Publisher: Koch Media / Deep Silver
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Version Reviewed: eShop download
Category: Action / Shooter
No. of Players: up to 2 players
Release Date: March 27, 2020 (EU & NA)
Price: $39.99 USD
When Saints Row first come on the scene in 2006, developed by Volition, the first offering in the series, went down as being a successful open-world action-adventure delight. It was also eagerly awaited by fans, since at the time it was announced during E3 in 2005, it was the first game of its kind announced for the Xbox 360.
Saints Row would not remain a single title however, as a sequel would release in 2008, with a third instalment out in 2011, before finally, in 2013, the fourth entry in the series was released and the series was globally recognised as being a best-selling series thanks to more than 13 million sales.
In its first week of release, Saints Row IV sold over a million copies and because of its classic Saint humour fashion, it was banned from the likes of Australia. There has yet to be a fifth entry in the series, but developer Volition has kept the Saints Row spirit alive thanks to extra content, including the Gat: Out of Hell expansion, which acts as an epilogue to the fourth title.
Given everything that happens in Saints Row IV, it is understandable as to why we haven’t gotten a fifth game yet, although it was reported in 2019 that the fifth full entry is in “deep development.”
Fans could be kept waiting a long time before we get a good look at it, but in the meantime, Saints Row IV is still playable, but did you know that in the game, the superpower and supernatural aspects behind it, was originally conceived for the third game, as part of an expansion, which would then be cancelled and lead to the development of Saints Row IV? Well, now you do.
In the years that followed, Saints Row IV would be rebranded and released on multiple platforms, leading to the eventual Re-Elected release, which is bundled with all previously released, additional content.
If the Saints thought they made it big when they merged with the Ultor Corporation, they’ve gone even bigger now that they’re running the United States of America and the boss, is the elected POTUS. Throw in a “beginning of a game” mission to take out a terrorist and then an alien invasion a few scenes later all, all bets are off.
For the Saints, their entire world is going to be turned upside down, as the invading Zin empire lay claim to only the brightest, best and strongest of the human race and a fistfight against Zinyak does not go the boss’ way. Before he or she, depending on which sex you play as, knows it, they have been pulled out of the real world and placed in a simulation, intended to break their spirit.
Instead, the boss breaks out and manages to get into a different kind of simulation, one that is a recreation of their beloved Steelport and begins a rebellion. The Zin may be in control now and calling all the shots, but the Saints aren’t quitters and they’re all too happy to take the fight against the Zin in both the confines of the simulation and in the depths of space.
Truthfully, the if you were hoping the difference between going from the third Saints Row game to the fourth, is the same as what it was for going from Saints Row 2 to Saints Row: The Third, then be prepared for some disappointment.
Saints Row IV, was not the vast improvement likes fans hoped it would be as it pretty much looked and played like 3 with a different skin and some new gameplay features, but that doesn’t mean Saints Row IV is not a delightful game to sink your teeth into.
It’s an open-world adventure, allowing players to make an entire city their very own playground, only this time, while you still can’t enter every single building, in no time at all things like driving vehicles becomes redundant.
Just as soon as superpowers like sprinting and jumping become unlocked, you’ll be to able to do an impression of The Flash, which is not just limited to running around the city, sticking to the streets, but provided you’ve acquired the necessary upgrades, you’ll be able to run up buildings and leap over them in a single bound.
Then there are the other superpowers of blasting things, be it with fire or ice, thus freezing enemy targets in place, using telekinesis to pick up and throw people and objects alike and, right near the end of the game, you can reign death from above and nuke Steelport.
As for the regular gameplay you can expect, aside from driving, car surfing and character customisation, there’s also wielding an array of weapons, both human and alien, and shooting them to your heart’s content and the more experience you earn, the more you’ll level up and be able to acquire new abilities, power-ups and bonuses, provided you have enough cache to purchase them.
What’s more, just like before, by pressing the – button, you can prompt your protagonist to bring up their phone to get a vehicle delivered to you, have a homie come to your assistance, access powers and abilities, use the map and place a GPS marker and more.
CONTENT & FEATURES:
Like I said earlier on in the review, before I cover the things you can so in-game, Saints Row IV: Re-Elected also features 25 packs of DLC and two story expansion packs. The only problem with the DLC however, is access. For undisclosed reasons, reviewers and consumers are having a hard time accessing the additional content and are having next to no luck with it, but Deep Silver is aware of the issues and are currently looking into it.
As for the actual content the game does feature, aside from a virtual Steelport to explore, there are more than 30 quests making up the main story, which includes loyalty missions for each member of your crew you are able to save and there’s a whole range of collectibles and activities all over Steelport for players to track down and engage in.
Collectibles come in the form of audio files that add with backstories for various characters, clusters which are needed for improving your superpowers, statues that need to be destroyed and even old school computers, which provides players insight into Zinyak’s life.
Then, of course, there is drop-in and drop-out co-op play, which allows players to double the mayhem and really unleash hell upon the brutal Zin empire, and allows you to do special co-op activities, but this is not something you need to do if you don’t want to. Saints Row IV: Re-Elected is a marvellous game you can easily play solo as an individual adventure.
For those curious, the Nintendo Switch Online app does support voice chat for Saints Row, but I hardly ever bothered with it. As for other in-game activities, one requires players to run through various checkpoints, one asks them to steal specific cars, assassinate key targets, wreak mayhem and fraud is back.
Yes, that’s right, fraud is back. That delightful mode where players are actually encouraged to jump into traffic, hit as many vehicles as they can and rack up as a high a claim as possible, within the given timeframe. If you wish to get gold in the activity, creativity is your best friend.
Like with Saints Row: The Third – The Full Package, while I’m not 100% sold on the music tracks that did make it in, I can’t deny there are a few songs present that didn’t catch me by the surprise, especially songs that couldn’t have played at a more perfect moment. (I’m looking at you “The Touch” by Stan Bush!)
Should players feel unsatisfied with the in-game radio stations, they are entitled to make their playlists to listen to and once more, the voice acting and sound effects are on par with those utilised in Saints Row: The Third – The Full Package.
VISUALS & PERFORMANCE:
At this stage in the game, we’re not in 2013 anymore, we’re in 2020 and as an open-world game, Saints Row IV: Re-Elected, is starting to show it’s age, but, if you are able to look beyond some of dated character models, Saints Row IV is still an “easy on the eye” title, which just so happens to run at a steady 30 fps.
There is a difference between handheld and docked gameplay as docked runs at 1080p compared to handheld’s 720p, but both offer minimal stutters and some of the glitchy gameplay effects you’ll see, is actually down to the fact your character is playing in a simulation, very similar to the Matrix and glitches are part of it. Whereas there other glitches where characters will be seated through the chair they’re meant to be sitting on.
Lastly, gyro aiming is supported from the get-go, if you have the digital version of the game. If you purchased physical, you will be required to download a day one patch and for what it’s worth, if you despise gyro controls, you can disable them, but I left them on for the purpose of this review and enjoyed using them.
Aside from the starters here and there, there’s nothing really wrong with Saints Row IV: Re-Elected. Yes, it’s insane. Yes, it’s graphic. Yes, the Saints have gone from being a street gang, to being humanity’s only hope against its alien oppressors and sure, at this point in the series, things are looking pretty nonsensical, but it’s still a daring game filled with madness that can grant joy to the lovers of its genre, during this time of self-isolation.
There are some meh moments for me and there are also things that genuinely surprised me. One being the fact my partner’s go-to song is in it, during a key moment of the game and there’s also a Papa Roach song in it that, in the past, I have listened to for hours on end, but I both love and hate the strong Matrix and Mass Effect ties that Saints Row IV has.
No, fighting aliens alone doesn’t make Saints Row a Mass Effect rip-off, but the whole space dynamic, sci-fi nature, powers and having the option to make choices and sleep with various crew members, certainly does help. Mind you, as the Mass Effect fan I am, during my playthroughs of Saints Row 3 and IV on Switch, my boss character was designed in honour of the female Commander Shepard.
Even the personality of the two characters can be quite similar at times, but unlike with the Mass Effect games, this time the hero or heroine, can literally sleep with almost everyone, including a demanding artificial intelligence, present on the ship and you can do it more than once.
Sure, it’s the same cut-scene with each character each time, but repeated sessions are allowed, provided you’ve left and returned to the ship. Trying to hook up with a character you’ve only just been with, will result in a rejection.
Now, just because Saints Row IV is not the Mass Effect we deserve on Nintendo Switch, it is the closest thing we have to Mass Effect and GTA, whilst having the majority of the game taking place in the matrix, sorry overlord Zinyak, I mean simulation and in my book, this fact alone does justify picking up a classic and shooting a lot of Zin.
While Saints Row: The Third on Switch is not quite as much as The Full Package as it is on other platforms, it still has plenty of content to keep gamers busy in the meantime and provide them with a GTA-like experience that which was previously unavailable on the Nintendo Switch.
THE VERDICT: 8/10
*A download key was provided by the Publisher for the purposes of this review
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This post was written by Solid Jack