Saints Row 4 – The Most Ridiculous Game Ever Made
Dildo bats. Nut punches. Car surfing. Jumping through windshields. Talking like a zombie. Tanks falling from the sky. Driving around the city alongside a pissed off tiger. Inflatable sex dolls you could play as. Toilets you had to play as.
Saints Row: The Third is the most absurd console game this gen, or at least was the most absurb game this gen. It’s not going to hold onto that crown much longer.
Saints Row 4 has somehow found room to be even weirder, even smarter and even funnier than its predecessor, managing to weave even more humour and pop culture references into its gameplay without them getting in the way or feeling awkward.
And it all starts with the most ridiculous intro.
It begins with the return of the Saints who are on a spec ops mission of sorts, taking out terrorists and it ends with you clinging onto a rocket that’s blasting off. The melodramatic violin swells of I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing starts in the background. You rip wires out of the rocket as you cling for dear life, it powers into the sky. Steven Tyler starts screaming. Eventually, you through the roof of the White Crib and becoming the President.
It is the stupidest, most brilliant way to begin a game and sets the tone for what follows.
Saints Row 4 – Fighting Cancer And Rude Words
You then walk through a corridor, responding to various presidential demands such as whether you cure cancer or solve world hunger (“Fuck cancer!” growled our fat cockney golden-skinned Asian woman with a Southern belle hairdo and thin lip moustache we created seconds earlier). Then, as tends to happen, aliens invade.
This isn’t a full step-by-step walkthrough of what happens in Saints Row IV and part of the fun is the discovery, so even though it’s really hard, we’re not going to describe what happens next (and the mission that follows is honestly something you’d never be able to guess was coming).
The point is that the humour has perfectly blended with the gameplay, continuing the perfect balance Volition found in Saints Row: The Third. It’s stupidly good fun and only those with the blackest of hearts will fail to grin while playing it.
Has Much Changed Since Saints Row: The Third?
For those who played Saints Row: The Third, the core gameplay in Saints Row 4 hasn’t moved on a huge deal. It’s still an open-world game with missions to complete, people to shoot at, cars to drive, carnage to cause.
The most important question was if there were new animations when you run at someone and melee them – important because that move was clearly The Most Fun Thing To Do in Saints Row: The Third – and the answer is yes there is. Lots of them, in fact. Our new favourite is running at someone, sliding between their legs, grabbing their ankles and flipping them on their face. Violence is fun! Shhh, don’t tell anyone.
But revisiting the tried and tested gameplay shows how much Volition got right with Saints Row: The Third. Shoot-outs, taking hostages, throwing grannies at cop cars, everything is easy to pull off without getting finger-tied over complicated controls or struggling to line up shots. It’s a fast, fluid game.
The real innovation on the gameplay side comes from the one part we didn’t get to try out – the new super powers. What also helps Saints Row 4 feel fresh is the actual framework of the missions themselves, which is home to Volition’s crazier ideas and ticks along at such a fast pace, that you’re soon playing around with something new. It’s not just superpowers promised further down the line but mech suits and dubstep guns.
That was our big concern going in – that this wouldn’t feel fresh enough to justify a full sequel – but that’s not the case at all. If anything, the brilliance of the humour and full-blooded commitment to insane ideas makes Saints Row 4 feel as far-removed from cynical as it’s possible to get.
And it also happens to the only game that has dubstep guns, aliens and Aerosmith in. Is that a recommendation? We can’t even tell anymore.