Saints Row 4 Review – Super Powered Madness 
  TweetTweet

Matthew Figueira
August 22, 2013 at 3:30 pm

sr4 (1)

The first Saints Row I played was number 3, just earlier this year. I knew absolutely nothing about the series, and was pleasantly surprised at how much fun and over the top the game was. Imagine my delight when I heard another trip into this franchise was on its way, bringing with it some super powers and aliens! Will it live up to its predecessor? Or has the series run dry?

sr4 (2)

The game kicks off sometime after the events of the third game, you are tasked with stopping a nuke landing on the face of your country. Fast forward five years and hey presto! You’re now the president of the United States. Fast forward some more and OMG ALIEN INVASION! Say hello to the Zin and their leader Zinyak, the alien scum that has taken your home away. He enslaves the entire human race, placing them in a virtual simulation of their worst nightmare and makes them live it again and again.

SR1

After some help from Kinzie (everyone’s favourite computer boffin), you escape your nightmare and find yourself in another simulation, very much reminiscent of the Matrix. Your body is in the real world, and the majority of the game takes place in the virtual one. Welcome to fake Steelport, the city you know and love blended with the alien scum that put you there in the first place.

Areas are literally the same, almost copy pasted from the third game, but with a brand new alien paint job. With some manipulation of the simulation, you are granted super human abilities, and by Zimos pimp stick, it is awesome! Just pause for a second and imagine the love child of Infamous and Grand Theft Auto, and you have Saints Row IV.

SR6

This is not to say that there are no minor niggles. Sure the super sprinting and power jumping makes traversing this city as seamless and fun as ever, but some of the powers you unlock just seem so unimaginative and boring. In Infamous for example, the developers used one element (electricity) and gave it so many different applications as the game progressed, keeping it fresh and fun.

It’s just a tad disappointing to think that Volition have had some really insane and awesome ideas for their previous games, but stumbled when putting together the powers for Saints Row IV. Telekinesis? Revolutionary! Fire/Ice/Mind control blasts? Exciting as a brick, but hey maybe that’s just me.

SR2

That’s where my next gripe comes in. The pacing of the game is off by a mile. What makes a sandbox game fun in my eyes is the fact that as the game progresses, you get access to more vehicles and abilities, unlocking the playable area piece by piece.

Within an hour or two of playing Saints Row IV, I had the ability to run up walls, making even the tallest skyscraper scalable. I got access to a flying vehicle in the same time frame, meaning I had the choice of simply using it to blow up enemies the easy way, instead of fighting on the ground and working for my kills.

Let’s not mention the fact that I can choose to super spring and leap away from any fight I don’t really like, making the game too easy to the point where I only died once in my whole playthrough. Consider this: my entire playtime, spanning the main story as well as every single side quest clocked in at around 19 hours. Either I myself am the best gamer in the world, or the game was too easy. I can’t play minesweeper to save my life, so the latter must be true.

SR3

The weapons themselves are fun to play with, but again, seem overpowered to some extent. Just about all the alien weaponry has unlimited ammunition. All you need to do is let them recharge quickly before you continue your destruction.

God mode? Unlimited ammunition? As child I loved using these sorts of cheats in every game I played, but nearly always took them off because they watered the experience down completely.

SR5

The main missions themselves are varied and exciting, but the side quests are repetitive, and I mean, repetitive. Saints Row has a multitude of activities scattered all over Steelport, and initially, they are enjoyable. Doing these activities gains you control over the area in which you find it, boosting your income and influence.

As the game progresses ,you will find and rescue members of your crew from Zinyak’s evil simulations. Where do the side quests stem from? “Oh thank you for saving me boss! I’m so pissed off, I wanna kill some Zin and stuff yo! Let’s do this activity and that, again and again and again! Oh when you’re done you can have some money, experience, and maybe a new gun”. These activities all have one purpose, disrupting the simulation and making life for Zinyak as difficult as possible.

SR4

So how does one disrupt the simulation? Oh, by racing through it, destroying stuff, stealing cars, destroying stuff. Did I mention that you get to destroy stuff? Now, you might be thinking that this isn’t so bad, is it?

Honestly, it’s not, but if you’re like me, you want to finish all side quests before carrying on with the main one. The main quests are actually pretty darn awesome, giving nods to other gaming franchises, and being varied themselves. The side quests? They get repetitive very quickly.

SR7

After reading the above, you may think this game is terrible. Here’s the thing though, it really isn’t. Its Saints Row, looking better than ever with some work done under the hood. The trademark humour is there, delivering some hilarious one liners and some genuinely funny dialogue.

There are all your favourite radio stations to suit your every listening need (WUB WUB WUB WUB WUB WUB!). There’s the usual crazy character customisation to let you create whatever the hell you want. The enemies may not be tough and may not carry enough variation or challenge, but mowing through them Saints Row style remains as addictive as ever.

sr4 (3)

Defence of the Ancients? More like Defence of the cabbages! Have you seen my head? I look like a Merino Sheep on pole. NO SHANGE only SHAPPIES!

  • Admiral Chief Raider of Tombs

    Heh, I wondered if you were ever going to finish it :P

    • hairyknees

      Eventually! :P

  • Devourer of Small Bunnies

    Cool review Matty

    • Admiral Chief Raider of Tombs

      I like the new nick! Lulz indeed

      • Devourer of Small Bunnies

        You are a gentleman and scholar my kind sir. *tips bowler hat*

    • hairyknees

      Thanks dude! <3

  • Admiral Chief Raider of Tombs

    WUB WUB WUB

    • Sargon

      Downvoted for a “WUB” without the proper permit?

      • Admiral Chief Raider of Tombs

        Lol, I dunno man, haha

  • RinceThisandbeAbsurd

    Nice one Mat, but sad that the game is so damn easy though. Any ideas it there are thoughts of DLC in the future to maybe remedy this?

    • hairyknees

      Well there was an option for downloadable content, and the third one had DLC too. I don’t think it would remedy it, unless they make some truly difficult epic bosses or enemies. That would be sweet :D

  • Admiral Chief Raider of Tombs

    ON A PC!!!!!

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      PCs have games? What sorcery is this?

      • Sargon

        Angry Birds recently released on PC. We’re proud. :)

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          I saw that just the other day when I was browsing in BT Games. My first thought was who the hell would buy Angry Birds for PC. I mean it’s fun & all, but really?

          • Admiral Chief Raider of Tombs

            LOL

          • Sargon

            It has something to do with sending birds rocketing off into the sky via catapult. I mean.. there is just something therapeutic about watching these creatures gracefully soar through the virtual sky. It’s almost as if you’re birdwatching. Without the bugs. And sun. And.. well.. nature. Urgh. Amiright?

      • Dakan45

        Yup just about 3 times as many as consoles.

  • Sargon

    I’ll wait and see what GTA has to offer before I snap up one of these a few months after release (can you say Steam Summer Sale, yo).

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      Plus then you can get all the DLC as well in one easy package.

      • Sargon

        This is why Steam should be voted president. Of like.. the Universe.

  • Kromas

    Steam tells me I can play my pre-order at 12:01 cet. I have yet to figure out if i should set my alarm for 1am or 2 am due to CET not being used during winter :(

  • Rock789

    I must say, for Saints Row: The Third, I wasn’t interested or excited to play it… Right up until the point I got my hands on it at a friend’s place… Short while later, I bought if for myself. And man, did it soak up the hours! Reading this review definitely takes me back to that – am pretty keen to try this out now.

    • hairyknees

      Thanks!! Yeah if you enjoyed the third one, I have no doubt that you will enjoy this one too :)

  • MarkWes

    Something to play while I wait for GTA I suppose…

  • Aussious

    I reserve my comments until I can get my hands on my copy this weekend…

  • Dakan45

    Id argue the design innovation should get more points solley that most games outhere are practicly the same thing

    • hairyknees

      Thats the thing though, this is almost the same game as Saints Row 3 but with a new story, some new weapons and super powers. Knowing how they have always pushed out some bizarre and interesting missions, ideas, etc in their previous games, it just feels like they could have done a lot more with this one :)

      • Dakan45

        There is mass effect romance crap, there are metal gear and tron missions, there are star wars weapons, there are 50s weapons, there are alien weapons, there are super powers, there are new npcs, there are new vehicles, what else could they have put in the game?

        Last time saints row was remade form scratch with saints row 3, everyone complained that the game was lacking content compared to the previous, id take a big game that is based on the previous one that a new engine with half the content.

        • hairyknees

          I’m not asking for a new engine. Just saying that they basically took the world from the third game and pasted it into the fourth, so a new one would have been nice for starters :P If I really wanted to push it, I’d honestly say that they could have rolled out this content in a DLC, because all the original assets are there, they just added some stuff onto it.

          Honestly though, I do see your point. Many games do keep the same formula to keep the fans happy, and are bitched at if anything changes too much. I just expected a little more I guess :)

          • Dakan45

            Id say making a new worldmap just to make a dark matrix world,feels like a waste. I wont argue that its because of the story, i am simply gonna point out saints row 2 map is the same map from the first game.

            Also Id argue the game is VERY packed in content to just claim it could have been dlc. Saints row 3 had TONS of dlc and this one does not.

            I think the proper comparison is unreal tourament 2004. It was basicly 2003 with a crapazillion of extra content, but the fact it had so much content in it made it worth the price.

          • hairyknees

            Never played the first two, but I know they both took place in Stillwater. A new map might not have revolutionised the game, but it would definitely make it feel different.

            Alright I’ll admit that it would have to be a pretty damn large DLC :P but the fact remains that all the elements were there and they just added to them. DLC is still to come for #4 anyways. Not sure what, but there is an option in the main menu for DLC.

            I remember how UT 2004 made 2003 look like nothing. That really was worth the price. Remember though, they really added a huge amount of stuff. It was something stupid like 6-7 CD’s!! Installing it took forever xD

            Like I said though, I still enjoyed Saints Row 4. 77% isn’t a bad score by any means. I stand by what I say that one of the biggest flaws is repetition, but the game remains incredibly fun.

          • Dakan45

            The first 2 take place in stillwater the last 2 in stillport.

            I highly reccomend the second, it has better pacing, you start off as a ganster, you buy buildigns, has pletny of crap to do and easter eggs and in the end you fight commandos and tanks.

            Just so you know the “dlc” is planned be released in episode packs, the expansion pack they were talking is not in the game, just parts of the story, they gonna release that later. i really dont think super powers and weapon customization features can be considered dlc worthy.

            “one of the biggest flaws is repetition”

            I thought the game had varied missions.

          • hairyknees

            Yeah I’d love to get my hands on the first two. The 4th had some returning characters and I want to see where they came from. With regards to the DLC, I haven’t read anything about it, so have no idea what they have planned.

            The main quests were varied, and I really loved them. The side quests not so much :P well.. I did enjoy them, but there was little variation. If you’re like me, you want to get any side quests out the way before moving on with the main one. Majority of the side quests are just a collection of “Go there, hack this, blow that up” and so on. Do a few of those in a row and it starts to get a teeny bit annoying.

          • Dakan45

            The activities are repettive, same thing in all saints row games.

            The dominatrix dlc is not in the game, will be released later in episodes.

  • Bradley Roberts

    Can you upvote this?

    • Seraphim

      Do you have a intricate and/or compelling reason for people to upvote your comment?

  • Brady miaau

    Soooo, should i buy now or wait a year for Game of the Year (cheat, all of them!) edition, that includes some DLC?

    What you guys think? Worth it right now for 20 hours of story mode fun or maybe 30-35 hours of extra’?

    Also, great review, got your point across.

    • hairyknees

      Thanks! Depends on you really, if you are a big fan, you will probably get it anyways :P waiting for a nice fat DLC bundle isn’t such a bad idea though.

  • Wtf101

    Oh, uhm, Gavin? Are you planning a second opinion review or is this it? I kinda would like to read a review based on Saints Row 4, and not this Infamous comparative table that was served up here.

    • hairyknees

      Infamous comparative table? Come now :P I called it the love child of Infamous and GTA, as well as used an example from Infamous to elaborate a point :) thats hardly a comparative table!

  • Prem Halani

    Its commander chief version is out. Download it free from http://windroidblog.blogspot.in/2013/08/saints-row-4-for-windows-free-download.html

  • Fun surprise

    Preferred not having powers

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    If it wasn’t for the Last of Us, Saints Row would have taken the official Banana Game of the Year (2013) title. Yes, I know GTA 5 is still on its way, but I think I’ll have Rockstar and Naughty Dog battle it out for my approval :D

    Two devs enter, One Dev leaves! Muahahahah

    • hairyknees

      Haha Saints Row would be the wild card contender in that battle :P “GTA 5 and TLOU are having a go at each other, throwing punches left, right and… WTF IS SAINTS ROW DOING IN THE RING?!”

  • Freeman

    Simulations?, aliens?, good ?
    Gave the game 3 hours and will never look at this shit again, worst game ever in the series, Saint Row 3 was much better.
    To like this you’ll either have to be 10 years old or smoke some really weird shit.

  • http://modestcomplexity.blogspot.com Darci

    I love the ridiculous direction they took this game, it definitely helps the title differentiate itself more from GTA 5 and gives me a legit reason to keep on playing both games. The fun factor for SR4 is off the charts, and really is the perfect thing for when you want just stupid fun. Not in that mood? Then don’t play this game, because the it lacks the balance of humor and depth that GTA has. It’s a one trick pony but boy what a trick.

    Last, I loved the soundtrack, only wish it was as expansive as GTA’s (it’s got about half as many songs). However there were tons of highlights, especially the Mad Decent 106.9 radio station (which is DJ’ed by Riff Raff, a perfectly ridiculous character that fits SR4 to a T) – that station has some great tunes from Diplo, Bonde Do Role, Zed’s Dead, etc etc

  • Pingback: The Lazygamer Top 100 games of this generation – 61-70 | Lazygamer .:: The Worlds Best Video Game News ::.