The Saint’s Row crew is back for another adventure, but things are a little different this time around. Volition has cranked the over-the-top antics to its fullest to provide gamers with the most outrageous, raucously good time the series has seen in its four-game history. You now have super powers, awesome weaponry, Nolan North (among many other talents), and alien horde to deal with and, of course, as much dubstep as you can cram into your ear drums. Saint’s Row IV is a wild ride full of inside jokes, cameos and just flat-out weird references that will keep you on your toes and strangely begging for more. Intrigued yet? You should be.
The story of Saint’s Row IV is simple and it works for the tone of the games. Sure, there could have been more depth and just a better way to explore the narrative. But let’s face it, if we nitpick about the story, we’d be missing the point and what makes Saint’s Row IV relevant. However, in case you were curious, the plot goes something like this. You play as the leader of the Saints and the crew has transformed from a rough-and-tumble gang to a group of terrorist-thwarting agents who uncover a plot to nuke America. You manage to stop the nuke and the American public is so thankful, they elect you to President of the United States. Just as you begin to settle into the perks of the job, an alien force invades Earth and conquers it. You are imprisoned in a digital Steelport and its up to you to break out, save your crew and send the aliens packing.
Once you cut through to its core, Saint’s Row IV is more than just an open world game. It is an homage to cheesy action movies and overdone sci-fi flicks of the 80’s mixed with nods to some of the biggest franchises in gaming. Saint’s Row IV has a unique sense of humor and the latest iteration puts that humor on display. To say you’ll laugh at this game is virtually an inevitability, in fact, we bet you’ll laugh more times than you can count. From the one-liners to the visual cues, this game does what all games should; entertain. Even the dramatic interactions between the different characters give them personality and before long, you’ll look forward to these interactions and become invested in them. The best part to the game is that for as many crazy antics as there are in the game, it never gets in the way of the overall objectives. This allows you to get as lost in the madness as you want but be able to find your way back to the main story easily. That is the mark of an excellent game.
Saint’s Row veterans will appreciate the new gameplay elements even though they are a departure from the traditional framework. Those elements are the super powers. At first, you start with the ability to run as high speed and make long distance jumps. Before long you’ll be freezing enemies and smashing them to bits. Eventually, you’ll be able to glide leaving the need to steal cars behind. However, no matter how powerful you get, there will be an equally powerful force right on your tail. The balance in the game is still intact and it only helps to further distinguish Saint’s Row IV its own flavor of game. Soon, veteran players will prefer to use super powers over traditional cars and guns to get the job done. Super powers may seem to be the best way to tackle the game but if you still prefer to stick with rocket launchers and driving around, that is available to you. Speaking of rocket launchers, there is still a very impressive arsenal available in case you want to get your hands dirty. You’ll have plenty to choose from including your standard machine guns, shotguns and rocket launchers. However, if you have a taste for the exotic, you can now get your hands on a load of alien weaponry like blasters and pulse rifles, as well as new guns like our personal favorite, the dubstep gun. Dispatching your enemies has never been so unique, and most importantly, so much fun.
While a large part of the game is spent in Steelport, you’ll have plenty of things to do. Whether you want to take on the tons of challenges found throughout Steelport, race around a digital track or cruise the city in a hijacked space ship, the possibilities are endless. However, what makes all this variety worth investigating is knowing that anything can happen. There are side quests everywhere and getting through them all is a daunting task. Luckily, you have the choice on how to approach any given mission. If you want to run in guns blazing or use your super powers to clean house, it is completely up to you and it can be done either way. This keeps the game fresh even when you have to do some backtracking or kill farming. The game is beautifully designed and missions flow from one thing to the next with it all making sense in the grand scheme of the game.
Overall, Saint’s Row IV is an excellent game. When you consider what Volition has been through since the release of their last game including the infamous THQ fire sale, this game is even that much better. Saint’s Row IV knows their audience through-and-through and if you are a fan, you are going to love this game. If you aren’t a fan, get ready to become one after playing Saint’s Row IV. With seemingly endless gameplay, a fantastic sense of humor and tons of variety, you’d be hard pressed to find a better game. Get out there and pick it up!
This review is based on a review copy of the PlayStation 3 version of Saint’s Row IV developed by Volition published by Deep Silver