Carjacking, shooting dead, speeding, flying, running, insulting, punching and blowing-up these are a few of the things you are doing in Saints Row IV. If you isolate them like that it seems like a ticket to a penitentiary, what i didn’t say was speeding faster than a car while running, punching so hard that the target explodes, flying/gliding like a bird after jumping off a building. What is obvious is that realism really isn’t the key, non-stop excessive fun at the expense of virtual NPCs is. When a game includes the ‘Dubstep Gun’ alongside the usual armaments for pixelated purveyors of death and destruction, you just know it’s time to suspend your disbelief and pop your huge sociopath cat shaped hat on.
Saints Row has proven itself to be a viable contender in the Grand Theft Auto-style or sandbox game genre. It makes no attempt at trying to be better than GTA or wanting to compete directly with GTA except that it’s also an open-world albeit a wacky and insane one. They might be doing this out of respect, it might also be fear because Rockstar, makers of the GTA series gives as good as anyone else and when they feel threatened (outside of the legal aspects anyway) they strike with parodies or in-jokes about the offending game or developer within their own games. For Saints Row being so off kelter is not such a bad thing and with the hijinks players got in the previous installment, Volition must have thought ‘let’s turn this s#!t up to 11, no screw that how about 12 or 13?’. Care towards character development or a deep storyline were kind of set a side to allow for the craziest set pieces, weapons you probably haven’t thought of and strippers, lots of near nude women walking around Steelport’s streets.
For this instalment of the Saints Row franchise we see the addition of super-powers to the player character and weird happenings in the city of Steelport (similar in most ways to the previous version). Without giving away too much it’s kind of like ‘The Matrix’ except not so full of itself as well as Mass Effect 3 except not serious… in any way. Also I made my character look almost exactly like Lara Croft and that is cool because walking around kicking-ass and taking names is much better when the character looks like the hottest virtual female character ever to grace the computer monitor, chase camera is a grand thing. It’s this customisation-ability that sets Saints Row apart from the average, I was bored playing The Bureau, I needed something to liven things up and fill in the gap between now and GTA V. Playing this game now, I am wondering how much fun GTA V will be when you can’t leap buildings in a single bound or perform super smackdowns.
So in essence Saints Row IV is crazy fun, it’s kind of like a big block of DLC except the graphics engine has been polished somewhat. The lighting effects are nicer and all the more important as most of the game is spent in darker hours or aboard a large moveable object suspended in the void of space. Play to run faster than the fastest car, jump so high you can flip off invading aliens and then smash them so hard on the ground with super strength they become pulverized, this is the game Infamous and Prototype avoided being. Saints goes far to be ridiculous, so much so that it includes a wheel modification at an in-game shop called ‘Rim Jobs’ that looks like glowing dicks for spokes, I think you see where this is going – nothing is sacred.
I wish there was something important to say or a segue to something profound and deep about how Saints Row IV is a commentary on the deepest desires of the teenager and young person in western society but it isn’t. What is for me is a whopping good time, a generous serve of lunacy sprinkled with crack.
Oh you came for pictures? Have some more freshly snapped ones (click for hi-res)
Do you play Saints Row IV and want to know how to get your character to look like mine? Check out youtube for a tutorial video for all the settings at Image as Desired.