Welcome to your Nightmare
When I played through Streets of Rage 4 just over a year ago, I noticed something almost immediately. There were some Boss characters that felt just a little too…fleshed out to simply remain Bosses you fight in a scrolling beat ’em up. Not to mention two of them had been playable characters in previous entries of the series.
Needless to say, when the Mr. X Nightmare DLC was announced a few months ago, my suspicions were confirmed and my excitement took over. Now it’s finally here and I got to spend some time going through it all and I must say, I’m very impressed with what’s on offer here, particularly at this price point. Alongside the Mr. X Nightmare DLC, we also got a free update to the game which added some worthwhile improvements.
In total, between the Mr. X DLC and the free update, Streets of Rage 4 players will be able to enjoy:
- 3 New playable characters (Estel, Max and Shiva)
- Survival Mode
- New weapons
- New enemies
- New music
- Training mode (free)
- Colour palette swaps (free)
- Mania+ Difficulty (free)
- Refinements and Balance changes (free)
So with that out of the way, let’s dig in!
New Playable Characters
Streets of Rage 4 already had a beefy lineup of playable characters once you had unlocked them all. Yes, many were simply older versions of the same character, but they all feel so different to each other as well as having different power ratings and move sets that they might as well be completely different characters.
The new additions of Max, Shiva and Estel are welcome ones and as I alluded to earlier, kind of expected. Anyone who played through Streets of Rage 4 will have mostly likely noticed how fleshed out all 3 of those bosses felt compared to the others. The fact that both Max and Shiva were playable in previous iterations of the franchise meant it wasn’t very hard to see they would become playable at a later date.
All 3 play and feel how you expect them to. Max is slower, more cumbersome but is all power and a bit of a locomotive once he gets going. Shiva is a beautiful blend of speed and power where an experienced player can almost create a brutal ballet of combos, throws and air attacks. But be warned, he can’t carry weapons. Estel (the second genuinely new playable character in the game) is more of your “all-rounder”. Reminds me a lot of Adam in playstyle. While she doesn’t have the sheer power of Max or the fluidity and speed of Shiva, she does have incredible reach on her entire suite of attacks, which can actually come in handy in mob situations.
Survival Mode in Streets of Rage 4 is arguably the best extra mode the series has seen. It’s ridiculously meaty, is different all the time and encourages the player to return frequently with a simple but rewarding unlock system.
Like all survival modes, you get one life and you just survive as long as you can completing each “level” as you go. With each level you complete, you pick between two or 3 perks that carry with you as you go on. This could be a starting weapon, an ally that fights with you or a buff of some kind.
Every few stages you make your way through, you’ll come across an almost boss type level where you’ll take on at least one if not potentially multiple boss equivalent enemies from the main game as well as regular minions. While the difficulty level on the bosses isn’t to the same standard as the main game, they’re just tough enough to potentially cause a headache if you don’t have your wits about you.
Upon death, you’ll receive various unlocks like artwork and also level up the character you’ve chosen. As that character levels up, they unlock new moves which can then be used in other modes of the game. This is a fantastic incentive to play the Survival Mode as well as going back to the main game to give the new moves a run through or go for that S rank.
It’s clear real thought has gone into this survival mode and it’s well worth the price of admission alongside the new playable characters.
Not a whole tonne needs to be said about the training mode. Anyone who has played a fighting game tutorial mode before will find this one pretty familiar.
You select the training you’d like to take on and once you do, you’ll find yourself in a standard “grid room” and a prompt will appear on screen with the buttons you need to push to perform whatever relevant move you need to practice before moving onto the next one.
It’s rudimentary yes, but for a game with as much depth in it’s fighting system as Streets of Rage 4, it’s a welcome addition none the less. Particularly given it’s part of a free update for all owners or Game Pass subscribers with the game downloaded.
Should you jump in?
Even in isolation, Mr. X Nightmare is worth the small price of admission. As well as the 3 new characters that all bring their own unique play style to an already large cast, the Survival Mode is a fantastic addition that’s well worth your time and adds potentially dozens upon dozens of hours of extra play time to the game.
Unlocking every character’s new moves won’t be a quick task. It will take some time, but you’ll be having a lot of fun doing so if you enjoyed your time with the base game. The fact that the DLC also includes new enemies, weapons and even music to further freshen up the game just makes the entire package a must for any fans of the base game.
When you add in all the free content and changes that come alongside the DLC (only try Mania+ if you don’t like yourself), Lizardcube have done a magnificent job breathing new life into this year old title.