Streets of Rage 4 really exceeded my expectations after I bought it on a whim during the recent Steam sale. Not only did it pay homage to the level layouts of the originals, but it did so with a comic book art style and elaborate combo potential that the previous entries could not offer. Amusingly, the story played out like a Saturday morning cartoon. Four of the levels had even hidden Streets of Rage 2 boss levels.
Contrary to expectations, the Mr. X DLC made the game infinitely more replayable and enjoyable. Not only did it add the unique playstyles of Estel, Max, and Shiva to every mode in the game but Survival Mode became the feature that keeps on giving. The power ups and randomly generated levels mixed things up enough to give the game more replayability than any other beat 'em up I have played. The random SoR2/3 bosses and grunts in the retro stages of survival added a major nostalgia kick. The cherry on top came from the fact that playing Survival Mode unlocked alternate blitz, special, and super moves for the cast (though SoR1 characters only received a different super) and they were available in every mode. Before even touching its unique cast, this DLC effectively added an alternate color and alternate blitz into the game that made me enjoy playing a character I had little interest in (Cherry Hunter). Diving deeper into the DLC by air comboing with Shiva, ground 'n pounding with Estel, and suplexing, power sliding, and body slamming to victory with Max provided the novelty that felt missing with the base game.
One issue I have bitterly accepted in Streets of Rage 4 is the awful movement options of Floyd. Even with the alternate blitz his only real means of moving around at a reasonable speed is an air special that drains life. Regardless of range, this makes him the red-headed stepchild in my eyes. Another more serious issue that keeps on giving me conniptions is the ring stage in Survival Mode sometimes having a pit in the middle and random pendulums all around. Just seeing it makes me want to stop playing as there is nothing I can really do at that point that won't take chunks of my health. Otherwise, there is nothing to really complain about.
Recently, discovering the magic of Roo's back attack in Streets of Rage 4 was a eureka moment for me that took me all the way to Level 25 of Survival Mode and I imagine I will enjoy similar dicoveries as I play more of the game. Hopefully, the pits and pendulums are few and far inbetween.