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Xbox 360 Game Review

Saints Row IV


Format: Xbox 360
Publisher: Deep Silver
Developer: Volition
RRP: £39.99
4 0206285 12569
Age Restrictions: 18+
Release Date: 23 August 2013

Continue the story of the Third Street Saints by elevating their status to the highest level - the leaders of the free world. In Saints Row IV, the head honcho of the Saints has been elected to the Presidency of the United States. But the Saints are just getting started. Now the larger-than-life insanity of the Saints series gets a new twist with a catastrophic alien invasion, and the aliens have transported the Saints to a bizarro-Steelport simulation...

Review imageSaints Row IV continues the action, comedy and chaos where it left off in Saints Row: The Third. However, Steelport is a very different place... You are now the president of the USA, but before you can get too comfortable in your new position the world is invaded by an alien race. It then becomes obvious, with a nod and a wink to The Matrix, that you are living inside a simulation program. When you are finally freed from your pod, you are rescued and brought aboard a space station where your old friend Kinzie is on hand to fill in the blanks.

Kinzie also explains that the only way to take down the alien threat is to reenter the simulation and perform a number of different tasks. The main campaign then sees you entering the simulation to save various members of your old crew in your final big push to rid the alien menace for good.

Review imageWithout spoiling anything for fans of the franchise (for there are quite a few twists that you probably won't see coming) you'll feel pretty much at home in this "new" Steelport. As you progress through the game you unlock special abilities (including ice blasts, flammable bullets, shock jumps and telekinesis).

A number of old characters return from pervious games - which will be gratifying for fans that have followed the series. It was great to hear Keith David (Who Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II fans will remember as Sergeant Foley) make an appearance here as Julius Little (a role he played in Saints Row II).

Review imageTo start with I have to admit that I wasn't overly impressed with the simulation aspect of the game. Apart from anything else the ability to run, jump and leap up tall buildings made me think more of the Incredible Hulk than of a Saints Row game. Driving and flying everywhere was all you needed. But now, there's a pretty low cap on how high you can fly and the parachute ability has been removed (something I loved from the previous game), But these are small complaints - you get four new abilities to unleash on your enemies as well as an arsenal of new alien weapons (and an amusing sound weapon that forces your victim to dance - or explodes them on the spot if you give them a lethal dose.

Review imageComplete the main game (which you should do easily over the course of a few days solid game playing) and you'll have only scratched about 40% of the full game. There are numerous side quests - some from challenges dotted around the map and others by talking to your crew mates who want you to perform various tasks for them. This is all designed to keep you going back to the game long after you've completed the main campaign. There are also co-op missions that can only be entered with other players.

There are some neat little touches including the odd homage to some classic games (including a couple of very funny Metal Gear Solid references). The franchises warped sense of humour is very much intact, although the sexual elements that were such an integral part of humour of the third game are very much absent here - which is a huge shame. In addition the variety of clothes that can be bought and changed into was a bit of a let down and it would have been better if you could change the appearance and sex of your character and save the old one - so that you could change back whenever you wanted.

Review imageAs you run through the town, on occasion, you might see a character with a big head or extra limbs... worry not, this isn't a bug and comes into play in the final stage of the game in a hilarious WTF!? level.

While it moves the franchise forward, I didn't enjoy this as much as the previous game in the series. While the humour was there, it wasn't as crazy or (having replayed and completed Saints Row: The Third just prior to playing Saints Row IV) enjoyable an experience. While I will return to the previous game to complete all the side quests I didn't feel compelled to attempt them in this new game. Also, I remember choosing my taunts at the start of the game... but I don't actually recall using them during play... Maybe the controls for them is different to the last game, but I couldn't get my character to taunt or compliment the citizens of Steelport.

If you're new to the series I think I'd advise you to pick up the third game first and play that to death - it's more satisfying an experience.


Darren Rea

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