A three-letter word that, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is described as a “behaviour or an activity that is intended purely for amusement and should not be interpreted as having any serious or malicious purpose.”
Saints Row IV is not serious. It’s just plain, good old fun.
For example: Fun is running down the street in superfast speed that even Usain Bolt would have no chance of keeping up with or jumping to great heights that no human could ever achieve and climbing some of the highest buildings in the city only to them jump off them and glide through Steelport from above. After all, you do have superpowers, going as far as even letting you reign death from above on enemies. Fun is attempting to stop an alien faction called the Zin in an invasion of the world as leader of the Third Street Saints. Oh, and as the fucking leader of the free world, the President of the United States of America.
Fun is looking on at astonishment as, in your role as POTUS, you’re being given the choice early in the game to either end world hunger or cure cancer (I picked curing cancer because fuck cancer) and then choosing to either punch a lippy, in your face congressman right in the mug or in the — you know, sensitive area.
Fun is thinking of Doctor Who regenerations when creating a new character for SRIV instead of bringing over a previously-built character based on an ex-colleague from Saints Row: The Third (okay, maybe not fun, but it’s an amusing thought for me). More so when your newly-made character is essentially NOLAN FUCKING NORTH (seriously, there’s a voice option called Nolan North in the game alongside Male Voice #1, Female Voice #1 etc).
[Note: You can transfer your character from The Third to IV if you wish, but I elected to start anew]
Fun is having a laugh and a giggle at how Saints Row IV gives nods to its peers in games, like Metal Gear Solid, Mass Effect (seriously, this is good) and one other nod that comes later in the game that’ll have those from ‘the old days’ wetting themselves with glee when they come across it. Fun is also seeing Saints Row IV giving a tip of the cap to those outside games, like The Matrix, Game of Thrones and Zero Dark Thirty, the latter providing one of the most hilarious and entertaining introductions to a game this year.
Fun is laughing at your Nolan North-voiced creation being censored for swearing in the 50s, the funniest example of bleeped swearing I think I’ve seen since the story of a wealthy family who lost everything and the one son who had no choice but to keep them together. Fun is using a dubstep gun in one of the funniest ways possible (though detailing when and where in the game would be considered a spoiler).
Fun is realising that when you’re collecting the Clusters that are scattered across the city, jumping from building-to-building and realising you’re basically playing a Volition-made, Saints Row-themed version of Crackdown, only for the Clusters instead of the orbs. God, I hope they announce Crackdown 3 next week in Germany. I’d love to see that happen. I bloody well love me some Crackdown and I actually liked Crackdown 2. It got a lot more stick than it de—what’s that? Oh. Saints. Right.
What I’m trying to get at is this: Saints Row IV is fun. Really fucking fun. After all, I’ve been saying it for about 500 words now at this point. It’s not been a smooth experience, though having encountered a couple of game crashes and bugs in my playthrough that were frustrating.
But I digress, Saints Row IV is ruddy good. It’s still just as bonkers, if not more so, as it was when Saints Row: The Third released nearly two years ago. Its main goal wasn’t to advance the open-world genre or, to perhaps the chagrin of a certain well-known developer of a game that featured chainsaws at the end of guns, just tone it down. If you want all of what’s just been mentioned, there’s a game out in 33 days based in Southern California that’s probably more to your suiting.
For everyone else, Saints Row IV will happily take on all other requirements of being funny and just having fun. Like having fun when you [bleep] with [bleep]. Then realise after how the [bleep][bleep] of [bleep]ing hell Deep Silver managed to keep that bit quiet all this time as a surprise (albeit, a nice surprise) when it easily could have had the chance to push it out there early on in the game’s marketing.
That kind of fun.
Disclosure: This opinion is based on a final Xbox 360 retail copy of Saints Row IV, provided by Deep Silver. Saints Row IV releases in the US on August 20 and on August 23 in Europe for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. Hit this to watch the first ten minutes and details for a Cullen Plays LIVE stream later tonight.