Treachery in Beatdown City will have you busting heads on the streets, but tactically. Picture Double Dragon mixed with Fallout‘s VATs system and you’ll kind of get the idea.
Lisa was just out for a jog, and everyone seemed to be in the mood to give her a hard time during the demo I tried at Pax East. Unfortunately for them, Lisa’s a boxing/MMA expert, so after a little bit of ridiculous dialogue between Lisa and those bugging her, it was time to pummel faces.
If you came in expecting a tired clone of Mighty Final Fight or something, you won’t get far. You can throw a few stray punches as you meander the streets in combat, but these little strikes do very little damage. Instead, you’ll want to move right up to your opponent and start up a more involved brawl, pausing combat and pulling up a list of available moves.
Lisa had access to an array of elbows, grapples, and stunning blows that would chew through her opponents’ hit points. Thing is, each had a certain FP cost that you had to factor in. You couldn’t just go all out with your heavy hits, as they’re leave you with little to defend yourself with until they recharged. If you gave yourself a little breather, though, you could line up a combo.
Why does that matter? Combos make enemies more susceptible to some of your hardest hits, where they might normally have a greater chance of missing. You often had to soften foes up before going in for that high-cost grapple, which meant you had to carefully plan out how you fought rather than just go for that expensive attack. It forced me to think a lot more than I typically do during beat ’em ups (or most strategy games, for that matter).
Your somewhat strange foes aren’t just sitting there and taking it, either. They will try to use their own attacks on you, which you can just sit and eat (like a dummy), or you can save a little FP to try to counter. This, again, makes you think hard on what you want to do. Positioning was also important, as getting hit from behind HURTS, adding another layer of strategy as you move around your enemies.
Treachery in Beatdown City really asked me to use my head as I was fighting, constantly shifting positions and working out how best to whittle my opponents down. It also encouraged playing around with all of the moves, as each had their own interesting interplay to take advantage of. I really enjoyed how the game made me stop falling into my old habit of using the same move repeatedly.
Also, there’s two other characters (Brad the wrestler and Bruce the Jeet Kune Do/Capoeira fighter) to add even more fighting styles into the mix, as well as weapons that can utterly change how combat works (a simple knife deals huge damage, forcing the fight to focus on whoever’s holding the blade). The game just keeps adding layers into its thoughtful combat, creating a system that rewards thoughtful fighting while also just making combat a blast.
With its absurd story (Ninjas kidnapping the president, and we’re out here punching people off of bikes), its cast of unique fighters and oddball enemies, and its loving rendition of New York streets, Treachery in Beatdown City is going to bring some sharp action (and biting commentary) when it releases this year.
Treachery in Beatdown City is slated for release in 2019, but in the meantime, you can follow its development on the game’s site.