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Saints Row IV

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By Bobfish24-07-2013
BloodyFanGirl (editor)
Bis18marck70 (editor)
Saints Row IV

The Defence

Developer:
Volition Inc.
Publisher:
Deep Silver
Genre:
Shooter, Action
Release Date:
US 20-08-2013
EU 23-08-2013

The Prosecution

CPU:
Intel Core 2 Quad 2.5 GHz
AMD Phenom 9850 2.5 GHz
VGA:
Nvidia GeForce GTX 260
AMD Radeon HD 5850
RAM:
4 GB
HDD:
10 GB
DirectX:
11

This last weekend I had the good fortune to learn that a few of the chappies from Deep Silver would be making their way to Greater Manchester, in the North of England, to show off their upcoming insanityfest, Saints Row IV, at the MCM Expo. Why is this so important to us? Well you see, Pixel Judge was unfortunately unable to attend a similar event in London. But with Manchester being my hometown, it was a cinch for me to hop on down and check it out. Which I did.

Now bear in mind, for several reasons (cost, size and Pierce is a dick) the version being demoed was for the Xbox 360. But let me just say, despite this, the game still looked really damned nice. Seriously, those gameplay videos you've been seeing all over the place really do not do the game justice. Considering how late it is in the console cycle, graphical fidelity was still nothing to be scoffed at and, with the assurance of full DX11 support for the PC, it can only look better.

Ooh, well hi there sailors.

Ooh, well hi there sailors.

Even the environment itself, despite being the exact same city once again, still seemed fresh. The inclusion of new scenery such as the alien mothership constantly lurking overhead and alien towers (more on those in a moment) dotted throughout the map at key points, coupled with new NPC character models and vehicles, all added up to take what would have been a dull rehash and turn it into something new.

However the way the game plays has changed very little from the previous entries. The inclusion of the much hyped super-powers has done little to mix up the bare bones of the experience, allowing them to neatly fall in and enhance the game rather than dominate and change it to the point of being unrecognisable. Again, this being the 360, I can't comment on the specific keyboard layout (which will be customisable anyway, so does it really matter?) but I can tell you that powers are accessed via the same menu as weapons, making switching everything on the fly very simple, whilst things like super speed and jump simply slot into what would normally be sprint and regular jump.

Out of the way! Last night's curry is coming back out!

Out of the way! Last night's curry is coming back out!

Other returning, but tweaked, features include weapon customisation. But whereas Saints the Third simply added things like fire bullets and better scopes the latest iteration offers complete reskins and, in the case of the infamous Wub Wub even changes the music used to instigate your impromptu dance parties. Sadly, this is limited to a collection of on disc music, without the option to choose your own .mp3 files from your hard drive (something the dev team wanted to add, but simply didn’t have the resources to do). But I expect the modding community to address this sooner rather than later.

There was also another weapon, which has yet to see much coverage, that immediately became my favourite - the black hole gun. As the name implies, it launches miniature black holes that suck in and spaghettify (that is, seriously, the scientific name for what happens to something sucked into a black hole) everything around them. Including yourself, without the spaghettification, if you stand too close.

Somehow...this is all Pierce's fault.

Somehow...this is all Pierce's fault.

Other new features include some tweaks to how storing and calling vehicles work; because the majority of the game takes place in a simulation, you no longer have the requirement of finding a garage to store them. Now you just hit a button and there you go, it's locked in place. Likewise, when calling for one, you don't have to wait for a homie to deliver them, they're just constructed right there next to you.

Further changes have been made to the menu (which will be functionally and visually identical across versions) to avoid the infuriation of being munched in the face whilst trying to call in said vehicle on the fly. Such options are still accessed via your phone but it no longer happens in real time. You go into a full menu screen, which pauses the world around you, giving you the time you need to do...whatever it is you want to do.

This is seriously not what it looks like.

This is seriously not what it looks like.

Those towers I mentioned earlier factor in as another tweak. Whilst you can still, if you choose, simply wander around exploring, waiting for icons such as gang activities to pop up on your radar. You can now also track down a tower, bitchslap everything in sight, take control (much akin to the Borgia/Templar towers in Assassin's Creed, a comparison which is far from accidental) and bam! Everything in that area shows up all at once. Useful. Plus, you can shoot a bunch of uppity aliens in the process. A double win.

The largest change comes in the removal of the regenerating health. It may seem like an odd choice, given that everything else has been supercharged. It may even seem like the hunt for health takes the edge off your omnipotence. And, yeah, you're exactly right, it does and that's precisely what it is intended to do. But let me assure you, having tested the game on Hardcore, you will not feel underpowered. Not even remotely. The speed and ease with which you can dispatch your enemies more than offsets any perceived weakness.

Yeah, you show 'em Grandma.  Feel the wubs.

Yeah, you show 'em Grandma. Feel the wubs.

Long story short. I can personally attest that everything we've heard about the fourth title in this madcap series is exactly as reported. Everything we have been promised is exactly as delivered. It's an incredibly fun game, full of the off the wall humour and joyous sandbox shenanigans we've come to expect. Better yet, we've been promised a bare bones minimum of 12 hours of content, with forty or more for those who choose to do everything.

Comments (10)
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Posts: 563

SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!!!!!!!

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Posts: 2626

I honestly don't remember much in the way of dick or fart jokes

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Posts: 350

Hey I like dildo bats and dick jokes. I found the other Saints games to be way to similar to GTA and not as good. I am glad that they are doing something different.

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Posts: 1188

No it wasn't. Shut your mouthes, you know I am right! You're just colorblind from all the poop jokes.

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Posts: 1494

When the game was released SR3 was very fun. I expect nothing less from SR4.

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Posts: 1188

No it didn't. Elof. All it had was dickjokes, intentional lag and dildo bats.

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Posts: 297

Sounds all good so far, enjoying Saints Row: The Third so far in my first playthrough.

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Posts: 2626

Saints the Third had a lot more to it than most people realise. It was merely obscured under a, very, deep layer of insanity

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Posts: 1188

For us snobs who found Saints Row 3 to be a little TOO crazy, who prefer SR2's less batshit insane approach to it all, how will it be? Is it more of the same from SR3, or does the story have some more substance this time around?

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Posts: 350

My God this game looks bananas, I cannot wait to pick it up! Excellent preview sir :D