Playing Streets of Rage 4 is like returning to the old ‘hood and discovering that your childhood home still stands. Rarely does a media property receive a well-crafted followup years after its initial success, but this beat ‘em up by developers LizardCube, Guard Crush Games, and Dotemu is Streets of Rage through and through. The few design issues don’t prevent it from being hailed as one of the best contemporary beat-‘em-up titles. Retro "8-bit" side-scrolling indie platformers have flooded the video game market, and it’s easy to discount the entire genre as an easy-to-develop cash-in on nostalgia. Then there’s Shovel Knight from Yacht Club Games, a studio created by former WayForward Technologies director Sean Velasco.
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The 48-character headcount is impressive, but it’s the individual characters that truly make the game shine. Capcom’s side is comprised mainly of characters from the company’s fighting and action games, including Final Fight’s Mike Haggar and Street Fighter’s Ryu. Skullgirls 2nd Encore, the update to Reverge Labs’ critically acclaimed original game, takes cues from many highly regarded fighting titles and blends it with the series’ cartoony, art deco style. The indie fighter has a Capcom vs. SNK-style ratio system that lets you select up to three characters to battle up to three rival characters, as well as a Marvel vs. Capcom-style assist system.
Cuphead is a charming run-and-gun/shoot-’em-up hybrid that channels Konami’s iconic Contra series, while also taking heavy inspiration from the rubber-hose animation style that was prominent during 1920s- and 1930s-era cartoons. If you’re familiar with the Contra series’ fast-paced gameplay, then Cuphead should be right up your alley. The titular protagonist and his brother Mugman must best a wide variety of perilous stages and bosses to complete their quest. Cuphead lacks the expansive level design featured in Contra and other genre classics, but the hardcore action game gives you a beefy list of complex and satisfying boss fights to overcome, in the style of Treasure’s beloved Alien Soldier.
The arcade scene saw an explosion of side-scrolling beat ‘em ups in the wake of 1987′s groundbreaking—and money-generating—Double Dragon. Developer Capcom played a major role in the genre’s skyrocketing popularity, thanks to a string of memorable releases that gave players the opportunity to team up with a friend to pound enemy forces into pulp.
When NetherRealm Studios released Mortal Kombat X to consoles in 2015, the game continued to evolve via free and paid updates that added characters, balanced the roster, and improved online play. However, the High Voltage Studios-ported PC game received zero post-launch support, much to the dismay of hardcore Mortal Kombat fans. Thankfully, that changed with the Mortal Kombat XL update, a version of MKX that finally gives PC gamers all the extras that console-based fight fans have enjoyed for some time now. We dislike the idea of paying more money for PC content released long after the console version, but it’s hard not to love the additions, which include even more fighters, stages, costumes, and gore. When Killer Instinct debuted for Windows 10 in March 2016, it represented the latest chapter in the continued PC fighting game renaissance.
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- Both the PlayStation and Xbox platforms require a $60-per-year subscription for access to even basic online functions.
- On the PS4, this subscription is called PlayStation Plus; on the Xbox, it’s called Xbox Live Gold.
- The PS4 and Xbox One are similar enough that they get most of the same games, including titles in popular franchises such as Call of Duty, Destiny, and Madden.
- Both systems frequently go on sale or are sold along with games or gift cards, and big-name games that have grabbed headlines for years can often be had for $20 or less.
- However, each system has its own set of exclusive titles that aren’t available on any other console.
You play as a shovel-toting knight who must rescue his partner, Shield Knight, from dastardly foes. It’s an incredibly satisfying and expertly crafted platformer that recalls games like DuckTales and Mega Man, but also has some of the most authentic NES-style graphics to appear in the HD era. Fresh and wide-eyed from her exploits in Japan, the young and ambitious explorer Lara Croft is pitted against a cult of fanatical zealots in pursuit of immortality. Rise of the Tomb Raider features more of the spectacular set pieces, powerful combat, and tricky puzzles that made the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot so well received by critics and fans alike.
The Wolf Among Us, a game that’s a free download porgram canonical prequel to Bill Willingham’s popularFablescomic book series, features a well-written story, light puzzle-solving challenges, and reflex-testing Quick Time Event sequences. The visually striking title draws inspiration from film noir cinema, while keeping the heavy black outlines and bright colors associated with its source material. The murder-mystery isn’t particularly challenging, but if you want to spend a few hours in an immersive world filled with interesting characters and top-notch voice acting, The Wolf Among Us should find a home in your PC gaming library.
Series fans may get a distinct feeling of déjà vu when running through the similarly styled gameplay scenarios and platforming sections, but Rise of the Tomb Raider is a solid action-adventure title. If, while playing Daemon X Machina, you recall Mobile Suit Gundam, Super Dimension Fortress Macross, or other classic mecha anime franchises, don’t be surprised. The brainchild of former Armored Core developers, Daemon X Machina features blistering action and ridiculous amounts of weapons and upgrades. The nearly unintelligible narrative is groan-worthy at best, skip-worthy at worst, but the game’s positives outweigh its faults.
With its arrival, Microsoft’s combo-heavy, one-on-one game of fisticuffs joined the likes of Guilty Gear, The King of Fighters, Street Fighter, and other high-profile series that now grace the personal computer. Some may find it dismissive to label Brawlhalla as Super Smash Bros. for PC, but that’s not at all a knock on the fun platform-fighter. Brawlhalla, a free-to play game that features a mix of original and licensed characters , lets you duke it out using fists, feet, and weapons. Even better, crossplay between PC, consoles, and mobile devices means a match is always at hand.
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That said, Skullgirls 2nd Encore’s graphics aren’t all that separate it from the competition. The fighter also has a built-in system that automatically stops infinites, those annoying and abusive combos that never end. Overall, Samurai Shodown Neo Geo Collection is a wonderful piece of playable history, with the only blight against the PC game being its mediocre online components.