Brutal Rage (PS4) Review

Captures the old-school beat ’em up look and feel

If you like old-school side-scrolling Beat ’em Up’s then keep reading because I’m about to give you my opinion on Brutal Rage. Brutal Rage is very much a game that harks back to the days of standing in smoky arcades, spending your pocket money on games like Double Dragon.

Brutal Rage is a simple game in its premise, fight loads of enemies using your fists, feet and maybe the occasional weapon. Before pitting you against some brutally tough bad guys, there’s a training mode you have to complete. The training mode gets you used to the games simple combat mechanics – kick, punch, pick up a weapon, hit an enemy with a weapon. Once you have finished the short training mode, it’s time to get busy kicking some enemy ass.

Brutal Rage PS4 review

A framed cop out for revenge

Brutal Rage does have a story mode, and it does have a story. The story isn’t particularly great, it’s like something from a so-bad-its-good 80’s action movie. But the written dialogue can be pretty funny at times.

Brutal Rage PS4 review - pick up my soap
Pick up my soap

The main gist of the story is that you play as a cop, wrongly accused of a crime you did not commit. Initially, there are two different characters to choose from, Kurt and Mac, the third character is locked after you beat the game. The two characters look different but don’t offer any different benefits. Kurt doesn’t have a more powerful punch than Mac and Mac can’t kick better than Kurt for example.

Whichever character you choose, your main goal is to beat the living crap out of every enemy that stands in your way.

The main story of Brutal Rage takes place over six chapters. Chapter 1 acts as a prologue and sees your chosen cop framed for the crime he didn’t commit. Chapter 2 takes place in a prison and it’s up to you to fight your way through break yard, cells and shower areas to escape. So you can find out who framed you.

Brutal Rage gameplay screenshot

The next four episodes are pretty much more of the same, they take you to different locations, like a city street, a casino, train tracks and an office building. But apart from different surroundings and a handful of different looking enemies, there’s not a great deal of variety.

As I said previously, the story of Brutal Rage is like something from an 80’s cop, action movie. It has some funny lines of dialogue but you’ll mostly want to get back to ass-kicking. Thankfully, Brutal Rage does have plenty of enemies just begging for a good old ass-whoopin’.

Brutal Rage PS4 gameplay screenshot

Kick, punch, throw, clobber and shoot

What Brutal Rage might lack in the way of a riveting story, it certainly makes up for in some good, old-school beat ’em up combat. The combat is pretty simplistic but I felt like that’s what made it fun. You have a button to punch, a button to kick, a button to grab/throw enemies. It’s just some good, no-nonsense brutality.

You can of course pick up weapons dropped by enemies or found in barrels you can destroy. Throughout each level, you’ll be able to pick up weapons like baseball bats, nightsticks, axes and even handguns. These handheld tools of destruction cause much more damage to enemies than your firsts and feet alone, so make sure to grab one when the opportunity arises.

Brutal Rage - performing a flying kick

Brutal Rage has a couple of nice combat options up its sleeve to help you take out the bad guys a bit easier. A kind of hidden move that the game doesn;t tell you about is the flying kick. While moving left or right, you can press circle to jump then immediately press x to kick and you will perform a flying kick that Jean Claude Van Damme would be proud of. The flying kick will send enemies hurtling backwards and can knock down two or more enemies at a time.

Brutal Rage, throwing an enemy

Another really cool part of Brutal Rage’s combat is the ability to grab and throw enemies. If an enemy gets all up in your face, press triangle to grab the poor fellow and lift them above your head. Holding a direction will let you throw that mofo like a rag doll. I found the gran and throw mechanic particularly useful when overwhelmed by too many enemies.

brutalk rage - rage activated
Rage activated

But Brutal Rage’s array of ways to dispose of your enemies isn’t just limited to mere punches, kicks and smacks over the head with weapons. The game features a ‘rage’ meter that fills up with successful combos, you can also fill the meter (and your health) by looking out for handy pick-ups. Once your blue rage meter is filled it will flash blue, you can then press L1 + R1 to go into a devastating fit of rage where your punches deal way more damage. Make sure to use your Rage ability when you have it though as it will the meter will reset if you die.

Brutal Rage’s combat, although relatively simplistic felt enjoyable and knocking out a large group of baddies felt rather satisfying. I only really have two complaints regarding the combat. There should have been a button to block incoming attacks, enemies have a block animation that can deflect your kicks and punches but you don’t. My second complaint is more to do with sound than the actual mechanics. I wish the developer would have used a more realistic sound effect for my kicks and punches landing, it would have made the game way more brutal.

Brutal Rage - the end

Brutal Rage – an old school beat ’em up worthy of some attention

I found Brutal Rage to be quite an enjoyable little old school side-scrolling beat ’em up. Developer Tony De Lucia has done a great job of capturing the old school beat ’em up look and feel that made games like Double Dragon so great. There’s also a decent amount of content for its low price point.

If you are pretty skilled at beat ’em ups, you could probably get through the solo campaign in less than two hours. And there are three difficulties to choose from. So if you beat the game on easy, give the harder difficulties a try. There’s also a multiplayer co-op mode where you and a buddy can join forces for some brutally violent action.

There’s also another game mode you can play after the story, but I can’t talk about it. Because the first rule of Brutal Club is you never talk about Brutal Club. But since I’m reviewing the game I really need to mention it. brutal Club is a wave-based mode where you fight waves of enemies. It is pretty difficult and definitely gives the game more value for money. I’ve said too much already. but buy Brutal Rage when it comes out on February 8th (it’ll be out when this review is published). You can find it on the PlayStation Store.

Game review copy provided by the developer. I played Brutal Rage on PS5.


Brutal Rage - The PSF Verdict


I found Brutal Rage to be quite an enjoyable little old school side-scrolling beat 'em up. Developer Tony De Lucia has done a great job of capturing the old school beat 'em up look and feel that made games like Double Dragon so great. There's also a decent amount of content for its low price point.