Saints Row IV Review

  • Platform: PC, Xbox 360, PS3
  • Developer: Volition Inc
  • Publisher:  Deep Silver
  • Release Date: August 20th, 2013
  • Price: $59.99
  • Official: Saints Row

“Saints own this planet”

To many, Volition had quite the challenge when putting together Saints Row IV. The Third was critically well received and was considered by many to be the best in the series. So how does a studio top one of the better open world titles of this generation? The answer? Up the insanity factor tenfold, change the entire genre of your game and provide plenty of fanservice.

Saints 4 President

While many thoroughly enjoyed Saints Row The Third, I had my problems with it. I felt the folks at Volition had focused too much on the zany nature of the game and forgot about the great story and characters they had created with the first two titles, because yes, Saints Row did have a solid tale to tell.

Saints Row The Third pushed important characters to the background while bringing in new and one dimensional faces that we were supposed to care about but couldn’t. Luckily Saints Row IV not only changes the formula by bringing to the series superhero abilities, but the folks at Volition have made sure to make this story one of remembrance and closure. If Saints Row IV is the final story for “The Boss” and the Saints family, there are few better ways to go out.

Now Saints IV came out quite a while ago, August 20th in fact, and while most are currently engrossed in the exploits of the three crooks within Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V, Volition have just released the first meaty piece of Saints Row IV’s DLC, Enter The Dominatrix. With this content update now is the perfect time to finally get this review out there to gamer’s because Saints IV is a game that shouldn’t go overlooked.

Saints Row IV begins shortly after the events of The Third. The Boss and the rest of the gang have moved from being just popular icons and corporate giants and have now found themselves living within the White House. Yes, your character, a once voiceless street thug, has evolved and worked themselves up to running the entire country of the United States. Your loyal cadre of Saints now find themselves as directors of the Secret Service and Chief’s of Staff. If this set up isn’t bizarre enough, it is not long before an extraterrestrial force attacks the White House and begins to conquer the planet, making sure to first grab and imprison you and the rest of the Saints as you’ll no doubt be the Earth’s greatest defenders.

The beginning of Saints IV, much like its predecessor, plays out perfectly with some clever writing and memorable moments that I will not spoil here. Unlike The Third however, Saints IV isn’t front loaded with some of the best bits. Volition have done a much better job with pacing IV’s story. Campaign missions from beginning to end feature some unique concepts and humorous homages to other games and films that will keep you entertained throughout. Now all of this wit and self awareness can easily overpower the rest of the package, much as it did to the previous entry, but as I mentioned earlier, this time the gameplay and story have been given the proper amount of attention they deserve.

The Saints series up to this point has tackled just about every facet of gang life, from its violent and treacherous beginnings to complete dominance and the target on your back that brings, so with Saints IV Volition have opted to change gears and go in a far more interesting, and fun, direction. Saints Row IV has become a superhero game, complete with super speed, fireballs and gliding across the entire city of Steelport. This change of pace puts Saints Row IV alongside other titles such as inFamous, Crackdown, and Prototype; with it possibly being the best of the bunch.

The new heroic abilities that The Boss can acquire come fast and often. In no time at all you will be leaping tall buildings and rushing past vehicles quick enough to send them hurling backward. One moment you will be firing blasts of fire and ice out of your hands and the next you’ll be hurling back to Earth cracking the concrete and sending enemies flying in all directions. To say Saints Row IV is a power trip is an understatement. Here you are not limited to just one element such as Cole from inFamous. Here you are not forced to complete generic story missions for an uninteresting character such as in Prototype. Here Agility Orbs aren’t the only fun thing to do in this world such as it was in Crackdown. This is Saints Row IV and Volition have seen fit to take the best elements from all other superhero titles, fitting them nicely into one package, and still give the player the freedom of choice that they so crave.

This means that you can use experience points to improve and unlock abilities at an incredible rate. This means that you can either barrel through the story unabated or go off the path and continue to complete the numerous side activities, unlocking further powers and improvements while doing so. This means that you can tackle the entire journey cooperatively with a friend online, attacking Zinyaks minions however you see fit. Saints Row IV is a giant playground that you can easily lose yourself in for hours at a time. If you want a world that is just fun to roam around in and cause mayhem, this virtual representation of Steelport delivers.

Another area where Saints IV delivers is in its focus on story. While the previous entry featured poor deaths, uninteresting villains, and barely any interaction with your core team; Saints Row IV addresses and fixes all of those mistakes. Zinyak is a formidable and intriguing intergalactic villain, Shaundi and Pierce are brought front and center once more and many of your actions from previous games, both heroic and atrocious, are addressed with appropriate levels of complexity. This is a game that is half absurd but also half poignant for any fan of the Saints Row franchise. Every important character in the franchises history is brought up at some point, making this a story taking place during an alien invasion, but one that is actually about the journey The Boss has taken and the choices they have made along the way.

— Conclusion —

Saints Row IV is the game I had wanted The Third to be. An open world game with more freedom, more character interaction and one that continued The Boss’s story in an exciting and intriguing way. The main missions have plenty of variety and laugh out loud moments. The side activities, while repetitive, keep the action moving at a quick clip and only take minutes to complete. The unlockables, ranging from new abilities, powers, and guns, add plenty of variety and keep the game fresh. Oh, and the soundtrack? Awesome. If this is the last entry in the Saints Row franchise, or even if it is the final story for The Boss, Saints Row IV is a great way to say goodbye to these characters and this world. If you simply want a game that is fun to play, then do not miss one of the most enjoyable experiences of 2013. –Chuck

The Rundown

  • + Great ending to Saints story
  • + Extremely fun powers
  • + Sound design
  • + Collectibles are addictive
  • – Same city as before
  • – Framerate dips on console

Final Score

8.5 / 10

“Great”

2 thoughts on “Saints Row IV Review

  1. Nice review! I loved this game too and gave my review a slightly higher score but scores to me are just a way to tell people whether or not a game is the worth the money. Saints Row IV in my opinion is the best game series and definitely delivers.

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