Rental Review is a smaller review where I collect my impressions of a game in the day or so that I rented it and throw them on here for everyone else. This time I rented Saints Row IV, thanks to a free rental promo from Redbox.
The game looks pretty good. There's lots of pretty lights for the alien technology and the "glitches" of the virtual world look appropriate, even if they happen a bit too much. The soundtrack is also pretty good, my favorite being when it plays Aerosmith's Don't Want to Miss a Thing during the intro mission. I'm also a fan of the banter between the characters. The story and interactions are well written and delivered, especially Keith David. Yes, he has probably the best voice of anyone ever, so of course I'm going to like him. They even throw in a reference to him "sounding like Julius" (from the first Saints Row), since it's the same voice actor.
If you have played Saints Row 2 or The Third, you know the game is over the top. I really like that aspect of the series. The story and setting is very silly. You start as the president of the United States and will gain superpowers while inside a virtual world reminiscent of The Matrix, all while battling aliens. The travelling super powers remind me of a mix of Crackdown and Prototype. You get super speed, high jumps, and ice blast and more. Although similar, the jumps aren't exactly like Crackdown and the speed, wall running and gliding aren't exactly like Prototype. It took some getting used to, and it is annoying to move just a tiny bit, since you jump so high and run so fast. The ice (and later fire) blast is really useful and fun to use, as are the other powers.
While you easily feel like a super hero with your powers, I also didn't feel so super when getting shot up by 5-10 guys all trying to kill me. Health drops fast, so I never felt as powerful as the powers would have me believe. Health does refill, although it seemed really inconsistent when it actually wanted to fill back up. As far as I could figure, if my notoriety level was too high, it wouldn't refill (when I needed it most), forcing me to hit and run the remaining enemies just to survive. When in the "real" world, you don't have access to the super powers. You do, however, get a mech suit to deal out tons of carnage. It almost feels like they put that in there just for me, and I'm glad I just got to the point where I could use it before the game had to be returned.
During the day and a half I played, I got about 1/3 of the way through the story mode and did several side missions and challenges. I'm not sure how long the story would last, but it seemed to be moving at a good pace throughout what I did (it didn't seem to drag on). The only thing I didn't like about the missions is that they were sometimes too long. You would have several parts to each mission, and many of them were just the side quests and diversions (taking over a control point, running a race, etc.) It wasn't that they took an hour or anything, but doing one part and then having to run across the map for the next part and do something different just didn't fit as well as it should for a single mission.
Besides all of the missions, there are also challenges to do, like kill x amount of aliens with the various weapons and powers and getting medals in all of the races and other diversions. There's also lots of clusters around that can upgrade your super powers. They are reminiscent of the Crackdown orbs, and there are over 1200 of them scattered everywhere. They aren't really hidden, and you can unlock a finder for them later in the game. There is lots of stuff to do, even if the story seems like it might be a little short. I had lots of fun playing Saints Row IV, even if it was occasionally frustrating getting shot up. If you like open world games, super powers and over the top stories, you will likely enjoy the newest Saints Row game.
UPDATE: Also, there's lots of swearing and...uh... "questionable" things, so I made sure not to play it around me kids, and I'd recommend doing the same!