Saints Row IV | Gameguide

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saints-row-iv-4You can’t really review a game like Saints Row without talking about GTA. There is no doubt that Saints Row started life, like nay other wanna be games, as a GTA clone. Unlike other games that have come and gone, Saints Row decided to do things a little differently. Where as GTA is set in the real world (well, as real as you get within the concept of fun video games), Saints Row decided to go over the top. In everything. With a decided leaning towards some dodgy behaviour. THis gave Saints Row a flavour all of its own. A flavour that GTA purists would never understand, but that gained the 3rd Street Saints a notoriety and following all of their own.

So then we come to Saints Row IV. If you though the previous games were too out there for your taste, be warned, the latest installment hits silly into the stratosphere.

The journey to Saints Row IV has been somewhat shaky. The game was originally slated as DLC for Saints Row III but then THQ imploded and Deep Silver took up the reigns, canceling the DLC and expanding the concept into a stand alone game. The transition to it’s new home seems to have worked well. The most notable thing is that graphically, the game hasn’t changed. This isn’t surprising with the games history, and nor does it matter. At the twilight end of the current gen’s life cycle, the thing that is going to win Saints Row some fannage, is the gameplay.

It’s few years since the end of the last installment, and now you find yourself not only the leader of the Saints, but also the most powerful man in the world. No, you’re not John key, you’re the President of The United States of America.

Say what? What kind of a game will this been? No President is going to be allowed to runaround town car jacking, killing people and causing general mayhem. Oh, big alien boss Zinyak invades and enslaves you and your gang, messing with your mind and trapping you in a simulation of your old stomping grounds? Well why didn’t you just say that.

Ah right, there is a silly storyline about rescuing your friends, beating the simulation and taking revenge on Zinyak, but honestly that’s all just blah blah blah. 

Saints Row is all about the game. First things first, you get to customise your character, girl or boy. You even get to enlarge or reduce your breast or penis size. You even get to choose your voice, which will to some degree change not only how you sound, but the kind of things you say. And naturally you get to choose what you want to wear.

Once you get to the game proper – there are a couple of scene setting missions to get through first, one of which had me almost wetting my pants with laughter – you’ll see that things are the same, only different. You have guns and attributes, all which can be upgraded. You have the main story missions and side quests, and you have a huge array of collectables.

You also have upgradable superpowers.

Hell yes, this is The Matrix after all. In a very Crackdown way of doing things, you get to collects orbs – I mean bits of rouge code – that give you the ability to jump higher, run faster etc. You will literally be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. This poses a small dilemma. In previous games, to get from one mission to the next, you’d just jack a nice car and race across town. Hey, don’t worry, you can still do this, but when you can leap tall buildings, why drive? Especially when you consider that by leaping around you can spot all the other bits of code, collect them on your way and leap even higher!

To hell with the missions, there’s too much fun to be had just upgrading my jump-ability!

And that’s is the danger of open world games, you really can get lost in them. Fortunately, the missions tend to unlock just as much cool stuff so you’ll be wanting to balance your thirst for exploration with the desire to progress through the game to unlock your weaponisation superpowers and some really cool weapons, like my personal favourite, the Black Hole Gun.

The other thing that will have you wanting to complete the main story missions is the rampant pop-culture references like The Matrix. But it’s also the undeniable fact that Saints Row is a game that just doesn’t care what people think about it, a game that liberally pokes fun at itself, a game that, if you take off your Mr Serious hat – actually, you may have to ritually burn it – and relax, is a hell of a lot of fun to play and will destroy a good 20 hours of your life.

Rating: R18 Violence, sexual themes and offensive language.



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