Saints Row IV Review



Saints Row IV is such a fresh open-world game that I don’t think I can go back to the traditional formula established by its predecessors.


Over the years, the Saints Row franchise has gotten a reputation of being a wacky Grand Theft Auto clone and while there’s an element of truth in that, the open-world games are more than that. In Volition’s latest entry, the Saints gang run the United States, since you assume the role of the president, but a sudden alien attack sends you back you Steelport and you need to complete a series of missions before you can get rid of the alien menace.

Saints Row IV President

Decisions… Decisions…

As soon as I started playing, I was invaded by a feeling of deja vu: Steelport seemed pretty much unchanged, the shooting and driving mechanics seemed overly familiar and the game’s structure was similar to Saints Row: The Third. That said, new mechanics and features soon appeared and that feeling of deja vu was completely shattered.

The most meaningful addition to the Saints Row formula comes in the form of powers that make this game a superhero game. Powers include super jump, sprint, freeze blast, fire blast and the list goes on and on and you’ll soon learn how to combine them in creative and satisfying new ways. To be clear, you can still drive and shoot, but the powers are so entertaining that you’ll soon forget that those mechanics even exist. Interestingly, all the new powers make every game that preceded Saints Row IV pretty much unplayable and I had so much fun jumping around Steelport and freezing aliens that I don’t think I could ever go back to driving and running.

Saints Row IV is packed with content. Apart from the main and side-missions, you’ll run into climbable towers, collectibles, races, tank missions, stores where you can purchase customizable items, hacking minigames, enemy bases that you can take over and the list goes on and on. Exploring the open-world is a blast thanks to the elegant superpowers that you acquire as you progress through the game and soon, you’ll be zipping around and flying around the city. Without making reference to specifics, the game takes place in two different settings. In your crib you can still change weapons, cache, clothes, vehicles and gang customization. Then there’s simulation which is a virtual world, so there’s an explanation for all the powers you get.

Saints Row IV Gliding

Gliding around Steelport is incredibly satisfying.

Without making reference to specifics, the game takes place in two different settings. In your crib you can still change weapons, cache, clothes, vehicles and gang customization. Then there’s simulation which is basically a virtual world that would explanation why you get all those powers.

The wacky presentation and juvenile sense of humor so characteristic of the Saints Row universe permeates every part of the game. This is also reflected in the missions, since there are parts of the game that resemble a text adventure or virtual reality games. Saints Row has always been notorious for its unique (and at times, lewd) sense of humor and this fourth entry in the series is no exception. The game’s constantly breaking the fourth wall, making references to movies (John Carpenter’s They Live) classic games (Sierra’s classic text adventures, side-scrolling beat ‘em ups) and so on. Additionally, the game’s filled with random jokes, such as the possibility of running around naked, transform into a toilet, romance members of your crew and more.

In conclusion, Saints Row IV is such a fresh open-world game that I don’t think I can go back to the traditional formula established by its predecessors. The game renders all the games that preceded it obsolete since the powers that you can unlock make the open-world experience so much better and refined.