Saints Row The Third and One Half.
Saints Row IV is coming off the insane possibly drug induced creations of saints Row III. Saints Row III was a full upgrade in the franchise, packing in tons of truly crazy fun. Some of the most ludicrous things seen in games have been seen in SR 3. SR 4 itself is a hard game to review, what is does well, it does well. What it does poorly, well it does it poorly. Thankfully what it does well is in the fun column and the fun column carries some weight around these parts, but let's not put all our eggs in one basket here.
The gameplay is exactly the same as SR 3, baring some new additions in this game like some average "super powers" it's nearly identical. From a gameplay perspective this could have easily been an add on for SR 3. Where SR 3's highlights were in the hilariously weird story antics SR 4's highlights are likely to be found in the varying gameplay elements that you are faced with throughout the games "simulation world". Tron styled games, side scrolling brawlers, 3rd person shooting, to jumping over buildings and tossing cars with super powers keeps it from getting to moldy. It's too bad as the gameplay itself in both SR games isn't that great, it lacks polish, and key components like the guns and super powers seem a bit stale and unexciting. The guns again are soulless and just don't give you that "man I just lit that thing up" feeling. Even the super powers are a little dusty. Jumping hundreds of feet in the air, soaring over a building and landing just as you would with fat guy ups just isn't that exciting.
With SR 3's story being my favorite part of that game it's sad to say that this story just isn't up to par with the previous. SR 4 has some fun moments, but is lacking meat on it's bones. I even found myself skip a couple cut scenes/dialogs. This story just lacked any depth, felt pieced together and most importantly wasn't that funny or shocking. In the entire 10-12 hours I spent in game I laughed out loud maybe twice and wasn't compelled to complete more than a mere pittance of side quests.
I played this on PC and my PC was asking for more. I've heard it runs poorly on consoles so I can understand not letting it rip on PC being a port but none the less. The engine here at max settings still felt a little dated and lacking of polish. This is one of those strictly gameplay/story based games that gets by looking alright. Not much in this game will make you ohhh and ahhh less that 7 car pile up you made explode by shooting down a UFO into them with a dubstep gun.
Saints Row IV feels like a filler game while the real "next" game gets developed (I hope). SR 4 is a glorified expansion that uses a story to reuse a lot of old game. The story wasn't as fun as it should have been, the gameplay while offering variation was still nothing special and the look and feel just isn't anything close to 2013 next gen on the horizon type stuff. This is a game that you could easily enjoy playing but nothing you need to jump on or even pay $60 for.