The Saints are back and more over the top than ever before. For those of you who are new to the series, you start off as an unnamed protagonist, which is supposed to give you, the player, the ability to imagine him to be whoever you want. In the first game, was just another gang member fighting to help the Saints (the gang you are a member of) gain turf. From the first game forward you progress. In the second game you start off as the leader of the Saints and you have the ability to command gang members. In the third game the Saints advance from just being a typical gang and move towards organized crime in a sort of mafia manner. The first three games have had their ridiculous moments and their obscene and obscure weapons but the fourth game pushes the extreme.
The new game starts you off by flying you to another country so that you can assassinate terrorists. This ends in you climbing and disabling an already launched nuclear missile before it reaches the United States. Next you become the President of the United States and Aliens invade, talk about over the top. From that point forward the game gets further and further away from reality which, surprisingly, helps to add to the fun of it.
Volition brought back a lot of the qualities that made the other games in the series great, such as character customization, car customization, and of course ridiculousness. However, the new level of ridiculousness, being the President of the United States and having “superpowers”, almost pushes the game too far. The first power you receive, while fun, completely obliterates any need for cars. Which makes the car customization seem like a waste of resources and time on the player’s end.
During the game you are introduced to data clusters which are little blue beams of light needed to level up your powers. Think of it as if you are Neo and these are bits of code in the Matrix left there to help you become stronger and overcome the enemy (because that is 95% what it is). The chasing down of said data clusters, can quickly become repetitive and boring, and for those of you who played The Crackdown feels a lot like searching for orbs, except you rarely need to jump from ledge to ledge.
The weapons selection is a lot of fun and this time around includes alien weapons, including a gun that shoots out dubstep music. Using the basic weapons is less fun though, whether it be the lack of loud noise or that it is hard to tell when a shot connects with your target, it just feels like something is missing.
The main city has a lot of character, but if you don’t stop to look around, which your superpowers make hard to do, the dark futuristic setting can quickly become very bland. The mediocre graphics help to play into the blandness of the city, but the game can be so fast paced at that it becomes hardly noticeable.
Not all is bland and repetitive in the new Saints Row though. The story starts off extreme and quickly picks up it’s pace getting absolutely abstract, pulling the player in and causing them to not want to put the controller down.
There is also a Co-op mode allowing you to play the game with a friend. Gaming with friends always can tend to make things more fun and add excitement to moments that would otherwise bore you. I do warn you though, as you run around the city with another superhuman it becomes very apparent how crème de la crème you two really are.
Another thing Volition got right were the controls. The controls right out of the box feel great. So much so, in fact, that after playing Grand Theft Auto IV last week on a PlayStation3 I would much rather have had the controls set up like those found in Saints Row IV.
The bottom line:
Saints Row IV feels almost as if Volition were driving a Saints Row Car, and decided to swerve off a cliff to see if the car could fly and, well, somehow it did. Yes, there are portions of the game that feel like they were done in 2007 with the game The Crackdown and the superpowers greatly take away from the excitement of cars and even some of the weapons. But, the game’s progressively insane plot, Co-op, and interesting weapons step in to make the game a very enjoyable experience, even if at times you need to play through boring moments.
- Superpowers that add an interesting new play style. Plus, who wouldn’t want Superpowers?
- Interesting weapons, such as the dubstep gun or the abduction gun.
- Insanely over the top plot that adds a lot of humor to the game.
- The superpowers really take away the fun of cars or parachutes.
- The graphics still feel kind of low end compared to other recent games.
- The basic weapons feel like they are missing something.
- Exploring the city and doing side quests can get very boring.