Flames erupt from my customized Peacekeeper as I jump over a gap in the bridge. The sleek car’s jet-black exterior reflects the nighttime city lights as I race through crowded streets. This is one of the first cars I 'jacked in Steelport, and it’s also my favorite...
This is all disturbingly familiar. Wait. There's something different. I look up and see a huge alien ship blotting out the Steelport sky. I abandon my ride and begin sprinting faster than the surrounding traffic. My co-op partner flashes by me, a wake of shattered vehicles and ragdoll bodies in her path. I gather my energy into a tremendous charged jump and leap over a building, soaring out of the hostile neighborhood.
While gliding through the air I spot a group of the oppressive aliens, the Zin, on a nearby rooftop. I blast them with my freeze power and then my partner brings down the thunder with her Death From Above attack. There are no survivors. We're already moving on to the next enemy icon dotting our minimaps. Welcome to Saints Row: The Third --now with aliens, super powers, and a Presidential story that makes no sense. Or you can call it Saints Row IV. Same thing.
I'll let you know right now, this is going to be one of those weird reviews where I seem to pick apart a game but still give it a decent score (at least for co-op). Why?
Because Saints Row IV may be stupid, but it's also a hell of a lot of fun --just like Saints Row: The Third! They both use the same boisterous, unapologetic humor to tell their absurd stories. They use the same engine, the same graphics, feature the same awesome co-op, and the same damn open-world map. Sure, you'll travel to a few other random locations during your time with SRIV, but most of these mini-adventures are brief and forgettable. This is clearly a fluffed version of the Enter the Dominatrix DLC originally intended for SRTT.
Here's the rundown: You are trapped in a simulation of Steelport for the vast majority of the game. There are some visual differences in the city, such as Tron-like street lights and alien propaganda, but this is the same city we thoroughly explored back in 2011. The open world events mostly consist of racing, blowing stuff up, or blowing stuff up in a vehicle. There are something like 1500 collectibles, but most of these come in the form of brightly colored data "clusters" which serve as currency for upgrading your super powers. They're about as collectible as coins in a Super Mario Bros. game.
You, the leader of the Third Street Saints street gang, are now the President of the United States. I have no idea why. I'm pretty sure this story only exists to distract us from the fact that we're playing DLC from a year ago. It drives some dialog and plot elements, but it's entirely unnecessary. There's no purpose to being President once we're in the simulation.