After the disappointment that was Saints Row 3 on the Switch, Deep Silver have tackled re-building the fourth title in the series and have delivered a fantastic port that is faithful to the original release while utilising the Switch controls to its advantage. While I was initially concerned about this title, after getting my hands on it I can happily report that this version is loving;y re-crafted for the Switch console and updates the controls and movement delivering a soid experience for fans and newcomers alike.
While I don’t want to go too much into the game itself as it is nothing new, if you are a fan of the GTA series or just open world city fun you will enjoy this game. After an extended customisation of your character you jump straight in as the President of the United States (the country, not the band!) you must take to the streets, gain some superhero like powers and crazy weapons to fight against aliens who are taking over the planet and causing havoc in the streets.
The game’s story is completely ridiculous, so ridiculous. The good news is the game doesn’t take itself seriously at all. It embraces the ridiculousness and runs with it delivering a solid fun time. The gameplay is very much a riff on GTA, albeit a way more crazy one that has a wink to 2013 popular culture. Being able to choose your character’s voice as Nolan North, gunning down aliens while Aerosmith’s Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing blares in the background is all fun I want to play over and over again. Like GTA you can choose the radio station that cranks out the 90’s hits while you play through the game. It adds a campy level to the blistering action that keeps you coming back for more.
I played the majority of the game in hand-held mode and didn’t pick up on any glitches or suffer any frame rate dips. Even as my powers got greater and there was a lot of action happening on the screen, the game kept it together, a drastic improvement from the previous port. Playing in docked mode proved to be identical, also something that faltered on the last game.
Graphically the game does look better than its original release on PS3 and Xbox 360. The added abilitiy of having it on the go takes advantage of the Switch’s beautiful screen. The cut scenes are spectacularly ridiculous and are cinematic quality on both handheld and the big screen. Your character and weapon choices can be controversial. Once you get to a certain level you can use some adult toys are weapons, while for some this may be a no go, it completely exposes the sense of humour that the developers have. Swinging a giant purple dildo around in place of a gun is hilariously fun. I did appreciate that the level of detail in the city and the aliens were of a AAA title and ported beautifully on the Switch.
The controls on the Switch did take some time to get used to. Aiming and shooting on the hand-held device did take some getting used to. It was difficult to get precise shots in the opening moments of the game as they were quick and demanding. This does get easier as the game goes on as you unlock the superhero powers and can super jump and punch. The control issues could just be part of the Joy-Con design, using the Pro Controller did garner better results.
If you are looking for any new content, regrettably there isn’t anything here. It does include all of the DLC in the original games so there is a solid 40-50 hours of content in this game. The game does support motion control so if you want to detatch the Joy-Con’s and move around, this could offer a new challenge for fans of the original release. You can play co-op with friends which is a welcome addition to the re-master.
Open world game’s are far and few between on the Switch. Fortunately Saints Row IV is not a only a solid port that uses the most out of the console, it offers that experience for RPG lovers that they have been craving. The graphics are cinematic and take advantage of the Switch’s beautiful screen. Performance wise the game is nearly flawless in both hand-held and docked mode. While the Joy-Con does limit your controls in the initial hours of the game, pair it with a Pro Controller and it is much easier to get through. Motion controls didn’t really do much for me, but they work well and fans of this style will love it. Deep Silver have lovingly brought the fourth game onto the Switch and got the formular right.
Saints Row IV Re-Elected is available on the E-shop and in select stores.