Title: Saint’s Row IV
Publisher: Deep Silver
Developer: Volition, Inc.
Platforms: PC, Mac, Xbox 360, PS3
Release Date: Out Now
Saint’s Row IV is the latest release in the bizarre open-world series, and by far the most insane yet. While it is technically a new game with a plot that continues on from Saint’s Row The Third, the latest instalment is set in the same city. Despite it being a billed as a full numbered sequel, Saint’s Row IV is unfortunately better described as downloadable content in disguise.
The plot itself continues directly from the previous game, in which the Third Street Saints have become heroes in their city of Steelport. From this, the protagonist, simply referred to as The Boss, becomes the President of the United States. It’s all fun and games until the presidential shenanigans are interrupted by an alien invasion. The Boss is then captured and put in a simulation of Steelport for the amusement of the alien overlord.
There has always been a heavy element of silliness, which was harshly expanded upon in the third game of the series, but the Saint’s Row games seem to be running out of jokes. However, the option to have a character voiced by Nolan North as Nolan North, is an admittedly inspired character customisation gag. However, the level of seriousness that previously contrasted and counterbalanced the lunacy has been eradicated.
Saint’s Row IV is very much Saint’s Row The Third with even more pop culture references thrown in. Keith David plays himself and at one point brawls with Roddy Piper. There are customisation options available for weapons so that they resemble Han Solo’s blaster or even Malcolm Reynold’s revolver from Firefly.
While all of these are amusing for some time, and the Dubstep Gun is stupidly fun, they wear thin relatively quickly. The newly added super powers, which allow for rapid traversal of the environment are initially fun, but equally become repetitive. They also have the side effect of making travel by car useless.
The activities from Saint’s Row The Third are all still here, just with new skins. Helicopters become flying saucers, tanks become hover-tanks, and destruction merely becomes destruction with super powers.
Graphically, it’s very much the same as its predecessor. The landmass is almost identical, save for some superficial additions. Minus the super powers and plot, there is almost nothing genuinely new here.
Despite all of these flaws, the game’s twenty hours of gameplay is certainly an entertaining experience. Still, the lack of any real replay value, combined with its status as a half sequel with not enough original content, make Saint’s Row IV a difficult purchasing recommendation at full price.