Saints Row IV was announced recently and, surprisingly, is due to be released in a matter of months. While many gamers are excited, just as many are concerned with the quick turnaround. Community writer Luke Mitchell explains his concerns with this and at the direction the series is going in…
Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy
When I fired up Saints Row for the first time I was a very happy boy, because I knew I was about to be enthralled in the drug ridden, seedy sub-culture of American gang life. This really excited me, as it seemed to offer this criminal edge, whilst still providing the silliness and fun in a bigger way than any other game had before. The balance was just right; and this made for a re-playable, well-structured game, which then continued through to Saints Row 2. This next instalment offered what the first game had too but with everything you’d expect from a sequel and more! The environment was rich and vibrant, the vehicles handled well, and the guns felt even more satisfying than before. Even more than this, the humour was still present, but crucially, so was the integrity of the game. Saints Row 2 managed to hold onto the gangsters and criminality, whilst offering everything we wanted in terms of fun that we saw in Saints Row 1. It was bloody brilliant.
So now a couple of years on from this I’m sitting here with a copy of Saints Row the Third, wondering what went wrong. I used to roll like a mobster, now I’m dressed as a giant cat on a space-motor bike, wielding a bazooka that fires squid (of course, this is after letting go of gang life – in order to sell energy drinks). The story-line was comparatively weak compared to the first two games, the map was bathed in a dull colour scheme, and everything was just a bit over-played. It was like the fan-base had said ‘We really like the silliness and stuff, THQ.’ And THQ interpreted this as: ‘We really like the silliness, THQ, please milk the concept and destroy your franchise.’ It felt the game was trying too hard to impress everyone, and in my opinion, it dismally failed.
So, what do Deep Silver (who took over after THQ fell apart) come back with? Saints Row IV. Originally planned as a DLC for Saints Row the Third, this abomination is set to release a month before Grand Theft Auto V (which, by the way, is going to be game of the century), and is looking to feel more like ‘Saints Row the Third: Part 2’ instead of a full title, which is lazy work on the part of everyone involved in making the game. What’s more than this, the trailer gives off the impression that the character you play as is even more over-powered than before; more ridiculous magic powers have been added to combat the aliens, and a ‘Tron’ style motor-bike can be observed speeding through the streets destroying everything in its path. Alongside being vulgar just for the sake of being vulgar, this game is set to be an absolute flop (if you’ll excuse the term), and you’ll only find testosterone fuelled teenage boys playing Saints Row IV come August, in my opinion. Shame about the franchise, really, but what can you do? They’re catering for the masses, it seems, and anyone who respects their sanity and/or gaming ethos shouldn’t touch this thing with a cattle prod.
– Luke Mitchell