After completing hard mode, starting hardest and doing a bit of Mania, I have to say I do enjoy this game a lot more than I thought I was. Its the only other game at the moment that has me constantly picking up my switch (Animal Crossing and Octopath Traveler being the other two). It's a great Streets of Rage game that really does nail a lot of what the original games had to give. The updated combo system that allows juggling was definitely a step in the right direction, and really happy to have Adam back after being kidnapped in 2 and only a cameo in 3. I enjoy the campy story that still has that 90's buddy cop/action flick feel. And the animation is great. Mixing a new style with the old school movement and feel and I love the coloring choices.
That all being said, I didn't like most of the sound track. About half of it sound off to me. I know it was done by multiple people rather than relying solely on Yuzo. Though Yuzo's work sticks out as the best in the game to me, the rest either sound ok or just don't click with me at all. While I like the animation and colors, some of the designs I don't care for. Floyd's and Cherry's feel a little out of place (though I REALLY liked the bald older Floyd design they decided not to go with) and Axel's design has too much going on (why have the jean vest AND a long sleeve shirt tied around your waste?). Blaze is unchanged for the most part, but damn Adam's new design looks good, even the little curly Q he has going on (going to cosplay this one).
But what hurts this game the most to me (again, still enjoy it and consider it great) is that the Streets of Rage Remake exist and I still have it, and it does so much more than SoR4 does. While 4 still has the edge on combos with it's juggling, the remake kept the 3 star blitz system from SoR3, along with running and dodge (which is a real issue in 4 sense it incorporates enemies from 3 that made the player use the dodging mechanic). Has a better way of handling unlockables, better unlockables, more interesting new characters, forked paths that lead from one game path to another (start in SoR2, take an alternate path through a brand new level and then end up in SoR3) that increases replayablity, along with also having screen clearing special attacks,, it hurt my experience with 4 a little. Not enough for me not to want to continue playing it, but enough to always have the comparison on my mind when I do play it.
That said, I still would suggest SoR4 over the remake purely on how easy it is to get (because Sega C&D the remake, most sites that have it give you malware). And like I said before, the game is still great and the juggling combo system is very welcomed, just wish it kept the 3 star blitz and dodge from SoR3 and had the splitting paths, the game is a bit on the short side.