- Controlling a super powered boss is tight and responsive for the most part.
- Super powers add a new dimension to familiar gameplay.
- More than a few laugh out loud moments.
- Side quests and chasing down data clusters can become a bit tedious.
- Waterboarding is preferable to hacking stores.
- Seems like this could have been an expansion to Saints Row The Third instead of a stand alone title.
After finishing the Saints Row IV campaign, I find myself more than a little conflicted by the game. I feel as if I should trash Volition for basically releasing Saints Row The Third again. Only this time with super power mechanics ripped directly from games like Prototype, Crackdown, and Infamous.
On the other hand, playing through Saints Row IV you can see the care the developers took in bending, and eventually breaking the rules of Saints Row The Third in order to create a unique experience for Saints Row IV. Whether they succeeded in such a way that warrants the price of admission is what has me so perplexed about this game.
We catch up with the Saints in the White House. The Saint’s Boss (aka the player) has been elected to the presidency of these United States, and familiar faces from Saints Row 3 and earlier installments in the franchise make up our POTUS’s cabinet. Running the country and enjoying the perks of power, it seems that everything is coming up aces for the Saints. That is until all hell breaks lose when an alien race called the Zin invade, and conquer the earth. The now captured Saints are placed in a Matrix-esque simulation from which they must escape and confront the evil alien overlord Zinyak.
This simulation is where the Boss acquires his super powers, thanks to old friend Kinzie Kensington, and the bulk of the game takes place.
The first few hours of Saints Row IV are undeniably fun to be sure. Getting acclimated to your super powers, and testing them out in the sandbox of Steelport is pretty fantastic. Most of the games enjoyment comes from finding new and interesting ways to incorporate the very solid Saints Row gun play, with the players new set of super human abilities. After that, the game starts to suffer from diminishing returns in regards to the enjoyment found in the players super power arsenal. The acquiring and upgrading of new super powers is quite enjoyable, but most will find that they lock in to the powers they enjoy the most pretty early on in the game.
Players are granted the ability to leap tall buildings, sprint or glide across miles of map in seconds, and utilize a fairly wide array of offensive capabilities in order to take down the Zin. Powers can be upgraded multiple ways through the collection of data clusters scattered throughout the map.
There are a lot of data clusters to collect…
This literally requires hours of dedication in order to acquire enough to where ones super powers feel properly…well…super. A fair amount of tedium starts to infiltrate a playthrough because of this, as one can not acquire clusters from completing quests or other activities.
Progressing through the game will find players having to complete multiple side quests and objectives for his fellow Saints. There are two types of missions granted. There are loyalty missions, which even having finished the game I’m still unsure of there impact outside of granting the players homies with a new outfit and super powers. The second type being objective missions in order to disrupt the simulation. Loyalty missions are tailored around the specific quest giver, and usually will have them accompanying the player for the ride. These move along at nice clip, and provide some interesting flashbacks from previous Saints Row games.
It’s the objective based quests that get a bit soul crushing…really quickly.
Objective based quests come in multiple types, which the player will repeat ad nausea throughout a play through. Stealing cars, assassinating enemies, destruction, fraud, and a semi-horde modes most players can get behind. What will truly send you over the edge is having to hack stores. The hacking system in Saint Row IV is wildly uninteresting, with failure alerting the simulations authorities. This forces the player to leave the store and engage in a madcap chase in order to lose his notoriety status. Once lost, the player can return to the store and try again. Failing multiple times may find controllers flying across living rooms around the world.
These quests have to be done though if a player hopes to upgrade his character, weapons, homies, etc… in any real way.
The story is pretty standard Saints Row fare. Crammed with all the sex, dick, and fart jokes than one can shake a stick at. Saints Row IV is not for those of you out there who take life a tad too serious. Volition has said that this will be the last Saints Row entry for awhile, and that when the next installment does arrive it will not feature this incarnation of the Saints. So Saints Row IV is a swan song of sorts. The finale very much embodies this. The thrills come in ever larger waves, and the game endsin such a way that it feels very much like an appropriate send off for characters we have come to know, and surprisingly really like.
Saints Row IV is a very enjoyable experience over all. Saying that, the game also feels like it could have been an expansion to the previous game, instead of a stand alone title. While I appreciate the new experiences Saints Row IV provides, it’s very hard to justify a full retail price because of it. The hard core Saints Row fans should absolutely check this out. For those of you out there who are not quite so invested, maybe wait for a good Steam sale before making a purchase.