Saints Row 4 Review: Perverts Of The World, Unite And Take Over
Watch James Heaney live-stream Saints Row 4 today 10AM – 12PM PST on Game Front’s Twitch channel!
My first impression of Saints Row IV was that it was basically ass and titties, the game.
Turns out, I was absolutely right. But it’s so much more. Imagine DJ Assault’s ode to buttocks and breasts, only covered in gold, laying on a velvet, memory foam mattress, holding the most expensive bottle of champagne money can buy as a present for your anniversary, and you’re somewhere close to what it’s been like playing this thing.
It’s a nonstop overdose of references, in-jokes, balls-out ass-kicking and goofy, stupid fun. It offers the chance to kill people with dubstep, have sex with almost all of your friends, and wield impossibly awesome superpowers. It’s also a surprisingly intelligent, almost constant hi five to outcasts, freaks, dorks and perverts. But mostly, Saints Row IV is a celebration of the people who’ve stuck with the series since the original game launched in 2006, and it compares most strongly not to any other video game, but to the Fast and Furious franchise. And just like this year’s Fast 6, Saints Row 4 should be studied by future generations who want to know how to get pandering to longtime fans precisely right.
This is especially impressive when you consider the tribulations Volition has gone through since Saints Row: The Third. I wouldn’t have been shocked if it turned out to be a half-finished mess. Saints Row IV has some problems, chief among them the fact that legacy elements like the open-world setting never quite mash up perfectly with the way it tells its story. But those problems are minor. Saints Row IV just rules like a dictator, and probably marks the moment Volition finally stepped out from under Rockstar Games’ shadow.
But you know what? F*ck that sentimental nonsense. This game kicks all kinds of ass; buy it, and play the sh*t out of it.
Saints Row IV: – Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC (Reviewed)
Developer: Volition, Inc.
Publisher: Deep Silver
Release Date: August 20, 2013
In a way, Saints Row IV can’t really be understood except as the second half of Saints Row: The Third. More than any other game in the series it functions most effectively as a direct sequel to its predecessor. But it is also presented very clearly as the final chapter in the Saints Row series (at least in current continuity), and that appears to have liberated Volition to do whatever the hell they felt like.
Soon after then events of Saints Row: The Third, the Saints have, for some reason, teamed up with agents from MI6 to stop a terrorist from destroying the United States. As a result of their heroics, the (player character) Boss of the Saints ends up elected President of the United States, which draws the attention of Zinyak, ruled of the interstellar Zin Empire.
Zin decides to invade Earth, taking samples of the planet’s best and brightest for what you eventually learn is a kind of intellectual animal preserve, including the Saints. Placing the Boss into a simulation based on the city of Steelport from Saints Row: The Third, Zinyak hopes to crush the Boss’s spirit and turn him or her into a slave. Obviously that’s a stupid mistake, and the game chronicles the Saints’ quest to kill Zinyak and get revenge for his anti-earth bombast.
This means surviving and then escaping the simulation with the help of your crew, some copious violence, and inarguably awesome superpowers. But should you even care? For once, yes. Typically, Saints Row plots have concerned a quest to take down rival gangs and establish your gang as the ruler of your city. Even Saints Row: The Third stuck to this structure while subverting it thanks to an inventive plot involving paranoia about terrorism and the soulless quest for fame. Saints Row IV abandons this idea completely, replacing it with a story that combines The Matrix, Independence Day, The Mass Effect series and The Breakfast Club.
Saints Row IV is packed with nods to series history, reasons to play every single mission and side quest, ridiculous plot twists, and constant yuks, and at the same time it somehow, no kidding, manages to make a game about hardened criminals fighting to save the human race while killing indiscriminately feel like a touching character study. And somehow, even without smoking a bag of crack cocaine, it all ends up working.