River City: Rival Showdown
Top Critic Average
River City: Rival Showdown Media
River City: Rival Showdown Launch Trailer
Critic Reviews for River City: Rival Showdown
River City: Rival Showdown leans more heavily on the RPG elements that the original River City Ransom brought to the beat em' up genre with a stronger focus on a narrative and exploration. Being on a handheld, the new game prioritizes the single-player experience in its core design which loses the charm of the couch co-op that made the original game so memorable to many players back in the day. River City: Rival Showdown ushers in some big changes while still does a good job bringing the original River City Ransom into modern times while still honoring its Kunio-kun roots pretty well.
With a full explorable River City, a story with multiple endings and the surprise Double Dragon fighting game; there is a lot on offer in Rivals Showdown. Unfortunately, it’s held back by an overly repetitive soundtrack which will start to grate on one’s nerves, and some very uneven combat until the late game. These games are usually good for some fun beat-em up action but it takes so long for this entry to hit its stride with the combat that by the end I was just running on auto pilot. I think there is a lot here for fans to discover but this isn’t going to bring in any new fans, especially when the last two entries in the River City Saga were much better.
River City: Rival Showdown's best qualities are its unique method of progression and well-executed storyline. Admittedly, this critic was not expecting this to be the case. The appeal of this franchise has always been its simplistic but satisfying fighting; not to mention the depth and creativity that comes from having so many fun abilities to play around with. While these hallmarks are present in this 3DS brawler, they are buried under the relentless quest for higher numbers. The final result is a game that just isn't as accessible and endearing as it could be, but there's still entertainment to be had.
It's received an obvious visual upgrade over the 3DS release, and has added online play, too. It can be frustrating to get stuck with unwinnable event battles, but the penalty of losing an in-game hour isn't devastating. There's definitely a bit more of a learning curve for anyone who's only played River City Ransom, but the overall package is a solid one for Kunio-kun and brawler fans alike, provided you don't mind a bit of detective work.
River City: Rival Showdown is a unique title in the River City franchise, sadly to its detriment at times. The balance is all screwy, the soundtrack repeating kills the pacing, and it takes far too long to open up in terms of combat. On the other hand, there is a lot here that fans of the series will love, and more River City is always a good time. Sadly, after the last two really strong releases, this one comes off as just a little lacking.