Sometime between the completion of Saints Row II and having Saints Row: The Third being suggested, the production team at Volition Inc. decided to just say “f***-it”. The result is a series that went from being another Grand Theft Auto knock-off into a work of comedy gold.
Saints Row IV is the aftermath of that decision on some serious steroids (and it has worked very well). This time all the elements of a crime game have been abandoned in favor of an adventure the pays respects to video games along with the great works of science fiction of the 80’s and 90’s. Don’t think of it as Grand Theft Auto with adult jokes but a game that has morphed the elements of many popular titles with pop-culture references.
Following the “Save Shaundi” ending of Saints Row: The Third, the Saints are tasked with stopping Cyrus Temple (who has gone rogue) from selling WMD’s to terrorists. The mission is a success and the Boss is elected President of the United States. This gets the attention of the Zin Empire, an alien civilization that invades Earth and impressions the Saints in a virtual recreation of Steelport City. Using their love of causing mayhem and the skill-sets of the Saints, the Boss must rescue the gang and save the world. Also Johnny Gat is back!
Long time fans of the series will feel comfortable with the familiar setting and gameplay content while new players will find great joy in exploring Steelport. Gamers will find everything they love about RPG’s, open-world games and more.
Unlike its predecessor, the focus is less about building an criminal empire but more on character development. The player will bend the rules of the simulation to their need and acquire super powers that need to be develop. Try to imagine games like inFAMOUS or Prototype with an 80s-style auteurism.
Despite its uniqueness, it needs to be noted that you’re still playing in the same Steelport from the last game. The superpowers you acquire really lack any wow factor while the missions do feel like recycled from previous games. At times it will feel like your playing Saints Row: The Third with a new coat of paint.
While it fails at original gameplay it strength comes from the dumb fun players will have along with the jabs it makes at itself and other games. Most of the humor will be dirty but cleaver while at times the humor may become juvenile.
This is not a serious game and it knows that this is not a serious game. Yet kudos need to be given for not having a B-Film plot that is being passed as a thought-provoking dramatic story.
Saints Row IV will bring gamers so much fun and giggles that you may forget that Grand Theft Auto V is upon the horizon. This is the perfect installment to a series that started as a GTA-clone but has evolved to have its own mark on video game culture.
Final Score: 9/10
Disclaimer: The game used for this review was purchased on Steam.