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Saints Row IV (Video Game Review)

The Saints Row series has come a long way since its introduction in 2006. The series follows the adventures of the 3rd Street Saints gang and their boss, who is a fully customizable character controlled by the player. Many initially wrote off the series as another Grand Theft Auto clone, but developer Volition has continued to raise the bar in terms of great storytelling and insane, over-the-top missions that make the series truly its own.

Saints Row IV began development as an add-on for the previous title in the series, but it seemed the DLC, named Enter the Dominatrix, would never be released after publisher THQ went bankrupt late last year. Luckily for fans of the series, Deep Silver purchased the rights to the video game series allowing the continued development of the DLC that would later turn into the full release of Saints Row IV. The team behind the game have already announced the first DLC release for Saints Row IV would in fact be Enter the Dominatrix and will be available for Saints Row IV Season Pass holders.

As for the new game, Saints Row IV will take players back to the legendary town of Steelport, at least temporarily. The new story takes place a few years after the events of the previous title, and the boss of the Saints has now become President of the United States. When an alien outbreak occurs, the boss and crew are transported to a virtual version of Steelport mixed with parts of Washington D.C. and other famous cities. This allows the protagonist to gain new abilities including super powers like flight, super speed and telekinesis. There are also plenty of fun new weapons to utilize in the world including giant flying mechs, an inflating ray that swells enemies' heads to hilarious cartoon sizes and dubstep guns that produces plenty of wub wub. Players will need to utilize all of the skills and weapons at their disposal in order to overcome the Zinyak force, escape the virtual prison and save the planet. Saints Row IV takes the wackiness featured in Saints Row: The Third and cranks it into maximum insanity. Needless to say, Saints Row IV features the most entertaining storyline in the entire series.

The virtual world featured in Saints Row IV offers the chance for many different mechanics to be introduced to the franchise. There are some very surreal moments when the artificial inhabitants turn on the player or the American Dream sequence turns for the worst all of a sudden. Still, many of the classic elements of the series is retained in the new release including the choices players will have to make throughout the game for different benefits; one of the early missions forces the player to choose between curing cancer or curing world hunger and is obviously poking fun at games like the Fable series that work on a moral choice meter. Combat is still largely the same with duel wielding machine guns or powerful assault rifles doing most of the work, though some crazier weapons are added in for good measures. Traveling around the city in vehicles is still mostly unchanged as well, but traveling on foot is a completely different story. Players can now upgrade to super speeds and jump on top of buildings with quick hops to make searching out collectibles and moving around smaller areas a lot less tedious the in previous entries to the series.

Players can once again team up throughout the campaign in Saints Row IV with drop in/drop out cooperative play. The host player still gets many benefits such as being predominantly showcased in the game's cutscenes, but both players get access to super powers, a massive arsenal of weapons and other items included in the game. Even with a lack of new game modes, there are still plenty of new side missions included in the game including Mind Over Matter that utilizes super powers to complete unique objectives. There are also tons of hidden collectibles to find scattered around the many locations in Saints Row IV that includes a virtual world and real world, where players lose most of their special abilities.Saints Row IV is easily one of the most creative games we've ever played and a good reason to drop your money on a full retail release.

In addition to the game's great gameplay, Saints Row IV retains many characters from the entire series including favorites like Shaundi and Pierce as well as Ben King from the first release. Saints Row IV has managed to improve on its voice acting from Saints Row: The Third with plenty of great actors making an appearance in the game including Troy Baker, Terry Crews, Nolan North, Keith David, Neil Patrick Harris, Rob Van Dam and more. An excellent soundtrack bolsters the game's fantastic presentation including a memorable usage of a popular Aerosmith song. Plenty of clothing options, customizable weapons and superb character animations help players easily look over some bland scenery featured in some missions and character models that don't look quite as nice as other games currently on the marketplace.

Picking up Saints Row IV for fans of the series is a no-brainer. The game comes with many different preorder incentives and special editions including American themed DLC for the new President to show off the pride in his country. One lucky fan can even drop a million dollars they have just lying around on a special edition version of the game that comes with a luxury car, plastic surgery, a trip to space and more for the full Saints Row experience. Some parts of the game have remained largely unchanged, but every other aspect has managed to be improved. Saints Row IV probably won't appeal to the game that enjoys incredible realism, but the open world adventure is one of the best we've played and is sure to be a major contender with Grand Theft Auto V for the best in its genre. So journey down Satan's ladder and pick up some donkey beer to prepare for the kick-ass journey ahead. Pick up a copy of Saints Row IV today and send those alien scum back where they come from!

Saints Row IV is now available from all major retailers for the MSRP of $59.99 and can be purchased for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. Saints Row IV is rated M by the ESRB for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Sexual Content, Strong Language & Use of Drugs. For more information on the game, check out the official Saints Row IV website.

Game Features:

  • Online Multiplayer 1-2
  • Online Leaderboards
  • DLC Support
  • Steam Trading Cards
  • Trophy/Achievement Support

  • Game Information:
    Developer: Deep Silver Volition
    Publisher: Deep Silver
    Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 (reviewed) & PC
    Release Date: August 20, 2013

    Score: 9 out of 10

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