The Saints Row series started exclusively back in 2006 for the Xbox 360. Back then I was super hyped for another awesome looking sandbox / open-world game. Saints always had the ‘fun factor’ focus and an over-the-top theme that many have come to expect with each iteration. Now players take the role of the President of the United States of America and have to fight off aliens, robots, more aliens, and well, you get the picture. Dropping back into the interesting world of the Saints as they climb their way to the top, let’s see what Volition and Deep Silver have in store for us.
Soundtrack, Audio, Voice: The soundtracks they put into Saints Row games consist of a mix of both their own original music, and music that has been popular throughout time. All of the combat music that is heard within fits perfectly, especially during a mission which sees the player piloting a mech. My favorite radio track has to be “What is Love?” by Haddaway. Personally, I can’t help but find this song’s placement hilarious because of “A Night At The Roxbury” the film… if you don’t get the joke, watch it. The sound effects and voice audio mixes in well. I did adjust my settings at one point, but that was only to hear my music above everything else since it kept me in the zone. The 186 Voice actors in the game all gave awesome performances, especially the returning voice of Keith David. Danielle Nicolet returning as Shaundi and is one of my favorite roles in the whole game. I’d like to personally thank and praise her for her performance in this title. Danielle as Shaundi manages to be funny while also bringing back some of the mature tones of the Saints Row franchise.
Graphics, Physics, Glitches, Engine Performance: The graphics are improved in every way possible from Saints Row: The Third. Whilst keeping the same feeling from the titles previous, but looking very polished, Volition managed to make the world feel real and vibrant. Physics are changed this time with the addition of super hero powers and the virtual world which the alien invaders trap you in creates a new level of chemistry between human and player. It still works beautifully though in that category as using your superheros feel natural to you. Glitches are very, very rare and the game’s engine is very polished. This custom build of the CTG Engine makes what we all saw in Saints Row: The Third run and feel even better. Need I say more?
Controls: Saints Row IV’s control set is kind of straightforward if you’ve played sand box games before. The game is filled with the standard controls you would see in a third person game. At the same time it is not completely standard though, there are deviations that make it fresh and unique. While keeping original ideas in the control scheme, the addition of super heroes and the virtual world changes things for gamers. Players will sometimes have to cycle through super powers by either pushing over (directional) or by pressing B on Xbox 360 (or Circle on PS3). The control layout works very well for me in its default state but maybe that’s because I am ambidextrous.
Gameplay: While I like to say Saints Row IV still feels like any open world sandbox, it actually feels uniquely Saints Row. At the same time this game is multiple genres packed into one. For example, it takes everything good about titles like inFAMOUS, Prototype, Spider-Man, and so fourth but then proceeds to makes those gameplay elements even better. Surprisingly, lots of games within this game have been provided to prevent you from getting bored. There are even point and click adventure moments, text-based game adventures, and my personal favorite weapon; the dub-step gun. The alien enemies can be a challenge, especially in groups, and are very diverse causing you to plan your attack according to which of the many types of enemies you are facing at the moment. The clothing and weapon customization is also upgraded as you can make your RPG rocket launches into a guitar. I mean an actual guitar! Using all of these crazy weapons and superpowers (don’t want to spoil all of them for you, thank me later) such as super speed, super stomp, ‘murica gun, alien weapons, and so much more, make the level of awesomeness on a factor between oh-my-lerd and aftermath-of-a-hard-night-of-drinking-donkey-beer.
Story: The general opinion among many gamers seems to be that this game is a totally non-serious laugh fest… I am here to tell you truthfully that anybody who says that is a liar. The game has its funny bits but the story takes itself very serious. Moments such as exploring Shaundi’s past as a doped out hippy, even the Saints Leader (and President) facing some very tough decisions to make, show us just how serious. The President is still funny for even saying “I’m the patron saint of America! We should probably look into changing the Pledge of Allegiance to One Nation, Under Me” and that right there is probably my favorite quote of the entire game.
Zinyak is a really good villain as well, he’s perfect at being the high alien overlord and plays the role perfectly. He even makes you think at certain parts of the game. He seems as if he is bored of doing what he does or maybe that his high intelligence and hatred for the President / Saints Leader brings him to mess with your head in some really ‘trippy’ ways that will blow your mind and have you second guessing yourself. I could very easily go into more depth explaining those statements, but the game is filled to the brim with spoilers that I am not going to state, but will only hint at, for the sake of your gameplay experience. This is really something that should be experienced first hand.
Replay Ability: Insanely High
Final Verdict: Saints Row IV is like climbing Satan’s ladder, a huge amount of fun but very chaotic at the same time, with a feeling that if you slip and fall you’re lost in the abyss of hell forever. The game keeps you guessing between fighting Wardens and completing challenges. Saints Row IV is a top notch game, one of the best I have ever played and it has easily earned itself a full 10 out of 10 earning it a rare RGN Rating of Diamond Game. It will be hard for any game to outdo this for Game of the Year 2013.
Overall Score: 10/10
RGN Rating: Diamond Game
Developers: Volition Inc., High Voltage Software
Publisher: Deep Silver
Available On: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Windows PC
Played On: Xbox 360
Review Copy Info- A physical copy of the game was provided to RealGamerNewz by the publisher for the purpose of this review.