Xbox 360, PS3, PC
WAR OF THE SAINTS.
After the crazy behavior thrown into Saints Row The Third, it's hard to imagine the series turning anymore insane. But the latest return to Steelport proves that developer Volition can go the extra mile of ridiculous. Saints Row IV is still packed with all the crazy missions, humor and activities you'd expect from the series. As well, there's plenty new elements that will keep the series at an interesting level. This time, supernatural powers come to play. Anyone who's played games such as Prototype 2 or Crackdown will have an idea what to expect in SR IV. It may be stepping away from the series roots, and some may not like it. But it's hard not to enjoy what's on offer. It's the biggest and most ridiculously fun outing yet. I haven't a clue how they could top this.
When we last saw the Third Street Saints, they became celebrities. Now, they have achieved the highest rank possible, presidential status. Once again, you play as the Saints leader, and you've been elected as president of the United States. Without warning, Steelport is suddenly attacked by an alien race, known as the Zin. You are soon abducted by the leader, Zinyak, who is extremely telepathic. He's hilarious, and provides some of the humor throughout the game. The strangest part comes when you realize Zinyak has constructed an artificial world of Steelport. A Matrix-style simulation, which you get thrown straight in the middle of for Zinyak's amusement.
As you begin to roam around the re-imagined Steelport, you'll notice some big changes. Not only does Steelport look darker, but most of the infrastructure has vanished. There's no Syndicate Tower, no shops owned by the Saints, and no cribs to customize or lay low in. The Saints are not even here, and the only real connection you have with the Third Street Saints is Kinzie. She's the computer geek that will guide you throughout the game. She uses her hacking abilities to break you out of the simulation. This leaves you battling on Zinyak's space station, which you eventually destroy and lead your own ship, acting as a hub. From here, you can fast travel between reality and the simulation world at any given time. Yes, like The Matrix.
Once again, Steelport is your playground. You choose what to do, whether it's completing story missions, side quests, competing in activities, finding collectibles, etc. Many well known activities make a return, such as Insurance Fraud. There's also some new additions. One of them is Mech Suite Mayhem, which is simply a spin on Tank Mayhem. Professor Genki also makes an appearance, bringing along some new games. Mind over Murder is one of them, and this requires you to pick up objects and fling them through coloured hoops using your Telekinesis ability. You can once again earn Bronze, Silver and Gold medals, and trying to achieve the high score is always addictively fun.
Superpowers are the main highlight. They can drastically change how you play SR IV. For one, stealing cars is no longer necessary to quickly traverse the city of Steelport. Although you can still hijack vehicles, I found myself using the supernatural sprint ability far more often. Before, I would hop in a vehicle and race around with Nitrous. Although this can still be achieved, I never felt that compelled to doing it. The only time I really used vehicles was when a mission required me to do so. Soon as your able to sprint and leap across rooftops like the Hulk, you won;t want to drive again, as it's so much fun.
As you progress, new abilities are introduced. Each one is mapped to the D-pad, and they all come with a mandatory training ground, designed by Kinzie. The abilities can range from, freezing enemies with ice, stunning foes with a powerful stomp, and picking up objects with telekinesis. They're all a blast to use, and each on has it's own cool-down rate, so they never seem too overpowering.
Shinny blue clusters completely litter Steelpot. Collecting these allow you to upgrade your powers. They're all over the place, glistening on buildings and above tall skyscrapers. Most of them can easily be collected by walking into them. Others are hidden, and require your powers to snatch them. For example, you may discover some inside a large ball, which must be broken using Telekinesis. Whilst others may be buried, requiring you to power stomp and bring them up. You could literally spend hours collecting clusters, and it's a fun way to increase your abilities strengths.
The story section provides a great variety. You'll do lots of crazy stuff, such as controlling a Mech, flying a spaceship, driving a tank, and lots, lots more. And that's just in the story alone. Not many open-world games are this varied, and even ten hours in, it's hard not to return to Steelport. In the open-world, you can also take down Zinyak's strongholds, weakening his defences. Although weaponry isn't always needed, there are some fun guns to take down the Zin with. From laser pistols, to my favorite, the Dub-step gun.