|Saints Row IV|
|Developer(s)||Deep Silver Volition|
|Release date(s)||NA August 20, 2013|
EU August 23, 2013
AU September 12, 2013
JP January 23, 2014
|Media||Optical disc, download|
Saints Row IV is an action-adventure video game, developed by Volition, Inc. and published by Deep Silver. It was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It is the fourth installment in the Saints Row series, after the release of Saints Row: The Third in 2011. As in previous titles in the series, the player controls the leader of the Third Street Saints, a street gang, who has now become the president of the United States.
The game takes place five years after the events of its predecessor, returning to the fictional city of Steelport, focusing on the Saints fighting an alien invasion as well as simulations of the gangs and enemies from their past.
Saints Row IV was met with positive reception.
The game's plot sees invading aliens place the player into a computer-simulated version of Steelport early on, and the bulk of the game takes place within this simulation. The simulation has Steelport constantly cloaked in the darkness of night, with largely computer-themed twists on classic Saints Row elements. Objectives are often based around hacking the simulation in order to work towards escaping it.
Saints Row IV shares most of its gameplay aspects with the previous installment, being primarily played as a third-person shooter in an open world map scattered with campaign quests, secondary objectives, and various collectibles. The player can steal, drive, and customize vehicles, and purchase weapons and clothing.
In an element new to the series, the player can now purchase and upgrade "powers" that offer superhuman abilities akin to those seen in the Prototype video game series, which allow the player to leap up the sides of buildings, glide through the air, and fire several different paranormal projectiles, as examples.
Shortly after the fall of STAG, Pierce, Shaundi and the Boss are called upon to assist MI-6 agent Asha Odekar and her contact, former Deckers leader Matt Miller, in infiltrating a Middle Eastern compound to assassinate Cyrus Temple, the former leader of STAG who has since gone insane and obsessed with killing the Saints, and plans on destroying Washington D.C. using a nuclear missile. The Boss manages to kill Cyrus, but is unable to stop him from launching the missile. Climbing aboard the missile, the Boss disarms the nuke in midair before it reaches Washington, earning the adoration of America.
Five years later, the Boss has been elected President of the United States, with several members of the Saints acting as cabinet. While preparing for a press conference, the Boss is told that Asha and Matt have arrived at the White House, which the Saints have renamed the White Crib, to warn them of what they suspect is an impending alien invasion. Just as the Boss is informed, the invasion begins, spearheaded by the alien warlord Zinyak, who captures all of the cabinet members as well as the Boss.
The Boss wakes in what appears to be a 50s sitcom set in the city of Steelport, devoid of violence or foul language. The Saints' computer specialist, Kinzie Kensington, contacts the Boss and informs them that they are trapped inside a simulation, and that each of the Zin's prisoners are trapped in personal simulations of their own fears in order to break their will, as the Boss fears of a world devoid of foul language and violence. With Kinzie's help, the Boss breaks free of the simulation and joins Kinzie and Vice President Keith David in a stolen Zin ship. While the trio attempt to contact reinforcements from Earth, Zinyak atomizes the planet, killing everyone not already captured by the Zin. Determined to get revenge for Earth, the Boss returns to the Steelport simulation, hoping to use it to find the remaining Saints and somehow reach Zinyak. The Boss begins to go into the other Saint's simulations in order to rescue them, revealing each of their own fears including Matt's fear of being trapped in the cyberworld and Killbane coming after him, Shaundi's fear of her former calm and fun-loving self, Pierce's fear of the Saint's image turning on him, and Benjamin King's fear of his former gang the Vice Kings.
As the simulation begins to weaken under the Saints' influence, Zinyak floods virtual Steelport with copies of gang members the Boss has faced in the past. Kinzie determines that the copies are being made from someone's memory, leading the Boss to conclude that Saints lieutenant Johnny Gat, who was thought dead, is still alive and trapped within the simulation. Despite protests from Kinzie and Matt that rescuing Johnny will reveal their location to Zinyak, the Saints make their way to where Johnny is being held, while taking note of how many people are being held on Zinyak's ship implying that there may still be hope for humanity. The Boss eventually frees Johnny's mind from his nightmare of Aisha's death that he had been trapped in and gets him back to the ship. Johnny explains that during the fight in which he was presumed killed, he was actually abducted by Zinyak years in advance of their invasion, as Zinyak had concluded that Johnny could have single-handedly stopped him if left on Earth.
The Saints rally inside the simulation in order to prepare to confront Zinyak, but they are ambushed by an enormous Zin force. As they escape, Kinzie is captured by Zinyak, and the Boss emerges from the simulation to find that Keith has knocked the other Saints out and fled, showing that he betrayed the Saints. Returning to Steelport, the Boss finds Keith has been declared president of the simulation. When confronted, Keith claims that Zinyak has the means to restore Earth, and has agreed to do so in exchange for the Boss' life. The Boss, believing that Zinyak is lying, pursues Keith into his nightmare with the help of Roddy Piper, who is ultimately unable to bring himself to kill his friend and rejoins the Saints, telling them where Kinzie has been taken.
After the Boss rescues Kinzie from her nightmare, she devises a plan to crash the simulation, which will force the Zin to draw power from their ship to keep it running, thus weakening the ship itself and creating an opening for the Saints to enter. Working together, the remaining Saints manage to take control of the simulation and overload it, shutting it down just as the Boss escapes. The Boss leads an assault on Zinyak's ship, confronting him in his throne room. While the entire Zin Empire watches, Zinyak and the Boss battle each other, and with help from the Saints, the Boss kills Zinyak and emerges victorious. Impressed, the Zin forces surrender to the Boss, who becomes the new head of the Zin Empire.
The Boss asks Zinjai, one of Zinyak's servants if they truly have the technology to bring Earth back. Zinjai answers saying that they can not simply bring back Earth because of it being atomized, but mentions that the Zin have time-travel technology, which would allow the Saints to go back in time before Earth was destroyed. With this in mind, the Boss looks at the Saints and says, "Let's go on a field trip." As the credits roll, there is a curtain call set to Montell Jordan's "This Is How We Do It". In a post-credits scene, Zinjai shows the Boss the many humans in stasis that Zinyak had collected from across history, one of them being the nineteenth century writer, Jane Austen. Being a fan of Austen, the Boss wakes her out of stasis, revealing that she had been the narrator throughout the game.
There is also a non-canonical "bad ending" that plays out should the player not complete all of the loyalty missions. In this ending after the Zin forces surrender to the Boss, the Saints make their plans to take over more planets, unaware of their ability to meet Austen or return to Earth.
A number of characters from earlier games in the franchise - both members of the Third Street Saints and former adversaries - make a return in Saints Row IV, many of whom take up the protagonist's Presidential administration. Kinzie Kensington, the socially awkward FBI hacker from Saints Row: The Third becomes the White House's press secretary, often tasked with clearing up the mess left behind by the President's verbal missteps. Benjamin King, former leader of the Vice Kings gang from the original Saints Row, becomes the President's Chief of Staff, while Pierce Washington has been appointed the Communications Director and Shaundi as the Director of the Secret Service.
Matt Miller, having abandoned the Deckers and, according to news broadcasts in Saints Row: The Third, announced an abstinence from the use of technology, presumably returned to the United Kingdom and became employed by MI-6. Johnny Gat also returns after being thought dead in Saints Row: The Third. Stilwater, the location of the first two games, makes an appearance for one mission with most of the street gangs from the first three games making appearances as well.
The following actors appear in Saints Row IV:
- The Boss:
- Daniel Dae Kim as Johnny Gat
- Danielle Nicolet as Shaundi
- Arif S. Kinchen as Pierce Washington
- Yuri Lowenthal as Matt Miller and Professor Genki
- Terry Crews as Benjamin King
- Natalie Lander as Kinzie Kensington
- Rebecca Riedy as Asha Odekar
- Keith David as himself and Julius Little
- JB Blanc as Zinyak, Zinjai and Phillipe Loren
- Michael Yurchak as CID
- Neil Patrick Harris as Veteran Child
- Jennifer Jules Hart as Fun Shaundi
- Tim Thomerson and Richard Epcar as Cyrus Temple
- Andrew Bowen as Josh Birk / NyteBlayde
- Ursula Taherian as Tanya Winters
- TC Carson as Anthony Green
- Ogie Banks as Warren Williams
- Michael Dorn as Maero
- Mike Carlucci as Zach
- Rob Van Dam as Bobby
- Roddy Piper as himself
- Mark Allan Stewart as Oleg Kirlov
- Eden Riegel as Jane Austen
- Christopher Daniels as Tommy Macher
- Lauri Hendler as Jane Valderama
- Phil Morris as Mr. Sunshine
- Michael Clarke Duncan is credited as Benjamin King in the game's credits in memoriam to him. Duncan voiced King in Saints Row, and was set to reprise his role as King in IV, with some voice work already done for the game before his death on September 3, 2012. During the game's credits, the song "Just a Friend" by Biz Markie is played as all the cast members sing along, the song fades out with Duncan's track.
During an interview with X-Play just before the release of Saints Row: The Third, THQ executive VP Danny Bilson revealed that Volition was already working on Saints Row IV. "Like any game, if you have a great creative core to it you just keep exploiting that core," he told G4. "For instance," he continued, "I know what Saints Row IV is about and it is wilder than this one. It's a good example of how you take what you have and you ask, 'what could happen in the next?" added Bilson, without giving up any actual details.
On March 3, 2012, Volition announced a standalone expansion to Saints Row: The Third that would not require The Third to play, entitled Enter the Dominatrix. The game would take place one year after the events of Saints Row: The Third and was set for release for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The official description: "Enter the Dominatrix picks up immediately following the events of Saints Row: The Third. For centuries, alien warlord Zinyak has eyed Earth and its precious natural resources and females with a watchful eye. As he prepares an armada for invasion, he has only one worry: the Third Street Saints". On June 18, it was confirmed that the game had been redirected to be a full sequel and will be released in conjunction with Saints Row IV in 2013. It was later affirmed that Enter the Dominatrix will be the title of a downloadable content mission pack for Saints Row IV consisting of ideas that were cut from the full game.
After filing for bankruptcy, THQ auctioned off its assets on January 22, 2013. Volition was ultimately acquired by Deep Silver, who will publish further installments of the franchise, and revealed plans to announce more details surrounding a future Saints Row installment.
Saints Row IV was officially unveiled in March 2013. Its release trailer states a North American release on August 20, 2013 an Australian release on September 12, 2013 and a European release on August 23, 2013. A demo of the pre-alpha stage of the game was showcased at PAX East 2013, exhibiting key features such as super powers, mech suits, weapon customization and a more in-depth look at the characters and story of the game.
Saints Row IV received positive reviews. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the PC version 88.32% and 86/100 respectively, making it the highest rated game in the Saints Row series.
GameSpot rated the game 7.5, praising its zany situations and sharp writing, but criticized its repetitive, unchallenging combat, both sentiments that IGN also shared. PC Gamer's Rich McCormick praised the humor and new maneuverability afforded by superpowers, calling it "One of the most fun videogames I’ve ever played," and Jim Sterling of Destructoid similarly commented that "Saints Row IV [is] perhaps one of the best open world sandbox games you could ever hope to play". Game Informer said the experience is much like its predecessor, but also praised the new movement mechanics as being immensely fun.
The PlayStation 3 version was criticized for lacking 1080p resolution, and for having lower draw distance. This caused it to be less favourably received.Template:Cn
On June 25, 2013, Saints Row IV was refused classification in Australia, stating "interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence which are not justified by context" in reference to "the Rectifier" weapon. The board also stated that the game includes "elements of illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards" referring to the mission "Girls Night Out" in which Shaundi takes an alien drug to gain superpowers. The decision was appealed, but was refused classification by an independent review board on 29 July citing that "drug use related to incentives and rewards is not permitted". An edited version of the game, with the "Girls Night Out" mission removed was rated MA15+ on August 2, 2013. Volition referenced this controversy in the game's launch trailer by referring to Saints Row IV as "the game Australia didn't want you to play".
On July 5, 2013, Volition's Scott Phillips spoke to Gamereactor and stated that a fifth Saints Row game would "probably continue [the series] in a different direction." In a preview for Saints Row IV with Rev3 Games, after being asked where the series can possibly go after IV and if Volition feels if they "have painted [themselves] into a corner", Volition lead systems designer Dave Bianchi responded by saying "people said that a lot after [Saints Row: The Third], 'where could you possibly go from [Saints Row: The Third]?'"