More, But Less
There were fears that Saints Row IV would just be an expansion pack’s worth of content to The Third and I can safely say those fears are unfounded. It’s a confusing game to review because as much as I enjoyed its predecessor, for every new idea this brings to the table, it introduces something unexciting or underdeveloped. Despite the fact that I completed the campaign and every challenge in Steelport within 21 hours, a rather small number for a sandbox game, I did so in just over a weekend of nearly non-stop playing. While the game ran fine on my aging computer, the graphics are nothing spectacular. Had both games released on the same day, they’d be on equal footing, but being nearly two years later, Saints Row IV feels like a lesser title.
There came a point in the campaign – and you’ll know which one when you play it – where I longed for the older games. I longed for a time where a car was required to get anywhere or where ragdoll physics gave you useful feedback on how your bullets were interacting with enemy gangsters, rather than being a cheap show as bodies are flung into space as you race by at 200mph on foot. In Volition’s race to become the most ridiculous sandbox shooter, it seems they’re throwing out too much that made the series fundamentally great in favor of some wild guesses that sometimes pay off. As fun as these games have been, I wouldn’t mind a tongue-in-cheek reboot that eschews this game’s conclusion in favor of a highly-polished game in which you shoot thugs and conquer a city.
Maybe that’s called Grand Theft Auto V.