PAX West gave us the first glimpse of two resurrected franchises, Windjammers 2 and Streets of Rage 4. I had the opportunity to play both, and it left me hopeful for what was to come. It's worth noting that both were very early builds and much is subject to change, but their foundations are both very solid.
There's not much to say about Windjammers 2 other than it places exactly like the original Windjammers. It felt and reacted the same, but just had some updated graphics and the new aspect ratio. The fact that the controls feel as close to the original as they do is enough to convince me they're committed to giving as authentic of a Windjammers feel as possible.
The developers told me they went so far as to contact the original Windjammers developers, look at their design documents, and even went over what their original plans were for a sequel all those years ago. Some of those ideas will be incorporated into Dotemu's sequel here.
Other than that, there's not much to say. The game's graphical upgrade looks good, the animations are great, and the controls feel exactly as Windjammers should. Now we just wait to see what the future holds and what new ideas they plan to bring to the franchise. Whether Windjammers 2 will be received well comes down to what will be new, as the foundation that's there is already fantastic.
I must stress again that I played an extremely early build that seemed to exist looking for feedback on whether they nailed the Windjammers feeling or not. They have, and now we just look forward to what's next.
Windjammers 2 is slated to release next year on PC and Switch.
Streets of Rage 4
I'm not very familiar with Streets of Rage, but what I can tell you about Streets of Rage 4 is that it's in a very similar boat as Windjammers 2. Think of Streets of Rage 4 as an updated Streets of Rage 2 with the ability to juggle enemies as you execute combos.
Streets of Rage 4 definitely wants to evoke the same feelings of 2. They're going for more of that style than 3, going so far as to use the music and sound effects from 2 in this demo. 4 will definitely be getting its sounds and music in the future, but it's unknown what that is or if famed composer Yuzo Koshiro will be returning to do the music.
The trailer for Streets of Rage 4 has received some criticism, some saying it looks like a flash game. Those used to the Genesis graphics they see with Streets of Rage should know that in person and in motion the game looks great. At times possibly a little too cartoony in the enemy's styling, but there's still a long way to release.
Just as with Windjammers 2, this is an early demo with a long ways to go on development. Still, Streets of Rage 4 looked and felt great, which makes me optimistic for its future. Another reason to be optimistic is the fact that Lizardcube is developing the game, which is the same team behind the wonderful remake of Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap.
Streets of Rage 4 is set to release next year. There have been no announcements for platforms yet.
What do you think about the return of Streets of Rage and Windjammers? Let us know in the comments below!