Tuesday 3 September 2013

Saints Row IV

“On the verge of Grand Theft Auto V’s release it’s nice to revert to Saints Row’s wonderfully whacky and over the top world full of insane characters, amazing abilities and incredibly fun gameplay.”

Saints Row the Third really took the series to a whole different level of insane so when Saints Row IV was announced, I found it difficult to imagine what was next for Steelport City. Needless to say, things have once again been taken to a whole new level.

Saints Row IV resembles its predecessor very closely bar the introduction of one new gameplay mechanic – superpowers. That’s right, if you didn’t think you were already an insane city destroying machine then come check out what you’re capable of doing in Saints Row IV. Leaping across buildings, blowing stuff up with your mind, annihilating hordes of enemies with single moves makes this a chaos-packed experience, but not one without faults. 

Unfortunately what made Saints Row the Third so appealing is missing here because the introduction of superpowers severely impacts on the game’s difficulty and progression. Saints Row IV offers you these amazing abilities then takes them away then brings them back and there’s a real lack of continuity throughout the campaign. It’s also very difficult to ever feel threatened when you’re pretty much unstoppable for almost the entire game. So while this is certainly mindless fun, gamers looking for some substance will find it very difficult to find here. 

Saints Row has never been about stunning graphics, rather what you look for is humour and entertainment, both of which can be found in Saints Row IV. Disappointingly however, Steelport City is a wonderful virtual world (as we found out in Saints Row the Third) but these superpower abilities pretty much prevent you from ever really taking the time to explore or get to feel your surroundings. This lack of connection with your surroundings is a real frustration and seems like a missed opportunity.

The story is typically too outrageous to even consider trying to understand, but it gets some laughs and provides some sort of structure for your chaotic adventuring across Steelport. 

What is wicked fun is the character editor that returns from Saints Row the Third – the whole experience is very easily tailored to how you want to play and who you want to be in Saints Row IV. While nothing revolutionary for the series, it serves to create some sort of connection between the player and game. 

The Verdict:
I can’t help but feel that Saints Row IV has missed a trick and backtracked from the previous success of Saints Row the Third. It’s a shame for the series as a whole that developed some decent momentum with the predecessor. However, that’s not to say the game isn’t a whole load of fun, which it clearly is. I just feel that perhaps Saints Row the Third is a little bit better across the entire board, not by much but marginally a better game overall.

Gameplay: 7
Presentation: 6
Replay Value: 6
Verdict: 6

Igor Kharin

Saints Row IV at CeX

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