Title: Saints Row IV: Re-Elected
Publisher: Koch Media
Genre: Shooter, Action
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 18
Release Date: 27/03/2020
Price: £34.99 – Rapid Reviews was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
Picture the scene…you wake up and get dressed whilst listening to the latest Kanye West album, Yeezus. You’re excited that tonight you and your friends are going to see Iron Man 3 as it launches in the cinema, and your mam has just informed you of the birth of Prince George. The doorbell rings and it’s the mailman with your brand new game, Saints Row IV. The year is not 2020, oh no, for Saints Row IV was first initially released way back in 2013! Fast forward a couple of years to 2015 and the game was re-released as the “Re-Elected” edition, this included all the DLC that was released for the base game. Now, in a year which started with Australia being on fire and moved to a worldwide pandemic in just a couple months, can rereleasing Saints Row 4 Re-Elected still bring the same joy as it did all those years ago?
Let’s preface this review by stating this, if you’ve played Saints Row 4 (be it in its vanilla flavour or with all the DLC addictions) there is nothing new here. The story, gameplay and everything else about the game is exactly the same as it was in previous released. Seeing as this game is also the 4th entry in the franchise you’d be forgiven for thinking you need to have played the others. Thankfully the guys behind this game have done an amazing job at filling in any blanks you may have. Previous Saints Row knowledge is not essential, however, if you have any you will notice a few subtle nods to previous stories and events.
You play as the President of the United States of America, you’d assume that this would mean days of meetings, discussions and paperwork. However, in Saints Row, things are a little different. The game starts off on an insertion mission where you are front and centre in the line of fire, shooting, stabbing and killing anyone that gets in your path. Without spoiling the plot too much, things work out for you…until the earth is invaded by aliens and people are abducted (you being one of them). You find the only way to combat this alien threat is from within a simulated world that has been created as your prison. The game doesn’t let up with the wackiness of its story, nothing is predictable and there are definitely a lot of curveballs thrown at the player. Humour is the backbone of the game, and it doesn’t take itself seriously at all. The dialogue, although sometimes a little crude, made each interaction as hilarious as the next. Saints Row started off as a rival to Grand Theft Auto, however, the team behind it quickly realised that as GTA became more and more grounded in real life, there was a calling for a game where you could be as free as you are in a GTA game but without the restrictions of being a “realistic” game. As each game in the series has come out, this goal has been more and more realised and Saints Row IV doesn’t let up.
Speaking of gameplay, there are so many different aspects of this game. You have the standard third-person action, but then you have platforming, races, top-down shooters and so much more. It’s really hard to complain about the variety on offer here. As with any open-world game, there are a lot of side quests and distractions from the main story. These come with classics involving causing as much damage as possible in a set period of time, be it with a rocket launcher, a tank…or damage to yourself in an insurance fraud mini-game.
These short jaunts into an even stranger part of the game really seem normal in the virtual world of Saints Row IV. At no point do they feel forced or as if they’re there to be filler content. It all just works and makes sense, even the nods to other games that are put in. That’s not to say the gameplay is perfect. Being as this game is set inside a virtual simulation, the rules of physics do not always apply. You are quickly granted the ability of super speed, a super jump and the ability to shoot blasts from your hand. On paper, these sound amazing (and don’t get me wrong, they make it feel like no other game of the same genre) but in practice, it’s a different story.
There is a lot of challenge that is removed from the game because of these, nothing feels out of reach and nothing seems too hard for you. As nice as being able to jump over buildings and run up walls is when the game calls for precise movements they are made a lot harder than they need to be due to there being no way to switch these moves off. There is even a whole car-jacking mechanic that is so easy to not use due to these superpowers making movement around the city too simple…not that the driving mechanics were a highlight. The city itself has a lot of detail to it, which is easy to miss when you’re zooming around and flying all the time.
When it comes to the visuals, they’re…fine. That’s the issue, there is nothing special here. The game is 5 years old, the visuals fit well to the Switch due to the hardware limitations, but they’re nothing to write home about. The game has a very dark vibe to it, not in the sense of evil or anything like that, the game is just very dark. For the most part, the game takes place with a nighttime setting, which is a stark difference to the previous entry. This does change as the story comes to a close, and you are given the ability to change the time of day after the main game is completed. But for some, it’s too late. The console didn’t seem to struggle with the game either, however, the frame rate wasn’t as stable as expected. This didn’t take away from the enjoyment of the game, however.
Similar to the visuals, the audio in this game is a mixed bag. The dialogue is crisp and each line is delivered amazingly. However, the background audio doesn’t have the same feeling. The game allows you to have music play whilst in the main world and on foot (usually reserved for when you’re inside a vehicle), this takes away any sense of a “living city” as the dialogue of passing NPCs can be lost. The music choice is still good, not great. Having been spoilt with the massive choice of music in GTA games, Saints Row IV feels a little lacking.
Saints Row IV is a fun game, in every sense of the word. From side-splitting humour, to fully capturing that superhero feeling. Although there are some setbacks with the gameplay, overall the variety on offer here is amazing and the game looks and sounds at home on the Switch hardware. The game isn’t priced the same as a full-price release, and that was a very smart move. If you came here expecting anything new you’ll be leaving disappointed, but if you loved Saints Row IV and want to enjoy it all over again (and on the go) or you’re looking to try this chapter in the Saints Row franchise out it’s definitely worth a look.
Rapid Reviews Rating
Saints Row IV Re-Elected can be purchased for the Nintendo Switch at the following link: https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch/Saints-Row-IV-Re-Elected–1716184.html
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.