Saints Row IV made its polarizing debut back in August of 2013. Some people loved it, others thought the game gave players too much power, removing a lot of the difficulty. The game’s HD re-release Saints Row IV: Re-Elected is pretty much more of the same, but this time it comes with faster loading times, higher resolution graphics, and more DLC than you can shake a stick at (including the new standalone DLC, Gat out of Hell). Does that give players enough reason to return to Steelport once again? Probably not, but people who didn’t get a chance to experience Saints Row IV should welcome this re-release with open arms assuming they loved the offerings of previous Saints Row titles.
For those who don’t already know Saints Row IV began as a piece DLC called Enter The Matrix. It evolved into a full-fledged game during the course of its development and sees the Saints Boss take over as President of the United States after saving the country from nuclear decimation. During the Boss’ time in office aliens take over the world and place The Saints into an elaborate simulation. Eventually The Saints learn to manipulate the rules of the simulation, gaining super powers. These powers are awarded to you relatively early in the game and only grow as you progress. Though these powers start off fun, they do become strong very quickly essentially making the title feel like a series of cheat codes have been activated. This doesn’t stop your antics in virtual Steelport from being fun, mind you, it just removes quite a bit of the challenge.
"People who didn’t get a chance to experience Saints Row IV should welcome this re-release with open arms assuming they loved the offerings of previous Saints Row titles."
Gameplay begins similar to any other Saints title, but the addition of superpowers makes standard methods of travel all but useless after just a few hours. It’s quite a shame considering the mounds of customization layered into things like cars and aircrafts are a lot more flushed out than any of the previous entries. Zipping through town becomes a breeze though and at points it feels and plays a lot like the Crackdown titles on Xbox 360. You’ll leap from tall buildings, run faster than a speeding bullet, and eventually even become more powerful than a locomotive. In addition to superhuman speed and strength your Saint will gain access to a variety of elemental attacks that add to the on screen carnage. When paired with your arsenal of outrageous weaponry combat never stops being a riotous activity full of explosions, gore, and of course that signature Saints Row toilet humor.
"There are of course a number of additions such as pylons and mammoth alien towers, but for the most part players will find themselves exploring a very similar setting."
Unfortunately the map of Steelport in this title is almost identical to the previous Saints outing, Saints Row the Third. There are of course a number of additions such as pylons and mammoth alien towers, but for the most part players will find themselves exploring a very similar setting. This lends to the overall stale feel that a lot of players experienced with Saints Row IV’s first outing, and was one of the most criticized parts of the game. Personally I don’t have much of a problem with it. I mean, from a realism perspective how much can one city really change from game to game? But I can imagine a lot of people will find that they grow tired of exploration considering there’s not a whole lot of new things to find.
Graphics are where the game really shows its age: it looks and feels decidedly last gen. When titles like Grand Theft Auto IV get re-released with totally revamped lighting and textures it makes Deep Silver’s attempt to do an HD release feel like an afterthought. More effort could have gone into making this title have at least a bit more shine, especially when it comes to character animation and lighting.
"Saints Row IV: Re-Elected will probably not be enough to draw people that have already experienced its PS3 counterpart, but for those that haven’t had a chance to enjoy its simulated Steelport antics there’s no reason not to give this title a chance."
I never played through any of the DLC during my time with Saints Row IV on PS3, so getting a chance to check it all out on PS4 was awesome. The character skins and customization is among the best to ever be released in any game, and the expansions are all a blast to play making them the highlights of the title. I won’t go too deep into the Gat Out of Hell DLC (you can see Tin’s review here), but for people that have already played the base game it will be the ultimate draw. The controls are largely the same with some minor exceptions. Quicktime events can now be handled with the DualShock 4’s touch pad and the title’s aiming and driving controls feel like they’ve been tweaked to be a bit tighter, but I can’t confirm that.
Saints Row IV: Re-Elected will probably not be enough to draw people that have already experienced its PS3 counterpart, but for those that haven’t had a chance to enjoy its simulated Steelport antics there’s no reason not to give this title a chance. It definitely has the walk and wear of a last-gen title, but that alone doesn’t make it a poor game. There’s a lot of fun to be had here, it’s just a question of whether or not you want to hold out for the Saint’s to journey into truly new territory.
Review by: Palmer Sturman | Reviewed on: Playstation 4