Last year the Nintendo Switch audience was treated to the absolutely fun, slightly out of control world of Saints Row when Saints Row: The Third – The Full Package gave the Switch audience its first full open-world GTA-like experience. It was a wonderful experience any Switch owner should absolutely purchase, and yet I couldn’t help wonder if we’d see more of the Saints on Switch. Fortunately, that wish was granted as Saints Row IV: Re-Elected makes its way to Switch. While the over-the-top craziness is turned up to 11 in this game, Saints Row IV makes itself at home on Nintendo’s console as a must own game.
Saints Row IV originally released in 2013 for PS3, Xbox 360, and PC, while a “next gen remaster” made its way to PS4 and Xbox One in 2015 as the “Re-Elected” version. For Nintendo Switch, we get that “remastered” version, complete with 25 DLC packs and 2 additional story expansions. In short, you’re getting the complete package on the go on Switch. In Saints Row IV, you’re the President of the United States, and you must stop an alien invasion from destroying Steelport and, ultimately, the world.
Here’s the thing about Saints Row IV, it’s even sillier than the last game. While the first two games of the series took a more serious GTA-type approach to its gameplay, Saints Row: The Third and especially Saints Row IV dialed the silliness to the max. I mention that first because it might be the biggest area of complaint for some people. Saints Row: The Third balanced its silliness with a more grounded experience. Saints Row IV has you climbing a nuclear weapon while Aerosmith music blasts in your ear, only for you, a short while later, to then take control of a spaceship naked and trying to pilot it through an alien mothership. Saints Row IV wants you to have a good time and be absolutely silly. I personally love the approach Saints Row IV takes with its humor because there are many genuinely funny sequences and lines of dialogue in the game. Just know going into the game that you’re in for a silly time.
The other really fun aspect of Saints Row IV is how much fun it is to play in the world. As the game progresses, you unlock superpowers for your character. These range from super speed to “hulk smash” to flying and beyond. It’s what makes this game a blast to play around in. The wacky antics you get into thanks to your new powers and hilarious physics make it an absolute treat just to blow up cars or smash into aliens. Yet these superpowers also allow Saints Row IV to stand out from any other open-world game. It’s just about the same Steelport from Saints Row: The Third (with the addition of aliens), yet with superpowers it feels like a city just waiting for anything crazy to happen.
As far as the Nintendo Switch version of the game goes, the port is absolutely solid. Saints Row: The Third released on Switch to…mixed results. While the game was a blast to play, performance was a big issue that was eventually fixed. Thankfully, Saints Row IV doesn’t have any of those issues on Switch. It’s a solid port that looks and runs great regardless of what play mode you choose (docked or handheld). My only real issue is that the sensitivity of your controller is set way too low on default. It felt rather slow to move or aim on the default settings. Thankfully, all those things can be adjusted in-game and are now tuned just right for me.
My only real complaint for Saints Row IV has nothing to do with the Switch release but rather the game design in general. The game is a lot of fun to play…once you unlock your superhero abilities. The first couple hours make you feel very underpowered, which makes sense from a story perspective. Yet many of the first few fights and alien encounters end up with me desperately trying to hide for cover because I’m overwhelmed by enemies that blast strong lasers at me while I use a wimpy pistol against them. It makes the first couple of hours rough, to say the least. Once you power through that though, the game becomes an absolute blast to play.
Developer: Voliton (original release), DS Fishlabs (Nintendo Switch)
Publisher: Deep Silver
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Release Date: 23rd August 2013 (PS3, Xbox 360, PC), 20th January 2015 (PS4, Xbox One), 27th March 2020 (Nintendo Switch)