Aug 14, 2013

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Saints Row IV Review

Saints Row IV Review

Saints_Row_IV_logo

The Saints Row series had a bit of a rough patch with the cancellation of the ‘Enter the Dominatrix‘ DLC for Saints Row the Third and THQ filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Luckily, Volition was picked up by Deep Silver and the cancelled DLC was transformed into the latest entry in the popular open world Saints Row series. Does Saints Row IV offer the same experience as its predecessor or will it give players something fresh?

Taking place after the ending of Saints Row the Third (the canon ending is achieved by saving Shaundi), the leader of the Saints now has more on his/her plate than the town of Steelport and the Third Street Saints. The newly-elected President is tasked with deciding important matters such as curing cancer or ending world hunger. But this seemingly cushy job doesn’t last long when an alien force ruled by the evil Overlord Zinyak comes invading the planet and taking all the important members of society. It’s up to the player to try to get the gang back together and work together to take Zinyak out.

The story in Saints Row IV starts out with gun ablazing as you complete a heroic mission which seems to be one of the driving forces behind you becoming the President. Things begin to head south once Zinyak and his Zin army invade, taking your trusted allies and thrusting you into a virtual Steelport. Without spoiling too much, you will delve into the simulated worlds created from the nightmares of your crew. By helping them overcome this fear, you not only gain an ally to take out Zinyak and his army but are able to take on missions to give them super powers. Also, though unrelated to the story, you will have the option to romance them in case you are the type that likes to ‘ship pairings’ of your character and his/her teammates.

shaundis

Saints Row IV‘s writing feels a lot more polished and humorous than the third entry. Though it is still a bit crude at times, I really believe that the writers did a great job with not relying on things like shock value or just shrugging off things with the ‘just because’ factor. One example which I’m sure will be a relief to fans of Johnny Gat and the series is the return of the man who was last seen in the beginning of Saints Row the Third. Volition doesn’t just toss him into the game without a somewhat plausible reason.

If you’ve played Saints Row the Third, you should find the controls in Saints Row IV to work the same. With the inclusion of super powers you gain access to as you progress through the story, there are tutorials that explain how to use and equip them. Using these powers are not difficult and some enemies will require you to mix up your plan of attack. Shielded enemies will need to be hit with an elemental blast to lose their protection to be taken down by your guns. For when you get surrounded, a well-timed stomp can give you a chance to regroup yourself. Not all the super powers are for the offensive. In fact, your two most used powers will likely be the ones that make you run super fast and jump insane heights. When you combine these two, no area of Steelport is off-limits. There are many elements and upgrades to unlock for each super power. Elements are unlocked as rewards for different missions you complete whereas you will need to collect and spend a set amount of data clusters. These clusters are scattered throughout Steelport and many will require you to use one or more of your powers to get them.

Most super powers are gained via defeating huge aliens called Wardens. These big fellas can pack a punch as well as cause a shock wave to knock you on your feet when they jump from place to place. Once you’ve unlocked the blast power, each Warden come in contact with will sport a shield that you will need to take down before any damage can be done. Luckily, you don’t have to rely on just the blast power as your stomps can knock it down as well. Just be warned that the shield doesn’t stay down for long nor will the Warden stay in one spot.  There is one super power that you will receive later on in the game that doesn’t require taking out a Warden. I would describe it but I feel that it is better off as a surprise.