Saints Row IV

We’re Just Along For The Ride

It’s the Saints world, and we’re not even living in it.
Author: Aram Lecis
Published: August 19, 2013
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It came as a little bit of a surprise when Volition announced Saints Row IV would be hitting late this summer. First off, we all expected there to be a big expansion (Enter the Dominatrix) to Saints Row The Third coming before any actual sequels. Secondly, after things fell apart at THQ we didn’t know that Deep Silver would hop in and get things moving again so quickly. We also didn’t expect them to repackage the expansion pack as a whole sequel, but given what you get here, it was probably the right thing to do.

Before we hop in and take a look at what SR4 has to offer, it might behoove us to take a trip down memory lane and look back a bit at the earlier Saints Row games for a bit of context and a nice history lesson.

In Saints Row the player took on the role of a nameless (and silent) protagonist just trying to get by in the hectic town of Stilwater. Despite his desire of anonymity, he’s soon thrust into the center of a three-way gang war as he takes the side of the Third Street Saints. The Saints are looking to bring a little peace back to the streets, but of course they need to use violence to get their way. The games semi-serious tone was intended to rival Grand Theft Auto, but it was a bit of a parody with tons of crude humor and over-the-top violence. By the time the dust settled your player was the new boss.

Saints Row 2 came along a few years later and kicked everything up a notch. Full customization let you make a whole range of cool bosses (explained away by you having had plastic surgery in prison) and your return to Stilwater required you to retake the entire city from NEW rival gangs. This was the first entry to let you play through the entire game co-op and it was amazing. The game also one-upped Grand Theft Auto IV with terrific activities that ranged from covering drug dealers to defrauding insurance companies to spraying poop on buildings. Sure, the game was a bit janky, but the sheer amount of crazy little games, rampant drug use and politically incorrect everything made it one of the best experiences of this generation. The game ends with you stopping the evil Ultor corporation (franchise crossover!) and just being a total badass. I personally played through the entire game three times, once alone and twice co-op and I NEVER replay games.

Along came Saints Row The Third which opened with one of the most action-packed intros of all time and from there just went full-on parody of open-world games. SR3 was the “Natural Born Killers” of the video game industry, sensationalizing violence and vice by making the Saints a cultural phenomenon with energy drinks, movie deals and a higher Q-score than Mickey Mouse. That’s just the starting point. Soon the Saints find themselves in the town of Steelport and are embroiled in yet another gang war and high-level political maneuvering. The parody comes hot and heavy in this game from the storylines to the vehicles to the bonus “whored” mode. If you can’t get behind big purple dildos and teabagging jokes this wasn’t for you. I mean, you had a room in the game that was filled with fuck machines and bondage equipment. Subtlety was not in the cards. In some ways the game took a step back as the activities weren’t as interesting or unique as they had been in previous games, and they toned down a lot of the “urban” stuff. It was still a blast, don’t get me wrong, and it looked like the Boss had reached the pinnacle of his or her profession (always a heavyset Latina lady in my case).
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