Review: Double Dragon IV (PS4, Steam)

Double Dragon IV (PS4,Steam)
$6.99

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Double Dragon‘s main franchise originally had only three titles and were beloved by many gamers of the beat’em up genre. The first three games were released on the NES and in the Arcades back in the late 80’s and early 90’s and later had a spin-off entry in 2012, titled Double Dragon Neon, which reminisced on the franchise with its 80’s theme. Now, in 2017, we finally get a new entry to the series for Playstation 4 and PC, published by Arc System Works, who aren’t the original publisher, but bought the rights to the franchise last year.

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Visuals

Double Dragon IV could not look any better, mainly because key team members involved in the 1987 arcade version have teamed up to recreate the next chapter in the Double Dragon saga. This helped the title to not bring in any new visuals and stays true to series we grew to love. Bringing back the original sprites from Double Dragon II for enemies , as well as bringing a few new enemies with the same 8bit style, players will feel right at home. Especially with the menus old-school layout and players energy hub layout. This will have veteran gamers back into the series, but also can be a turn off for newcomers.

Sure, the same old enemies are back with some new friends, but you will only see twelve of them throughout the game. Yes twelve, re-skinned/colored variants of the same enemies, along with 5 different bosses. For new players, this can get visually repetitive and boring fighting the same guy with his friend that looks exactly like him but green. I would have loved to see more new enemies since it is a new title to the original series.

Double Dragon IV‘s visuals may not be for everyone and it would of been great to just add a little more enemies, but players who love the retro style looks and  grew up on Double Dragon will love this blast from the past visuals.

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Audio

Arc System Works has done well for Double Dragon IV’s soundtrack. The music will have players ready to jump in and kick ass, whether if its alone or with a friend. The soundtrack has brought the past and present together. They have also done players a favor, by giving players a choice of a normal new soundtrack for a new feel to the game or a retro soundtrack for players who want to head back to the early day’s of gaming. This is great because players will enjoy the choices, but the soundtrack isn’t perfect, there are a few problems.

The modern soundtrack is made up of a mix of retro sounds and new instruments, which sounds great. Same goes for the retro soundtrack but they fall flat after you make your way to the end. Players will hear instantly that some stages have tracks that were recycled from old titles and reused from this title and this takes from the new game experience. I would have loved to hear a brand new full official soundtrack to jam to.

The soundtrack from Double Dragon IV has some great new tunes, but it just doesn’t feel like the developers added enough tracks to enjoy and have play in your head, over and over again.dd4screenshot1

Gameplay 

The core gameplay for Double Dragon IV will bring you back to the beginning of the series which isn’t bad at all, and will have you completing stages with friends by making your way past obstacles and teaming up against boss battles. Arc Sytem Works has also brought back the dual mode in which you can play against friends and even a tower mode. Both are great fun and have great replay value.

If you have ever played any of Double Dragon games, you will remember the frustration you will encounter while jumping past obstacles, dodging spike drops, and constantly getting knocked down by your foes, and this is all still here in the latest entry. The only difference is that its doesn’t seem as balanced. Player will find themselves surrounded by enemies constantly knocking them down and taking their lives as well as tightly timed obstacles that will have you wanting to break your controller.

The gameplay is fun but does has it flaws. For instance, levels do not feel like they have been filled like they should and the levels seem easy until you make it halfway through the game where the difficulty jumps up and doesn’t take mercy. This is when players will struggle and have to waste their credits, but then you also can reselect the previous level you have completed and continue on.

 

Verdict

Double Dragon IV is worth the pick up for the price, but don’t expect anything new, or ground breaking. It is the Double Dragon player grew to love, but not much for new players looking for something more.

I would rate this game on a scale 1-10 a 6 out of 10 for the effort to bring us back to that nostalgic age of the beat’em up series, but nothing else but that.

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