Saints Row IV Review
It was a major accomplishment becoming a media icon and head of the Saints in Saints Row: The Third. Now, you’re at an ever higher accomplishment but getting to run a country! Saints Row IV hones in on the power you felt over Steelport by amplifying that by 10 and giving you the chance to save the world (and your friends) by defeating Zinyak, ruler of the Zin empire. Volition and Deep Silver have given us gamers something that is fun by yourself and with friends while just giving us a game that you can play over and over again.
The game starts off with you, once again, having a shrouded identity until the character customization screen. You’ve been called in, along with friends and gang members Shaundi and Pierce, to help out Asha Odekar, an MI-6 agent who has intel on Cyrus Temple. Cyrus was the leader of the STAG group from Saints Row 3 and has since, gone rogue and joined the dark side somewhere in the Middle East. Along with Shaundi and Pierce being familiar faces, you see another one when Matt Miller, former leader of the Decker gang in Saints Row 3, has joined the good side and provides intel from the MI-6 group. The Boss manages to silence Cyrus forever but not before he sets off a missile. Trying to save the world, you hop aboard the missile and end up disarming it (in one of the funniest scenes throughout the game) before it hits Washington. Since basically everyone in the United States has been saved, your character earns adoration and love of all of America.
Five years after the aftermath of disarming the nuke, you’re the President of the United States with several of Saints homies on your electoral cabinet. In preparation for a press conference, Shaundi pulls the Boss aside and talks about Asha and Matt landing in Washington to talk to the Prez about a possible alien invasion. Perfect (or imperfect) timing for this conversation! The White House is target number one and the invasion begins. Zinyak, leader of the Zin empire, captures all your homies, including you.
The Boss wakes up in what looks like a Leave It To Beaver episode and for a little bit, goes along. Throughout this, things seem amiss and it’s apparent that this is some sort of simulated reality. Kinzie contacts the boss through the simulator and confirms what has been feared: everyone that has been captured is inside their own simulation from what they fear the most, so each simulation is different. The Boss manages to break free from the hellish Leave It To Beaver simulation (basically saying that you’re afraid of a non-violent society) and winds up on a Zin ship. Naked and…well, just naked, the Boss escapes on a stolen Zin ship that’s been commandeered by Kinzie and Keith David (the vice president and famous television and movie actor). They try to contact help on Earth but as a consequence for defiance, Zinyak blows up Earth and kills everyone that wasn’t in Zin captivity. The Boss, along with Kinzie and help from Keith David, must find a way to free the other homies that have been captured and band together to stop Zinyak from total human annihilation.
You will not believe how awesome the way this game plays. Besides the fact that you have some of the raddest superpowers ever to stop the Zin, they way you advance yourself are awesomeness in itself. Early in the game, you are introduced to these gleaming lights throughout Steelport called data clusters. You can run around and collect these and there is A TON of them. They stack up and are used to further your powers, by upgrade things such as how for your powers range, what elements your powers are, or making you invulnerable to attack. Besides this new currency, there’s another change in currency that you’ll take notice to. You use cache instead of cash (haha…get it?) but it’s collected in the same ways: doing main and side quests and taking over territory. You still receive the hourly income that you get by access it in your phone.
One major thing that you’ll notice about the game is how you actually play it. Gamers who have played previous Saints Row games (or other open world shooters such as the Grand Theft Auto series) have adapted a certain playing style. For this game, you have to drastically change the way you go about playing the game. I was incredibly use to shooting, taking cover, shooting, doing a cool takeout, shooting, and then BOOM, mission success! For Saints Row IV, you have to rely on your superpowers, which isn’t a bad thing but it just takes adjustment. Instead of doing a slower sprint to go around a corner to the mission start, you sprint way beyond where you wanted to stop. While it’s noticeable, it doesn’t hinder the game at all.
With superpowers, who needs cars? The only time I found myself driving was the short time before I received the Super Sprint power. After that, it was way more fun running at super speed, along with jumping and gliding around the city and diving from high buildings. Besides the biggest change to the game (which is being granted superpowers) the game is pretty much the same. You can still customize your character and cars to what you want. A lot of the old customization options from the previous game are in this one with some new ones added. Besides powering up your powers, upgrading your weapons has become more advanced. Instead of buying level 1, level 2, level 3 and so on, you can upgrade a certain aspect of the weapon, whether that’s clip size, accuracy, or burst. The one major difference in this game from the previous game is your health. Health regenerated gradually in Saints Row 3 and in this game? There’s no health regeneration at all. Instead of enemies dropping cash, they drop plus signs that fill your health back up. Thinking my health would regenerate, I’ve failed many missions in the beginning until I realized where I was going wrong.
The graphical improvements of Saints Row IV are absolutely amazing. Since there’s so much going on at once, whether it’s zipping through the city at lightning speed or taking down a couple of dozen Zin soldiers, the camera movement is almost flawless. Movement flows wonderfully throughout the game and doesn’t stutter. The menus for swapping weapons and accessing your phone also look amazing. The lights and colors of using your powers match the awesomeness that it is to actually have superpowers. It’s not an understatement to say that this game just looks really, really pretty.
The soundtrack and score for this game is very impressive. Besides the catchy techno/dubstep snippets you hear in the menu or after completing a mission, the actual soundtrack of the game is definitely one of my favorites. Being able to make a playlist of some great songs to kick alien ass to was one of my favorite things to do. A major improvement to the sound is that you don’t need to be in a car to listen to the radio anymore. The people over at Volition and Deep Silver must have realized that after receiving Super Sprint, you really wouldn’t want to drive cars anymore and compensated by being able to access and change the radio station in your weapon swap menu. Expect to hear some awesome songs by Deadmau5, Haddaway, Outkast, Robert Palmer, Men Without Hats, and many, many more!
This game is amazing. There…that’s it. There’s no other way to explain the game. While there are some things that make the game different from others in the series, it absolutely doesn’t hinder the game at all. Adjustments need to be made from how you played the earlier games but you do adjust quickly. This game is definitely a contender for Game of the Year and and with badass superpowers, how can you not have fun?!
Written by Guest Reviewer: Missvalentine