Saints Row IV was a great big slice of ridiculous on PS3. It turned what was once an increasingly daft mirror of another popular sandbox crime saga (Mafia II) into one of the best superhero games of the console generation that didn’t feature a gruff-voiced billionaire in an animal-themed costume. Having said that, there are plenty of silly costumes and you are the President of The United States of America. As is the norm in this early part of the current generation, Saints Row IV has been re-released with all its DLC trimmings and tarted-up to parade around with all the pretty current gen games, hoping nobody will notice that it looks a bit haggard under all the sparkly dresses and make-up. Well, I noticed, but turns out it doesn’t really matter. We’ll get back to that later though.
So back to how ridiculous Saints Row IV is/was. Allow me to explain the opening half-hour in brief to give you a taste. Your protagonist, the leader of the Third Street Saints, is now no mere Gang Boss, elevated to hero status and first seen in Saints Row IV aboard a helicopter, ready for a covert mission in the Middle-East. Throughout this prologue there is a riff on the helicopter scene from Predator, not so subtle digs at Metal Gear, Call of Duty and Battlefield, but the absurdity really starts when your character rides a nuke whilst the wailing chorus of Aerosmith’s ‘Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing’ booms in the background. This moment is not even in the top ten gleefully stupid moments of the game, because after that you become the US President, get invaded by aliens and put into a virtual version of the Saint’s home of Steelport where you eventually get superhuman powers and can leap tall buildings in a single bound. Keeping in mind Saints Row started life as a ‘’me too!’’ tailgater on the Grand Theft Auto highway, getting to this point in just four games is nothing short of stupefying.
Anyway, back to the mutton dressed as lamb analogy from earlier.
If you bought Saints Row IV on PS3 and are tempted to upgrade to Re-Elected for purely graphical reasons then don’t. This PS4 version isn’t all that impressive in that respect. In fact, it’d be fair to say there doesn’t seem to be all that much done to improve visually beyond minor cosmetic touches. Luckily it isn’t too galling as Saints Row leans heavily on a cartoonish style and too much additional detail may have taken away from that. However, It could easily have looked a bit better than it does. It does at least move a bit more smoothly than the previous gen version, which makes the gameplay just a bit more enjoyable.
Saints Row IV throws masses of silly and enjoyable things to do at you. From firing guns with bouncy ball ammo to chokeslamming aliens into oblivion, and all the mad nonsense in-between, Steelport is chock-full of people to punch and stuff to blow up as you run rampant with your excessively awesome super powers. The tools at your disposal quickly grow in number too, but it is best to just experience what Saints Row IV has to offer if you really want to appreciate the box of daft toys you get given. As ever in the series, all the tools in the world far outshine the actual city, which still comes across as lifeless and uninspired in design terms. It is sort of the point, I suppose. Steelport is only ever needed as a set in which to create your merry mayhem.
All that is just the standard game, there are also all the DLC packs chucked in to give you even more to play with, not to mention the laugh riot that is co-op.That may just be about enough extra content for anyone who simply played the base version of Saints Row IV on PS3 to justify stumping up the cash for this complete edition. If you never got round to playing it though, then for a budget price this is worth a punt. It’s worth mentioning the price gets a little steeper when you add the standalone expansion Gat Out of Hell (reviewed separately here) into the mix though. If you still have the PS3 version I’d suggest getting all the DLC on there because as I said earlier, the graphical upgrade is nowhere near good enough to warrant forking out another lot of cash for having a second, complete copy of the game.