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Raging Justice Xbox One review: Fighting crime with old-fashioned fisticuffs

With its arcade aesthetic and retro gameplay, Raging Justice for Xbox One feels like a love letter to the past.

It's not often that you see an old-school fighting game released in the modern era of gaming, Though the fighting genre has continued to be strong, most titles in recent years have been very player-versus-player (PvP) focused, not singleplayer like classics Streets of Rage or Golden Axe.

However, with the arrival of Raging Justice, that changes. Instead of a multiplayer emphasis, it instead is centered on the beat 'em up style of old. Between the sound mechanics and the satisfyingly retro visuals, Raging Justice is sure to please both classic gamers with a nostalgia craving and modern players looking to get a taste of gaming from yesteryear.

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Gameplay: Guns? Who needs 'em?

In Raging Justice, you control one of three characters: Rick, Ashley, or Nikki. Each one fights in a unique style. For example, Rick is a brutal close range brawler, while Ashley has a collection of complicated action movie moves at her disposal. Each character has their strengths and weaknesses, and in order to rid the city of crime, you'll need to master whoever you're playing.

It's unfortunate that you only get three characters, especially since fighting games usually have several more. However, this shortcoming is more than made up for by the fact that the combat itself is extremely engaging. There are several enemy types, ranging from muscular thugs to women with tasers, and each one requires a different approach. There are some basic foes that can be regularly hit with all attacks, but most of the time, button mashing will earn you a quick defeat. This forces you to think about your attacks, and the gameplay is both challenging and satisfying because of that.

The controls for the game are intuitive, well thought out, and work properly. Transitioning from one attack chain or movement ability to the next one feels fluid and snappy. The hit registration for your own attacks can be wonky sometimes, but it's never enough that it's a problem.

Presentation: A blast from the past

The gameplay alone makes Raging Justice worth a purchase, and the visual aesthetic is icing on the cake. At its core, it's an old-school game, and the art team made sure looks the part. Whether you're looking at detailed 3D sprites, the complex and colored backgrounds, or the cartoony animations, the game definitely lives up to the task of recreating this retro appearance.

Raging Justice Xbox One review conclusion

Aside from the disappointing lack of playable characters, Raging Justice is an impressive blast from the past that puts a forgotten style of fighting game on center stage and shows why it's still fun all these years later. It's a fighting game you'll love.

Pros:

  • Excellent gameplay.
  • Strong visual style.

Cons:

  • Small number of playable characters.

Raging Justice is available now on Xbox One for $14.99.

See at Microsoft

This review was conducted on an Xbox One, using a review copy provided by the publisher.

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.

6 Comments
  • A Streets of Rage style indie game that looks better than the average indie game? Sign me up!
  • Just wish the animation had a few more frames so it animates smoother. 20-25 years ago it was fine, but with the visuals the game has, rendering a few extra frames should be fine (since it's prerendered animation, or looks prerendered, it shouldn't be an issue)
  • In 2D games, more frames requires more memory to hold sprites.
    The other way to do this is without affecting too much (and QA) is to scale down the size of each sprite.
  • Three characters was the norm for these types of games in the past. Don't get it confused with PvP fighting games, son.
  • Lol, "son". Edgy baby boomer detected.
  • nice I wish they have done the Xbox live multiplayer