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Chris Kavan's Video Game Reviews (497)

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Tiny Tina's Wonderlands 3.5/5
House Party 3.5/5
Persona 5 Royal 4.5/5
A Hat in Time 3.5/5
Sunset Overdrive 4/5
The Vagrant 4/5
Honkai: Star Rail 3.5/5
MechWarrior 5: Mercenar... 4/5
Rage 2 3.5/5
Alan Wake 4/5
Riverbond 3.5/5
Dead Island 2 3.5/5
Saints Row IV 3.5/5
The Last of Us Part II 4.5/5
Torchlight III 3/5
Wolfenstein II: The New... 4/5
Ghost of Tsushima 4.5/5
Battletoads (2020) 2/5
Danganronpa: Trigger Ha... 4/5
Override: Mech City Bra... 3/5
Maneater 3/5
Door Kickers: Action Sq... 4/5
Spider-Man (2018) 4.5/5
Red Dead Redemption 2 4.5/5
Boot Hill Heroes 3.5/5

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Saints Row IV   PC (Steam) 

With Great Power Comes Great Absurdity    3.5/5 stars

When Saints Row was started by Volition and THQ, it was a relatively straight-forward open-world crime series in the vein of the Grand Theft Auto series. Gradually, more comedic elements were added, with wacky characters and costumes. When THQ when belly up, Deep Silver took over and gave us Saints Row IV - the culmination of this insanity, certainly the most fun entry, if a bit TOO over-the-top at times. It turns out this may have been just what people wanted as the more recently-released Saints Row, with all that removed in favor of a more realistic experienced, was decidedly mixed - so much so that the seemingly all-encompassing Embracer folded Volition into Gearbox. So we may never get another game that fully embraces its insanity quite like Saints Row IV.

Looks and Stuff: The game looks fine for a 2015 release but is obviously going to look dated by modern standards. Still, it has a robust character-creation mode for your main character (male or female) and a lot of customization in terms of outfits and such beyond that. The game is fully voiced and features plenty of talent including the likes of Troy Baker, Laura Bailey, Keith David, Michael Clarke Duncan, Daniel Dae Kim, Terry Crews, Yuri Lowenthal, Danielle Nicolet and JB Blanc among others. One of the most surprising (and hilarious) additions was the full cast singing along to Biz Markie's classic "Just a Friend" during the end credits - including a tribute to Michael Clarke Duncan who passed away before he could record most of his role as Benjamin King (Terry Crews took over his part) but NOT before recording the song - I can't think of a better way to end things. The cast sounded like they had a good time with this one.

The open-world style is pretty standard - big buildings, residential areas, stores to visit, cars to drive (though you hardly ever do so due to your powers), enemies to kill - and lots of weapons to try out. Weapons are all over the place from bog-standard pistols, shotguns and assault rifles to some truly bizarre options like the shrink ray, blackhole generator and bounce gun. Oh, also you can hit people with a giant dildo or tentacle bat because... Saints Row. While early game enemies are pretty lame, late-game additions like a terminator-like robot, giant laser towers and the super-powered generals do at least mix things up.

I didn't experience any game-breaking bugs though I did run into a weird bug early on that if I tried on a certain pair of earrings from one of the various stores it immediately crashed my game. I had a few other instances of some crashes but since the game was good about auto-saving never lost much progress.

Story: After a short intro chapter in which the Saints save the world from nuclear annihilation (and apparently lose leader Johnny Gat in the process). Your character, The Boss, becomes president of the United States - and the other various Saints become the cabinet and such. Five years on, all seems to be going fairly well until an alien species known as the Zin come to crash the party - led by the ruthless Zinyak. Not wasting any time they destroy the earth, taking only a fraction of the people as test subjects and inserting them into a Matrix-like simulation of Steelport. Luckily hacker extraordinaire Kinzie has been preparing for just such an event and manages to save The Boss. Not only that, she's figured out how to give you some super powers (like strength, speed and flight) to help bring down the Zin, save your friends and salvage whatever you can of what's left of mankind. Mostly this means zipping around, beating down aliens and gaining even bigger better and powers (including telekinesis, elemental attacks and other fun things) to finally confront (and destroy) Zinyak. In order to save your friends you have to invade their personal nightmare scenarios - and get to meet some familiar faces from the past along the way. The DLC Enter the Dominatrix is presented like "cut content" from the game (including interviews with various characters like they are actors in this DLC) and has you fight a dangerous new enemy and The Saints Save Christmas in which a future variant of Shaundi comes from the future and tells you to stop Santa Claws before he can ruin Christmas - and destroy the world (again). They are short but fun additions to the game.

Gameplay: The open-world game is presented in third-person as you travel across Steelport. While the game starts off as a typical Saints Row-style, you soon gain super speed to run faster than any vehicle and leap tall buildings and fly (well, glide but it's pretty much the same) around the map. While your powers and weapons are limited early on, it doesn't take too long to upgrade and become a super hero - well, I use the term "hero" lightly - as you take back your now-virtual world. While the game doesn't have gangs in the usual sense, you are still fighting aliens in similar ways - including scaling tall structures, taking down installations or simply fighting mini-boss battles. Also scattered around the city are various instances - from simple racing (or running in this case) to destroying things in various ways (alien tanks, space ships or using a specific power) to the fun rag-doll insurance scam where you literally just rag-doll off various vehicles (spinning yourself across the map) until you wrack up enough fraud claims to "win". It adds some variety for sure. Scattered around the city are plenty of collectibles as well. From the ever-present balls of energy that allow you to upgrade your powers, to Zinyak statues you can destroy to audio logs that expand upon your fellow Saints to even old-school choose-your-adventure, text-based lil computers (that expand on Zinyak's rise to power) - there's plenty to find lurking in the hidden corners around the city.

Replay value: As all open-world games do, just because you finish the story doesn't mean you finish the game. There is a lot of stuff to collect, lots of challenges to beat and lots of random achievements to get - provided that's your kind of thing. The DLC adds even more to that list.

Final Verdict: If you want an open-world game that doesn't take itself seriously that is both fun and chaotic, here you go.

Presentation: 3/5
Story: 3/5
Gameplay: 4/5
Replay: 4/5
Overall (not an average): 3.5/5



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