Saints Row IV – PlayStation 3
Platform: PlayStation 3
Release Date: August 20, 2013
Developer: Volition, Inc
Publisher: Deep Silver
Nerd Rating: 8/10
A world where gang bosses can become President of the United States, punch politicians (like we all want to), and fight aliens all in the same day is where we set our scene for Saints Row IV. Saints Row IV continues with the series’ established legacy of hilarity and utter comedic nonsense with this next game.
In this most recent installment of the Saints Row series you (the Boss) become the President of the United States after saving the world from nuclear destruction. During your presidency, Earth is invaded by an alien race called the Zin and is forced under the thumb of the “all-benevolent ruler” Zinyak. Being the upstanding citizen that the Boss has been in the past, his/her goal is to free the human race from enslavement and give alien scum a face full of ‘Murica.
Most of the game takes place in a virtual prison created by Zinyak. The prisons are meant to embody what the prisoner fears most. Each character in your crew has a different hell that you have to save them from, but for the most part the game is spent in the Boss’ prison which takes the form of a Steelport in which the 3rd Street Saints don’t exist.
With all that being said, Saints Row IV heavily relies on the gamer’s previous knowledge of past games. If one were to come into this game not playing any of the others, they would be deeply confused within the first five minutes of the game. Before playing Saints Row IV, I would highly recommend playing the other games in the series.
Saints Row IV brought the Saints Row series to a new level from its previously already high standards. Saints Row IV is simply more fun than games in the past. In this game, the developers gave characters just about every super ability ever imagined. The introduction of powers gives characters the ability to fly across the city, run faster than cars, and jump over buildings, just to name a few. I mean, who wouldn’t want superpowers?
Although living your childhood dream of having superpowers is great fun, the introduction of superpowers wasn’t necessarily for the best. Once your superpowers are in the slightest way upgraded, it negates the need for stealing and collecting cars in the game. For a series that spent the past three games creating a tradition of grand theft auto this is devastating. If you can get around faster by running, why would you want to steal cars? The answer is you don’t. While this does cut down on crime rates for the poor fictional city of Steelport, it gets on my nerves that such an integral part of the series was thrown out like last week’s bad Thai food.
On top of ruining the Saints Row tradition, superpowers made combat overpowered. One could easily run into a enemy hotspot area and take out the area faster without guns. While this is all well and good for the person who wants to screw around with combat, it does take away from those who like combat to be a little more realistic. Superhuman abilities defeats the purpose of guns and actually approaching a mission with strategy.
Despite its flaws, things weren’t necessarily all doom and gloom for Saints Row IV. On top of the superpowers, new weapons were added that made the game more exciting. The two most significant weapons added to the series was the Dubstep gun and the Black Hole gun. The Dubstep gun halts everything in the world to a stop and forces everything to act as if they were in a dubstep video. While this gun isn’t the best if your in the mood to kill things, it’s really amusing to play with. Another addition to the game was the Black Hole gun. The Black Hole gun creates mini Black Holes which sucks everything in a small radius into it. This gun is best used when you’re overrun with enemies or you just want to wreak havoc on an unsuspecting street.
Another exciting aspect of this game was the casting list for character’s voices. Some old favorite characters returned but there were also some pretty big new(ish) names to join the Saints Row family. Some of these names include Neil Patrick Harris, Keith David (playing himself), and Nolan North (played roles such as Nathan Drake in the Uncharted series, and Desmond Miles in the Assassin’s Creed series). While big names shouldn’t be the focus of a game, they are a perk.
What I enjoyed most about this game is that even though a lot of the series past was thrown nonchalantly out the window (through character deaths and, as mentioned before, superpowers) Saints Row IV did reconnect with its past that many may have forgotten. Through trying to break the simulation and save humanity, the pasts of Saints Row II the original Saints Row were heavily revisited, even bringing along with it a sense of nostalgia for any Saints Row fan. While I won’t say which characters were reintroduced due to not wanting to succumb to the beast known as Spoilers, I do want to say that the characters brought back made all the shitty parts of this game worth it.
In all, Saints Row IV was a pretty decent game with a few minor setbacks. It had a few minor kinks like most games do but I wholeheartedly recommend playing this game to anyone who’s looking for a truly fun game.
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