Reviews

Saints Row IV

To be very honest with you, I didn’t have high hopes for Saints Row IV. Here was a game that looked more like an expansion to Saints Row: The Third, rather than a full-fledged sequel. Players would visit the virtual city of Steelport all over again, and the only noticeable difference was the addition of super powers bestowed upon them. I mean how different could that be right? Turns out, a lot!

Saints Row IV picks up a few years after the events of the third game. The leader of the Saints is now the president of the United States and is tasked with taking down an evil alien overlord. Without giving away too much, you, the player land up in a simulation of Steelport and that’s how the game justifies giving you all these fancy superpowers. From then on, you have to rescue your homies stuck in the real world until you amass an army of Saints to snuff out the alien invasion.

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The game has some genuine laugh out loud moments thanks to witty writing and spot on voice acting.

The story in Saints Row IV has been done a million times by now, but even then, the game has some genuine laugh out loud moments thanks to witty writing and spot on voice acting. Sometimes it does border on juvenile territory, but then again, if you don’t find beating pedestrians to death with a dildo even remotely funny, this game isn’t really meant for you.

Steelport unfortunately looks exactly the same as it did in Saints Row: The Third. There’s no denying that fact, but the variation comes in once you receive super powers. For starters, you can run faster than a bullet (almost) and jump high enough to scale entire buildings in one leap. Not only does this make nearly every vehicle in the game redundant (not to mention mundane), but it also allows players to explore Steelport in ways they never did the first time around.

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There’s one time of day throughout the game. This is by far the biggest downer Saints Row IV.

Since the game takes place in a simulation, there’s one time of day throughout the game. This is by far the biggest downer Saints Row IV. After you finish the game, however, you can change the time of day, but that only happens after you complete the final single-player mission. I was also a bit disappointed with the game’s character customization as most of the clothes and knick-knacks have been blatantly recycled from Saints Row: The Third. And for some absurd reason, there’s far more customisation options for women than man.

To fight off aliens in the simulation, you’ll have access to your run-of-the-mill weaponry consisting of shotguns, assault rifles, rocket launchers etc., but it’s more fun using the dubstep gun to send out a blast of dubstep music killing patrons after it makes them break dance for a few seconds; or the Inflatogun, a weapon that comically increases the size of an enemy’s head, causing it to pop eventually. Or you could use the Singularity weapon and create your very own black hole to clean out the streets of Steelport.

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There are a total of six super powers that you’ll earn as you progress through the campaign.

But like vehicles, weapons in Saints Row IV started feeling redundant once I received powers that allowed me to freeze enemies and then shatter them or toss them all over the game world using Telekinesis. And these are just two powers. There are a total of six super powers that you’ll earn as you progress through the campaign, and undertaking side quests will give you the opportunity to improve upon these already quite awesome powers.

Besides the fairly lengthy single-player campaign, Saints Row IV offers some absurd but highly satisfying side-activities to take your mind off things. Pilot a mech and blow stuff up for points or ragdoll yourself all across the map, inflicting massive bodily harm to yourself just so you can earn some insurance money. A lot of these side quests have been lifted directly from Saint’s Row: The Third, but they’ve been modified keeping the new setting and your super powers in mind.

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Collecting clusters is by far the most addictive side activity, just like in Crackdown, where you spent hours collecting orbs.

To distract you even further from the main quest, the game has tons of collectibles strewn all over the city, like statues to destroy or voice recordings to collect, giving you a bit of a backdrop on the Saints’ history. But collecting clusters is by far the most addictive of them all. Just like in Crackdown, where you spent hours collecting orbs to upgrade your powers, you’ll be doing the same in Saints Row IV. And every time you think you’re done with your collections for the day, you’ll see one more cluster in the distance, and before you know it, you’ve spent another hour flying around the city in search of collectibles. The best part? You can still listen to all your radio stations on foot. I do not understand why more open-world games haven’t done this yet.

Single-player missions also pack in a bunch of diversity, and since every mission tries to outdo the previous one in terms of scale and sheer absurdity, you can’t wait to see what the game throws at you next. Once again, I will refrain from describing missions as they may border on spoiler territory, but trust me, this game has something for everyone (even hard to please “old school gamers”). The entire campaign, like previous Saints Row games, can be played co-operatively from start to finish with a friend, and there are certain side-activities that can only be accessed with a partner.

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Conclusion

Saints Row IV is what video games are all about. The game empowers the player with badass super powers and then unleashes them into a living, breathing playground packed to the brim with possibilities. There’s a good chance you may skip this game just because it looks a lot like Saints Row: The Third, but I strongly suggest you do not. It feels like an entirely different experience because of the super powers, with all the quirky familiarities you’d expect from a Saints Row game thrown in for good measure. If blasting every living thing in your path from a 10-foot mech while listening to Cyprus Hill’s Insane in the Brain doesn’t sound like a good time, I really don’t know what is.

Test Rig:

  • Motherboard: Intel DP67BG Extreme Desktop series
  • Processor: Intel Core i7 – 2600K @3.40 GHZ
  • Graphic Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN
  • Ram: Corsair Vengeance 4GB DDR3 @ 1600 MHZ X2
  • Power Supply: Cooler Master Silent Pro Gold 1200W

IVG's Verdict

8/10
  • Extremely satisfying super powers
  • Traversing the city using your powers is a lot of fun
  • Goofy, over-the-top side activities are a great diversion
  • Same ol' city to play around in
  • Static time of day throughout the game
  • Recycled customization options from Saint's Row: The Third
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