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on August 27, 2013
This is a single player critical review for people that are fans of the Saints Row series of games. I know the game is called Saints Row IV but I will call it Saints Row 3.5 since it does not feel like a whole new game.

A quick little bit of info here... Saints Row IV started off as DLC before THQ shut down, it was originally meant to be the final big DLC add-on (us older gamers would call it an "Expansion" pack) to Saints Row 3. THQ went bankrupt and Volition was bought up by Deep Silver. They took the final DLC, the core game, and stretched it out into a full game. I also wish I could give it a score of 3.5 but it feels good enough to go with 4 out of 5 for the moment.

So to be clear, this game is still Saints Row 3. Same city, same vehicles (less of them though), same graphics, same game engine. Just certain things added or taken away.

This game is absurdly fun and funny. So let me break it down as spoiler free as possible:

Game engine: The exact same as Saints Row 3.

Graphics and Models: Deep Silver took some vehicles and assets from the previous games and reworked them to the wonderful level of detail seen in the First Saints Row game, mainly the vehicles. They have a much higher level of fit and finish than even Saints Row 2 had. BUT, there are fewer vehicles in this game than in any of the other games. Boats are completely gone, so waterways are absolutely empty. Only 2-3 Airplanes remain and there is no civilian air traffic, though once you see the plot, it kind of makes sense to be that way as opposed to the same lack of boat and air traffic from SR3. The animation and characters are much nicer looking and seem to have had a once over by Quality Control. So all round the models are much nicer.

Sound and Music: The sound effects are pretty much the same from SR3. The music on the other hand is absolutely great, they have just about everything, and lots of big name songs. The voice acting is wonderful, even Nolan North (of Drake, Deadpool and seemingly every male video game character ever made, fame) lends his voice to the player character list, along with quite a few name brand voice and film actors as other characters... The roster is rather impressive and makes the game all the more fun.

Story: The story in this game is much more fun and involving than SR3 was. You will need to play all the previous Saints Row games to understand the back stories, banter, and in-jokes of many of the characters in this game. Plenty of "OMG!" moments, and lots of laughs. There is some great character development and banter that was sorely missing from SR3. Though at times it feels the game/writers spent too much time watching cyberpunk and action movies from the 90s and early 2000s instead of creating something entirely new. It was great fun, and worth seeing all the parodies of other games and movies, but at times the parodies feel more like blatant rip-offs. Also, the Choice/RPG style options are pretty much entirely gone after the first few minutes of the game and are there for comical reasons instead of giving you any rewards or boosts of any type. Example: In SR3 you could choose to destroy a building for a respect boost or keep the building for a cash boost, save someone or let someone die, and so on.

Player Customization: The level of visual player customization is the same as SR3 and nowhere near as amazing as the player character customization from SR2. Though carried over from SR3 is the selectable player upgrades/leveling system.

Vehicle Customization: The same as SR3 but with quite a few more parts and accessories for some vehicles, though you still cannot customize "special" vehicles, planes, helicopters, and VOTLs. Though for a game with cars and car customization it severely lacks in vehicle based missions compared to previous games as most of the time you are running, jumping, shooting, and fighting with super powers, instead of driving or riding shotgun like previous games.

Weapon Customization: Weapons have non-visual upgrades now instead of the visual upgrades like from SR3 (when you upgrade a weapon, it does not change its base appearance with things likes scopes or suppressors and such that SR3 had). Though you can change the "skin" of the weapon to look like other types of weapons and most have 1-3 selectable paint jobs, but you cannot add or remove parts of a weapon.

Other Customizations: Cribs/player bases are completely gone so absolutely none there. Gang customization is the same as SR3.

Game World: Still in Steelport, or a simulation of so to speak, exact same map size and most every location remains the same as SR3 just add some cyber bits here and there. Also, during the game it is perpetually Night/dawn/dusk/dark and there is no day cycle until you completely beat the game. The city doesn't really feel as "alive" as SR2 did, but when you figure out the plot it makes a bit more sense to be that way.

Super Powers: While they are fun, and have lots of upgrades, it ends up feeling too much like the game "Prototype" and not enough like Saints Row. Most of the game vehicles become pretty much pointless when you can leap, climb, fly, and run better than nearly any vehicle in the game rather early on.

Controls: It controls nicely and has the exact same layout as SR3, though with the super powers, some buttons now have secondary functions when you hold them or tap them.

Game play: You will go everywhere from space, to text adventures, to 2D fighters, to top down pixel battles, to platforming, robot fights, and more. The variation keeps things interesting, at least on a first play through. There is even a massive list of cheat codes built into the game as well to make the game even more fun, crazy, hard, or easy. So it works if you are a casual gamer or one of the hardcore challenging types of players. There are optional side missions that are basically just activity completions and rewards. There are no activities left over after doing the character "side quests" so at that point the end game just becomes a run around and collect random stuff/points you missed kind of thing. You can replay activities for money or better medals, but There is still no main mission or special character mission replay options... We had it in SR2 why can't it be in SR3.5?

Re-play Value: As with most the Saints Row and open world games, it is pretty high in the re-play department. With the amount of character and vehicle customization, as well as upgrades, it is worth revisiting to see what can be changed or done differently on another play-through. Not to mention the amount of in-jokes, Easter eggs, and other things that you may have missed.

Overall Opinion: This game is much more fun than SR3 was, but still not as much fun and time consuming as SR2 is for me. It has more polish than SR3 did, and I hope the future of Saints Row gets much bigger than Steelport or Stilwater combined as the map just feels small compared to many other games out there, especially when you have super powers. My biggest gripe is that it needs more side activities and player customization. In SR2 most side activities had 6-12 levels to them, whereas SR 3.5 has about 2-4 levels or so to each activity (seriously, we want more Genki and mayhem levels!). They still have not added back in the optional service vehicle activities and rewards (taxi cab, tow truck, ambulance, fire truck, police car, police helicopter, and so on that SR2 had). Still no "Fuzz", "Septic Avenger", "Demo Derby" and so on. There is a distinct lack of vehicle races as well. If you are going to give us all these customizable vehicles; give us something to do with them.

It is a stupidly fun game, but many times felt too much like the game "Prototype" and not enough like Saints Row. The absurdity has been turned up to 11.5 and had the knob broken off, so don't buy this game thinking it will have an award winning plot or basis in reality in any way what-so-ever. (And that can be a good thing as games are meant to be fun to play. That is why they are called games and not movies.) The vehicles and player models seem much more polished over SR3 with the wonderful detail that was put into the first Saints Row game. The voice acting makes it worth replaying, as the different player character voices have different things to say throughout each play-through. Goofing around and being a completionist and rabid customizer will take around 20-30+ hours depending on how much of a "collector" you are. Throw in Co-op craziness and extend that time quite a bit more. (playing Telekinesis catch with a car or baddie, racing, cat and mouse, Vs, and so on.) It is just a fun and silly sand-box game and not for people that take things too seriously, and if you have a twisted sense of humor, make sure this game ends up in your collection.

I say wait till it is more "expansion pack" priced, under $35 before getting it as I just could not get over the feeling it was an expansion and not a whole new game, since super powers were already introduced in SR3 add on content. Plus with the amount of DLC planned for this game, even if you get it cheap, you will likely end up paying full price or more anyway once Deep Silver finishes nickel-and-diming people for DLC for the rest of this game.
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on September 1, 2013
First of all, I'd like to point out that I have played all the games in the Saints Row series. It started off as a copy cat to GTA. Then, it became less serious than GTA and added more humor. This fourth one moves away from the regular gang versus gang type of story and adds a twist by adding amazing superhero abilities. Before I purchased this, I told myself not to judge it immediately and to give it a try since I knew the game had superhero abilities and more silly stuff.

After playing it for a few hours, I was having tons of fun. There are a lot of things to do, and now that you have superhero abilities, you can do whatever you feel like doing. Use telekinesis, race around running at super speed, jump from a skyscraper and bring wrath to your enemies with a "death from above" nuclear explosion. I enjoyed the storyline. Everything about it made sense. It wasn't like they came up with ridiculously crazy stuff and did not have an explanation for it. I also enjoyed hanging out with your homies and the option to romance them(LOL). Got a thing for Shaundi or Gat? Go for it. Hahaha. It was fun to chat with your homies and bring the fight to your enemies with superpowers or funky weapons. Believe...there are plenty of FUNKY weapons. I won't spoil too much, but you'll definitely have tons of fun with them.

Moreover, if you enjoy games that have references from music, movies, or video games...this is definitely for you. I could not help but laugh at all the funny video game references throughout the game. As with the other games, you're still able to customize your character and your crew. I wish they had added something to customize your ship, but since you're at war, I guess there is no time for that. The graphics are an improvement from the past games, and the soundtrack is great.

I have no regrets in purchasing this. If you want a serious game about gang versus gang type of story, this may not be for you. But, if you enjoy sarcasm, other types of humor, and twists, this is your game. My only real pet peeve is that some of the side quests get a bit repetitive, not all of them, but some. I wish there had been more diversity with the side quests.
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VINE VOICEon April 7, 2014
The original description of the game gave the impression that the Saints were now "superheros" or something - leap over buildings, etc. That is not quite the case. The majority of the game takes place in a matrix-like-world, where you have the ability to do such things. And since you can jump/fly all over the city, there's little reason to explore every nook and cranny like before. It's just one mess of dimly-lit buildings. Cars are irrelevant. You gain neat super-powers, and some of the boss-fights can be challenging, but overall it's not really that difficult and therefore, not all that much fun. You zoom around, do some things, upgrade stuff, that's it. They say you can upgrade your weapons, but it's so costly and the difference in effectiveness is barely noticable; it wasn't until I beat the game that I could "upgrade" all of my weapons. This game is a victim of it's own success. The first two rocked. The 3rd and 4th are passable at best.
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on September 28, 2014
I already knew this game was going to be really good. The moment I started playing I fell in love with it it is now my #1 favorite campaign for a game. And if you don't think I have experience with good campaigns I've played skyrim, red dead, all 3 mass effects, all of the gears of war games, far cry 3, batman arkham city, all of the halos, all of the call of dutys, all of the battlefields, gta v, watchdogs, Titan fall, wolfenstein, dishonored, all of the assasins creeds, all of the bio shocks, and that is about half of the games I've completed I've played many more on my nes ps2 psp and my pc. But, this trumps all not only does it have super powers(which I love) it has cool guns and a good storyline. The music clashed with the game so well and I haven't cried during a game in a long time. It may sound strange that I am so emotional about video games but you have to buy this if you want to have fun. It's definitely a good break from all of those fps s*** games. Worth every penny for this masterpiece!
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on October 30, 2013
Open world games have become commonplace as of lately giving you an entire world to explore and play in. From games such as the Grand Theft Auto series which are more grittier and down to earth to the off the wall Saints Row series which seem to be getting more and more extreme with each release. Now the folks over at Deep Silver have released their latest installment in the Saints Row universe but are you willing to go back to Steelport or should you just pass this one by?

The game starts off with you being elected as president of the United States (yes you heard that right). As you find the transition from leading a gang to leading a country much more difficult an alien race called the Zin Empire decides to invade earth. Rushing your way through the White House you fight off the alien invaders but to no avail as you are abducted as well with your friends aboard their ship. You're now in a virtual world of Steelport and you need to figure out not only how you're going to navigate this new world but how to escape as well.

Being in this virtual world has it's advantages as you now have an array of superpowers at your disposal to dispatch your enemies. From flight and super speed to an ability called buff (which causes all rounds to be incendiary rounds) you will never be at a disadvantage with these new superpowers under your belt. There are new weapons as well and one of the more unique ones has to be the black hole gun. This gun does exactly as it sounds creating a small black hole that sucks in everything around it and then explodes. There are going to be also countless ways that you can customize your character such as with the previous Saint's Row games. Various costumes and accessories as well as modifications to your character and weapons will also be available to you. The outfits from the previous Saint's Row game seem to be making a comeback as you can dress up as Uncle Sam or as a furry mascot as well.

With a new storyline, great upgrades , superpowers, over the top weapons and more customization options than ever Saint's Row IV looks to be an excellent action based open world game.
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on July 25, 2014
This game is fun when it doesn't freeze and that has consistently proven to be an issue as I progress in the story. stories abound of having to replay missions multiple times because of a freeze that is apparently unfixable...or at least the developer hasn't fixed it. Something like this should force the developer to refund the purchase price because this is a game full of frustration and for me at least after at least my 20th freeze unplayable. You want to play it, its fun, then it freezes and you realize you wasted your time. Don't spend your money on games like this. Buy something that at least works properly or that the glitches don't actually freeze your xbox. Just go to google and check out the freezing problem and you'll see that it's a lot more widespread than believed. Save your money.
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on April 28, 2014
I've been a fan of saints row almost from the beginning. I missed the first game, but Saints Row 2 - Xbox 360 still ranks among my absolute favorite games of all time. It was fast, fun, funny, violent, but had a tense, engaging story with likeable characters, rounding out the experience. It is that last element that was missing from the third iteration. While Saint's Row: The Third - Xbox 360 was still fast, fun, and violent, it was missing a lot of the funny. Worse yet, the vibrant engaging characters from the second seemed muted and generic. I am beyond happy to say that has been addressed with Saints Row 4.

Right off the bat, the over the top feel of the game hits you hard and never lets up. You are the president of the United States and it is your job to stop evil aliens from taking over the world. You fail; spectacularly at that. You and all of your friends are imprisoned in a virtual prison, and this is where the fun begins. Because the world is virtual, you now have access to super powers, the two most prevalent among them being super speed and hulk jumping, for lack of a better term. This, unfortunately, is also where the games biggest problem comes in.

Saints Row 4 is a big, ambitious game, and I respect what they were trying to do. The super powers are cool and well implemented, but the overall structure of the game remains unchanged from past iterations. Sections of the virtual city are still called "Hoods", your friends, now politicians, celebrities, and secret agents, are still referred to as your "homies". You still have access to your "gang", despite the fact that they become all but useless against most enemies in the game half way through. Despite having super speed and, thanks to the glide ability, practically being able to fly, too many missions find reasons for you to be in vehicles, which are not nearly as enjoyable to use as your powers are. Unfortunately, at least with my copy, lag was a huge issue when jumping, because the game autosaved every five seconds, making platforming far more difficult that it needed to be, and marring the overall immersion of the game.

Worse yet, the game is still littered with mini games, many of them hit or miss. Racing through cramped side streets, terribly unenjoyable platforming sections, insurance fraud (ugh), mayhem sections (UGH), and terrifyingly enough vehicle mayhem sections (WHY!?), are among the many mini games that dangle valuable upgrades in front of you, that are only unlockable after getting difficult to earn gold medals. To add insult to injury all of these mini games are saddled with an arbitrary time limit, ensuring that, if by some miracle, you actually enjoy any of these diversions, the extra stress of having to do it quickly will sap that enjoyment right out.

This game could have been great but Volition wasn't willing to shake conventional staples to the genre. Thankfully however, the rest of the game is fantastic. The story related missions are all quite engaging and the story is absolutely crazy, made all the better by the triumphant return of the characters that you knew and loved from the first two games. Volition even went as far as to address issues such as "Why did Shandi go from fun to frumpy between games 2 &3?" and "What's Pierce's problem?". Incredible dialogue, tons of character development, and a metric ton of call backs, inside jokes, and awesome sing a longs of the radio remind you why you fell in love with these characters in the first place.

By now, you'll have noticed that the positive points of my review revolve around knowing about the past games. To fully enjoy this game, it is best to have played the games that came before. If you've at least played through, and beaten, the second game though, that should suffice. This final game in the series is an excellent cap to a strange series, loaded with generous heaps of fan service for long time players. While it is totally possible to enjoy it without having played what came before, you will be lacking valuable context, and the lions share of the jokes and in game dialogue will go totally over your head. My favorite moment in the game was when the playa and Pierce are driving along and begin to sing along with one of their favorite songs. A certain person does something that doesn't sit well with them, and it was one of the funniest moments in any game I've ever played, mostly because I recognized the callback from the second game.

Saints Row is a fun game, with great ideas, serviceable execution, and brilliant story and dialogue. While having played the past three games aren't required, I would strongly suggest completing the second game for the much needed context, and also because it is the best game in the series. All in all, Saints Row 4 is an enjoyable, if technically flawed, gem of a game that is fun for most, but sensational for fans. If you like the series, this is a must buy.
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on February 8, 2014
I really love the Saints Row Series but on the latest ones i have noticed a lot of glitches in the 3rd and 4th. In the 3rd, i have a mission where i need to pick up that gimp pimp hos and as soon as it starts off in the car, the mission closes and says "mission failed" immediately, how can it be failed if i didn't get the chance to fail it??? So i am stuck on that freaking mission with no hope of completing the game. I got 4 and it too had some problems like that, plus whenever a default character needs to drive you instead, in a car they don't drive straight, its like the steering wheel is stuck and you cannot complete turns so you are like stuck bumping into walls and trying to get to where you need to be. If these games cannot continue to be made without such horrible glitches, this franchise will lose my fan-ship. Without these glitches this game would be fine, You get to be President and Aliens come down and take over earth, which you need to get back from them aliens. Rim Jobs don't work like it does in the 3rd, you cant drive in there to customize your vehicles and its a button trick you need to do to even save/store your vehicles in your garage. There are no Cribs only dumb Gateway entries which can be on top of buildings and weird island like places, how can you roll out in a car you save from there????!! I think the game could have been a little better perfected and thoughtfully created a little better than this.
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on September 12, 2013
I was a little apprehensive when I heard that super powers would be a part of this game, but they really fit in with the goofy feeling of the game. It also changes up the game quite a bit. Once you get the super running (early on in the game), cars become practically useless. Super jumping/gliding (also fairly early in the game) eliminate much of the need for aircraft. It's still fun to steal a flying saucer and cause havoc in the streets, though.

Gameplay itself, for the most part, is similar to SR3. Grenades are gone (replaced on the gamepad by superpowers). In this installment, you can customize various aspects of your weapons (not just upgrade them in general, but upgrade damage, recoil, area of effect, etc). Unfortunately, these upgrades don't change the way the weapons look, as they did in the previous game. You can customize the look of most of the weapons, but it generally amounts to only a color change. Money is fairly easy to come by - not enough to upgrade everything all at once, but it's easy enough that you don't feel like you've started a part-time job just to keep yourself supplied with ammo.

One gripe I had about this game is the way the missions are set up. While most of the main missions are unique, a lot of the side missions have you running around town completing various activities. It almost seems like filler sometimes (a point that one of the mission titles actually pokes fun at later on in the game). Racing (which I can't stand) seemed to come up repeatedly in the first half of the game. One nice touch, however, is that if a side mission requires you to finish four specific activities on the map, and you've already completed two of those, you don't have to repeat them. You could always skip the side missions, but then you'd miss out on a lot of really nice weapon, power, and homie upgrades.

Another gripe I had was that the game seemed a little bit short. I just finished my first play-through last night, and even with all the stop-and-go playing I did, it only took me 35 hours (spread out over about 3 weeks). SR3 took me about 45 hours, another 10 for the DLC. My next playthrough will be on the hardest level, so that might make things last longer.

The bugs in this game are jarring enough for me to take away a star. Occasionally, your game will just lock. There doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason for it happening. One time I was running around the ship, another time I was trying out my "Death from above" attack from the highest point in the game. The game apparently compensates for this by saving about EVERY TEN SECONDS. Whenever it saves, it's like the game skips a beat. VERY annoying,.

All in all, if you liked the direction that the Saints Row games were taking, you'll want to pick this up. The levelling is not a slog (but not too easy), and the gameplay is a lot of fun with the new superpowers. If the series has to end, this was a great way for it to go out.
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on January 1, 2014
I have had every game in the series. While I will not get into the crazy merits of Saints vs. GTA I will say that the endless freedom and customization that Saints offers is always refreshing.

This game had everything and I mean everything. So many references to the classic games throughout all video game generations gave it an extra cozy appeal, especially in reference to events in earlier Saints games.

If you are new to the series you may not appreciate all of these little quirks.
If you aren't a lifelong gamer or you just don't care for older classic games you may not appreciate all the quirks.
If you are a hardcore GTA fan and just don't wanna give another franchise a try, why are you even reading this?

The story is wildly insane like a Hangover movie, with ridiculous yet hilarious twists.Without providing too many spoilers, which at this point may be impossible, the Virtual World is where it's at. The abilities, perks, and vehicles that can be unlocked worth the hours of gameplay.

Abilities and Powers
Customization of character, animations, vehicles and weapons ( main reason I started playing franchise)
Classic game reference and play
Side Quests and Challenges are fun and community engaging
The game difficulty is never very frustrating, and can even guide you through most portions of the game if you like
Music was very relevant upon the release of the title.

CONS: None for me

Highly addicting game, tremendously fun, the only thing I would advise is for people who really love realistic video game came to the wrong place ha.
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