Saints Row IV: Re-Elected PS4 Review
Publisher: Deep Silver Developer: Volition Genre: Action Players: 1-2 Age Rating: 18+
Other console/handheld formats: PS3, Xbox 360, Xbox One
The Saints Row series might well have started as a GTA clone , but with each new game the craziness has been dialled up, and now there’s aliens, super powers and a psychotic US President. It’s with this type of absurdity that the series has found its own identity.
Saints Row IV: Re-Elected bundles Saints Row IV and its new expansion Gat Out of Hell together. The primary game has been remastered, though it’s not an outstanding enhancement by any means and suffers from performance issues that simply shouldn’t be there, but is nevertheless a clear improvement over the previous generation version.
In Saints Row IV, you once again take charge of the leader of criminal gang the Saints, who is also now the President of the United States, it has to be said. As a result of an Alien invasion Saints Row IV largely takes place within a Matrix like simulation, granting the president some handy super powers to fight back. It’s very silly and juvenile throughout but discovering what madness happens next is all part of the charm of the game. Other games are spoofed throughout such as Mass Effect and Metal Gear Solid to great effect, and it would be very nasty of me to go into any further detail than this.
The powers grant the game a unique flavour to past entries in the series, which is welcome; all the more so when you consider that the somewhat bland Steelport is once again the setting. You can do things like run at incredible speeds and even up buildings, leap large distances, throw things with telekinesis and shoot fire and ice from your hands. The likes of Crackdown and InFamous were clear inspirations, which is no bad thing.
The mobility of your character means cars are pointless now, which will disappoint some. Guns however are still of great importance and these, in combination with your super powers, creates action that might not be intelligent, but is ludicrously good chaotic fun that leaves you feeling all godly. Weapons include the likes of a dubstep gun, which makes your enemies dance and an abduction gun which sees them being abducted by aliens.
Powers can be upgraded by finding the numerous Data Clusters scattered around, a task which is elevated by how enjoyable it is simply to run and glide around the city. The money you earn is as meaningful as ever allowing you to upgrade your character and weapons. This is also tied to an XP system, which sees you unlocking new upgrades for purchase as you level up. It’s a game that is constantly rewarding you for your immense death and destruction, and that is very much a good thing.
The game offers plenty of methods of earning money and XP: there are activities and challenges to complete. Activities consist of the likes of Insurance Fraud which sees you purposely throwing yourself into traffic, and Mayhem, which tasks you with causing as much damage as possible within a certain time limit. There’s a fair bit of variety and most of it is fun. challenges meanwhile encourage variation in your power and weapon usage.
As for Gat Out of Hell, being an expansion it delivers a smaller slice of Saints Row’s brand of open world gameplay. It’s a satisfying one though that stars Johnny Gat and Kinzie Kensington, two of the series most memorable characters that are on a mission to save the President from Hell. Understandably it’s not a great deal different to the main game, and it’s a shame that missions are generally just based around activities, but you do have wings, which makes navigation different again, and there’s some fun new weapons (one of which is a nice armchair with guns attached) whilst there’s plenty to do, all of which should satisfy the fans that just can’t get enough of the series.
Saints Row IV: Re-Elected might not be particularly refined or challenging, but it has hours of ridiculous fun and personality. It’s just a shame that the current generation ports are merely just on an acceptable level, when with a bit more effort they could easily have made the game and its expansion even more super powered.