A few days ago, I finished the storyline in Saints Row IV. As I write this I still have a few more activities to complete to get 100% before I move on to hardcore difficulty. The game is crazier than I expected and definitely more fun than the last. The new and varied activities provide a nice fun challenge, where past activities were more of an annoyance (see: Escort). I like how the more you progress through the game, the easier they get. The story was like one big nostalgic journey with all the movie and video game references they packed in.
Having the story take place in a Matrix-like simulation presented a nice bit of freedom and convenience. You’re given super powers like sprinting and jumping which can make travel very easy. If you prefer driving, any car you want is easily stored in a phone menu after you jack it. The one drawback to this is everything is under the same listing in the order you obtain it. Some better sorting would have been nice. My only other minor gripe is the fact that you can’t turn off abilities like super sprint and jump. It may sound silly, but it would be nice to have that challenge. These abilities do get disabled in various parts of the storyline, but it’s never something you can do outside of missions. My favorite feature to come from this story setting is the radio not being bound to vehicles. You can listen to your favorite station just about anywhere, even in some of the activities.
It was nice to see a change to the way health and damage were handled. You can’t just sit behind cover and recover health. You have to get actual health pickups from kills to restore health. In the last game, you had upgrades available which essentially made you invincible, unless you were in a vehicle as it blew up. Things became a little boring when you reached that point. That’s mostly gone except for there being no fall damage. Explosions eventually won’t ragdoll you and fire damage can be turned off.
The super powers are a lot of fun and not terribly complicated. You have a few basic abilities to mix in with your gun play, including an elemental blast, a super stomp, telekinesis and an aura effect. It was definitely the most enjoyable experience I’ve had with that kind of action. Of course, a lot of that action has been in MMO form, which has been overly complicated and rigid.
It’s a shame this is the last game of the series, but they’ve certainly gone out with a bang. I’m looking forward to the DLC missions, especially Enter the Dominatrix, which is what this whole game was spawned from.