Saints Row 3 was a defining moment for the series. It was no longer considered to be just a Grand Theft Auto clone. It was almost the complete opposite, no longer boring escort missions, but missions which really are pure madness and fun rolled into one.
Saints Row 4 kicks off with something a little different to get you used to the controls if you haven’t played the game before. While it is a tutorial it is entertaining but a little boring until you get to the end of it which I won’t spoil.
After the events of that, you, the leader of the Saints become President of The United States. Unfortunately as the player you only get a couple of minutes as the president until aliens turn up to spoil your fun. These same aliens throw you and your fellow saints into what is essentially the matrix.
The world you travel around is Steelport from Saints Row 3 except this time the aliens have taken it over and removed all traces of the Saints. For the most part the changes are cosmetic with a few alien buildings around the area.
Once your character is able to leave the simulation, you will have your own ship to walk around on. The ship will start off with only a few crew members, you’ll have to free your fellow saints before you take down Zinyak, the evil alien warlord. The ship is a parody on Mass Effect and it is used only for chatting with crew members or having casual sex with them, off-screen of course.
The parts where you free each character feel almost like a Saints Row greatest hits. There are appearances and references from characters from the previous games. These parts of the games are really just for the fans I feel, the game does offer audio logs for you to catch up on what has happened in the previous games but you have to go out of your way to find them. The game tries to catch you up on the story but I feel like it doesn’t do enough personally.
While I want to stop referring to SR3, it is a reasonable reference point as the core game is quite a bit similar to it. Customisation hasn’t changed at all except for some new clothing options.
One of the biggest new features is superpowers. These change up the gameplay significantly. First you’ll start off with super jump and super sprint both need not explaining. Getting around the city is reduced significantly. They are also useful for running quickly out of a battle when your health is low or I found myself sprinting around taking out each enemy one by one. Soon after unlocking those powers you will get your first offensive power, the fire blast. It is perfect for when your rocket launcher needs recharging and you need to take out an alien aircraft flying around your head. The powers unlocked in the game make you feel like a badass yet you never feel overpowered.
There are a lot of other weapons but I’ll leave them for you to discover. There are quite a few new weapons added to the game but I found myself going back to the same weapons after a while as those were what I was used to. One exception was the dubstep gun which I used all of the time.
Side missions make a return in this game and they add a lot for completest. Some are the same as previous mission but with a slight change. Nothing I felt I wanted to play more of personally but they are fun. A new addition to these missions is instead of just one score to beat it now has three: bronze, silver and gold. What this can afford is an extra level of difficulty for those who might have to perfect it to get the gold ranking.
I must unfortunately have to talk about the glitches I encountered in this game. There was one where the enemy I was supposed to kill was stuck underneath the floor and another where my character was stuck inside a building that he shouldn’t have even been able to get into. These really took me out of the experience as I had to restart the game. The last one wasn’t game breaking but also took me out of it; when a character was supposed to be running away but instead just stood there doing nothing. It is things like this that bring it down for me. It is a little odd as I don’t think I ever experience a problem like this with Saints Row 3.
Will not trying to beat a dead horse, the game is identical in looks to SR3. I experience little to no slowdown in the game which is good. Saints Row style is cartoony and that works for the setting of the game. It uses the exact same engine as the previous game and it doesn’t change much. One thing I will say is the game handles a lot going on with ease and I never experienced slowdown even at the most hectic moments of the game.
The game features the three male and three female voice characters from the previous game. One main difference is instead of the zombie voice from the previous game, now you get the voice of one of biggest names in video gamer voice acting, Nolan North. At a certain point in the prologue to the game when it starts playing Aerosmith I knew I was going to like the music and it is really good. As a lot of the time you won’t be in a vehicle in this game you can listen to the radio anywhere in the simulation. The game has The Touch by Stan Bush, need I say more?
The entire campaign can be played with a co-op partner and this is a game that is so crazy it really needs to be played with a friend. Missions can be skipped if you’ve played that mission in a friends game.
The game is not a huge leap forward for the franchise but is still the insane fun that we have all come to expect from the franchise. The game feels more like an expansion then a full price retail game. I enjoyed it but just didn’t have the same appeal as Saints Row 3 did.
Publisher: Deep Silver, Developer: Deep Silver Volition
Release Date: US: 20/8/13 EU: 23/8/13
Platforms: PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 Digital: Yes
Price: $59.99/£39.99 Rating: ESRB:M PEGI:18
Online Players: Co-Op: 2