|System: PS4*, Xbox One|
|Dev: Deep Silver|
|Pub: Deep Silver|
|Release: January 20, 2015|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Sexual Content, Strong Language, Use of Drugs|
by Travis Huber
I have to preface this with a disclaimer. I am a huge Saints Row fan. But be that as it may, I had to really put my inner fanboy aside as I played through this next-gen update to Saints Row IV. I won’t lie to you. I was a little more than excited to find out that I was going to be reviewing this game. Ever since I traded up from the PS3 to my PS4, I have often felt a little sad that I couldn’t get up with my homies and go raise some hell in Steelport. But now that it’s finally available for play on the PS4 and Xbox One, I really had high hopes for what I would see. But tragically, I was a little let down by the apparent lack of concern for what fans might think. Did they really think that a rehashed version, booted up to the PS4 and Xbox One would satisfy us? Well, my answer is… sort of.
Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way first. For those of you who haven’t played this game before, here’s how the story goes. You essentially pick up not long after the events of Saints Row The Third. Except you meet up with a special operative and assist on the assignation of Cyrus Temple, your arch-nemesis from SRIII. This stunt lands you the presidency. That’s right, you save the world and become president of the United States of America. Then, during a press conference, the unthinkable happens. Aliens invade Earth and enslave everyone who’s not dumb as a brick, leaving the rest of the world in a Matrix-style digitization of the world they know, but your refusal to lay down and take it lands you square in the path of Zin’s (the alien leader) wrath. Then you spend the rest of the game trying to stop things from getting worse and ultimately defeating the aliens.
The first thing I expected Deep Silver to knock out of the park with Re-Elected was the graphics upgrade. But frankly, I was put off by the fact that the only real upgrades I could see was the damage mods for the vehicle (which were sketchy and inconsistent at best), and the lighting effects that at times still felt like last gen. So I guess what I am trying to say here is that this version didn’t even really get a proper re-skinning. They just sort of polished it up, a very little, and then rewrote the code so the games would play on the next gen systems and left it at that.
One of the other graphical issues that I saw was how long it took for something to appear on the screen when I was moving at speed or flying a plane. One of the first things I did was run to the airport and steel the AR Destroyer fighter jet and take it for a spin. But as I flew through the buildings and high above the city attacking aliens, I started to notice that parts of the city would completely disappear, even at lower altitudes and then suddenly pop into view. The same thing occurred with movement on the ground from the sky. The cars and pedestrians would just sort of materialize out of thin air right before you run up on them from the air–and even often so from the ground as well.
The other major thing was that there was no separation of character framing in the game. What do I mean by that? Well, as you play through the opening scene, there is a moment where time slows down and you have to kill several terrorists in order for time to return to normal. If you do this correctly, there will be a body laying right by the door you need to exit from. But as you do, a short cut scene occurs, sending your character flying backwards and into, not on top of, the terrorist you just killed during the bullet time event. Things like that happened a lot. Bodies falling through walls, people walking through each other on the street and half a car sticking out of another car in a street accident. There was just a whole lot of bugginess all around.
The Audio in the version I played was a nightmare. There were serious leveling issues between spoken audio, SFX and music. Yes, I know you can change the settings in the menu, but it didn’t really do any good. So put on my headset and sent all the audio to it… same problem. Some character’s voices came through loud and clear, while others who were talking to your character were nearly inaudible. I had to drop the music out to a near whisper jus to be able to hear some of the dialogue. The characters were well-voiced and I loved the fact that Keith David played himself in this game, I just wish I could’ve heard him a little better.
As far as play value or even replay value-it’s sits right up there with Grand Theft Auto in the amount of stuff that you can do or unlock. But in sharp contrast to GTA’s staunch and often overly serious action, Saints Row takes it all in stride and gives you tons of zany and whimsical ways to make money and spend it. There is a vast amount of content in this version, as it also come pre-loaded with the Gat Out Of Hell expansion.
I will caution you, however. If you think that you are going to get any more story than you got in the last gen version of this game, think again. There is very really no difference between the story content from the PS3/XB360 versions to the new gen versions. It’s the same gig as it was on the last gen systems. And sadly, the near-cartoony style in the intro will have you believing that you are going to be sorry for buying this game. But give it a few minutes. The second you land your ass in the big chair at the White House after riding a nuclear missile out of a terrorist infested den led by none other than Cyrus Temple, all while jamming to I don’t Wanna Miss A Thing by Aerosmith, you’ll start to feel better…I know I did. But that’s where the lame character models stop.