I was lucky enough to review Saints Row 4 when it was released in the last generation, I had a *lot* of fun with the game and it was actually one I managed to keep going back to months after despite having a huge pile of shame.
When I heard I would have the opportunity to jump back into the Virtual Reality Steelport on the Xbox One I couldn’t say no. The Saints Row IV re-elected Edition comes with a brand new expansion too… Gat out of Hell.
If you haven’t experienced the Saints Row series in the last couple of years then you have missed a couple of great games. Saints Row 3 was brilliant while Saints Row 4 upped the ante by creating a Virtual version of Steelport giving the developer’s free reign to produce one of my favourite game worlds in a while. Saints Row 4 starts with an infiltration mission in which you attempt to stop Cyrus from setting off a nuclear warhead, despite defeating Cyrus the missile gets launched, but in true Saints Row fashion The Boss saves the day.
Five years later, (and after you have been through the huge character creator that allows you to create your ideal boss) you find yourself elected as the President of the United States, with several members of the Saints acting as cabinet. Just before a routine press conference an invasion begins, spearheaded by the alien warlord Zinyak who captures all of the cabinet members as well as the Boss.
Eventually Zinyak throws you into simulated Steelport leaving you to find a way to save your crew who have been left in their own virtual reality hell, but for the rest of us this is where the fun begins. With the brilliant Kinzie on your side she discovers that there are data clusters distributed all around Steelport and the more of them you collect the more powers you’ll obtain. If you have played Crackdown then some of the powers will feel very familiar to you, being able to jump 20 stories high and running three blocks in a matter of seconds are the most basic, but as you earn more XP you’ll earn the ability smash in the ground to send opponents flying with your mind and use fire, lots of fire…
Steelport itself isn’t the most exciting place when it was “real” but the virtual version is a whole different story, as well as the normal city structures there are also 5 huge alien structures that like in Crackdown, will have plenty of rewards waiting for you at the top. With all of your abilities getting around is great fun, and it almost feels like there is no need for vehicles, but they are pretty fun too, so it worth checking those out too.
It’s great having all sorts of abilities but you’ll need weapons too and there are plenty in Saints Row IV, and they are pretty amazing. By now you will have heard of the Dubstep gun, frankly it’s a bit mental but you are hard pushed to find a weapon that isn’t in this game. Each of the guns can be upgraded to become or powerful It’s great to experiment with the different styles of weapons to help you get through the different activities. These range from havoc missions, where you are required to cause a certain amount of damage to anything you can within a time limit. There are races, survival missions as well as the story itself, which is brilliant. Saints Row has never really taken itself seriously and it continues in the same vai this time around.
Despite the game making its way on to the Xbox One and being upscaled to 1080p I didn’t really notice too much of a difference and a times felt like the game was struggling, there was lots of texture popping in and when the game had lots of enemies on screen the slowdown was noticeable. It would have been neat to allow previous owners of the game to import their save game, or even their characters, thankfully the game is fun enough to experience all over again.
The re-release of Saints Row IV on the new generation of consoles has been joined by a standalone expansion pack, Gat out of Hell.
The story begins at the end of SRIV, the crew are celebrating Kinzies birthday, to spice things up they decided to play around with an Ophir board, it’s all a bit of fun at first until the boss is captured by Satan and is being lined up to marry his daughter, Jezebel. Johnny is not impressed by this and along Kinzie (it is her birthday after all) follow him into hell to stop the marriage from taking place.
When they reach hell one of the first thing Kinzie says is “it looks a lot like Steelport” she isn’t quite right, they are in a place called New Hades it looks like hell, there is fire, lava, cars with no doors on and there are husks wandering the streets. The police are demons who drive monster trucks, and there are plenty of flying enemies that have shields and can attack you from any position.
You quickly discover that the most prominent building in the city is Ultor HQ. Dane Vogel, head of Ultor Corporation and previous adversary of the Saints, Has set himself up in hell. He has spotted a gap in the Real Estate market, he just needs Satan out of the way. He gives Johnny Gat with Lucifer’s Broken Halo, It gives the users the ability to fly and use its magical powers. Between Johnny and Kinzie your job is to get Satan to notice you by causing as much chaos as possible.
So you have been given a set of amazing powers, but are they any good? Actually yes! The first two you begin with are the ability to fly and the super sprint, but as you progress through the game you’ll unlock more arcane powers such as a powerful stomp that will send enemies flying and destroy the shields of more powerful enemies. There are a host of excellent weapons too. My favourite so far is the lil’ croaker, a rocket launcher that shoots out frogs that hop around before exploding. There are some great sniper rifles, assault rifles and shotguns to get hold of too. They can all be upgrades provided you have the cash and XP to do so. The more activities you do the more you can upgrade.
The activities are quite good fun, they range from Salvation, which is a flying mission that requires you to save as many souls as possible from falling out of the sky, to a rather nice variant to the insurance fraud mode, called Torment Fraud. In this mode you basically torment a soul as much as possible in order for him to escape hell.
Gat out of Hell is full of the humour that made me love Saints Row 4, New Hades was a nice change to Steelport and the superhuman powers were a blast. The flying took a bit of getting used to but just like in SRIV as you upgraded you powers the more fun the game became. If you haven’t played Saints Row 4 yet it’s definitely worth getting the re-elected version of the game, if you are returning from playing it on the 360 I’m not totally sure it’s worth your time, it’s probably better picking up the expansion and getting 7-8 hours of hellish fun from that.
Thanks to Koch Media for supplying TiX with a download code
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