I recently bought Saints Row IV out of a desperate need to fill the hole in my life while I wait for Bioware’s next game. I’ve never played any of the first three, so keep that in mind as you read my review. Also, I’ll try to keep this as spoiler free as possible.
Bottom Line Up Front: SR4 is awesome. It’s snarky, funny, and over-the-top ridiculous most of the time. It’s not nearly as emotionally engaging as say, Mass Effect, but it is just plain FUN. Definitely worth a play (but maybe not at full price).
The Game Mechanics:
First off – the customization aspect of SR4 is amazing. You can personalize your boss in so many ways, from boob/penis size to race to fatness. It even allows you to wear all the male clothing as a female and vice versa, so you can come up with some pretty tranny-looking characters :). The best thing to do is to download the free Inauguration Station DLC in XBL and use it to make your character how you want it, then import it into your game. That way you have access to the full range of clothing, hairstyles, etc. from the very beginning of the game and you don’t have to run around looking for the outfits you like.
The best part of SR4’s gaming mechanics is that it does a good job balancing powers and weapons. No power or weapon is so OP that it makes the other redundant (I’m looking at you, Bioshock!), so you get a good variety of combat. Also, no weapon is so badass that you rely on it for the whole game so you actually feel excited when you unlock a new weapon to use because you know it won’t be useless.
My problem with open-world quest/side-mission games is that the side missions tend to be very repetitive. I would say SR4 has a wider range of variety in its side missions than say, GTA. So, even if you repeat the basic mechanics of a side mission, there is enough uniqueness to each that you don’t feel like you’re just grinding. And everything you do is wacky enough that you at least get some novelty value with each new mission.
The basic premise is you’re the President of the United States and you and everyone you know gets kidnapped by aliens. The rest of the story gets pretty kooky and there’s really never a dull moment. I won’t say too much because anything would just be rife with spoilers :)
Someone told me if I liked Mass Effect romances, I’d like SR4’s romances. FALSE. Do not buy this game based on that premise! SR4 romances shouldn’t even be classified as such – they are more like one night stands. Not that that’s bad, just different. The “romances” are pretty hilarious little vignettes but if you’re expecting to get the feels, don’t.
OMFG THE ENDING! You know how everyone felt about the Mass Effect 3 ending? Imagine the EXACT OPPOSITE of that. The twist at the end is literally one that you will NEVER expect. Your mind will be blown. I would buy this game just for the last 20 seconds, it is that good an ending.
Have you played Saints Row IV? Let me know what you thought in comments!