Saints Row IV – Throwback 10

When the first game in the Saints Row series came out it was very quickly labelled as a Grand Theft Auto clone, and it’s not hard to see why those comparisons were made. It put players in the role of a criminal gang member, and you undertook missions to further your standing amongst your peers as you changed the criminal world around you.

The game play was similar enough that it had a double edged effect of drawing in some GTA fans, whilst also stopping others from picking it up, thinking it was just a knock-off. As such, as the series went on the developers would take pains to make sure their games stood out as different; and boy does Saints Row IV do its own thing.

READ MORE: Commedia all’italiana (1959-1962) / A Moment of Romance (1990) – Blu-ray Review

At the end of the previous game the leaders of the Third Street Saints had taken control of the city of Steelport, and had declared it its own independent nation, seceding from the United States. The fourth game opens with the Saints and their leadership coming to the aid of the US government, stopping a terrorist attack that would wipe out Washington D.C.. This sets the Saints up as heroes, and skipping ahead to five years later the leader of the Saints has been elected President of the United States. This seems to set up the new status quo of the Saints being in charge of the whole nation, ready to cause chaos as you play as the President. But then the game gets weird.

Aliens invade. Aliens from space come to Earth and capture the President, along with their inner cabinet (all of the previous Saints, along with the actor Keith David, who plays himself). Then the world is blown up – before you’ve even had much chance to do anything in the game. From here your character is dropped into a simulation of Steelport, which you have to find your way out of, making the new game’s setting a post apocalypse Matrix simulation controlled by aliens. No one can say they’re copying Grand Theft Auto anymore.

© 2013 Deep Silver.

Much like the opening of Saints Row IV, the development of the game is a hell of a weird journey. After the release of the third entry in the series, development on a fourth game, Saints Row: Part Four, was started. It was set to be similar to the previous entry, with the player taking control of a new character in a new city other than Steelport. It was during the development that a joke DLC for the third game was announced, Enter the Dominatrix, which would be set in a computer simulation made by aliens. The joke was so well received that the developers thought ‘Why not?’ and actually started to create it.

However, when THQ began to tighten the strings and told their various developers to cut down costs, the team at Volition decided that the DLC idea was the more fun of the two, and so scrapped the original sequel and upgraded the DLC to the fourth entry in the franchise.

The game played similarly to previous entries, with the player in control of a customisable character in a third person perspective, taking them through the city of Steelport, completing missions, capturing objectives, or simply exploring. But the game does offer some ridiculous new additions. Thanks to being in a computer simulation there’s very little that’s off the table, and your character gets to have very over-the-top powers and abilities. The weapons also don’t have to make sense or stick to real world logic, and you get set loose with laser guns, weapons that suck things up, and even a sword shaped like a dildo. In many ways Saints Row IV takes the very basic start of the series and takes it to its most ludicrous extremes.

© 2013 Deep Silver.

Even the DLC for the game would do this, with a stand alone expansion called Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell taking the players to Hell, where they’d fight demons, monsters, and various mythological and biblical beings as the player flies around with angel wings. And this is perhaps the biggest problem with the game: it goes too far. It’s no surprise that following this the next entry in the series is a remake of the first game, because when you’ve blown up the Earth and been to Hell where else can the series go?

READ MORE: The Doctors: The Colin Baker Years – Behind The Scenes – DVD Review

If you’re looking for an open world game that’s ridiculous, lets you do pretty much anything you want, and never for a moment takes itself too seriously, then Saints Row IV is the game for you, especially if you’ve burned out on the same old approach of each entry in the Grand Theft Auto series. But if silly humour and fart jokes aren’t your thing then you might struggle with this one. But with the game having just turned ten years old you can find a copy super cheap, and even the updated versions with all of the extras can be found for a good price. It’s even come to the Switch, so you can murder aliens with a dildo sword anywhere.

Saints Row IV was released in the UK on 20th August 2013.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: