The Takeover PlayStation 4 Review

It doesn’t matter if it’s for nostalgia’s sake or just because you want a game to wind up and relax, The Takeover is worth your while.

By RON, Posted 20 Jul 2021

It’s 2021, so one would think the era of the side-scrolling beat ‘em up is far behind us, right? Wrong. The surprising comeback of Streets of Rage, and newcomers such as River City Girls showed us the public still hasn’t forgotten the genre. One of the culprits to start anew the flame of the beat ‘em up is The Takeover, a rather polished love letter to these types of games. This title made its debut back in 2016 but now PS4 players can play this beautiful homage to a bygone era.


The Takeover, PlayStation 4, Review, Gameplay, Screenshots, Boss Fights, Antonios Pelekanos, DANGEN Entertainment, Limited Run Games, Beat 'em up, Side Scrolling
 

The Takeover takes all the elements that made games like Streets of Rage, TMNT: Turtles in time, and the final fight the titans they were back in the day. The dirty and gritty ambiance of a sprawling city raided by criminality, perfect stand-ins for ’80s and 90’s New York City, Los Angeles, or Detroit, a memorable soundtrack, composed by none other than the iconic creator of the music for Streets of Rage, Yuzo Koshiro, and timeless gameplay that one could even say is a carbon copy of the game it’s inspired on.

The plot is not what we’re here for but still, there is one, and is told via comic book-like cinematics. A little girl was kidnapped by a dangerous gang of criminals, and it is up to us to rescue her. Just like when we rescued Haggar’s daughter in the first Final Fight. The stylistic choice of a comic book strip is pretty fitting, and the art style is gorgeous, as well as the models and backgrounds for the whole game. You see, albeit being a 2D side-scroller, the models are 3D, so you get a beautifully animated 2.5D game with the best of both worlds.

Now for the good stuff, the gameplay. This game feels like an actual continuation of the trends set by Sega’s and Capcom’s trailblazer but somehow, it’s just easier. We need to address the facts that most of these games were quarter-hungry titles designed to keep us dying and reviving. The Takeover acknowledges that games don’t need to be unfairly hard anymore and makes the effort to tone down the difficulty. But maybe they overcorrected a little and the game will feel definitively easy to veteran gamers. Not only do you get high-caliber weapons from the get-go but you also don’t have to limit the use of your special attacks, and we even get a rage mode, in which we are more powerful and invulnerable. And this is all good fun and pretty satisfying until you realize you can cheese your way to the end of the game, and it’s not that long. Most players will finish the Takeover in a single sitting. Although it does offer unlockable characters and a challenge mode to provide replay value.


The Takeover, PlayStation 4, Review, Gameplay, Screenshots, Boss Fights, Antonios Pelekanos, DANGEN Entertainment, Limited Run Games, Beat 'em up, Side Scrolling
 

Another counterpoint and this is more like a trope of the genre and not necessarily something The Takeover does wrong is the lack of diversity in enemy characters. Palette swapping, model rehashing, and not many unique models were fine when games had severe memory limitations, but now, almost 30 years later, things have changed, and such a simple game should at least try to increase its diversity. But perhaps that was a choice to stay faithful to the tropes of the genre.

Speaking of tropes, although most of the game loop entails beating the crap out of hordes of enemies, some levels do not involve brawling, such as a level in which you need to drive and shoot at enemy vehicles, and a level in which you have to pilot an aircraft and shoot at enemy vehicles. In this sense, one could think of games such as Cadillacs and Dinosaurs, with its high-octane Cadillac levels, or the infamous water levels in both TMNT and Battletoads. It does feel dynamic and proper to stop the punching and kicking and try some vehicle action in between levels.

The game lacks online multiplayer and sticks only to the local co-op, and this, instead of being a drawback, makes sense. After all, there is no better way to capture the essence of a side-scrolling beat ‘em up than playing side by side on the same screen with another person. It takes you back to the golden age of the arcades, and it’s an experience online multiplayer just doesn’t rely properly upon. So, while others might see a flaw, retro gamers will feel right at home.



The Takeover knows what it is and doesn’t even try to hide it, it’s a game created for the people who grew up playing the games it took inspiration from, and in that it excels. The game does not have a platinum trophy, but it does offer a wide variety of challenges for you to take on after you’ve completed the game. It doesn’t matter if it’s for nostalgia’s sake or just because you want a game to wind up and relax, The Takeover is worth your while.
 

Sarwar Ron, NoobFeed
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General Information

The TakeOver

80/100

Platform(s): PS4, Switch, PC
Publisher(s): Antonios Pelekanos, DANGEN Entertainment, Limited Run Games
Developer(s): Antonios Pelekanos, Antonis Pelikanos
Genres: Beat-'Em-Up
Themes: Action, Side-Scrolling
Release Date: 2016-02-02

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