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Raging Justice

Posted by GG Goblin On May - 30 - 2018

Back to the 90s.

It doesn’t take a genius to work out the influence of MakinGames’ latest title, Raging Justice. Even if the title doesn’t give it away, the first few minutes of the game clearly lay out its Streets of Rage intentions. As we live in a time when the genres of yesteryear are being revisited and offered to a new generation of gamers, it really is no surprise to see a 2D side-scrolling brawler in a classic style make an appearance. But has this genre had its day? Have gamers moved on?

raging1 (Copy)

Look, cards on the table. I was never a fan of the Streets of Rage style games back in the day, so I really can’t see how MakinGames’ Raging Justice would appeal to me. There was always something about the limited play area and the way your character would move in that area that annoyed me. Also, I wasn’t very good at the games, which is an obvious downside. Still, with a feeling of dread, I started Raging Justice up on the PS4 and started dealing out the pain.

Raging Justice is a very obvious homage to the Streets of Rage games. Players take control of one of three characters, all of which are working on the side of law and order. The characters have very minor differences that can offer some variety in the way the game plays. They are suitably over the top characters, which is a theme through the entire game, and they fit in with an early 90s action movie style.

There is a story involved in Raging Justice, although I wouldn’t be surprised if you miss it. The long and short of it is that the city is overrun by thugs and criminals, and the player will have to work through several levels, moving from left to right, dealing out justice and taking on bosses to reach the end. Yeah, there’s more to it, but I really don’t think anyone would care. This is all about dealing the violence.

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Interestingly, Raging Justice instantly brings back memories of times spent in the arcade. Visually, there are plenty of improvements over the games from years ago. The characters and enemies are all more realistic in their looks and movements, even if they are still exaggerated. The setting feels grimy and like a downtrodden city. The quality is not as high as it could be, given what modern systems are capable of, but it is good looking enough to look modern while still keeping with the style of those 90s games.

It is the gameplay though that casts the player back. Once again, the player is presented with a limited play area on the screen, able to move up and down as well as from left to right. Thugs will come stomping along, obviously taking an instant dislike to the players’ character, and pick a fight. The idea is to defeat all of the opponents in an area before being allowed to move on to the next, and eventually a boss.

The brawling is suitably satisfying. Whichever hero the player chooses, they will have access to a nice range of kicks and punches, along with all sorts of throws and even special moves. To further add variety to the combat, there are destructible objects around that can reveal weapons, along with the weapons that enemy combatants may drop. These may only have limited use, but are welcome considering the difficulty of the game.

Which is where many players will struggle. Raging Justice is a difficult game. Enemies can do substantial damage with their attacks, health is difficult to replenish while simply playing the game, and there can be quite a lot going on on-screen, making some attacks difficult to avoid. There are different difficulty levels, but even on the easiest it can be a struggle. I dread to think how hard the highest difficulty is.

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However, there is a new mechanic that has the potential to make the game a little easier. The Good Cop, Bad Cop mechanic will see the player rewarded for playing either as a good cop, or a bad cop. To be a good cop, the player will have to stun enemies and then arrest them. Doing so will award good cop points and possibly even provide some additional health. There are even challenges that see arrest warrants for specific bad guys that the player can try to apprehend. Obviously, arresting an opponent is not always possible as stunning doesn’t always work and other opponents can interrupt the arresting process. In fact, it is much easier to just be a bad cop and pummel everyone. Sure, it is easier, and you get bad cop points for dishing out the damage, but then you won’t get the health bonuses. It is a real risk and reward mechanic and will give player a good reason to head back once the game is complete.

Local co-op is provided in Raging Justice, and most games are better played with friends. There is also a brawl mode in which the player fights of waves of bad guys. It’s a nice addition, but is ultimately short lived.

I really can’t say how much this game will appeal to fans of the original Streets of Rage, it just isn’t my genre. For the younger gamers that are experiencing the side-scrolling brawler for the first time, there is a challenge here that will pull the skilled players in, but I can’t see that the limitations of the genre will convince them.

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Raging Justice is very obvious about what it wants to be –  the new Streets of Rage. In this respect, I think it achieves, but I just don’t think that the genre fits with modern gaming, at least not in this form. For genre fans, looking for that nostalgia hit, Raging Justice will hit the spot. For new players, it will be a curiosity, but still worth a look. Raging Justice is challenging fun, but really does nothing to relaunch the genre.




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