The story of Saints Row IV: Re-Elected is…well bonkers really. You start off with a dramatic mission in Russia to prevent antagonist Cyrus Temple from launching a nuclear warhead aimed for the Oval Office, complete with Aerosmith singing ‘I don’t wanna miss a thing’ as you tear it apart midflight. One thing leads to another and then suddenly you’re the President of the United States fighting off an alien overlord in a matrix-inspired digital world (Trust me, it makes more sense at the time.) From there, it’s a comedy clip show of references within references with plenty of quips and parodies along the way. The jewel in the crown of these was definitely Roddy Piper and Keith David’s alley fight in a scene directly lifted from the film ‘They Live’, in which they both acted the exact scene many years ago.
Although the first scenes show you as a mute and swaddled soldier thanks to your hi tech army gear, the character creation screen kicks in straight after, so you can get stuck in making your Protagonist as badass or subversive as you like. The character creation screens were brilliant, with an absolute ton of customisable options and range of haircuts, facial accessories and other options. Saints Row IV: Re-Elected may not have the most advanced graphics when compared to other games thanks to it being a port, but more than makes up for it with the plethora of options available, many with comedy names and pop culture references. Also; the ‘Sex Appeal’ maximum stats makes Lara Croft’s original additions look like a realistic approximation of what breasts should look like in comparison. This is just yet another example of Volition looking at what the line of good taste is, and then jumping over it gleefully for the giggles.
Gameplay is what Saints Row fans have come to expect and love from the series, with a new twist added courtesy of the whole digital landscape storyline. As well as the usual guns’n’mayhem, Players can now jump over buildings, soar through the sky and blast enemies with superpowers. These OTT powers lend themselves well to Saints Row IV: Re-Elected, and are very similar in gameplay style to Xbox 360 hit Crackdown in that the world’s your oyster and powers can be levelled up by collecting the orbs liberally littered throughout Steelport. The main storyline took me approximately 7-8 hours to complete alone, and considering the fact that I’d barely touched the side missions at that point this meant that in total, gameplay was about 20+ hours. All the usual side missions that make Saints Row fun are present, including Mayhem, Insurance Fraud, and an updated set of missions from everyone’s favourite murderer, Dr Genki. Being able to lob random passers by through coloured hoops added a whole new element to the game I didn’t know I needed, whilst Insurance Fraud provided cartoonish violent automobile accidents accommodated by the rapidly rising ‘claim costs’ meter. My only complaint is that on certain missions and vehicles, the game tended to get a little bit glitchy. From being trapped in a box by a stripper during an espionage mission, to my motorbike sinking halfway through the ground textures with alarming regularity; the game felt somewhat rushed and ‘buggy’.
As with everything in the Saints Row series, the soundtrack misses no opportunity to play it for laughs. From navigating a spaceship through battle to 90s Eurodance hit ‘What is Love’ to the 1950s Rock and Roll vs Dubstep music battle, every song choice hits the comedic notes perfectly. Of course, there are also the usual suspects in the radio channels to flick through too, including K12 and K-rhyme stations. Make sure to spend some time listening to the classic channel, complete with highbrow commentary by Zinyak himself. All the way through, Saints Row IV: Re-Elected had a great soundtrack which just matched the zany atmosphere perfectly.