Double Dragon Gaiden: Rise of the Dragons Preview: A Different Take for the Genre 23423

Double Dragon Gaiden: Rise of the Dragons Preview: A Different Take for the Genre

A few years back WayForward Technologies attempted to revive Double Dragon with Double Dragon Neon. The experience was met with mixed results, though the ending song is undeniably great, resulting in it falling off a second time. Given a number of other beat ’em ups are finding their way onto modern consoles there is a lot of hope for Double Dragon Gaiden: Rise of the Dragons. We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to check it out and share our initial thoughts.

While I was initially worried the 13 characters would result in a lot of overlap, they each have their own unique play style. Billy and Jimmy offer different takes on close range combat, Marian is all about range, Uncle Matin fills the brawler role, and you get the point. Despite certain characters being a cut above/below the rest, their value largely hinges on how stage selection.

Instead of relying on optional paths, or secrets, Double Dragon Gaiden: Rise of the Dragons offers a dynamic approach to each location. Every stage you complete increases difficulty. This starts by adding another location, which continues throughout your run. In addition to new stages, there is also the chance a beloved boss like Linda or Abobo will stand in your way.

Each of these differences make selecting stages rather difficult. Certain levels are undeniably harder than others, though that isn’t to say there aren’t other annoyances to overcome. Things feel well thought out as there really isn’t an ideal rotation. Instead, it comes down to the bosses you’re offered, optional challenges, and other factors to ultimately determine your path.

That said, the special K.O. system is a clever way to combat these challenges. Essentially, every character has a handful of special attacks that awards food when three or more enemies die at once. Despite giving a lot of potential for health, enemies tend to have a number of tricks that almost guarantee you’ll take damage. Not only that, mistakes are often met with harsh punishments. It wasn’t uncommon to lose half my health or more because I made a single mistake. This give and take prevent things from feeling too lopsided.

Completing a level also gives players the opportunity to purchase upgrades. These last for the duration of the run and enhance a wide variety of attributes. Unfortunately, they don’t change the core experience, just offer advantages in a wide variety of situations or play styles.

All of these little things show a very different take on the genre. Instead of being centered on limiting risk, Double Dragon Gaiden: Rise of the Dragons revels in the idea of risking your life for additional points. It’s a different approach that just might give the genre the small nudge it needs to see further experimentation.

Double Dragon Gaiden: Rise of the Dragons is set to release on July 27 for PlayStation 4/5, Xbox One/Series, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

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