A Punch To The Past : Double Dragon IV Review

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Earlier this year, Double Dragon IV was released on PC and PS4 and then later Nintendo Switch ( the system the game was played on for this review). It was a deliberate throwback to the NES Double Dragon games, in contrast to Double Dragon Neon, and received some mixed reception. I wasn’t sure what to fully expect as I began playing, as I went in fearing the worst. What I found however, was a decent throwback that may have been treated a bit unfairly.

It has been argued that Double Dragon IV is too deliberate a throwback to the NES games, to the point of also including everything bad about them. I disagree however, as while Double Dragon IV does have some flaws due to its style, I feel the game is better than most are giving it credit for. I enjoyed playing this retro style beat em up and found myself liking some of the changes that were made. The controls, while still stiff and not perfectly responsive, have a lot more variety to them. It now feels like a more complete beat em up from the past that takes cues from gaming today, as the extra buttons allow new moves and new combo attacks. This really does help set this game aside from its predecessors.

There are a number of flaws of course. The stiffness of the controls can really throw off the jumps that are required to be done in the game, and the jumping mechanic in general is not suited to platforming. I would say this is one thing that was a mistake to retain. As well, the story, while nice at times, takes a turn at the end that made me just say “Really? This is what you are going with?”, it was just nostalgia not being used right. Not to mention that some of the attempts at variety just come off as lazy nostalgia, its not bad, but its not great.

That being said, I did have a lot of fun playing the game, far more than I ever thought I would. Despite the flaws, I feel Double Dragon IV is actually a really good game. It is far better than it was made out to be, and deserves an honest chance. I recommend it.

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