GAME REVIEW | Returning to the Madness of Third & Fourth "Saints Row" Adventures
There was a time when Saints Row was considered a knockoff of the Grand Theft Auto series. It had its charms, but it lacked a certain originality. When the second one arrived, developers Volition decided to slowly let the crazy leak out of its hard exterior. Finding out that fans loved the wackier side of the Third Street Saints, the creators figured that it was time to go full throttle with the looniness! And thus, we were given a world of aliens, gimp carriage rides, and the beloved dildo bats.
Saints Row The Third and its presidential follow-up Saints Row IV were two of the craziest open-world adventure games I had ever played. And with it returning to current consoles, I found myself returning to the craziness with glee! These two sequels gave us the tale of a powerful gang falling from grace, only to return with the strength to take on the most fiercest creatures in the galaxy. All of it packaged together in the dumbest fun one can ever imagine, but dumb in an intelligent way!
With the third Saints Row, the Third Street Saints faced off against the terrifying Syndicate, three groups that range from classic mob boss mentalities to luchadore attitudes and cyberpunk vibes. You’ll be saving prostitutes, chauffeuring a wild animal, and taking on side quests that’ll have you rag dolling through town or blowing up everything in your path. In Saints Row IV, you use your presidential power to take back the galaxy in ways that Roland Emmerich wished he could fathom up! And with weapons like the Dubstep gun and legit superhero powers, the universe becomes your playground for hilarious chaos!
And hilarious is the key word to describe what these two Saints Row titles are. The jokes, visual gags, and banter that are thrown at your screen will have anyone having trouble breathing from laughing too much. It never rests on its laurels, and a failed joke is normally followed up by one that works. These moments that flash on the screen are the true spirit of what makes Saints Row such an iconic franchise.
With missions, there’s plenty of variety to be offered here. When you’re not in the mood to take back what’s rightfully yours in Saints Row The Third, you can embark on the Japanese game show-like Professor Genki or bank some dough with assassination missions. Saints Row IV has some similar ones, but the addition of superpowers will have you embarking on foot races and a more chaotic version of Mayhem. However, flying missions are still a major pain to deal with, as flying and aiming at targets is a tricky bastard to perfect!
Xbox One’s version of Saints Row The Third certainly has a good upgrade in the looks department, with the hard work from developers Sperasoft certainly coming into play. It’s still (thankfully) cartoonish, and the movement is a lot more smoother than it was back when it was first released in 2011. Meanwhile, the Nintendo Switch version of Saints Row IV: Re-Elected is pretty good, but it still has some weird graphical issues that made me flash back to playing it in 2013. While the issues aren’t as bad as they were, they’re still pretty noticeable here.
One of the bombastic things about the Saints Row franchise is its soundtrack. With the sounds of Kanye West, Biz Markie, WAVVES, and Thin Lizzy at full blast, the chaos that’s unleashed feels more magical to both the ears and eyes. Add on some talented voice acting from the likes of Daniel Dae Kim, Nolan North, Terry Crews, Sacha Grey, and Keith David, and you’ve got a sound concoction that’s raring to get your adrenaline pumping and your funny bone tickling! (And yes, Burt Reynolds can forever live on in the realm of video games!)
Beating both campaigns of Saints Row The Third and Saints Row IV will take roughly twenty hours each. With nearly all the add-ons like "Enter the Dominatrix" and "How the Saints Saved Christmas" here, there’s a bountiful of content to dive into and witness with glee! Those who just wanna blow shit up can easily do so solo or with a friend in Whored Mode, with a foray of nonstop enemies ready to be taught a lesson.
- Tons of wacky quests and side missions
- Great voice acting
- Killer soundtrack
- Burt Reynolds lives!
- Flying missions are still a bitch!
- Can’t replay most old missions
- Currently no Gat Out of Hell for Switch
Saints Row stands as the most balls-to-the-wall open world game series out there, and its third and fourth incarnations stand as the turning points of the franchise. With a fifth one currently in the works, those who have never been to Steelport would best make it their goal to witness the insanity Volition has brought unto the gaming world. Get ready to laugh and cheer once again, as both Saints Row The Third and Saints Row IV: Re-Elected will offer fans and newcomers a crazy-ass good time!
Promotional consideration provided by Thomas Schulenberg of Tinsley PR. Reviewed on Xbox One (Saints Row The Third) and Nintendo Switch (Saints Row IV: Re-Elected).