It has to be said, I’m a bit of a Saints Row fan. Having played each and every one through to a conclusion since the Saints first hit our Xbox 360 consoles back in 2006, I’ve gone on to experience their antics more than once with Saints Row 2, Saints Row: The Third and indeed Saints Row IV.
But now, for the first time the Saints are in glorious full HD having made the journey to the new gen with Saints Row IV: Re-Elected. Has the jump been a worthy one?
Oh god damn yes. Of course it has.
Set in an alien simulation of Steelport City, the Saints and the President of the United States of America must tool up and go all out as the President attempts to rid the world of the evil Zinyak alien race, some of their own worst fears and pretty much anything else that gets in the way…civilians included!
As is the way with any Saints title, realistic representation is the furthest thing from the minds of developers Volition and whilst many sandbox style titles try to either bring in full depth real-world stories or realistic looking visuals, Saints Row IV: Re-Elected doesn’t particularly bother with either of these. Instead, the story is about as far fetched as you are likely to get with super powers and super weapons being thrust into the limelight over and over again.
Unfortunately, the visuals on display are possibly the only disappointing thing in the entire game. For those of you who have already played SRIV on Xbox 360, then you’ll know that the graphics then, back in 2013, weren’t of particularly high standard and now, even with the jump to a more powerful new gen console, they still look lacking. I know we’re basically looking at a straight port of the original game but while the visuals could have been overlooked 18 months ago, now they just seem downright poor…and occasionally screen tearingly buggy at that.
But I’m prepared to turn a bit of a blind eye at those small issues because the rest of Re-Elected is thankfully of top notch quality.
Basically a cross between all previous Saints games and Crackdown, as the President of the United States you’ll be tasked with a number of main missions from rescuing naked compatriots to tearing after the Zinyak alien forces in order to escape the simulation. Super jumping, flying and cluster collection are all back and play a huge role in how things progress, with you less likely to rely on finding a fast car or using the nearest fast-travel portal to get around and more likely choosing to fly like Superman whilst enjoying everything that is on offer. Whilst initially your super powers will be weak, the more clusters you collect, the more missions you succeed in and the further you go down the massively long side mission line, the more you’ll be able to upgrade both your powers, your homies skills and indeed your own deadly weapons.
And it’s with a huge amount of joy that I can tell you that the now-signature crazy-ass Saints Row weapons are back. Standard pistols, SMGs and Assault rifles are all present but so too are tons of alien race weapons and sex toy equivalents. Some came as standard with the original game but the inclusion of old-gen downloadable content by default means you also get to play around with all the new weapons that come included in those packs as well.
Of course, Volition and Deep Silver couldn’t have pleased the gaming masses with just releasing the same bog standard game onto new generation gamers without any changes and so the inclusion of every single piece of original downloadable content is now also present. That means you get to play through the excellent Enter the Dominatrix and the rather outstanding How the Saints Saved Christmas missions. These not only bring new missions, but also new weapons into the equation and whilst the two together only drop a couple of hours of additional gameplay at most, they are something you’ll want to check out, especially if you didn’t do so previously. Many other content packs have been included and the nuts Pirate Booty and Saints Super Hero outfits are superb. For free and included in the game, they are all a great addition even if they ultimately bring nothing but even more humour to our time with the Saints.
Include some great store hacking mini games and tons of pint-sized activities from fight clubs, to mayhem battles and races through the simulation and you’ll find Saints Row IV: Re-Elected will bring many many hours of fun to your life. I challenge you not to smile throughout and with the whole damn thing also free to be played over Xbox Live in a co-op fashion, that entertainment factor can only increase more. Whilst a number of attempts at grabbing a random partner failed to materialise, if you’ve got a mate that is willing to splash the pittance of cash required to grab the upgraded and updated game, then you’ll probably struggle to find a more enjoyable cooperative experience.
So, should you buy Re-Elected?
If you’re a fan of the Third Street Saints, then you don’t need me to tell you what you already know. But if you’ve just jumped on good ship Xbox and fancy a blast through something that isn’t going to take itself, yourself or in fact anything seriously, then you should jump aboard.
In other words, if you’re looking for a fun sandbox title and happy to look past some dated visuals…Go and stand for re-election now President!