Saints Row 4 Review
I don’t want to miss a thing.
Looking in from the outside you may think you know what the Saints Row series is all about but, if you’ve played Saints Row The Third you’ll know that it turned out to be anything but what you expected. Saints Row 4 is different, but only in that Volition crank up the ridiculous meter from the very beginning. It’s time to get presidential, it’s time to grab your homies and go from the crack house to the White House. It’s time for Saints Row 4.
The popularity of the Third Street Saints has reached a new height as their leader, played by you of course, finds himself sitting in the Oval Office. That’s right, you are the President of the United States. It isn’t the goal of Saints Row 4, to end up ruling the free world, you start the game that way. The situations you’ll find yourself in sound pretty strange if you just explain them without any context, but trust me they make sense in true Saints Row fashion.
I don’t want to spoil any of the story, so I won’t tell you how it all comes to be, but most of the game will take place in a computer simulation of the city of Steelport. The Saints will be working to bring down the evil Emperor Zinyak, whose alien forces have invaded earth, by tearing apart the simulation from the inside out. I told you things were going to get ridiculous but if you aren’t having a great time, and actually laughing out loud, during the first twenty minutes of the game you probably hate fun.
Gameplay will be very familiar to anyone who has played Saints Row The Third, and keeps the same third-person shooting mechanics, but, since you’re inside a simulation, there will be a few key differences. The most significant new features come in the form of special powers for your character, who can now run as fast as a car and jump up the sides of buildings. These powers may sound like they’re going to make the game easy, since you’re essentially a super hero now, but combat remains largely the same and the powers that can be used in combat don’t end up being overpowered.
Your powers can be upgraded by collecting data clusters that are scattered around the city. Collecting clusters is where your new super jump and super sprint abilities come into play as you engage in this addictive, and very Crackdown-esque, hunt for collectibles. Of course, your powers are only available when you’re inside the simulation so you will still run into some situations where you’ll just be a plain old Saint, relying on your guns and your crew.
Volition remain masters of the soundtrack and their ability to get a laugh out of a song choice, while having it still fit the situation perfectly, is second to none. Saints Row 4’s story doesn’t quite carry the same weight as that of Saints Row The Third, in the end, but it definitely has some great moments. It isn’t often that a video game can get real, true, laughs but Saints Row 4 does so frequently.
The main story quests can be wrapped up in around six or seven hours, but there are a ton of side quests, secondary missions, and collectible items to keep you busy. You may be in a simulation of Steelport but the city has changed quite a bit since the last game, with alien structures shooting up from between the buildings and many strange events taking place to keep things fresh.
Saints Row 4, once again, offers two player co-op so you can pull a friend in to join the mayhem. The Saints Row series has always been about friends and it’s great that you can still play with one if you want to.
If you base your view on trailers and previews it would be easy to think that Volition have gone way over the top when it comes to Saints Row 4’s setting and gameplay mechanics. The truth is they did, but they manage to keep things balanced and what you get when it’s all said and done is one truly fun game and a great curtain call for the series. Saints Row 4 shows that Volition are capable of anything and I can’t wait to see what they do next.