From lowly beginnings the Saints Row games have taken it upon themselves to be a little less hip-hop while more and more crazy, however there is no doubting the ‘balls to the wall’ sense of humour and the ability to embrace the ridiculous in their worlds.
Saints Row IV on the last generation of consoles was effectively a re-skin of Saints Row 3, the story, should you call it that was beyond ‘out there’. After a short intro that wraps up saving the world and dropping you (literally) into the hot seat at the Whitehouse, there is an interlude where you get to wield your Presidential powers for a few minutes. Then an alien invasion breaks the monotony and sets up the narrative. It is a Saints game through and through, ridiculous weapons, overdone caricatures and Keith David.
…and it doesn’t stop there. This package also includes all the DLC released to date and the standalone adventure ‘Gat out of Hell’ giving the player a smaller, yet more crazy adventure in Hell, stopping the Saints leader from marrying Satan’s daughter in the shoes of the iconic Johnny Gat. Johnny has always been a Saints badass, but in Hell flying around on fiery angel wings with an arsenal to match he’s nigh unstoppable.
The bulk of the package is the ‘Re-elected’ campaign, set in a simulated Steelport that is actually a VR prison of sorts for the Saints Leader along with a very Matrix subtext. Given the nature of a Saints Leader it’s not long before you start bucking the shackles and with the help of a few regulars start to turn the tide on your evil captor Zinyak. Who is an incredibly hammy alien with a penchant for shakespearean prose. This purple hued copy of Steelport isn’t much more than a playground, with the game loading you up on Crackdown style powers driving becomes obsolete once you can speed run up buildings and jump for miles.
The game itself is a hot-potch of mini games and inconsistent missions that can throw you from a bizarre platform challenge to a Tron style tank and bike battle in the blink of an eye. There is a lot of this game that is basically a re-skin of the brilliant Saints Row 3, then there is a lot that seems to have been thrown to see if it works. A lot of it does work, but at the expense of a cohesive experience, then there are the odd quick time events that can easily be missed, forcing a restart. Or the the on-rails vehicle sections that have such punishing crash and fail states that they stop being fun.
This package isn’t for somebody that wants a solid story and a well presented game, Saints Row IV is a package designed to be played in bursts with when you’re bored of other games. It offers super powers and over loaded weaponry with a destructive playground to experiment in.
As for the updated visuals, well not really, you could be forgiven for thinking you are playing on your old console, but hey, Saints games are about mayhem and puerile humour nobody ever said they were art.