Saints Row IV

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9.0 Overall Score
Presentation: 9/10
Story: 9/10
Gameplay: 9/10

Hilarious | Fun New Super Powers | Great Use of Music

Far Too Short

Written by on August 14, 2013 in [, , ]

The Saints Row series has been lauded over the years for its wacky humor and open world gameplay. Saints Row: The Third brought the series beyond being just “another Grand Theft Auto clone” into something unique and special. Following its release, Volition began working on a DLC pack for the game called “Enter the Dominatrix.” At the time, the game’s publisher, THQ, was having major financial difficulties. Before the company went bankrupt, they announced that Enter the Dominatrix would become a full-fledged sequel, titled Saints Row IV. Deep Silver picked up the publishing rights for the title, but could this game, seemingly designed to be a cash-in to help THQ survive, be as good as the previous title?

Saints Row IV picks up years after Saints Row: The Third. Following a mission that saw the Boss of the Third Street Saints stop a madman from blowing up America, your character is quickly elected into office as the President of the US. Following a fairly disastrous first term, an alien invasion sees the Boss and all of your “homies” abducted by an alien overlord called Zinyak. Many other members of the Third Street Saints, including the President, are put into a virtual simulation of the city of Steelport, where Saints Row: The Third took place. It’s up to the President and his homies to exact revenge on the alien overlord and escape the simulation.

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Of course, the series has never been known for having the most serious of stories and Saints Row IV is no different. From the first time you hear Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing,” you’ll realize that you’re in for a special kind of treat. The game is filled with tons of referential humor, including a scene that is arguably one of the greatest callbacks to a movie of all time. While the game may have some slow moments, there are a number of absolutely gut busting scenes and anyone who’s appreciated the series humor in previous titles, especially Saints Row: The Third, is likely to find something to enjoy. There are also a ton of references to previous titles in the series, which will be a welcome surprise to fans who missed certain characters in Saints Row: The Third.

What sets Saints Row IV apart from other titles in the series is the addition of super powers. While the open world still remains, the virtual world allows the player to manifest super powers within themselves. These include things like being able to run faster than any vehicle, run up the sides of walls, glide across the city and even attack enemies by telepathically charging items with electricity or using a shockwave to shrink your foes.

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These new super powers change the entire way that you play Saints Row. Yes, you will still spend a lot of time using guns to shoot enemies, but these additional abilities give you a lot more wiggle room in how to kill your foes. Being able to throw enemies across the map or being able to run them over with your super speed allows you a ton of opportunities to be more aggressive in how you play. You’re no longer on the defensive, waiting behind pieces of cover.

The mission structure for Saints Row IV has been slightly altered from previous titles. Many of the missions in the main storyline revolve around rescuing your homies from the simulation. Once they’ve been retrieved, you’ll have the chance to do a series of side missions for them. Doing these small side missions, which mostly revolve around doing small tasks throughout the city, will reward you with many of the game’s best weapons and power-ups. These can be completely ignored if you choose to, but it’s clear that Volition didn’t just want people to mainline through this game. They want people to experience everything the game has to offer.

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Additionally, there are several “loyalty quests.” Once you’ve retrieved a homie from the simulation, you can team up with them on a loyalty quest. Many of these missions revolve around loose ends from previous titles in the series. For instance, if you team up with Benjamin King, from the original Saints Row, you’ll have to kill a virtual version of one of his former enemies. These missions allow for a ton of interactions with your crew and they’re well worth playing through them all, as many have some of the funniest moments in the game.

The game also features co-op gameplay and running around Steelport with super powers and a friend is an absolute blast. There are a couple of co-op diversions that add a bit more to the gameplay. In Cat & Mouse, one player must drive through checkpoints while another shoots at them from a helicopter. Death Tag pits players against each other, with certain restrictions on what weapons and abilities they can use. This diversion, though, can be completely unbalanced as there’s a late-game upgrade that allows you to take no fire damage. You can literally run circles around your enemy, using the fire buff to avoid any damage, whatsoever.

All of that said, the game is almost criminally short compared to previous titles. You could get close to finishing everything in Saints Row: The Third in around forty or fifty hours. In Saints Row IV, you can be completely finished with almost everything the game has to offer, including side quests, all the hidden collectibles and have a fully upgraded character in well under thirty hours. If you’re just playing the main quests, it will take far less than that. The content the game has is absolutely fantastic, but there’s just not as much as you would hope for. The game can be even shorter if you power up a few of your super powers early on, as they can make the game substantially easier.

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However, if Saints Row IV is the finale for the series, then it’s a fantastic send off. The additional super powers make the game an absolute blast to play, even if they can make your character extremely overpowered. The humor is, once again, spot on. It just feels like it needs a little bit more meat than what it has. If this is the end of Saints Row, then Saints Row IV is a near perfect way to end it.

A copy of Saints Row IV was provided to The Married Gamers for review.

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Author: Addam Kearney View all posts by

2 Comments on "Saints Row IV"

  1. Terrence August 14, 2013 at 7:49 am - Reply

    Great review. I have always enjoyed the series. I’m looking forward to release day to purchase of this game. I will be available for co-op.

  2. Chris Brown August 16, 2013 at 9:19 am - Reply

    This might be my favorite game this year. For me it doesn’t feel short because I just like spending loads of time gliding around the city and using my super powers to stir up trouble. Lots and lots of trouble!

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