Saints Row IV: Re-Elected makes you double as leader of the Saints and President of the United States. What could possibly go wrong in that scenario?
What started out as something many felt was a clone of Grand Theft Auto, Saints Row has really started to gain its own identity as the series has gone on. The problem that most series face is that the games start getting repetitive or stale and don’t particularly bring anything new. Saints Row IV doesn’t suffer from these problems and has brought a whole new slew of chaos to the table but, with that said, new problems arise out of this chaos.
My first opportunity to play any game in the Saints Row series was late in 2013 when I finally caved in and bought Saints Row: The Third. I instantly fell in love with the series and couldn’t believe I had waited so long to try it. It’s a little rough around the edges but the freedom and fun factor make up for any annoyances that may come up. When I first heard about Saints Row IV releasing this year, my first thought was, “What more can they really do with a game essentially about taken over crews and cities when that’s all been done before?” The answer is, become the President. Yes, you single-handedly disarm a nuclear warhead in mid-air, become President, and battle an alien invasion.
As crazy as that sounds, it gets even more insane when you get dumped into a virtual representation of Steelport which is where most of the game takes place. This is where you gain super powers such as super jump and super sprint. You would think that superpowers would make the game that much better and bring a different dynamic. At first, I felt that it did bring a lot of new things to the game and was such a change from SR3. The issue that arises after a few hours of gameplay is that your character is almost god-like and nothing feels like a challenge anymore. I got to a point where I could run or glide anywhere I wanted to go and could melee kill anything that I came into contact with (unless it was a special enemy) without much effort at all.
As easy as the game becomes after a while, you still get the itch to try all the crazy weapons and different things that Volition stuck into this game. The weapons are probably as varied as ever with the ‘Merica weapon being in all in one killing machine and things like the Dub-Step Gun bringing the laughs. The regular weapons felt very weak compared to using superpowers and even the alien weapons didn’t have much of an impact although the infinite ammo was a definite perk. The Abductor, which was essentially a black hole gun, was another bright point. I rarely used more than a couple of weapons and I felt like Volition tried to do so much with the various abilities that certain things ended up becoming less important.
As in the previous game, there are many side activities that grant you various powers and unlocks that will help you through the game. Thes activities range from killing waves of enemies to stealing cars to races. There’s a great variety here and a lot of different gameplay to try out. Volition definitely didn’t want people to get bored with these diversions. Each one only takes 5 to 10 minutes depending on skill and if you complete them all, you’ll be virtually unstoppable (as if you weren’t already). There are also some loyalty missions for each homie that are slightly longer and help clear up any unfinished business those characters may have. There’s even the Meet The Dominatrix and Miracle on 3rd Street DLC included with this version for some extra gameplay.
This is the one game in the series where most of the characters that have shown up in the series are present and available to help you out. There are people like Matt, Asha, Kinzie, Pierce, and Shaundi x 2 (Yes, Saints Row 2 Shaundi is in here too). That’s in addition to people like Roddy Piper (RIP) who makes the game as one of your homies. The dynamic between the characters is one of the things that makes the games so fun. I never had to worry about too much because I could call up a homie and they’d have my back in 2 seconds.
The dynamic between the characters is one of the things that makes the games so fun. Pierce and your character will sing in the car on some missions, the two Shaundis fight with each other or talk about the past, Kinzi is cynical about everything, your character has catchphrases for different events. It all brings you into the crazy story and allows you to understand the world of The Saints better.
The enemies were a quite a miss for me. A lot of the enemies were the main antagonist, Zinyak’s, foot soldiers or corrupt simulation police. The enemies would run, drive, or teleport to you through a portal and attempt to shoot you. Your character is so fast that he avoids those shots. If a spaceship shows up, you can literally use Telekinesis to take it out of the sky. There are so many weapons at your disposal that the enemy is an afterthought. There were very few challenges that I had in this game because my character had an answer for everything.
If you’re sick of the missions and want a bit of a break, you can go find one of the many collectibles hidden on the map. Once you do the challenge to obtain the collectible finder, it’s pretty easy to grab them all in the span of a few hours. Collecting the shards grants your player currency to upgrade your super powers, so it ends up being a particularly important piece of the game. There are over 1200 to collect and it gets a bit tedious after a while. There are also things like audio logs and computers that tell you a bit more backstory.
There are plenty of great cars to choose from in this game, but it’s utterly pointless to use them since it’s way faster to use super sprint or glide everywhere. There are also things like the power armor and the mech suit that add some different gameplay to the game. The issue with those items is that you don’t get to use them even nearly often enough. The reality is, you’re given a ton of freedom, but that freedom isn’t always available when you’d like to use it. It’s one of those rare cases where you have so many great things like super powers, but your level limits other things like unlimited ammo. Your character is still amazingly strong, but there’s little things that you’ll have to be high level to add that you won’t necessarily understand.
Saints Row IV: Re-Elected is not a game for children. There are so many instances of profanity, drugs, and sexual things that no young child should be playing this game. That’s part of Saints Row’s charm, though. It doesn’t take anything seriously. It’s fun for the sake of being fun and that’s what makes it a good series. I would recommend this game to anyone over 18. It’s certainly a fun game that will keep players occupied for a long time.