We all have opinions. Sometimes they're in unison, sometimes not. reReview is a new feature where we voice those opinions. Saints Row IV has now been out for a while and many of us have had a chance to play through the game's mayhem and we would like to share some of our thoughts. To checkout Darkstation's official score for Saints Row IV, read Allen's review of it here.
Saints Row IV is a great game. Better than The Third? That’s hard to say. While it does indeed push beyond the proverbial eleven, there’s a strange sense of been-there-done that. Oddly enough, it has nothing to do with the fact that the game is once again set in Steelport. Despite being physically the same, you interacted with Steelport on a wildly different level because of the addition of the game’s super power. It’s a tired statement, but Saints Row IV has an level of verticality not experienced in The Third and it breathes new life into the city. Where the game falters for me is in the mission structure. The opening sequence, even though is completely ridiculous, feels like it apes the formula of Saints Row The Third. And from there on, that feeling never quite goes away. From the clothing options to the side activities, most of my time spent with SRIV feels very similar to the… the original game.
I say “original game” because Saints Row IV doesn’t quite feel like it’s actually the fourth in a series. It’s far from an expansion pack people feared it would be but it still feels more like Saints Row The Third 2 than Saints Row IV. That is, everywhere except in a few key story missions, which oddly enough, remove the open environments and the super powers. It may be telling that some of the best parts of the game are when Saints Row IV feels the least like other Saints Row games. In the end though, I can’t knock it too hard because that’s my only major criticism. SRIV is literally some of the most fun I have had in a video game. The writing is sharp, the the powers are a blast and collecting orbs is addictive. Most importantly, Saints Row IV feels like a fitting conclusion to the these characters that we’ve come to know and love. It’s just a shame that a good deal of that fun doesn’t and can’t feel as fresh as it did in Saints Row The Third.
Saints Row IV isn’t as good as Saints Row The Third. There, I said it. I would definitely say that it is a worthy follow up to The Third, but it certainly didn’t best it. For one it’s not as funny. It’s also too referential to previous Saints Row games. The optional activities aren’t as enjoyable as they once were and it overall felt a bit too much like an expansion to Saints Row The Third (as it originally was intended) rather than a full blown sequel.
Saints Row IV because it is an insanely fun game, as long as you stick to the main quests. SRIV has a ridiculous plot that is extra silly in all the right places, specifically the ending. It will keep you eager to press on just so you can see what crazy thing will happen next. Besides the story though, IV is awesome to play, even on the Xbox 360, as the frame rate isn’t nearly as bad as everyone makes out (though I do have a high tolerance for poor frame rates). The simple act of jumping over building and city blocks, running 100 mph, punching your hand through someones chest or making everyone dance to death is just plain fun. Exploration is also up there with some of the super-powered sandbox greats like Infamous and Spider-Man 2.
Some nit-picky points also raised their head during my time with Saints Row IV. I found that despite the depth and breadth of the character customisation, options feel a little more limited than what was available in The Third, specifically with the clothing. Also combat often became bogged down, either through powers not recharging quickly or guns not dealing enough damage. So instead of using these tried and true methods I found myself sprinting at enemies, ‘meleeing’ them and then moving onto the next person and then doing the same again. This had its own degree of fun for most of the game but by the end it got a little boring.
Well, those are our thoughts on Saints Row IV. But what did you think? Are you sad they're are no gangs? Still wondering what happened to Dex and Troy? Tell us in the comments below.
Jonathan is the host of the DarkCast, DarkCast Interviews, and Gamers Read. He loves books, video games, and superheroes. If he had to pick favorites, they would be Welcome to the Monkey House, Mass Effect, and Superman respectively.