Hey gang, Valkor here. I've been gaming for as far back as I can remember, touching base with just about every console, handheld, whatever there is. I've played some strange titles, but none that's as stranger or as much fun as Volition/High Voltage/Deep Silver's latest – Saints Row 4. Can a title that mixes elements from The Matrix, Infamous and Grand Theft Auto as well as other gaming/film references be any good? Check it out.
For the record, I've never played the first three titles and if you guys think I should give em a try, make your voice heard in the comment box below.
Saints Row 4 takes places three years after the events of part three. And your character that you create from top to bottom, is now President of the United States. Suddenly, the earth is attacked by aliens known as the Zin. And their leader, Emperor Zinyak kidnaps and places you into a virtual prison. At first you're in a 1950s-esque "Leave it to Beaver" type world, but you soon break out of that and you're then tossed into a virtual open-world of Steelport. Within this world you develop crazy super powers (thanks due to your hacker buddy Kinzie), have to take down alien towers and flashpoints, perform all sorts of challenges, save your friends, and ultimately take on the big guy Zinyak.
I said in the beginning SR4 is like The Matrix, because you can dip in and out of this virtual world at any given time and at one point you even get a red/blue choice to make. But then why would you ever want to leave when there's so much you can do? You get some amazing super powers such as the ability to freeze or burn your enemies, or mind control powers allowing you to not only control your enemies, but you can also mentally toss stuff at them as well as well as perform a super stomp. You can even leap tall buildings in a single bound and glide for great distances. There are times I'd forget about a mission and just dick around the city, using my powers on whatever and whomever. The game is like GTA because you can steal cars and even pimp them out in exciting ways. And what the hell, you can even steel enemy ships, bikes, and vehicles and use their own weapons against them. Plus you can also abuse the citizens of Steelport by picking their pockets, beating the snot out of them, or killing them for health or money. Of course this alerts the police, who come at you in waves. You can avoid them by running away or flying on rooftops until your notoriety runs out, but I'd rather stay and fight until the warden appears. Kicking that ass never gets old. And as for similarities with Infamous? Well, it's similar where you collect energy clusters just like you collect energy shards, only the clusters you collect here is used to upgrade your super powers.
Along with your superpowers, SR4 has a ton weapons either the bad guys will drop or others you'll earn completing missions and such. The mine gun is insane, the dubstep gun… pretty cool. But the ricochet gun I'll use for days. There are also handguns, pistols, rifles, and melee weapons like bats, batons… and dildo bats (not joking). I think I tricked one out to look like a blue Jedi light saber. You can find weapon stores where you can upgrade or pimp out your weapons, and buy ammunition for them. There's also stores for clothing and tattoos, where buying either will earn you experience points. Again there's plenty for you to do in this game.
So how do you complete the insanity of bashing baddies with dildo bats, freezing another wave shattering their bodies to bits, burning up another string of baddies, and tossing around a bunch of vehicles – just because I can?? You'll need a bad ass soundtrack and SR4 has a pretty decent selection of radio stations to choose from. I thought after my first week of hearing "What is Love?" I'd grow tired of it. But I haven't yet and I'm still going. One of my favorite missions (Pierce Loyalty challenge) incorporates a little sing along action and yea I sang to the high heavens Paula Abdul's "Opposites Attract"; that was just too much fun.
I've been reading the press releases on SR4, watching the vids and looking at images. And I thought a game this… insane, can't possibly be all that good? Can it? Well, I've hinted some of my impressions in the previous paragraphs, but let's truly dip in with the TOV Breakdown.
Saints Row 4 has to be the most over-the-top game I've played since… well Asura's Wrath. And that game was crazy over the top. But Saints Row 4 does a better job of being over the top given the fact that its done up in a virtual world and just about anything goes; Volition pretty much went nuts with this one and it paid off big time. Name a game where your character rides a nuke to the tune of "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing" or fight a giant energy drink? I can even one up that! How about you can customize your character any way you like – Any. Way. You. Like. That means if you want a male character who wears a suit with high heels and a thong, you can do it. You want a butchy female character with some "sex appeal" (i.e. big boobies), you can do that too. And everything in between. That's right Volition has given you the freedom to let your freak flag fly! On top of that, you get different types of gameplay elements on top of the 3rd person adventure such as stealth, space battles, an area reminiscent to Metal Gear (complete with "!!" sound); they definitely extend gameplay and are a blast! Graphically, the game looks really good with fluid animation and great character models. And the attention to detail in your creation – right down to the voice, is amazing stuff. Finally THE MUSIC IN THIS GAME deserves a nod not just for the standard backdrop tunes but for the selections you find in the radio station. I mainly kept the dial on 107.7, which is a mix of 80s and 90s beats; sure it's weird playing this sorta game with OutKast's "Bombs over Baghdad" in the background, but SR4 was built on weird, so it's acceptable. Along with the 80s and 90s tunes, you also get a classical, reggae, and club stations as well. In the end, the gang at Volition have created an incredible open world title with the ability to be the freaky superhero you've always wanted to be and beyond. It's insane, over the top, perverted madness that I really enjoyed.
OK I have just a few minor issues. And my first annoyance is not being able to instantly suck up cache (money) from fallen enemies. Yup, you have to pac-man the money off the ground (walk around and pick it up) and what's worse? It's sometimes hard to see. Finally there are the challenges such as TK Mayhem or Virus Detection; once you complete them as part of the quest, you can play them again by locating there icons on the map, with different degrees of difficulty. Honestly, there's really no reason to play them – unless you're a completist. Then have at you. Otherwise, the story mode and loyalty missions are just fine for me. Although I will play some of the challenges, there are others that I'll just pass on.
There are Steelport citizens that'll suddenly disfigure. It is freaky weird. Oh and my male character, with deep voice, sporting a thong and doing a sexy stripper dance. Yikes and LOLZ!
Saints Row 4 is out now for the PS3, XBOX 360 and PC. And if you like your Grand Theft Auto with a side of quirky, off the wall humor, a fun character creator, and twisted, super powered mayhem wrapped in an exaggerated world, then you'll definitely want to give this a title ago. I enjoyed my time with the title and I think you will too. And out of TOV 5 stars, I give Saints Row 4… well, a 4. And it's been Valkor tested, TOV Approved.