The Saints Row franchise has always been a distant curiosity for me since I only quickly dabbled in the original Xbox 360 version and moved on to another of the dozens of open world games that were all the rage back then. Funnily enough, it was the other series that developer Volition worked on that caught me back at that generation, with the two Red Faction games that were released at that time, mainly Red Faction: Guerrilla.
Like the newly-formed THQ Nordiq, Deep Silver has been hard at work bringing back their old hits to the new consoles, with varying results. All things considered, Saints Row The Third was fairly playable on the Switch, with some technical issues here and there that didn’t prevent it from making it to Nintendo’s small wonder of a console. Now’s time for the fourth and craziest entry to make its way to the smallish leagues in the form of Saints Row IV: Re-Elected, including all of the previously released DLC in an impressively put together dumb fun package.
Without diving into the discussion of whether or not Saints Row was originally supposed to be a cash-in attempt at GTA 4’s popularity during that generation, it’s incredible to see how much life it’s gotten since then, and how much things changed for the Saints as they got crazier and crazier with each new entry. If controlling a zombie that could fly an airship and fire sharks out of its cannons, how about being the president of the United States and try to fight off an alien invasion from within their simulation of Earth? Did I mention Keith David is your VP? Come on, Keith Freaking David. He helped Kurt Russell kill The Thing, for crying out loud!
This game does a tremendous job at delivering an extremely dumb but ultimately fun time whether you take it on the go or play it on your TV. Out of all open-world conversions currently out for the Switch, this is definitely one of the most impressive ports on a technical level, with very few slowdowns or obvious compromises to its presentation outside of the obvious bump down in textures and sound. We’re talking about a game that has a tremendous amount of chaos going on around every turn, and with a main character that can basically fly around at high speeds around the city of Steelport.
Saints Row IV: Re-Elected is not out to be taken seriously at all, if you weren’t already aware. You’re given superpowers five minutes into the game and things only escalate the more you take over and collect. Think of playing a Crackdown game portably at it’s pretty much what you get out of Re-Elected, agility orbs included. The city works as a fun playground for you to cause as much damage as you can. Most missions boil down to doing just that in the virtual world, but things don’t stop there.
Ever heard of a small indie film called The Matrix? Well, this game borrows some of its premise, allowing you to jump out of the fake world and into the real one in order to interact with what’s left of the Saints crew. You even get to practice new powers by warping into the top of a familiar skyscraper, without fear of taking damage or anything. This is clearly the type of game that’s best suited to be played with no worries in regard to absolutely anything pertaining to story or realism. And for that, it’s about as perfect of a game to play in these quarantine times we’re living.
I came into Saints Row IV: Re-Elected with little to no expectations and have come out quite impressed. For a series as committed to delivering fun times as this one, it’s surprising to see it was one of its last entries. Given how crazy things get in it, it would’ve been awesome to play whatever else Volition would cook up after it. But in any regard, what we do have here is exactly what it sounds when you describe it, and it works very well as a Switch title. What more can we ask for? Before you ask, no, sadly it doesn’t come with ice cream.