“So first I’m silent, then I’m an asshole, then I become world famous, then I topple a worldwide crime syndicate, then I defuse a nuke and kill a terrorist, then I’m elected president, and then I’m in an alien spaceship in outer space fighting aliens in a simulation…I have the best life ever.” ~The Boss
This one quote that can sum up the story of Saints Row IV, and shows a clear sign of escalation throughout the series. In Saints Row IV, as “The President”, you get trapped in a Zin Spaceship fighting against the warlord Zinyak in a simulated, alien-invaded Steelport. The only way to defeat the Zin Empire is to bring the simulation to its knees by doing what The Saints do best: cause complete destruction and mayhem.
You play as your own custom President; I personally created a Clark Kent, representing the Saints in a purple suit. I felt that this ties well because, within the simulation, you are quickly granted superpowers of mass destruction and mobility. Powers range from super-jumps, launching yourself up in the air as you glide to your destination, death from above, superhero-slamming into enemies, telekinesis, varying blasts, and (my most commonly used) super-speed—where you run through traffic like a Formula 1 race car, only you’re as strong as a tank, launching everything and everyone you hit up in the air.
Just like in Saints Row: The Third, car driving and customisation makes a return, only this time it becomes quite redundant as the super powers you gain (along with a hefty dose of upgraded stamina) makes you 2–3 times faster than a fully upgraded car. What’s the point in driving or customising cars when you can run like faster than the speed of light, or launch yourself up in the air and fall, in style, to your target?
Saints Row IV has a decent variety in gameplay, and story based in referential and meta humour. One of my favourite segments is from the chapter “From Asha with Love”, where you attempt to break Asha out of her personal simulated hell, fighting to take down the evil twin of The President. This chapter is reminiscent of Metal Gear Solid and Splinter Cell. You’re dressed up in Snake-like getup, shooting out lights reluctantly. A few examples of comments:
“Asha, that light has a family!” ~The Boss
“Why would I waste two bullets on those lights, when I can use one on the guard?” ~The Boss
“I was told to walk in this pattern, over and over, until something interesting happens” ~Unsuspecting Guard
(Video by Youtuber Denny Ayard)
There are a lot of funny, enjoyable levels throughout that keep things interesting, like escaping a spaceship from inside another spaceship while listening to Haddaway’s “What Is Love”, being stuck in a 16-bit brawler game, and even being put in a Tron-like simulation while controlling a Tron-tank. And there is no shortage of things to do in the open world. I have spent countless hours jumping and gliding from building to building to capture power clusters that helped with upgrading my abilities.
I played Saints Row IV: Re-Elected Edition on Switch, which is a fairly decent port packed with the all the previous DLC. When it comes to first-and-third-person shooters I prefer to use a keyboard and mouse (as I find shooting accuracy in controllers to be finicky), so I was a tad cautious with playing it on the Switch. Although between the snap-to-target option and the motion controls, I found the game, while still a tad uncomfortable, a little easier to play. I found it even more so with the Switch Pro Controller’s bigger thumb sticks.
Unfortunately Saints Row IV has taken a hit in graphical quality on the Switch, what with dynamic resolution scaling down the graphics to give a smoother frame rate. I often saw jagged lines that made the game a little immersion breaking. My President’s smile was something to be feared due to the jagged edges making it look fake and jarring. You can turn off dynamic resolution to keep the graphics consistent, with an occasional frame rate hit, but I chose a smooth frame rate over the resolution. The load times are long enough to notice, but not so long that you’ll need to find something to fill the time with.
Overall, the Switch edition isn’t as good as its Xbox One, PS4, and PC counterparts; but that is to be expected, what with the Nintendo Switch’s limited hardware performance. Though even with my minor graphical and controller gripes, I still feel that game was ported well enough that if you wanted to enjoy the game in a portable manner, the Switch option would be a worthy pick. Otherwise, if you prefer to solely play Saints Row IV on the couch or by a desk, I would advise another platform.