January 30, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 30°F


Review: Simulated game world lacks difficulty

Saints Row IV

Imagine making a gravity-defying jump 50 to 100 feet in the air and striking down on bad guys, all while wearing a goofy costume and a cowboy hat. This chaotic scene is typical of the tongue-in-cheek, action-packed new video game “Saints Row IV.”

“Saints Row IV” is the follow-up game to “Saints Row: The Third.” The Saints used to be a smaller gang doing little jobs to control territories of a midwestern, urban city called Stilwater. But now the gang has risen to power and become one of the biggest corporations in the U.S. and set its sights on taking over the country.

In the beginning of the game, the player takes part in a Black Ops mission that requires the elimination of a terrorist group, and the Saints must diffuse a launched nuclear bomb. While this mission may sound serious, it’s far from it. As the player tries to save the world from nuclear warfare, Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want To Miss a Thing” plays in the background, lightening the mood of the gameplay.

Flash forward five years, and “Saints Row IV” allows the player to control the head of the Saints, who has also become the president of the U.S. When the country falls under a large-scale alien attack, and the aliens abduct everyone, leaving the Earth destroyed, the player has to save humanity.

The president is put into a simulation world created by the aliens, which the player can enter and leave freely. When the player departs the simulation, the setting is changed to a “Mass Effect”–styled spaceship, playing as the mothership for the president. In order to escape and save the country, the player completes missions by putting viruses into the simulation, which help the player gain control over the aliens’ power and destroy the simulated world.

The gameplay of “Saints Row IV” is similar to “Saints Row: The Third” by having an “open world” where anything goes, which allows the player to explore the boundaries of the game’s world. The player can acquire superpowers, which make vanquishing enemies very easy. Though the game may not offer a challenge, it keeps players entertained with different challenges, side missions and activities, like a murderous game show that requires telekinetic skills to score points.

The player is free to roam the simulated city of Steelport, where “Saints Row: The Third” took place. Almost everything about the character is customizable. This is where the game shines. There is the ability to customize the main character to the smallest detail. The varieties of clothing options are wacky and amusing. The character can be dressed-up as a crossdresser, “gimp” or go completely nude. Other aspects of the game are customizable too, like weapons, cars and the gang. The options are surreal and fit best to whatever the player prefers.

The dialogue of the game is not the best, but it is enough to make people laugh at the references to pop culture, movies and other video games. The characters have their own strengths and weaknesses, but their interactions aren’t enough to build their identities in the game.

While “Saints Row IV” is surely no challenge, the game provides endless hours of fun. The customization gives many options; the gameplay may be easy, but it is not boring, and the dialogue gives many laughs for its quirky style. “Saints Row IV” may be zany, but it sure is entertaining.