Think about you’re the President of america throughout an alien invasion, and with a purpose to cease stated aliens, you primarily need to enter the Matrix, which supplies you superpowers. Consider it or not, that’s really the plot of Saints Row IV, which is presently free on the Epic Games Store till December 15. Saints Row: The Third already “jumped the shark” years earlier than the fourth entry, so by comparability, Saints Row IV mainly flies a sharknado into area to explode the moon. It’s an exceptional sandbox experience that offers you a wide selection of superpowers to mess around with, however Saints Row IV can be self-aware sufficient to by no means takes itself too significantly.
Whereas Saints Row IV is technically a sequel to the earlier sport, you may simply bounce in with none prior information, because the opening hours will fill you in on something you must know. After the bombastic opening invasion, the Saints discover themselves in a digital recreation of Steelport metropolis, which is flooded with simulated variations of gangs your character, The Boss, has confronted prior to now.
At this level, Saints Row IV reveals how drastically totally different it feels from the remainder of the sequence, introducing you to a bunch of superpowers for each traversal and fight. Primarily by “manipulating” the simulation, you can provide your self powers, as soon as once more drawing parallels to The Matrix and Neo.
There are 4 passive and lively powers within the sport, with the passive powers letting you run like The Flash and certain over tall buildings like Superman earlier than crashing down with a harmful touchdown. The lively powers are the place issues get actually fascinating, nonetheless, letting you ship out a concussive blast, use telekinesis to seize objects and enemies, stomp the bottom to ship out a shockwave, and buff your self so every little thing round you lights on hearth.
These powers are an absolute blast to make use of, and make Saints Row IV’s fight much more bombastic and intense than the sequence has ever been. Previous that, the sport allows you to alter every energy so as to add some wild results, like letting you thoughts management enemies with Blast or add a hilarious shrink impact to your shockwave.
This leans into what the Saints Row sequence has all the time gotten so proper: participant freedom.
Greater than some other sport within the franchise Saints Row IV understands the project of being a “toy field” for gamers, supplying you with dozens upon dozens of choices. Whereas the 2022 reboot’s character creator is even higher, Saints Row IV’s character creator was the most effective the sequence had seen when it launched. There are dozens of choices for race, gender, physique sort, and extra, virtually letting you create any character you may dream up.
If superpowers aren’t up your alley, Saints Row IV additionally supplies loads of absurd weapons and autos to facilitate the destruction you trigger. There’s the notorious Dubstep Gun that shoots out harmful soundwaves, the Inflato-ray that, nicely, inflates folks, and a melee weapon that merely allows you to swing round an enormous tentacle. There’s an absurd quantity of selection, and the overt silliness is absolutely what makes all of it work.
Saints Row IV doesn’t ever really feel the necessity to get overly dramatic or severe, and the extreme number of its gameplay mechanics is represented so nicely in the principle story missions.
One mission has you serving to the mayor to cease a zombie outbreak, whereas one other throws you right into a 2D brawler referred to as “Saints of Rage.” Saint Row IV always throws you for a loop with its missions and constantly introduces enjoyable mechanics or twists to the general components.
It’s fascinating to look again 9 years after the discharge of Saints Row IV and see the legacy it left behind in gentle of the current reboot. Saints Row IV had a lukewarm reception at launch due to how drastically it modified the sequence’ components with superpowers, however looking back, it’s simply essentially the most “enjoyable” expertise the sequence has ever seen. It completely captures the absurd energy fantasy Saints Row has all the time performed round with, and it’s the right sport if you must simply relax and have a superb time.