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Review Blog

Saints Row IV

Posted by [email protected] on September 20, 2013 at 2:00 AM Comments comments (0)

                                                                            SAINTS ROW IV

The consistent thrill of Saints Row IV is how it constantly, eagerly, happily, accommodatingly asks you “Hey, how do you want to break the game now?”. And for a game so colossal, so occasionally dumb, so often colossally sharks-with-laser-beams-on-their-heads-that-can-also-breathe-fire-and-fly-and-turn-invisible-and-you-can-even-ride-them dumb, what an incredibly smart thing to do with an open world, a franchise, and a story.Saints row IV gave us a wonderful experience playing it,The aliens,The madness of saints Row III +some ******* super powers. With the addition of powers like speed running up walls or super jumping tall buildings in a single bound (literally), Steelport becomes a concrete jungle gym for your character to explore every inch of, be it at street level or atop towering skyscrapers. It also means that new gameplay types are opened up.One of the new additions to the activity roster is a challenging climb to the top of a tower - similar to Assassin’s Creed’s viewpoints or Far Cry 3’s radio towers. While one might not immediately associate a game like Saints Row, the new powers of super-speed and (almost) flight make it a less jarring addition than you might expect. Jumping and wall-running your way to the top of these structures is not only satisfying and fun, but also helps you take over more of the city and upgrade your superpowers so you can jump higher, run faster, and nut-punch aliens further into space,well sound like Alex mercer to me. 

But for all its excess, this is still a game that knows what makes it good. The weapons, the cars, the homies, the writing, the characters, the humor, and most of all the unparalleled self-awareness. Saints Row IV knows, for instance, that I miss Freckle Bitches. It knows why we think Keith David is cool. It knows obvious jokes are obvious. It knows you have more money than you can spend so, oops, no you don’t, but look what this awesome thing is you now have instead. It knows geography and geometry and jumping and driving and minigames and power curve fantasies. It knows you’re just as likely to be some fat dude with a rainbow afro as a hawt chick in a skintight superhero outfit talking with Nolan North’s voice (I was constantly surprised at some of the places Saints Row IV managed to integrate my character choices). Saints Row IV knows. It has read your lips and acquired sentience and activated Skynet and paved the way for a Vogon hyperspace bypass and greedily swallowed both the red pill and the blue pill before Morpheus could explain that it was supposed to just pick one. Rabbit holes, worm holes, black holes, inverted sinkholes drinking rubble into the sky. It’s all good. Now let’s play this song we licensed from the 90s that you can’t remember the name of, but you sure do recognize the tune. Saints Row IV knows you as well as it knows itself.

As,for the gameplay Saints row IV,I think is  it’s Saints Row meets Crackdown and Prototype and MMOs and the worst bits of Mass Effect rightly ridiculed. It’s full of progression and upgrades and skill points and character relationships and all the necessary trappings of open-world gaming, peppered generously throughout the world, but this time more carefully calculated to guide you through them if you’re not the type to just stop and do them just because. Now you’re doing activities in the service of caring about characters, who have become a strong point in the series and an important way Saints Row stands apart from other open-world games that aren’t called Brutal Legend.Many features had been added to saint row IV that spearates it from other MMO's.

Customization is King

A staple of the Saints Row franchise has always been its deeply customizable game worlds and character creation systems. Players can craft perfect replicas of themselves, or go full-on Dr. Frankenstein and create a hideous abomination with which to terrorize the citizens of Steelport.


The customization features in Saints Row IV are no different, and introduce new options to truly let your imagination run wild. Want to wreak havoc with Han Solo’s signature blaster? Go ahead. Or maybe you’d prefer dual-wielding nail guns as you escape the cops – the choice is yours. While the weapons you can equip all have the same basic classifications (Heavy Pistol, Light SMG, etc) and upgradable stats, each weapon category comes with several different skins and variations for you to choose from (So far our favorites around the office have been Mal Reynolds’ sci-fi revolver and the Colonial Marine pulse rifle).


Unfortunately, the nature of the game demands that certain aspects of the previous customization systems be removed (we can't say too much without spoiling anything, but know that it does make sense within the game), and so players are no longer able to customize their hideouts, cribs and safe houses - which is a shame, considering it would be great fun to put stripper poles all over The White House.

More Challenging Gameplay

Many of the activities from Saints Row: The Third return for this sequel, including fan-favorites like Tank Mayhem and Insurance Fraud, but in this iteration players will find that the activities are far more challenging. For example, when ragdolling around in SR3’s Insurance Fraud minigame, the average score needed to pass the activity on its hardest difficulty was $450,000. Now, with the addition of superpowers that allow you to hurl yourself into buildings at super-sonic speeds, the lowest score needed to pass the challenge on easy is a whopping $300,000 – which means you’ll need to practice flinging yourself across Steelport for a while before completing all three tiers (bronze, sliver and gold - also a new addition) of all the different activities.

No Respect

In former Saints Row titles, you needed to gain the respect of your crew and the people of your city before you could tackle more of the game’s story missions. While this mechanic is still present, ‘Respect’ is now simply referred to as ‘XP.’ While some may say it’s better to call a horse a horse, the lack of an actual Respect-O-Meter makes SR IV feel somewhat less ‘Saints Row’-ey.

No More Factions

Another franchise element that isn’t making a reappearance in Saints Row IV are the multiple factions you’ve had to face off against in previous titles. Instead of being embroiled in turf wars with three rival gangs, the Saints now face only one enemy. You’ll still have to complete missions and activities to wrestle territories out of enemy hands, but gone are the three-way battle-royales of the past titles in the series.

Downloadable Cars

he fact that Saints Row IV takes place almost entirely within a computer simulation allows players to take advantage of some shortcuts that will undoubtedly make their lives easier – the most notable of which is the ability to instantly save any vehicle you’re in for later use. Instead of sneaking into a military base, hijacking a tank, and racking up millions in property damage while you transport it back to your hideout; you can now hop in the driver’s seat and “upload” the vehicle to your virtual garage, then “download” it later to wherever you happen to be on the map. It’s a handy feature that will truly allow players to get the most out of their time in Steelport 2.0.

Saints Row has always been synonymous with “insanity”. Whether it was using a septic truck to cover a city block in sewage in SR2 or participating in Professor Ghenki’s Ethical Reality Climax in The Third, the ridiculous activities and side missions have become expected for any entry in the franchise – and Saint’s Row IV doesn’t disappoint. The optional activities found in SR4 take the fan favorites of previous titles (though sadly Septic Avenger hasn’t appeared in the last two games) and cranks them up to 11. Mayhem, where players earn cash and experience for destroying as much of the surrounding area as possible, now puts you in the cockpit of UFOs, hover tanks and warrior mechs. Prof. Ghenki makes a return, only instead of navigating his torturous mazes you now use telekinesis to catapult cars, tanks, and innocent civilians through specific targets. The new variations on old game modes take what players loved about the original versions and, as has become tradition for the Saints Row series, makes them more ridiculous, more challenging, and most importantly, more fun.But,The consistent thrill of Saints Row IV is how it constantly, eagerly, happily, accommodatingly asks you “Hey, how do you want to break the game now?”. And for a game so colossal, so occasionally dumb, so often colossally sharks-with-laser-beams-on-their-heads-that-can-also-breathe-fire-and-fly-and-turn-invisible-and-you-can-even-ride-them dumb, what an incredibly smart thing to do with an open world, a franchise, and a story.