Classic beat-'em-up revival Streets of Rage 4 has gotten a "long-awaited major update" that brings over 300 tweaks, fixes, and balance changes to the side-scrolling brawler. Released last Friday (opens in new tab), the update makes some merciful changes to the game's combo counter, tweaks the game's characters in various subtle and not-so-subtle ways, and finally, finally lets you hurl your co-op partner at enemies like some kind of meat-and-bone ballistic missile. Teamwork makes the dream work.
You might want to give it a minute before you rush to check out the update, though. Dotemu says it's been getting reports of post-patch crashes (opens in new tab) from some players, and its devs are "investigating to find a fix and update the game ASAP."
You can find the full, incredibly lengthy patch notes on Steam (opens in new tab), but the headline items are the new co-op moves, a custom survival mode, and a couple of the more sizable balance tweaks. In addition to the ability to hurl your partner at enemies, any player being thrown will be able to perform a special attack, which I suppose should help preserve their dignity somewhat.
As for that custom survival mode, that's only accessible to owners of Streets of Rage 4's Mr. X Nightmare DLC, who will find themselves able to, uh, "tweak his/her survival experience with a variety of options." That's literally all the detail that Dotemu has furnished us with about that change, so I suppose DLC owners will need to fire up the update to figure out what that actually translates to. For lack of any other information, I'm just going to imagine it adds a new dating sim layer to the game.
Beyond that stuff, the game's gotten a few balance changes that should make it easier to preserve your precious combo counter. Players will now find that the game's stages have more destroyable items on them, which you can break to keep your combo meter up if there aren't any enemies in reach. Likewise, it'll now take a half second for your combo counter to vanish, and stage transitions have gotten a bit of bonus time so you don't lose your meter during them.
It's a whopper of an update, and with any luck it'll only make the game better. Streets of Rage 4 kind of accomplished the impossible when it released in 2020, managing to revive a series that had lain dormant for over 25 years and actually do it well. When PCG's Wes Fenlon wrote up his Streets of Rage 4 review (opens in new tab) three years ago, he praised it as "a beautiful homage" to the much-loved original games of the 1990s. It's good to see that it's still getting dev attention even three years post-release.