Overall 7.70
This is a sort of John Wick simulator that has a cool unique style to it and really fun brawler gameplay. Basically take the big sized levels of something like Hotline Miami but make it more Batman Arkham like with its combat system, that’s basically how this game is laid out. There are 40 levels, each like 5 minutes long (depending on how much you die it can take longer), every one throws hordes of enemies at you to punch and shoot in a stylish way for more points. I love how the game basically takes you through every action movie/game trope imaginable. You will fight in the streets, through a club, in the sewers, have a highway chase, battle in an airplane, an apartment building, and of course an elevator sequence. Every few minutes you are in the next action movie scene with new enemies and new weapons, because of this Express keeps being exciting from start to finish.

It’s a brawler so how good this is hinges on its combat system which is really cool to look at, works well most of the time but is missing a layer of polish that would have pushed it over the top. Some buttons do multiple actions and many times I wanted to do a finisher and instead pulled out my emergency firearm and wasted an important shot. Like Arkham games you will pinball your way from enemy to enemy exchanging punches, throws and countering when prompted. As you play you unlock 40 different moves, so at the start it’s an extremely basic brawler but by the end you have a wide variety of counter disarming, of unique finishers, unique grapples, a cool rope attack and many different combos. I just wished it all flowed as well as it could have, many times I am in an animation for a counter and another enemy knocks me out. Some levels have really annoying enemies that force you to dodge instead of counter, put like five of those at once and you can hardly stop rolling around.

There are a ton of different weapons to pick up and use, each has a finisher fatality move. If you have a sharp object you can throw it at an enemy for an instant kill. Guns enter the equation as well turning the game into a mini twin stick shooter. Most stages are well balanced, when you get on a high combo role it looks and feels like an action movie, mainly John Wick. But all it takes is one or two annoying enemy types and a few frustrating segments that pulled me out of my groove. To often they mix heavy enemies with gun enemies so you get stuck trying to break the stagger bar on a heavy and some random dude near off screen just blasts you without warning. There is a focus button that slows the game down so you can see what’s around you but I found that to be distracting and hardly used it.

Running through the stages the first time is standard brawler style of levels, just get to the end. The real fun comes from replaying the missions which each have three challenges (stuff like don’t use a weapon, only use one type of weapon, do some context action at some moment), a don’t die challenge, and trying to get an s rank in every one. It’s not until you unlock most of the move list that s ranks are even possible in most levels, but once you do and go back to old levels mastering becomes very difficult and fun… or frustrating depending on the mission. In the best games like Arkham or even Hotline I reach a zen moment where it all clicks and flows so well. I had a hard time finding that here, there was always a button that didn’t do what I wanted it to, an enemy that would disrupt animations; there is just a level of polish missing that keeps this from reaching greatness.

Graphically it’s very simple looking, it has an isometric cam with basic models that almost look like marionette models, when they die enemies rag doll to the floor. The music is superb, 40 different techno tracks that keeps the adrenaline pumping, it fits the theme of the game so well. The story is absurd but that’s the charm, it’s like the ultimate beat ‘em up game so it takes from all the best and puts them in a blender, it’s like a beat ‘em up hall of fame.

I played Midnight Fight Express on game pass so it was no risk for me but after playing it I think it would definitely be worth a $20-25 price tag. It’s a blast of game that lasts like 5-6 hours to complete but can last so much more to master. If only the combat and controls were a bit more fine tuned it could have been great.
Posted by Dvader Wed, 07 Sep 2022 19:01:24
Thu, 05 Jan 2023 15:50:05
Might pick this up on sale. Sifu looks good too.
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