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Saints Row 4: Saving the world with Christmas themed Dildo bats

Updated: Jul 21

Saints Row 4 was my introduction to the series, now one might think of this as being a little backwards considering one should have played the rest of the games first in order to witness the slow sinking of insanity the Saints Row games have experienced since their inception. It was not really my idea to pick up the last game instead of first one aside from the easier availability and the fact the elevator pitch continuously made me laugh. I do have Saints Row 2 and I mean to get to it at some point, same goes for the rest of the series. Now, the time has come for saving the world from Shakespeare quoting aliens.



I am a gangster

After saving the world from total nuclear annihilation the 3rd Street Saints have accidently become leaders of America, at first this is going swimmingly with PC (The Boss) solving either world hunger or cancer (not both) and punching political opponents in the dick. There are also strippers and pole dancers in the white house for reasons. However before any current political jokes/ parallels could be dreamt up by people who do not know what they are doing Aliens invade and take over America (oh dear) resulting the Boss and friends getting captured in a convenient simulation of the city Steelport and it is up to the Boss to get the gang back together and save the world again. The writing is superbly silly; all the aliens speak with thick British accents and enjoy quoting Shakespeare and other works of classic literature. These make such perfect foils and straight man for the crude Saints to work of on and it is bloody hilarious. That is not to say that the writing is not intelligent, far from it; in fact there is some fantastic satire that pokes fun at games from Bioware romancing to Metal Gear Solid, and the interactions between the characters are funny as all hell while being more than just wacky set pieces. But to my mind (at least without going into spoilers) is the character of the Boss himself, for Saints Row allows you to create a truly outrageous character in the custom menu but creates a personality him allowing familiarity but the surprise and laughs from unexpected interactions. The Boss is a rare example of a customisable protagonist being part of the funniness and he loves every second of to an almost erotic level (no really). The Boss is a deeply intelligent bit of using the interactive medium to craft a truly interesting character, the satire itself is great; cannot really say more without going into spoilers.



Oh fuck yes! (Wait?)

The gameplay itself is somewhat of an overload, you have your superpowers (you have your super speed, your super jump, your freeze blast, your super stomp, telekinesis etc, etc) then there are the guns, swords, dildo bats, dub step guns and more. While this is not bad per say to have this many means of killing stuff or getting around the map (the super jump, run and fly make travelling the city a blast to use) it does inevitably render some of the powers or mechanics somewhat worthless like the cars or some of the less wacky guns. It makes no sense to use a machine gun while I can use a rocket launcher or a gun that fires black holes. The problems come when Volition contrives a reason for the super powers to not work or make the player drive a car when there are a number of other ways trail someone. This clash of design makes me feel that Volition did not think clearly in how to incorporate the superpower mechanic into the story modes smoothly or they realized just how overpowered the superpowers, the wacky weapons and everything else was. This kind of makes the game very easy from the outset, that is no to say it does not encourage intelligence or some form of strategy but it could have been made a hell of a lot more challenging. And I have not talked about the platforming or the hacking minigames or racing. All of which are fine. The platforming is very basic but it uses the wall run and jumps well to its advantage. The hacking is not as annoying as one might expect it is kind of there and not much else.



I have the power!

There are some car races that are there; not mandatory but amusing side objectives that could have been cut out and nothing would be lost. You can summon AI allies and cars to aid you but I rarely/never used them, they are just kind of there. While the story missions are great with character and wit but then there are the bog standard open world busy work that only exist for 100% completion sake. It can easily get tedious as most of them amount to going to a place and shooting up the evil British aliens or collecting some collectable or climbing a tower. I know this was in a pre Witcher 3 world but I cannot stress how out of place they are, mundanitly in a strange wacky world is just off-putting and clashes with the rest of the tone. However the controls and combat help keep it entertaining, some writing to support would have not gone amiss; Volition missed a great opportunity to satirize the dull busy work of other open world RPGs. The final boss itself however is explosive, British, extremely fun and employs the mountain of skills you earned in the game. In fact the all the bosses are quite fun and creative.



Button eyes is here

The game is not graphically great, let’s get that out of the way. Textures are flat, lighting is awkward and colours are lacking in any life. While this can be excused to an extent as it is meant to be in a simulation and an unstable one at that, however this cannot be excused when you are outside the simulation and everything still looks underwhelming on the highest settings. The art style itself is not very strong either with a lot of bright lights, textile purple and not much else. It is fine but not much else. The soundtrack, oh sweet flying spaghetti monster the soundtrack is brilliant, everything from Rap to Pop to readings of classic literature this game has it all, it helped me discover the beer song (which changed my life forever, no really) and opened my eyes to entire genres of music. The readings are hilariously well performed and make such books like Pride and Prejudice enjoyable to those who might not find them interesting in the first place. Also the Beer song is one of the best songs in the world (fight me if you dare). The music in cut scenes are fantastically well placed, the opening especially has “I don’t want to miss and thing” while you are saving the world. It is bloody side-splitting, I love it.



That, my friend is the dub step gun!

Technically the game is pretty much perfect. I have not encountered a single glitch, bug or performance problem in the game.


Saints Row 4 is quite a special game, flawed in some respects but excellent in others. On one hand has some of the best satire in video games but suffers from game mechanical overload and filler missions. The writing is brilliant and the characters well rounded but the game keeps finding new ways to rid you of your superpowers. However the game ends so well it is impossible to not go away with a great big smile on your face, I cannot hate this game; really I cannot. I had so much fun with Saints Row 4 that I am able to forgive some of it’s dodgy design decisions. This game is so enjoyable that I can’t do anything more then put this in the Hall of Fame.

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