Community Review: Saints Row IV

It's been a long time coming, but Saints Row IV finally made it to our shores. Somehow. Some way. Now that you have it, was it worth the wait?

A confession: I've always been a bit of a Saints Row detractor. The first was a pretty lame Grand Theft Auto clone and its sequels, no matter how outlandish they become, were always tarred with that brush for me. I understand the series began blazing its own trail, that with each sequel became more outlandish, and sort of began to define themselves as this 'stupidly fun' alternative to an increasingly somber GTA series, but it never clicked with me.

But, regardless, it has become increasingly more difficult to actively dislike the Saints Row series. Not liking Saints Row is akin to being the party pooper. Do you not like fun, Mr Mark Serrels? Do all games have to be serious? Why can't you just loosen up you big sweaty idiot?

Well, I don't know. I've just always thought that it's far more fun to talk about what you did in Saints Row than it is to actually do it. It's fun to facebook/tweet/message, 'OMG, just sprayed a city in shit using a sewage truck. God, isn't Saints Row so zany!' Actually doing this in game, however, just feels isn't that interesting or rewarding because the core systems in the game just aren't well put together. As crazy and outlandish as Saints Row becomes ('OMGLOLZ playing as a weed smoking POTUS just bitch slapped the Secretary of State') that core is missing.

So Saints Row IV, to me, is the Scary Movie of games. Derivative to begin with, getting crazier and crazier with each new sequel. I've just never understood it and, with Grand Theft Auto V a day from release, I'm not sure I want to either.


    I think Saints row 4 looks great, but the only problem is Australia isn't getting the full game (I know only a little bit was cut out but still), also when it's releasing the same week as GTA 5 , its got no chance on my gaming radar

      Saints Row has gone from being a GTA knock off to being its own thing.

      Saying you won't get Saints Row because the new GTA is coming out is like saying you're going to skip Mario Kart because Gran Turismo is coming out.

      On the other hand, the two series are now different enough that you can simply not want to play one while playing the other. I have no real interest in GTA. Once it comes out on PC, I'll consider picking it up but it won't ever be a "must have" game for me.

      Having played the full, uncensored version of Saints Row 4, you really don't miss out on much by getting the Aussie version. If you just object to the censorship itself, it's trivial to get a non-Australian copy.

        I wasn't saying I wouldn't get Saints Row because GTA is a better open world (or anything like that), I just meant that no point getting something I won't be playing much compaired with GTA (I'm going to pump ALOT of hours into that game)
        So its more I dont have time for SR4

          You can get an uncensored version of it overseas, either by getting the key or just buying the physical one. The common misconception is that "Refused Classification = Illegal". It's illegal to sell and exhibit it to the public and/or minors, but aside from that, it's perfectly legal to own it. As far as I know, it's also fine to import it and they can only impound it if they suspect you're going to be selling/distributing it and can't prove otherwise (which is why you should only buy one copy at a time).

        Although it has removed it's GTA knock-off status, it's kinda like Prototype now. Think of it: Special Powers, upgrades, police, aliens going after you.. It's becoming one of the Prototype series now..

    I'm not such a massive fan of open world games in general. Ihad enough fun with SR2 to play through it, but I really hated how much of a jerk the characters were. SR3 Ididn't get all that far in.

    I'm mostly a fan of narratives, and open world games tend to make it almost impossible to tell a tight, well-plotted story. Rockstar's writing isn't really any better, so GTA doesn't really do it for me either.

    I'll tool around and marvel at the open world tech, but I've never felt engaged.

    I picked it up at US launch and played the uncensored version by telling Amazon that I lived at the White House. Then I finished everything I could over a few days, ending up at 93% completion.

    Saints Row is fun. I only played the third (and now fourth) games but they scratch a different itch than GTA.

    While GTA games have a plot that they take very seriously and then there's all this madcap stuff you can do because the sandbox exists in such a way that lets you, Saints Row is all about the madness.

    Saints Row IV is basically just Saints Row 3 with super powers. That's a major addition to the game, because the super powers mean that you have ridiculous mobility around Steelport. The only time that I drove any sort of vehicle was during missions that required it.

    Overall, the missions are somewhat samey, Steelport is the exact same as Saints Row 3 and the game is really easy. It really is just an expansion that got fleshed out a bit more. This game is really for two groups of people: those who wanted more Saints Row 3 and those who missed Saints Row 3.

    Oh and maybe Crackdown fans.

    Last edited 16/09/13 11:40 am

      Yep, I agree with the Crackdown similarity for myself at least. All I've done in both games is jump around and climb everything looking for orbs or those blue things in SR4. That's where the fun's at! Especially because in SR4 you can jump ridiculously high and also glide through the air like you can in Infamous and prototype.

        The superpowered movement is ridiculously fun. I enjoyed it throughout the whole game, which is odd because normally the sheen wears off fairly quickly.

        Making movement fun in an open world game is actually quite the challenge and they did a great job.

    I got mine a couple of weeks ago from ozgameshop and finished it the other night. It's a pretty cool game, the super powers are a nice addition (and consequently make the vehicles kind of pointless), the storyline is funny and it's just a pile of fun. I also liked how they parodied a bunch of other games too ( Mass Effect, Streets of Rage, Metal Gear Solid etc ) and did throw backs to every other game in the Saints Row series, almost as a love letter to the entire franchise.

    Reusing the old map makes it feel a little bit like expanded DLC but the way you interact with the map has changed entirely from the previous game so I don't think it really matters.

    I'm currently at about 70 percent completion, trying to get all the achievements, so i haven't finished it yet. I have had a blast! I've liked the SR franchise so far, and these new powers just put it over the top! All the references? The amusing situations? The great and weird levels? The funny conversations? As a surface level game, it's a fun game!

    I've spent most of the game laughing! Great game so far. Would recommend!

    Last edited 16/09/13 12:37 pm

    All I can say... is to anyone who's completed it who'll know what I'm talking about...

    Saints Row 5, if it gets made, is going to be VERY interesting indeed.

    Er, in what way is this actually a review? There's no indication Mr Serrels has even played the game, just that he didn't like the earlier games, more or less on principle.

    There's absolutely nothing in there about the actual game, its mechanics, or whether it is actually *in practice* playable.

      Community review is where the community reviews... you know, tell us what you think about the game.

    If GTA4 had the shooting controls of SR3, I'd have played it a LOT more. You can substitute most of the criticism in Mark's piece with GTA4 (replace 'zany/over the top/mindless' with 'gritty/edgy/brown/self-absorbed').

    I'm calling you out, @markserrels ! (This is just fun, don't take seriously! You're still rad.)

    If Saints Row is the 'Scary Movie' of games, GTA4 was the Chronicles of Riddick: trying to take itself seriously without realizing just how truly fucking absurd it is.

    Seriously. By the end of the first mission with a gunfight, how is Nico's face not plastered over every flat surface, with him arrested on sight and NOT getting off with a few hundred dollars fine? GTA4 is the poster child for cognitive dissonance, trying to tell some sort of morally-ambiguous gangster story in a world in which it is somehow normal for thousands of pedestrians to be murdered by one man, every day, and in which a downtown tank rampage somehow doesn't make the evening news, but we're expected to care about the threat of death to some generally unlikeable people we just happen to have been introduced to.

    That sort of bizarre open world shit only makes sense in the Saints Row franchise, which has firmly established that this is a world which openly accepts reality game-show snuff TV, and in which your tutorial mission is blowing a bank vault to airlift it out of the top of a building, while dressed as bobble-headed versions of yourselves while dozens of SWAT teams order you over loudspeakers to surrender your weapons and sign autographs for their kids - the whole fiasco ending in diving out of a mob-owned jumbo jet, without a parachute, and flying THROUGH THE JET'S COCKPIT when it tries to ram you, bursting out the other side, littering stolen/imported cars across the city. And then you complete the tutorial.

    Meanwhile, Nico makes his way into the city and is quietly roped into a job as a taxi driver who goes bowling with his annoying cousin.

    So GTA gives us a dark, gritty story with clown-shoes it doesn't realize it's wearing, with cars and gun controls that both handle like they have grease-slicked bricks strapped to them, and Saints Row gives us tight driving and shooting, and adds the rest of the clown outfit instead of asking everyone to politely pretend it's not wearing clown-shoes.

    /drop the mic

    (Edit to remove unfair accusations and fix up typos/entire missing words.)

    Last edited 16/09/13 1:49 pm

      I'm looking forward to seeing how the Max Payne shooting controls translate into GTAV. MP3 may have been a terrible Max Payne game, but they got the run-and-gun feeling good.

        I thought MP3 was pretty great! It still felt like Max. Just an older, more tired Max. Mario might be trapped in a time capsule for all eternity, but Max got wrinklier, slower, fatter, and more depressed/fatalistic. Very much in keeping with the series. Repetition is not progression. :)

          But he wasn't "Max" any more. He lost the poetry and ended up just swearing a lot, which he never did in the earlier games (even though other characters did). His incessant nihilism was grating, and out of character for a man who was always hopeful no matter what the situation.

          I wasn't after repetition as such, but it didn't feel like they 'got' Max Payne. Or, at least, they had their own idea about what they wanted to make and just didn't care about the existing games. I just wish they'd done their own thing and left Max alone.

          Anyway. Mechanics-wise it was fun, so that bodes well for GTAV. I probably didn't need to stick my opinions about a totally unrelated game into this thread :-)

      And The Chronicles of Riddick game was like The Godfather.

    I picked up the game through steam. started playing it at 7:00 on friday night. finished it last night at about 10pm. The game was absoloutly brilliant. story was funny and unexpected. there were so many memorable lines and references. the only issue I had was the game crashed regullarly either in cutsceens, or loading after completeing an activity. the dildo bat had no customisation options for me and i couldnt actually leave that menu without closing the game down via the task manager. the rest of the game was fine. the superpowers worked well, the combat was the same as the prevoius games when it comes to gun play. the driving is still fun but the radio stations become a bore after the first 3 hours. there is a challange to fly an alien vehical but there is no reall point to doing that through the entire game so the ruber band and circles will be your friend. they appear to be using more NPCs in the world now which adds a little more variety in the cutsceens and in general. most of the cast have returned, with the exception of sasha grey (for now) and we will see what the DLC holds. watch the credits after the final battle. there are some really funny comics and pictures of the developers.

    I started SRIV on Saturday night after finally getting my PS3 fixed (I got an import version), it's a hell of a lot of fun, and there have been some funny moments in it. I may wait a while for GTAV, mainly because I have a few other games on top of SRIV to finish.

    I've completed it on 360 and, let me tell you... that is one broke ass game.

    I loved almost every minute of it...
    The references to other games are all brilliantly done.
    The voice acting is brilliant.
    Movement is a blast.
    You end up super OP by about an hour in, but it never ceases to be enjoyable.
    The collectables are everywhere, and really addictive.


    This game does not run well on 360.
    Frames are dropped all the time (part of this is hidden as 'glitches' in the system).
    The game locks up so, so often (3 times during the final mission, for instance).
    Controls aren't brilliant on 360, which isn't helped by the speeds you can reach.
    Stillwater is really starting to look aged, and the engine is starting to wear.

    But let none of that detract you.
    This an absolutely brilliant, well written, fun and funny game.
    I'm hugely impressed by how far Volition have come in this generation, and am very glad they didn't have to close after the THQ fiasco.
    This game will feature in plenty of peoples Game of the Year lists, and may be the closest we get to a Crackdown game for a few more years.

      I agree with the map looking aged, but i had none of those other problems with my 360. I'm very sorry you had that experience.

    I loved SR2, and SR3 was pretty solid, but i'm not sold on 4 at all. Feels like wasted time to me. I wish it would go back to that semi-serious, semi-stupid of number 2.

    GTAIV was bland and boring to me. I picked up Saints Row 1 and haven't looked back. Felt a bit disappointed with 3- they tried to cram in so many little minigames without any context etc- but SR4 is thankfully absolutely brilliant, loving it so far. Saints Row is the real continuation of the absurd side of the GTA series, where GTAIV went down a 'serious' path.

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