As difficult as it must be to balance a massive roster in a fighting game like Super Street Fighter IV, or to create an online mode for something like Halo or COD that can cater for millions of gamers simultaneously, we have to say we envy Volition’s employees even less.
Not because they’ve had a rough time of it lately (what with all the THQ nonsense); not because the occasionally brilliant Red Faction franchise was given the chop; not even because of the strain of creating a fully explorable open world.
No, it’s because these poor sods had to try and find a way to make a game even more over-the-top, offensive and bat-shit crazy than Saints Row: The Third. But you know what?
They’ve only gone and bloody done it.
Taking its cues from the planned Enter The Dominatrix expansion for the third game, Saints Row IV doesn’t so much crank the dials to 11 as rip them off, strap them to a baboon then blow it up.
Somehow, the Saints are now in political control of the USA, but their antics attract the attention of aliens.
Obviously. The extra-terrestrial antagonists then trap the gang in a Matrix-style dreamworld (where the game is set) where anything goes, which goes some way towards explaining why the purple-clad goons can now fly, lob freezing matter and chuck pretty much anything regardless of how heavy it is.
And so, with these barmy new powers, you battle the aliens in Not The Matrix until the superhuman abilities bleed, Animus-style, into the real world Saints. Simple, right?
But this isn’t really a franchise that has ever needed to explain itself, rather one that can instantly answer each and every ‘why?’ with the same answer: because it’s fun.
Why were we able to throw ourselves into traffic for profit? Because it was fun. Why did Saints Row 2 have a drivable muck spreader? Because it was fun.
Why were we able to suck up pedestrians and fire them from a cannon? You guessed it… fun, fun, fun.
And as anyone who has messed around in games like Prototype or Crackdown will tell you, the combination of superpowers and an open world is a breeding ground for fun.
Does it make sense for the Saints to be superheroes? Of course not. But after loving the third game’s total disregard for anything resembling logic, we’re fully on board for this bonkers sequel.
A lot like Saints Row: The Third. Probably because it’s set in the same city and runs on the same engine. Still, all the superpowers and alien nonsense will make it feel totally different…