Game Review: Saints Row IV (Xbox 360)

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If you were asked about Saints Row what would your first reaction be? “It’s not as good as Grand Theft Auto” is one of the obvious things that people always say.  What if though the developers and designers didn’t care about Grand Theft Auto, they just wanted to make a game that you’ll remember a long time after you play it, and for all the right reasons? Welcome to Saints Row IV.

I’d say that with Saints Row: The Third there was an obvious goal to change Saints Row to be something different, and even if it went a bit too far for some sensitive souls it definitely was different.  If Saints Row: The Third had a weakness it was that after the main story was played there was little reason to play it again, unless you played some of the DLC of course but if the main game failed to catch you fully then who would buy the DLC?

Saints Row IV in ways is the next evolutionary movement away from Saints Row just being another GTA clone, and what a movement they have made, welcome to one of the craziest experiences you’ll find in a game.  Imagine Steelport where nothing is real, but is a computer generated world to hold you prisoner.  In this world you have the ability to cause chaos and adapt the system to do anything you want, and that includes being a super hero…sounds pretty good doesn’t it?

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With Saints Row IV aliens have taken over the world and you as the President of the United States of America have a sworn duty to fight against the invaders.  Yes, you read that right you are now the president, while still being the head of a gang.  Through escaping from the Matrix like world and obtaining your own ship you and your crew are able to re-enter the re-creation of Steelport and regain control, leading to your aim of retaking your world and yes, we know that this is basically The Matrix, but in ways that is the point.

Along with all of your super powers you’ll find constant homages and references to not only films and television shows but also other games, some of the best for me are the Mass Effect moments, but I won’t say much more about them as they have to be experienced to get the fun out of them.  In fact I’m not going to talk much about all the things you’ll find in the game, because I don’t want to ruin the fun.  The fact is though you are in a world where anything can happen, you have super powers and you can also purchase a gun that causes people to dance themselves to death, how can you not like it?

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Being serious about Saints Row IV though what Volition have actually done is to put the fun back into the game.  There are issues that you’ll find, such as if you’ve played the game before you’ll recognise the game map and once you have your super powers you’ll find that cars are pretty redundant but that is the risk of adding elements to a game like this.  So is Saints Row IV a contender against the behemoth that will be Grand Theft Auto V? No, but the fact is it’s not trying to be, Saints Row IV is a very different beast, and one that you’ll no doubt love.

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