by Matt Porter
reviewed on PC
Laughing out nuts
The combat still holds up well too. In addition to all the weaponry from the previous game, you have access to all kinds of alien tech. The Dubstep Gun, The Singularity Gun and the Inflato-Ray are some of the most amusing, and most satisfying things to use in any recent video game. As before, you will still be upgrading your character as you play through the game using Cache, which accumulates by performing pretty much any action in Steelport. Mayhem missions return, where you cause as much damage as possible in the time limit. Insurance Fraud has you playing in traffic to generate money. Instead of car racing, you will be racing using your super jump and sprint. You will be hacking shops in a minigame which is a slightly altered version of Pipeline. These side activities provide a distraction from the main quest line, but none of them are particularly worth spending too much time on. In fact it is the most basic of video game concepts that ends up being the best thing to do in your downtime. Collecting Clusters, found on rooftops and walls throughout Steelport, allows you to upgrade your special powers. Since the platforming is so good, it almost becomes a compulsion to head straight towards a Cluster when you see it.
The main story missions are where Saints Row IV shines. The writing is top notch, although you will definitely want to have played at least Saints Row The Third to appreciate a lot of the referential jokes. The game is filled with laugh out loud moments, not only from the dialogue, but often even just from the very situations you find yourself in. Each of your crew members has their own Loyalty Mission, which grants them superpowers of their own upon completion. These are side missions worth doing, while other quests in the game aren’t really necessary unless you’re going for all of the achievements. The main missions alone will take you a decent amount of time, and to complete everything in the game will take up to around twenty hours, especially if you want to get Gold in all of the challenges.
Packing a punch
I have mixed feelings on the way the game looks. I wasn’t a big fan of the dark and gloomy visuals of the simulation, but the way every texture shimmers every now and then as the computer program occasionally slows up is pretty cool. The frame rate remained pretty constant, even when it seemed like the entire screen was exploding, or when I was running at hundreds of miles per hour through city streets leaving a trail of destruction in my wake. The only time it occasionally hitched was during an autosave, but it was barely noticeable. The customisations are as deep as ever, and still allow you to look pretty much however you want, as well as bringing in a “Nolan North” option for your character’s voice.
Overall Saints Row IV is a marvellously enjoyable game, while still suffering from a few of the complaints that the series has always had. The main quests are great, and although the side missions are not painful to play, they don’t pack the same punch. If you played and enjoyed Saints Row The Third, then picking up this sequel is a must. Equally if you’re looking for a game that lets you act like a badass with special powers, this might be a better superhero game than many others that are actually billed as such.
New gameplay options make this silly series even more fun. Great writing and customisation options.
Some of the side missions become tedious after a while.