For those who have played any of the previous Saints Row titles, it’s no secret that the game has adopted an affection for the insane. Saints Row IV continues the trend.
In this installment the player has risen to the ultimate position of power as the president of the United States of America. After saving the world from a missile launch in the very first mission, aliens attack Earth and it is the player’s job as the commander in chief to save the world.
The aliens belong to the Zin Empire led by Zinyak, one of the best-written characters in the game. He’s funny, intellectual and likeable in the villainous way Handsome Jack is in Borderlands 2. Zinyak’s idea of capture includes putting you in a matrix-like simulation that takes your deepest fears and physically manifests them to attack you in a nightmarish fashion. This makes for some entertaining missions and gave the developers the chance to include throwbacks to the more serious days of the franchise.
As in Saints Row: The Third, the controls are smooth with little to no stiffness. However, the addition of superpowers has diminished the gunplay quite a bit. Abilities include a freeze and fire blast, telekinesis, super speed and super jump amongst others, but the addition of these powers makes the gunplay stale in comparison. Most enemies can be taken down in one-shot by sprinting and pulling the right trigger to do a super-powered takedown, which makes the game significantly less challenging. The superpowers also make much of the driving absolutely useless, essentially eliminating a huge chunk of the game content. The Activities are back and now players have the chance to use super-powers in them. While each Activity can offer some fun distractions, they can also get old quickly.
The upgrades and customization in the game have been improved. In addition to the character customization options, players can change weapons’ skin, giving them old-fashioned looks such as a tommy gun, or turning rocket launchers into guitar cases. As a bonus, there are some bizarre weapons available, like much-talked-about dubstep gun.
In spite of current bugs causing glitches for players, Saints Row IV is an enjoyable ride that those new to the series and old fans will enjoy. For those worried about crashing, it may be advisable to wait until a few patches are released to fix known issues. For broke college kids reluctant to throw $60 at it, a rental of three to four days will probably be suffice to explore a lot of what makes Saints Row popular without getting into redundant missions. For dedicated players, the full 30 to 34 hours of gameplay still makes it well worth the retail price of the game.
Saints Row IV is available now for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.
Category: Arts and Entertainment