Game Review: "Saints Row 4: Re-Elected"

NOTE: This review is for the recently released Xbox One version of the game.

If there's ever been a game franchise that I've turned a 180 on, it'd be the Saints Row series. I beat 1 and 2 and enjoyed them, but didn't like the direction that the series was going in. The tone was a little too silly and unrealistic for my liking. I wanted my open world mayhem to be as grounded as possible (the GTA method) so being silly just wasn't cutting it. Outrageous?  Totally okay. So I skipped 3 and after the insistence of a buddy to give 4 a shot, I did. What did I think?

Mind. Blown.

The opening scene may be one of my favorites in a video game. The ridiculousness of the situation (Saints Task force is trying to stop a terrorist) added to the fact that it's soon revealed you are in fact the president who's been laying the smack down. That's as far as I'm willing to go with spoilers since that's on the front box. There are so many twists and turns that you NEED to experience for yourself. The entire story is just entertainment upon entertainment with plenty of unexpected moments along the way.

And while GTA V helped innovate by giving special powers to its three main characters (slowly down time pretty much), Saints Row 4 has gone balls out and given you straight up super powers. Want to freeze someone? Jump hundreds of feet? Explode things with your mind? You can now do that and a ton more. They also added this dynamic of collecting data clusters in order to upgrade said powers and it's one of the more addicting aspects of the game. I can lose hours jumping around the city finding all the hidden clusters and therefore upgrading my character.

The game is constantly poking fun at pop culture in various ways too. It's more over the top than GTA but no less funny. Keith David is literally playing a fictional version of himself. And the Saints are bigger than Jesus Christ. What's not to love? Oh and it has some of the best song choices ever in a game. When Aerosmith kicks on (you'll know the time) you'll be grinning from ear to ear, I can promise you that.

There are so many ways that the game manages to stay fresh. First, you can save any car just by pressing down on the d-pad. Gone are the long stressful minutes of trying to get a sweet ride to your garage in order to save it. And just as easy is the process of retrieving them. Go to your phone and pick which one you want. It'll appear wherever you are.

Like Dead Rising 3, this game features many different weapons, some more brutal than others but all unique in their own right. The mini-gun that shoots knives, the rifle that shoots plungers, the giant dildo bat. This game knows how to be imaginative and the results are usually hilarious. You can also add buffers to said weapons that make your bullets explode, freeze, or light things on fire. The route to chaos is your choice.

The movie references are full force here and often offer some of the best moments in the game. From Armageddon to Tron to The Matrix, no film is safe from this games satire. And that level of not taking itself so seriously is exactly where so much of the fun with the game comes from. Even the style of gameplay changes throughout with side scrolling and top down

Unfortunately the game has one of the most annoying features in anything I've ever played: when your health is low, a siren goes off. And doesn't stop until you either get health or die. It is relentless and ends up driving into your head. I found myself just immediately committing suicide when I got low health just to avoid hearing that damn siren for one second longer.

It's also very clear that this was made for the last gen of games with minimal upgrades. The textures are pretty low res and while they may have cut it for last gen, it's just not working on current gen. I had been into Rockstar's latest for a while, so that may have just spoiled me too much but that is a benchmark that I hope other open world games adhere to. I'll give SR4 the benefit of the doubt since the game was developed for the last batch of consoles and thus had limitations from the beginning. But outside of that, the game is pretty flawless in presentation. Unsurprisingly they've ironed out any issues given the two years of release on 360/PS3 (aside from a few bugs of course)

If you haven't gotten into Saints Row or were turned off by the cartoonish ground it was starting to cover, give this new one a shot. It'll exceed your expectations. It's a perfect mixture of Grand Theft Auto, Crackdown and Sunset Overdrive and contains countless hours of entertainment. If you want a nonstop good time, look no further than Saints Row 4: Re-Elected
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About zombievictim

I'd like my writing to further represent me as a person by providing different insights into the things currently on my mind. Whether it's writing about a movie, TV show, album, book, wrestling event, experience, or life lesson. I don't plan on making this a personal blog where I treat it like a diary. This is just supposed to represent… Me.
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