machofantastico's Saints Row IV (PC) review

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Saints Row 4 Review.

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The Saints are back and this time they've brought superpowers along for the ride. This fourth installment sees it's complete transition from a poor man's Grand Theft Auto to a unique franchise of it's very own. That said, it's understandable if you took one look at Saints Row 4 and judged it as a quick cash in considering the many similarities it as with the previous game, Saints Row: The Third released in 2011. Though whilst the city of Steelport is still the city of Steelport, and there hasn't exactly been a drastic change graphically(except for effects related to the story), it's what developer Deep Silver Volition have done with the structure of the game that makes all the difference.

You don't what what living is until you've fought off Zin attackers with Keith David by your side.
You don't what what living is until you've fought off Zin attackers with Keith David by your side.

Superpowers are pretty awesome I'm not sure if you know that, but I'm sure by the time you've finished Saints Row 4, you'll want superpowers in every game you play from now on. Volition have provided you with a whole range of powers to use as you wish, from the ability to sprint faster than a speeding bullet to the powers to shoot fire and ice out of your fingertips. I won't go spoiling all the cool abilities you'll eventually gain access to as that's part of what it so much fun as you discover and use the powers available to your character and fellow Saint homies. Why do you have these powers in the first place you ask? Well the Saints have truly risen to conquer the free-world by taking over the government of the United States of America. Yep, you're the President of the US of A. But that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to crazy in the world of Saints Row.

Life in the White House seems pretty sweet, from the tiger casually at home in the hallways of this prestigious building to having 'the' Keith David as a political adviser. But you can't have a Saints Row game without conflict and a pesky race of aliens called the Zin have decided to spoil the party by invading Earth and capturing members of the Saints, who are your acting members of government. You soon discover yourself back in Steelport, well at least a simulation of Steelport. I feel I'd be spoiling much of what made Saints Row 4 so damn memorable if I were to go into any greater detail. But there's a reason for why you suddenly have the ability to fly, run faster than the Flash and shoot ice from your hands. Like all open world games there's a great deal to see and do, from the main story missions which provide a satisfying and lengthy campaign with some great and memorable moments to the Loyalty missions which as you venturing deeper into each member of the Saints Row crew, some familiar and a few returning faces from Saints Row 1 and 2.

Be it traversing Steelport or taking down Zin troops, Superpowers make everything so much more badass.
Be it traversing Steelport or taking down Zin troops, Superpowers make everything so much more badass.

In fact these loyalty missions offer some of the best moments in Saints Row 4. They're funny, action packed and provide a nice insight into characters you care for more than you might realize and the fact that it often treads back into the history of Saints Row 1 and 2 is a pleasant surprise for fans. Volition have clearly learnt a few lessons from their previous games to, because the quality of the missions are of a generally higher standard to those found in Saints Row: The Third. Yes you spend ninety percent of your time shooting, but it's generally a lot more fun and never feel like filler or pointless because they're all leading to some sort of reward, be it story progression or unlocking many of the powers, weapons, vehicles, clothes and everything else that's available to unlock (and there's lot). The new powers available to you make traversing an absolute pleasure, as you jump over skyscrapers and glide over Steelport. In fact these new powers make traversing so much fun that it's difficult to even consider going back to a powerless Saints Row game.

These new powers also make many of the side missions more enjoyable, noticeably modes like Insurance Fraud which is helped considerably by the ability to jump higher into the sky and using ragdoll to rack up the cash. There's a selection of side missions for you to participate in and due to changes in the way missions now progress, you'll be certain to run across these modes time and time again. But that's not a bad thing, mainly due to the fact that Saints Row 4 is simply a blast to play and unlike Saints Row: The Third, most of the side missions are of a higher standard because of gameplay tweaks or the inclusion of super powers. Oh and for those that love unlockables, you're in for a treat. From data scattered around the world (which is used to enhance and upgrade your superpowers) to audio logs and statues. Thankfully you're not required to find them all to complete or unlock everything Saints Row 4 as to offer, but it's there for those that love that sort of thing.

You are humanity's last hope, and you're ready to kick some Zin ass.
You are humanity's last hope, and you're ready to kick some Zin ass.

I haven't even talked about the humor, something so few games ever hope to achieve. It's a difficult task to be funny in a video game, especially after you've already made the easy jokes in the past. Yet time and time again I found myself chuckling and laughing to the great dialogue and voice work throughout Saints Row 4. Even the radio stations are great fun to listen to, with a tracklist which is used to wonderful results in specific areas of the game. Co-op returns and there's a selection of side missions found throughout Steelport for those looking for some co-op chaos. That said, simply firing rockets and causing absolute destruction is much of what makes Saints Row 4 such a great game to play, it all works well with a control scheme that doesn't feel complicated despite all the options available. It's not a difficult game in any regards and the fact that engagements with Zin troops eventually become a walk in the park is disappointing as the game lacks almost any challenge. But that doesn't feel like the point here, developer Volition give you the tools to do whatever you want in a city that's a sandbox for all your mightiest dreams.

Don't judge Saints Row 4 on looks alone. Yes it might look and play like Saints Row: The Third, but developers Volition have polished the experience to a point where there's rarely a low point. It's so much more than a simple cash-in, because it does a great deal more to be the open world sandbox game you've always wanted to. It gives you all the tools and more, and simply stands back and asks you to have all the fun you want. It never takes itself seriously, which makes it so charming to see how the story develops and leaves you never knowing what might happen next. Saints Row 4 is more than just another Saints Row game, it's the best the franchise as seen and one of the most enjoyable, funny and downright fun open world games I've ever had the honor of playing. It's just pure fun and there's something to be said for that.

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Thanks for reading.

Other reviews for Saints Row IV (PC)

    Commander in Chief 0

    I’m not someone with a huge degree of fondness for the first two Saint’s Row games. While they had something to offer budding action game players out there, they felt more defined by the game they were trying to imitate than any original ideas they had themselves, acting as timid “me toos” to the Grand Theft Auto franchise. Then Saint’s Row the Third happened and all of a sudden the series blossomed into something altogether more inventive, ludicrous, and distinct i...

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    Saints Row IV is a fantastic title that feels like the developers were never restricted from creating their own vision. 0

    Crazy, insane, nutty, wacky, bizarre, ridiculous and comical are all words that probably came out of your mouth while playing the 2011 extraordinarily absurd Saints Row: The Third. Volition has done wonders to change their approach to Saints Row, which started as a GTA-like gangster game back in 2006. As each sequel released, the series began to gain confidence and grow out of its shell to become its own Identity. Saints Row: The Third was the game to bring the series into the spotlight, splashi...

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