I loved the storyline of Saints Row 2 and felt Saints Row: The Third greatly improved all aspects of the franchise’s game mechanics, all in the desire to provide an open-world third-person game of pure fun. So, with Saints Row IV, I guess developers Volition decided they had only one direction to take – more bigger and more extreme!
Storywise, the game is over-the-top, as you find yourself the president of a world now taken over by alien beings. In terms of gameplay, your artificial environment allows your character to be quite super-powered, able to leap and fly above buildings in a single bound and run at lighting speed.
Indeed, the superpowers your character possesses, though fun, also sadly makes the game either too easy or without challenge. Most of all, it’s a great departure of the type of game Saints Row use to be. Why mod up and drive your car across the city when you can simply just jump and fly to your destination quicker?
There is still a lot to love for the Saints Row franchise, for it offers something quite different to other games out there and is still a great amount of fun. Also, the freedom to totally create and customize your character’s appearance, gender, etc. can never be under-estimated nor over-looked.
However, I can’t help feel that this is a step backwards, with the game being a victim of its’ own extreme powers and in-jokes. There are a couple missions/sequences that reference the earlier games, mostly done for some ironic effect, yet all it did was make me nostalgic for a more “normal” game in which I truly cared about the characters and/or truly felt challenged while having fun.
Score: 7.5 out of 10.