Saints Row 4 Review
The Saints Row franchise has seen numerous changes in the time since the series’ first launched in 2006. It went from being a gritty third person shooter that was similar to the Grand Theft Auto series to the over the top ridiculousness that we saw in Saints Row: The Third. It took some years for the creators of Saints Row to figure out that copying the same style and mechanics of a game like Grand Theft Auto would not go over well with fans and critics. In the third installment of the series the game really amped up the humor and raunchy antics. It got so over the top ridiculous that the player at one point could wield a giant d*ldo.
The game became the hit that studio execs and developers wanted selling well over 3.8 million units nationally. With this the developers at Volition, Inc. realized that to keep up the sales the next game in the series would have to take things a bit further. With that promise in the books Saints Row 4 delivers when it comes to the crude humor, inappropriate jokes and out of this world story. The game wants you to know what kind of ride you’re in for from the start. It puts you into a scenario at the beginning that is so utterly ridiculous it belongs on the SyFy network’s movie of the week.
This time around the Saints are more famous than ever they are practically worshipped as if they were gods, which explains the use and need of superpowers. After you single-handedly bring down a nuclear missile you are awarded by becoming the President of the United States. Soon after that the world is invaded by a group of aliens that look like the Batarians in the Mass Effect series. Humans have no hope against these alien creatures the only hope is for that the Saints can save the day.
At its core SR4 is Saints Row: The Third it has all of the similar features that the previous game had with the exception of being able to harness superpowers. The games main issue is that everything besides the special abilities and story seem to just be a port of the previous installment. On occasion you will encounter some really cool unique weapons and some very interesting abilities that remind you how much fun the game is, but on far too many points you feel way to over powered for your own good. This sounds like a valuable feature for a game to have however you just go about the city destroying anything in your sight with no real threat to make you feel any sort of a challenge in the game.
At some points in the game you will be asked to take on special missions that can be very entertaining such as conquering alien towers. This is very enjoyable and at times can cause a small challenge when tackling it a certain way. The issue is that some of these missions end up feeling repetitive and the really unique ones don’t come as often as you’d like. This could all be forgiven if the games visuals did not feel dated and very dark. The game is generally set in a dark universe which makes for particular areas of the map to feel very muddy and dull.
It may seem like this game is a train wreck and in all honesty it is, but that does not mean that the game is not a blast to play especially with a partner. For all of the games flaws there is still a lot of enjoyable gaming to be had here. The game does a mostly good job at balancing the virtual world and the real world that the story creates. You are able to freely enter a Matrix like machine which is where your super powers come in to play. This allows the player to play almost two different type of games one which is more on par with a GTA game that is set in a Michael Bay universe and one that is more of Matrix type of world where superpowers are the key to survival. This makes for a longer more fleshed out gaming experience. The game also has a feature which allows you to romance key characters in the game, think something along the line of a Mass Effect or a Dragons age. This leads to some interesting gags that had me laughing out loud to myself.
If you enjoyed SR3 then you know exactly what the fourth installment in the series is going to be. If you haven’t played its predecessor then just think of it like this, you get a blender put in Crackdown and infamous, mix in the open world aspects of GTA, sprinkle some of Mass Effects features and Sci-Fi Elements, then just dumped a gallon of Red Bull into the blender and drink it. The feeling you feel after that is the feeling of playing SR4. You feel high and mighty for a portion of the time but you will crash from that high and feel like you need days to recover.