|4th time's the charm|
This is not a review, just an observation as I am yet to buy this game to fully give it a proper review on it.
I saw a long playthrough of SOR4 a few days ago and I pretty much nodded in every other thing it featured. The gameplay seems solid with some additions into it such as being able to juggle opponents once they're knocked down for a few extra hits and the ability to perform a super move which can deal massive damage to the likes of bosses at the end of stages. Although some moves were scrapped off such as the ability to dash and roll between planes within stages, the gameplay remains classic at its core, pretty much as seen in SOR2 which was the greatest in the series and seemingly this is where it was heavily inspired from disregarding anything that happened in part 3.
This doesn't really affect the sequel in any negative way whatsoever, as I know SOR3 was not regarded in high as much as its prequel to begin with. Furthermore there are ways to have said lost abilities in the form of character version unlockables which can be achieved during gameplay in story mode. There are also hidden extra stages where you face off classic sprite bosses from previous games throughout the game. This is certainly a nice shoutout to games of old.
The story taking ten years after the events of part 3 has a grizzled Axl Stone joining with Blaze Fielding once again in taking down a new different kind of evil which has plagued the city and has even affected the police force within its malign grasp. This time twin crime leaders called Mr. and Ms. Y are the ones who have resumed where Mr. X and the Syndicate left off. Without revealing much out of it I can say these new crimelords are pretty much close to the fallen crime lord who terrorized the city in past games and have a bone to pick with Axl and anyone involved with his demise thereof. Aside the usual gang of thugs you face off and new bad guys making their appearance, you also have to deal with corrupt police under the Y's command and they are no pushovers either. One amusing bit about this is that whenever thugs are within the same screen as police, they also confront each other, leaving ample opportunities for you to take advantage of the situation. Quite a twist.
Along with Axl and Blaze two new characters join the fray, including Cherry Hunter, Adam's daughter and rock aficionado, and Floyd Iraia, a cyborg who follows along using his cybernetic arms to make short work of bad guys. As stated, there are other unlockable characters which can be added to the overall cast, but mostly older versions of established characters. This means that while Skate Hunter may not be around. You can still use old versions of him after being unlocked. Adam Hunter also makes an appearance during cutscenes but can also be unlocked to have the original trio back again in the streets.
This is also another great way to experience this sequel as up to 4 players can join in. Having all original cast in one playthrough is pretty much an aspiration of mine to be honest. I would not put it past that SEGA had in mind having a three player co-op game from the beginning, but of course I am simply speculating about it.
The music while a bit different from the original games is still upbeat and quite remarkable. Some even are spiritual successors from tracks past, with great composition and urban flavor tossed into them. I was pleasantly surprised that the team behind this game were also have Yoko Shimomura compose a few tracks, something many would instantly recognize and praise I'm sure.
Overall SOR4 seems like a stupendous title to own and once I have the means to I sure will get a copy myself. You should too.
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