back up to snuff with their already solid storytelling.

With these improvements The Walking Dead: The Final Season is poised to be a contender with the very best of Telltale’s games. It’s really too bad that the timing couldn’t be worse for them. Imagining a Wolf Among Us sequel or a Stranger Things game running on this engine is enough to really get a fan excited.

Will Telltale find a partner to help them finish the game or will Clementine’s journey go unfinished this close to its conclusion? I guess we’ll just have and see, won’t we? (Mike Worby)

Wolf Among Us

The Wolf Among Us

After a decade perfecting a formula that mimicked television and turned video games into a series of episodes, Telltale followed up their smash hit The Walking Dead with an episodic prequel of another famous graphic novel – Bill Willingham’s comic series Fables. Taking place in the fictional New York City in 1986 (nearly 20 years before the events of the comic), Telltale’s neo-noir crime drama centers on Bigby Wolf, the sheriff of Fabletown who sets out to hopefully solve a murder mystery before the killer strikes again.

Of the two dozen or so games Telltale created since the studio was founded on October 4, 2004, The Wolf Among Us may just be the very best – a smart, stylized whodunit that is both sobering and thrilling, and sometimes, magical.

There’s a lot to love about The Wolf Among Us, from the gorgeous neon, cel-shaded graphics that blend splashes of bright color with the muddy palette of the classic film noir to the large cast of eccentric mythical characters – but what stood out the most for me is how The Wolf Among Us took inspiration from The Blue Dahlia, one of the most overlooked and under-rated film noirs written by the great Raymond Chandler. Like The Blue Dahlia, The Wolf Among Us interweaves a tangled plot centered on the death of a woman, a wrongly accused man, and a range of possible suspects while addressing issues of neighborhood class struggles. In other words, The Wolf Among Us is less a story of what these legends and folklore figures would do in the real world and more a dark detective story that puts us in the head of the Big Bad Wolf and forces us to makes decisions that will ultimately have a great impact on the lives of everyone he meets along the way.

In keeping with the structure of a compelling whodunnit, each episode unfolds at a steady pace while scattering clues, yet never giving too much away. It’s basically a Raymond Chandler nursery rhyme that paves out a fascinating detective story and an even more fascinating gumshoe who spends his time meticulously pawing through evidence, trying to decipher how it all relates to the crime at large. The setup works mainly because Bigby is such an intriguing character – and the more he investigates, the tougher his choices (and yours) become as he explores the seedy dark underbelly of his hometown. And when things get really bad, it takes a toll on him mentally and physically, as he transforms into an actual wolf.

The season’s final episode, “Cry Wolf” (which the Internet was falling over itself trying to understand) makes the entire journey well worth your time as it culminates in a swirl of revelations that left many people baffled and confused. If The Walking Dead was Telltale’s tear-jerker, The Wolf Among Us is the studio’s head-scratcher, a rare game that left me with a lot to think about, long after the credits rolled. (Ricky D)

Humans by birth. Gamers by choice. Goomba Stomp is a Canadian web publication that has been independently owned and operated since its inception in 2016.

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PAX South 2020 Hands-On: ‘Ghostrunner,’ ‘Everspace 2,’ and ‘Wrath: Aeon of Ruin’

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‘Ghostrunner,’ ‘Everspace 2,’ and ‘Wrath: Aeon of Ruin’

We’ve already covered a wide variety of the games on display at PAX South this year, from retro revivals to unorthodox romances to everything in between – and we’re not done yet! In this next roundup article, we cover three more ambitious, action-packed games: Ghostrunner, Everspace 2, and Wrath: Aeon of Ruin.

Ghostrunner

Ghostrunner

Ghostrunner was one of the most in-demand games at PAX, and after playing it, it’s easy to see why. This first-person action slasher, developed by One More Level and produced by 3D Realms, lets players dash through the air, run across walls, and slash through enemies at blistering speed all while exploring a dystopian cyberpunk world. It’s gorgeous, lightning fast, and feels amazing to play.

Ghostrunner begins in a broken future, where the remnants of humanity have hidden away in a single condensed tower. Naturally enough, you’re put in the role of the one rebel who dares to rise up against the forces oppressing humanity. As you begin your uprising, you’ll also encounter a grand mystery – why is humanity the way it is now? Just what happened to the rest of the world? And what’s that voice you hear in your head?

Ghostrunner

My demo didn’t offer much illumination to these mysteries, but the 3D Realms team assured me that the story plays a significant role in the main campaign. What my demo did offer, however, was a look into the fast-paced, brutal gameplay that defines the game. Combat is so dynamic in Ghostrunner. Your arsenal of moves is massive and varied – of course you can run, jump, and slash with your katana, but you can also run along walls, dash over chasms, slow down time to dodge bullets, and more.

When all the moving pieces flow together, Ghostrunner achieves a visceral, almost hypnotic flow of battle. There are a few obstacles to this feeling. The controls took a bit of getting used to on my end, but that would be because, console peasant that I am, I’m not used to playing 3D games on a keyboard instead of a controller. Also, this may be an action game, but at many times it feels more like a puzzle game. With bloodthirsty enemies scattered around each environment, you’ll often need to take a step back and methodically evaluate which abilities to use in each situation. This can take some trial and error – it might have taken me more than a few tries to clear out the final wave of enemies. But when the solution works out, it’s a beautifully exhilarating feeling, and that’s what sets Ghostrunner apart.

Wrath: Aeon of Ruin

PAX featured plenty of retro-styled games, but not many quite like Wrath: Aeon of Ruin. This retro-style FPS is a throwback to the simpler, faster days of shooters, built entirely in the same engine as the original Quake. It was even based off the work of Quake community modders. If you’ve played any classic FPS like the original DOOM or Wolfenstein, then you should have a good idea of how Wrath plays: it’s brutal, lightning fast, and action packed.

My demo got straight to the point. After teleporting me to a distant hellscape, I was faced with a horde of demons, ranging from simple skeletons to more aggressive ogre-like enemies and flying laser monsters. Thankfully, I was also given an assortment of weapons to take these creatures down with, including a simple handgun, a powerful blade arm, and my personal favorite, a shotgun. Each one of these felt good to control, and like any good old-fashioned shooter, they gave me a great feeling of power.

PAX South

Like any good, brutal FPS in the vein of Quake, Wrath features an insane amount of mobility. Movement is extremely fast and fluid, allowing you to zip across and above stages with reckless abandon. This extra speed will be necessary, especially considering that enemies can slaughter on with reckless, overwhelming abandon.

Of course, being built in the original Quake engine, Wrath is a delightfully retro treat to behold. It features all the signature hard polygonal edges of PC shooters from that bygone era, but with the added smoothness and fluidity of modern hardware. The game feels great to play and is a unique treat to behold. Wrath is currently available on Steam Early Access, and there’s plenty of new content that can be expected throughout the year, including new levels, enemies, and even a full online multiplayer mode. Stuffed with violent retro action, Wrath: Aeon of Ruin is absolutely worth watching out for.

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Everspace 2

Space is the final frontier, offering limitless exploration This’s the exact feeling that Everspace 2 captures. This sandbox open world space shooter dumps you in outer space and leaves you to figure out the rest, allowing you to fight, scavenge, and explore as you will, all with an incredible amount of freedom.

It’s a remarkably beautiful game too, boasting of extremely detailed 3D graphics that wouldn’t look out of place in a full 3D AAA experience. It’s extremely ambitious, offering a wealth of customization options through parts that can be scavenged from fallen space craft or space debris. There’s alien life to discover and a wealth of locations to explore, with the full game apparently featuring more than 80 unique environments.

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These environments will always be interesting to explore thanks to a mix between handcrafted worlds and randomization. The original Everspace was a pure roguelike, and as developer Rockfish Games told me, this constantly changing design has often been fundamental to previous great space shooters. Although Rockfish opted for an intentionally designed open world for the sequel, they want to maintain some of those same roguelike elements. That’s why whenever you venture through the many galaxies of Everspace 2, the galaxies and planets will be the same, but the items you find or enemies you encounter within them may change each time.

It took me some time to get used to Everspace. It immediately offers a great amount of freedom, with the demo simply dumping me in space and only requiring that I take down some enemy units and pick up some loot. Yet once I got the hang of the controls and the environment, it became extremely fluid and natural to zip through space, upgrade different components, and experience all the free-flowing action that it has to offer. Space is the ultimate freedom, and Everspace 2 is set to represent that.

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PAX South 2020 Hands-On: ‘Windjammers 2,’ ‘KUNAI,’ and ‘Young Souls’

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PAX South

PAX South 2020 attracted tons of exciting publishers to San Antonio, and even with such a crowded lineup, the DotEmu and Arcade Crew booth easily stood out as some of the show’s very best exhibitors. Streets of Rage 4 might have been their standout demo, but the French boutique publisher and developers brought a fantastic selection of games to the show, including their signature retro revivals and some promising original indie games of their own.

PAX South

Windjammers 2

Sequel to the much-beloved arcade classic, Windjammers 2 takes all the hectic frisbee-throwing action of the original and updates it for the modern generation. For those unfamiliar with the art of windjamming, it’s effectively pong, but instead of balls, you toss discs back and forth across the court. It pits two players against each other on opposite sides of the court, tasking you with mercilessly hurling your disc back and forth until it gets into your opponent’s goal.

You can just throw the disc directly at your opponent, but Windjammers 2 gives you many more options besides that. To really excel at the game, you’ll have to make use of the most extravagant moves you can, dashing across the court, leaping into the air, tossing the disc above you before slamming it down into your opponent, to list only a few of the uber-athletic abilities at your disposal. The game can move extremely quickly when both players take advantage of these capabilities, yet things never feel overwhelming. I always felt in control of the action, even when my quickest reflexes were put to the test. It’s fast-paced disc throwing insanity, and I couldn’t get enough of it.

Animated GIF

Just like the rest of DotEmu’s catalogue, Windjammers 2 combines classic gameplay with gorgeous modern aesthetics. It has the same hand-drawn style that makes other DotEmu titles stand out, like Wonderboy: The Dragon’s Trap. The original Windjammers was a time capsule of garish 90s style, and that design is retained for the new release, with characters looking even more colorful and absurd than ever thanks to the revitalized art and animations. Hectic to play and beautiful to behold, Windjammers 2 is already set to be a multiplayer hit.

PAX South

Young Souls

Streets of Rage 4 was certainly the premier beat ‘em up on display at DotEmu’s booth, but it wasn’t the only one. Alongside this retro revival was an all-new take on the genre: Young Souls, an extremely stylish action game that blends fast-paced fighting with deep RPG customization and a charming, emotional narrative.

Beat ‘em ups might not be known for deep storylines, but Young Souls aspires to something more. Along with its satisfying combat mechanics and plentiful flexibility for character builds, it also boasts of having “a profound story with unforgettable characters.” While my demo didn’t give me much of a look at this deep narrative, it’s reasonable to assume that the story will at least be quality, since it’s penned by none other than the author of the Walking Dead games, Matthew Ritter.

Animated GIF

However, I did get a substantial feel for combat. Young Souls features more than 70 monster-filled dungeons, and I got to venture into two of them in my demo. The action feels weighty and solid when going up against enemies, yet precise at the same time. Like any classic beat ‘em up, there’s a mixture of light and heavy attacks, along with blocks and powerful special moves, along with items and spells to exploit during combat as well. In between battles, you’re able to deck your character out in equipment and items, allowing for an element of roleplaying depth that isn’t typically associated with action games like this. In my short time with the game, it was fun to experiment with different character builds, which could determine the speed and abilities of my fighter, promising combat for the final game.

I played the demo both solo and co-op; in single-player, you’re able to switch between the two twins at will, while two players can each take control of a sibling. In both playstyles, the gameplay was just as visceral and satisfying as one would expect from a classic-style beat ‘em up like this, but the addition of a deep story and RPG mechanics put a unique spin on this entry. That’s not to mention that, like every other game at the DotEmu and Arcade Crew booth, it’s visually beautiful, featuring stylish 2D characters in 3D environments that are all rendered in gentle, washed-out colors. Young Souls might not have a release date or even any confirmed platforms as of now, but it’s absolutely worth keeping an eye on in the meantime.

KUNAI

KUNAI takes the typical metroidvania formula and boosts it to hyperspeed. It has all the hidden secrets and massively interconnected world exploration that you’d expect from the genre, and it gives you the ability to speed through that faster and more dynamically than ever. Its main gimmick is right in the name – by giving you two kunai hookshots, you’re able to traverse up and down your environments with speed and freedom, making for a uniquely vertical method to explore.

KUNAI starts out with the end of the world. In a dystopian future where technology has taken over, you control Tabby, a sentient and heroic tablet that’s dead set on liberating the planet. This serious plot is filled with plenty of personality, however, from the silly faces that Tabby makes in action to the charming dialogue and quirky character designs. This personality is rendered in appealing detail thanks to the game’s simple yet effective pixel art.

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It’s in the gameplay where KUNAI truly shines. With the eponymous kunai, you’re able to latch onto vertical surfaces. Combine this with the additional abilities to dash, bounce off enemies, or wall jump, and it provides for a uniquely dynamic method of exploring the world. Using the kunai feels easy and intuitive, fast enough to gain speed but never too floaty. It’s a balanced approach to speed and movement that never gets out of control, resulting in what it is perhaps the best-feeling movement of any metroidvania I’ve played recently. My demo was brief, and ended very soon after first getting the kunai, but the gameplay felt so smooth and natural that I can’t wait to experience more of it. Thankfully, it’s not long to wait, since KUNAI hits Switch and PC on February 6.

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PAX South Hands-On: ‘Streets of Rage 4’ Balances Legacy and Innovation

Streets of Rage 4 embodies the original series’ elegant, action-packed design and revives it for a new generation.

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Streets of Rage 4

From the moment I began my demo with Streets of Rage 4 at PAX South, it felt like coming home. It might have been more than two decades since the first three games in the Streets of Rage series perfected the beat ‘em up formula on the Sega Genesis, but courtesy of developers Lizardcube, DotEmu, and Guard Crush, this legendary series is back and in good hands. This brand new entry aims to recapture all the style and balance of the originals, while introducing innovations of its own. If my demo is any indication, the game is set to achieve that.

Streets of Rage 4 uses the same elegant level design that set the original trilogy apart back on the Genesis. The gameplay is simple: keep walking to the right, taking out every enemy in front of you with all the jabs, kicks, jumps, and special moves at your disposal. If anything, the controls feel better than ever before, with an added level of precision and fluidity that simply wasn’t possible on older hardware.

Streets of Rage 4

That’s not to mention the new move sets. Beat ’em ups might not be the most complex genre around, but Streets of Rage 4 adds the perfect level of depth to the combat. It has the same simple jabs and kicks found in the original games, but spiced up with the potential for new combos and even a handful of extravagant new special moves. With new and old fighting mechanics, this new entry features plenty of room to experiment with combat but never loses the simple, arcade-like charm of the originals.

Streets of Rage 4 revives the series’ rage-filled and action-packed style for the twenty-first century

The demo included series staple characters like Axel and Blaze, yet I opted to play as an all-new character: Cherry Hunter, a guitar-wielding fighter whose move set felt very distinct from classic characters. Her movement is speedy, certainly faster than Axel but slower than Blaze, and her guitar provided for some unique melee moves. Like the new mechanics, her addition to the character roster helps shake up the Streets of Rage formula just enough, while maintaining the core beat ’em up simplicity that made the series special in the first place.

Streets of Rage 4

Streets of Rage 4 might innovate in a few areas, but one thing that’s clearly remained true to form is the difficulty. It boasts of the same old school difficulty that characterized the original games. The classic and brand new enemies are just as ruthless as ever, mercilessly crowding in around you and can easily overwhelm you if you’re not careful. However, just like the originals, the fighting feels so satisfying that it’s easy to keep coming back for more action.

Amid all these changes and additions, perhaps the most obvious (and controversial) change is the visual style. While the original series used detailed pixel art, Streets of Rage 4 instead boasts of an extremely detailed handcrafted art style, in which every frame of character animation is painstakingly drawn by hand and environments are colorful and painterly. Thousands of frames of animation go into each character, and the effort certainly shows, making every punch, kick, and other acts of violence a breathtaking sight to behold.

Streets of Rage 4 reimagines this classic series for a new generation, reintroducing the best of the beat ’em up genre for players of all backgrounds and experiences.

Some fans have complained that the game loses the series’ spirit without pixel art, but DotEmu marketing director Arnaud De Sousa insisted to me that this simply isn’t the case. Pixel art wasn’t an artistic choice back then – it was a matter of necessity. If the developers could have designed the game to look exactly as they wanted, regardless of technical limitations, then it likely would have looked just like the luscious hand-drawn visuals of the current Streets of Rage 4.

That’s not to mention that, as De Sousa emphasized, the Streets of Rage games are defined by looking different from one another. The third game looks different from the second, which looked different from the first – and now this new entry has twenty years of change to catch up on. Thus, it only makes sense for this new entry to adopt a radically new graphical style after all this time.

Streets of Rage 4

Streets of Rage 4 reimagines this classic series for a new generation, reintroducing the best of the beat ’em up genre for players of all backgrounds and experiences. The difference between De Sousa and myself is perfect evidence of that. He grew up playing the games in the 90s, whereas I wasn’t even born when the original trilogy became such a phenomenon and only played them years later in subsequent re-releases. Yet here we were, standing in the middle of a crowded convention and gushing about decades-old games. We might have had extremely different experiences with the series, but that didn’t stop us from appreciating the joys of stylish beat ’em up action.

“A good game is a good game,” De Sousa told me, “no matter how old.” That’s the attitude that Streets of Rage 4 exemplifies. It revives the series’ rage-filled and action-packed design for the twenty-first century. And with a release on all modern platforms, more players than ever will be able to rediscover the simple pleasure of wielding your bare knuckles against thugs of all types. Between the new art style and the solid gameplay, Streets of Rage 4 is looking like an incredibly welcome return for this iconic franchise.

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