Sometime between the release of Saints Row II and before Saints Row: The Third was suggested, the team at Volition Inc. decided to stop taking the franchise seriously. It was a decision that has truly paid off beyond expectations. Saints Row IV: Re-Elected is the result of a game made by a development team that said F-it, then brought their masterpiece to the Next-Gen consoles.
With so many games that take themselves too seriously or have forgotten what it means to have some fun, Saints Row IV: Re-Elected brings one of the best games of 2013 to the Next-Gen consoles along with some extra laughs.
Try to follow the plot with a straight face, The Boss has been elected President of the United States following the events of the “Save Shaundi” ending in Saints Row: The Third. However his/her leadership is put to the test when the Zin Empire invades earth and imprisons The Saints in a virtual recreation of Steelport City. It’s up to the player to reunite with the other Saints to liberate the world. Also the story is narrated by Jane Austin while Johnny Gat returns to cause more havoc.
Saints Row IV: Re-Elected is not just an open world adventure that avoided being a Grand Theft Auto-knockoff but grew to become a homage to gaming culture. Within the context of the game, the development team have paid their respects to iconic titles like Metal Gear Solid, Call of Duty and Devil May Cry.
At the same time it also pays its respects to many great works of science fiction from the 80’s to the early 2000’s. Trekkies and Browncoats will be quick to get the many references but one should not over look the tributes to classics like They Live.
Old school players will feel comfortable with the familiar gameplay of an RPG set in an open-world environment. The focus now is less about building a criminal empire but more on character development as the player learns to bend the rules of the simulation while acquiring the needed superpowers.
Despite being a radical transformation than its predecessor, this is still the same Steelport City from the last game with little changes. At the same time it feels like most of the mini-games that were brought over from the last game have been dumb-down just to appeal to those who don’t like challenges.
While it fails at being a “new game,” 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 always be a mix of dirty but clever, pushing into being juvenile.
Gamers who missed out on the original back in 2013 should consider going to Steelport City on the next-gen consoles. Saints Row IV: Re-Elected is truly a love song to both video game and the science fiction genre.
Final Score: 8/10