You’re part of the elite Saints team and you’re tasked with killing the valuable enemy target and defusing the bomb that’s about to strike Washington. Everything goes to shit and you’re forced to jump on board a launching missile in order to save the world, everyone starts to leave their goodbye messages not knowing you’re in the process of saving the world and landing back down to earth with a thump. You land in the Oval Office in the White House and crossing your legs you give a sigh of relief, it’s all in a day’s work for a Saint. Sounds perfect for the opening sequence for Saints Row game, right? I thought it was and it was pretty darn amusing too, from the get go I was in stitches with the gags the game was throwing at me. From sexual jokes to dick punches (no, really), Saints Row IV has it all, or at least most of it!
Unlike the third game in the series, this titles seems to have a story that can be followed and flows in a somewhat straight line from start to finish. Saints Row is known for being over the top with its gameplay and I feel that this suits the series to a tee, it’s a shame though that it feels more like a DLC than a complete new game.
To be perfectly honest, Saints Row IV plays and looks exactly like The Third, the only changes here are a handful of game elements being tweaked, a storyline change and enemy types now being alien. After creating your desired character; male or female, you are then free to delve into the story, and what a weird story it is. I will mention at this point that during the character customisation screen you are able to choose Nolan North as your character’s voice over, this makes the game much more amusing.
The game begins and it’s all based around you, The President, and an alien invasion which was foreseen by your nerdy teammate Kenzie. You’re thrown into a world of madness and must kill, destroy and generally bring down the new empire that has been built within Steelport simulation. Alongside completing main missions, you can also complete the activities as before and can now delve into some all new side missions for particular characters should you wish. There is more than enough content here to keep anyone entertained and the fact that it’s an improvement over SR:3 is great. The game mechanics are exactly the same as those within the third Saints game, though you’re now able to use special abilities alongside your normal weaponry.
It’s not long before you can start using your powers and once you get them you won’t look at a vehicle in the game the same way again. Since unlocking my running and jumping powers I’ve not once hijacked a car, instead I’ve found myself jumping from rooftop to rooftop and wall running wherever I go. The power of running is very similar to that you use during the Attack of the Clones DLC in the third game, should you have played that. There are also a variety of other abilities which are unlocked during story progression such as Blast which freezes enemies, allowing you to get up close and give them a kick in the balls if need be, or you can just shoot them.
These special abilities can be upgraded at any point, so long as you have the required amount of clusters needed. Clusters are a type of currency and these can be seen all over Steelport and must be collected by climbing buildings and other pieces of the environment and walking through them. You don’t have to pay for clusters which is nice, but it takes a while to collect the required amount for above average upgrades as you continue progression. This reminds me a lot of the game Crackdown and the orbs which you need to collect in order to upgrade, the only difference here being the difficulty, they’re so much easy to spot and pick up in SR:IV.
General character upgrades are the same as before and sadly you aren’t able to import character stats from the previous game, which I find a little annoying, so you’re going to have to upgrade your character once more to get some of the additional benefits of health regeneration and more clips in your weapons. You can still customise cars and upgrade weapons using Rim Jobs and Friendly Fire which is nice, though as I have mentioned you won’t need to use a car ever again once you can start using your abilities.