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Saints Row

Lots of games are morally bankrupt, we get it

Mar 19 // Anthony Burch
Most games are horrifying celebrations of violence and empowerment that prioritize aggression over compassion, and competition over empathy. And that's completely fine. (So long as the game, and the audience, know that that's what is going on.) We all -- to some extent or another -- are aware that the art and media we engage with can often be full of shit. We often love our art for being full of shit! I love Doctor Who, and it's one of the most full-of-shit television shows of all time! It champions optimism and mercy without ever approaching anything even remotely similar to a real-life dilemma, and -- so long as you know that's what it's doing -- it's a perfectly fine bit of escapism. And so it is with violent videogames. Yes, it's really, really weird that you run around massacring orcs because They're The Bad Guys, and it's even weirder that we were more excited to massacre them in Shadow of Mordor specifically because they felt more human. They felt like people with lives and backstories and that made it way more satisfying to slice their heads off what the fuck. But! It's escapism. It's full of shit, but it's full of shit in a way that is decidedly fun and effective. Should we ask greater questions about why Shadow of Mordor is fun, and consider how its fun-ness might be inexorably linked to racism and classism? Absolutely. Should we stop playing Shadow of Mordor and paint everyone who enjoys it as an enormous pile of human waste? Of course not. Or, to quote Anita Sarkeesian: "It is both possible (and even necessary) to simultaneously enjoy media while also being critical of its more problematic or pernicious aspects." (A quote that, if more people actually listened to, might have resulted in a way goddamn calmer gamer culture over the past few years.) So, it's okay to enjoy sadistic, weird, violent bullshit, so long as all parties involved know that that's exactly what they're doing. The only real problem, to me, is when that bullshit starts pretending to be about something else. Going back to Shadow of Mordor -- which was unquestionably my favorite game of last year -- I loved the over-the-top violence and the multitude of horrific things that you could do to your enemies. I distinctly did not love the story that tried to morally justify those things. The story of Talion's vengeance, and how justified he was in killing all those orcs because they are inherently "vile, savage beasts" (again, you should really read Austin Walker's article), is kind of nonsensical. It gets the player from A to B, sure, but it never stopped feeling weird for the game to paint Talion as a hero with one brush, and then allow you to decapitate an orc who is defined by a very human, relatable fear of fire moments later. But we've heard this argument before, right? Ludonarrative dissonance, blah blah blah. We've heard this argument so much, in fact, that it spawned an entirely new genre of games: the Violent Games That Criticize Violence And People Who Enjoy Violence genre. Anyone who has played Hotline Miami will remember the constant, enigmatic questions posed to the player by its cast of animal-faced murderers. "Knowing oneself means acknowledging one's actions." "You like hurting people, don't you?" "You're not a nice person, are you?" "Do you like hurting other people?" On its surface, these questions -- questions that many games pose to their players -- are deep, interesting queries. Functionally, though, they do nothing but jab an accusatory finger at the player. You fucking caveman, they shout. What's wrong with you? Why do you like this horrible, violent pornography? The answer to these condescending questions is simple: because these games are fun, and you know they're fun, and you spent hours and hours and hours of development time making sure I'd find them fun. These games never broach the actual social or biological reasons we find violence entertaining. Evolutionarily, it's to our advantage to find violence more stimulating and interesting than other aspects of the human experience, because a failure to find violence noteworthy can result in our deaths. Culturally, there are reams and reams of academic papers on violence as a (chiefly male) expression of worth and power that can often poison the aggressor almost as much as their victim. These games don't address that. Far Cry 3 says you like violence because you're a racist, simple-minded tourist (or at least, you have no problem taking on the role of one because, as a player, you're so eager to get to the murdering that your avatar is meaningless). Hotline Miami says you like it because you're kind-of-sort-of-bad-person-I-guess-but-maybe-not-really-I-don't-know. Spec Ops: The Line suggests you've just never given any thought to what the hell you've done as a player of games. These games chastise the player for enjoying consequence-free violence, right before offering them a smorgasbord of beautifully rendered, lovingly visceral consequence-free violence (Spec Ops less so, as it actually gives a shit about the choices you made in the story. Additionally, it forbids the player from being as graphically sadistic toward his or her enemies as FC3 and Hotline Miami). This is kind of weird, right? This is a hypocritical way of having your cake and eating it too -- of pretending you're making a grand statement about violence, without actually saying anything of note beyond -- bizarrely -- blaming the player for buying your game. If a game truly cared about exploring violence and its consequences, wouldn't it bake that into its game systems? XCOM, to me, is a greater treatise on violence and death than any of the other games I've mentioned because its systems force the player to make real, consequential, dynamic choices about the value of life. Should I put my elite assault trooper into the path of a crysalid if it means that he'll be able to save two or three civilians? Is it worthwhile to use my rookie to draw a sectoid's fire, just so my sniper can get a shot off? How much do I care about "winning" versus being a good person? What is the actual, financial cost of a human being? XCOM, while seemingly just a silly game about marines fighting aliens, directly engages with these questions in a way that the Hotline Miamis and Far Crys of the world never do. (And what's more, they do it without relying on gore for spectacle's sake). The answer for that is, perhaps, obvious: because it's hard. Because to do so is expensive, and means you're making a mechanically complex game in a time where it's easier and cheaper and often more profitable to make simple games. But if you're going to make a simple game that casts the player in a simple, hyperviolent role, why pretend to be an exploration of violence when your game mechanics obviously aren't? Why not go the other direction? Why not celebrate the fact that you're, to be brutally cynical, kinda full of shit? That's what Borderlands 2 was about -- from my perspective, at least. (It should probably go without saying, but a TON of people worked on Borderlands 2, and though I wrote about 90% of the dialogue, that dialogue makes up a comparatively small percentage of the overall Borderlands 2 experience. I can only speak for myself, and my own frame of mind when I worked on the game.) Early on, after the player kills a few psycho bandits, I had Claptrap comment on the battle: "Minion! What did you DO?! Those people had LIVES, and FAMILIES, and -- nah, I'm totally kidding. SCREW those guys!" As a joke, this line of dialogue isn't great. It's too long, its punchline is obvious, and it's just plain not all that funny. But nonetheless, this was a line I found myself coming back to as a thematic touchstone for the series as a whole. Yes, you are a murderer. Yes, you only exist to kill people and rob their corpses so you can kill more powerful things and rob more shiny stuff from their corpses. But it's all bullshit, so don't sweat it. Don't forget that you're being kind of a murderous antihero, but have fun with it! It's entertaining to be a murderous antihero. Don't pretend you're something that you're not (a hero), but don't beat yourself up over your antiheroism -- revel in it. There was a bit of internal worry about casting the player as such an amoral mercenary, but by making the bad guy an even bigger asshole, and by surrounding the people with (hopefully) charming, equally amoral good guys, everything basically turned out okay. We didn't, to my recollection, get any letters about how horrific it was to play as an antihero -- if anything, people seemed to enjoy that Borderlands was so jovially honest with its players about what it was and what it asked them to do. Saints Row works for exactly the same reason. The first two Saints Row games can often veer toward the horrifying, as the player upholds "values" like loyalty (which manifests itself in the player brutally murdering Julius, the founder of the Saints who rats on them in an attempt to bring peace back to Stillwater) and justice (which sees the player kidnap an unarmed woman, lock her in the trunk of a destruction derby car, and trick her boyfriend into ramming her to death as a means of avenging one of their fallen comrades). But Saints Row 3 and 4? The games where the franchise fully accepted just how batshit insane its players, characters, and world are? God damn, those are some good fucking videogames. Yes, your only method of interaction with civilians sees you punching or bludgeoning or shooting them. "Fuck it," the game says -- "let's incentivize that kind of behavior by making civilians drop health when you kill them." The moment Saints Row stopped trying to make serious statements about anything was the moment it reached its full potential. It accepted its own ludicrousness, and in so doing became the most honest videogame ever made: you play like a psychopath in these games, so we'll cast you as a mass-murderer and have everyone talk about how hilariously fun it is to be a mass-murderer. Fuck it, we'll make you president because you were so good at being a mass-murderer. Sure, the Saints Row games aren't "deep" (except for the fact that they totally are, thanks to their treatment of sexuality), but they're honest. Their messages, such as they are, match up perfectly with their mechanics. In my dumb, ex-game-dev opinion, XCOM and Saints Row represent the two best ways of actually tackling violence in games. Either build your systems around violence and its consequences -- actually force your players to answer questions of morality and power for themselves --  or just throw up your hands and create a world where the player can have fun being a total piece of shit. Above all, just be honest in what you're doing -- don't pretend your game is about How Bad Violence Is when it's really about How Awesome Pixelated Blood Looks.
Immoral games photo
Now move on, already
With Hotline Miami 2 recently released, I realized I am really, really tired of games that belong in its genre. When I say "genre," I refer not to "action games" or "indie games" or even "violent games," but a subtler, more h...

Contest: Win a copy of Saints Row IV: Re-Elected & Gat Out Of Hell

Mar 16 // Mike Martin
Codes are valid for North American regions. To watch my brother and I create co-op chaos, check out the official Destructoid Twitch channel on Wednesdays @ 10pm PST and my own Twitch channel throughout the week. Cheers and good luck everyone! Contest ends March 23rd @ 11:59pm PST. Winners will be announced and notified by 3/27/15. And remember, our Huge Members get automatic entry into all contests (and double entries if you enter one manually), exclusive beta code giveaways for upcoming games, newsletters direct from the staff, ad-free browsing, and more! And most of all, your $3 a month helps directly support the site you love. Try us out!
SR4 contest photo
Free stuff from our friends at Deep Silver!
CONTEST OVER AS OF MONDAY 3/23/15 Winners: Charlietime (XB1) and Dtoidgamer69 (PS4) Thanks to Ryan and Will from Deep Silver, we have two copies of the Saints Row IV: Re-Elected/Gat out of Hell bundle to give away to you folk...

Saints Row IV: Re-Elected is a prettier mash-up of aliens and sex toys

Feb 02 // Brittany Vincent
Saints Row IV: Re-Elected (PlayStation 4 [tested], Xbox One)Developer: Volition/High Voltage SoftwarePublisher: Deep SilverRelease: January 20, 2014MRSP: $49.99 The "Re-Elected" edition comes packaged with the updated PS4 edition of Saints Row IV, all the previously-released DLC, the expansion Gat Out of Hell (which I enjoyed thoroughly), and the Enter the Dominatrix feature – one of the best reasons to check out this re-release, especially since it features a host of deleted scenes from what would originally become Saints Row IV. It's basically a faux documentary told in an engaging fashion, and one of the best aspects of the entire package – save for the actual game, of course. If you already played through the game, you won't find anything changed here. The boss of the Saints has somehow managed to strong arm their way into becoming the President of the United States. In a sense, you may as well be a superhero – perhaps that’s why you end up getting super powers later on in the game. The game is centered around making the player feel as awesome as humanly possible, which it does accomplish in several ways. Zinyak, the alien mastermind behind enslaving humanity and committing a hundred other heinous deeds, is a well-read megalomaniac who’s content to toy with the Saints leader in any way he can, including depositing him or her into a virtual Steelport that’s been conquered and is teeming with Zin soldiers. It's your job to take him down. [embed]287011:57124:0[/embed] You do just that while navigating a simulation of the Steelport you know and love from Saints Row: The Third, getting yourself into a bunch of situations such as the Saints boss being whisked away into a ’50s-styled sitcom world where “golly gee” is about as rude as one can get, the hilariously awful dubstep gun, and the text-based adventure game snippets found nestled within the game. The introduction of superpowers to the mix is what ends up making Saints Row IV what it is, however. It’s empowering to be able to leap up tall buildings, slam into enemies with a lethal ground pound, or sprint through Steelport faster than a speeding bullet. Ice, fire, and other elemental powers are instrumental in incapacitating Wardens, larger Zin soldiers that wreak havoc on you if you amass a full wanted rating, and jumping across the city can be pretty exciting. Unfortunately, super sprint renders vehicles virtually useless, so that's one less thing you've got to engage in, but the array of other powers makes up for it. The leader of the Saints is consistently witty and fun, whether you choose a male or female avatar, and one of the biggest attractions of the game. “Romance” options, some great retro gaming references, and an excellent soundtrack accompany your jaunts about town, and if you’ve ever wanted to smack someone in the head with a writhing tentacle sword, this is your chance, especially given the upscaled visuals, additional content, and the just-released Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell. There’s plenty to do in Saints Row IV: Re-Elected, whether you're coming in as a new player or are here strictly for the additional content. As an aside, I want to mention that I’m pleased with where Saints Row has taken me before, but I’m ready for a new frontier. A new city. A new crew to run with. I had my fun with Steelport and the Saints, but perhaps it’s time for a new story. We’ll always have long car rides, er, sprints through the city...and this is the definitive way to experience Saints Row IV.
Saints Row IV: Re-Elected photo
Good to go for a second term
Saints Row IV is absolutely crazy. It is, without a doubt, one of the most off-the-wall sandbox experiences you can have on a console or otherwise. It's an excellent cooperative adventure as well, and it delivers the franchis...

Review: Saints Row IV: Gat out of Hell

Jan 19 // Brittany Vincent
Saints Row: Gat out of Hell (PC, PS4 [Reviewed], Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360) Developer: Volition/High Voltage Software Publisher: Deep Silver Released: January 20, 2015 MSRP: $19.99 The game opens on the gang aboard the Zin Ship during a celebration of Kinzie Kensington’s birthday. During the festivities, Matt Miller produces a possessed Ouija board that was previously owned by Aleister Crowley, and it opens a portal to Hell. The Boss (your player character in the previous Saints Row games) is sucked through the portal and kidnapped by Satan. Johnny Gat and Kinzie follow through the portal to save their friend, and upon arriving in Hell go to the biggest building in sight. Ultor HQ. Dane Vogel, head of Ultor Corporation and previous adversary of the Saints, has started his business anew in Hell and lets the duo know that Satan has arranged a marriage between The Boss and his daughter. Vogel has big plans to corner the real estate market in Hell, and he needs Satan out of the way to do it. He presents Johnny Gat with Lucifer’s Broken Halo, a powerful artifact that imbues the user with fiery wings and arcane power, to assist in the assassination of the Dark Lord. All of the previous statements contained a lot of names that you may or may not remember depending on which games, if any, you’ve played of the series. This is one of the biggest things that marks this as a standalone expansion. This game is very self-referential, and unlike the main entries in the series doesn’t ease players into the world of Saints Row. It makes the assumption that you’ve at least played Saints Row IV, and spends little time on exposition or background other than some short illustrations and voiceover. [embed]285618:56942:0[/embed] This was a bit frustrating, because even though I’ve played through all the Saints Row titles, it’s been a while. It would have made the game more inviting to have at least a short flashback when meeting a character from a previous title, and unfortunately many players might miss out on some of the enjoyment and nostalgia from not having just a bit more context. However, there are a few new characters, and they are a blast. Shakespeare, Vlad the Impaler, and Blackbeard all join the cast, and although this entry is a bit short, I hope that future iterations will introduce as interesting of a cast as this one did. The setting is where this game really shines though. Hell looks, well, hellish. Instead of another romp through Steelport, we spend our time in New Hades, which is dominated by the Ultor Tower. It’s sometimes hard to notice flying and sprinting at high speeds, but different sections of Hell have different aesthetics, and the whole map, although smaller than Steelport, feels more alive and organic from all the unique buildings. Gone also are the nameless civilian fodder, replaced by “Husks,” which are the souls of the damned who are made to feel pain for all eternity. The police are instead demons who drive monster trucks, and there are a host of flying, shielded, and gigantic enemies, all with their own styles and methods of attack. All in all they made a much more entertaining and interesting adversary than the Zin, and the whole world feels much more polished and finished than Saints Row IV’s Steelport simulation. Much like the last game, you have access to a host of superhuman powers. With Lucifer’s Broken Halo you can sprout wings to glide, sprint at high speed, stomp the ground with various elemental powers, call upon demons to fight for you, and turn enemies to stone with power blasts. Whether in a simulation or powered by a demonic artifact, the result is much the same: you’re pretty much the most powerful being in Hell. I think powers are much more interesting in Gat out of Hell. Something about the last game’s powers being due to computer hacking and being trapped in a simulation was insanely boring. These games are a zany good time, but when I play something like this I like to feel as though I’m actually affecting the world I’m playing in, and getting powers from the broken crown of the Morning Star himself is way cooler. I do have a bit of a qualm with the missing character customization element, though. I understand that the game centers around having to play as Kinzie or Johnny Gat; but it would have been nice to at least change their outfits or accessories. So everything seems pretty positive about this game, right? It’s a high quality production, and totally awesome, so what could go wrong? Well, that cool setting, low price point, and interesting gameplay came at a cost, namely in the form of content. Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell is short. Really short. The first time I saved my game I had been playing for about an hour, and I was shocked when the screen said that the game was already 14% complete. I figured it was like Saints Row IV where that number didn’t really mean a lot or indicate how much content was left other than at a superficial level. Well, I was wrong. Gat takes about 6-7 hours to complete the main plot, and it could probably be easily taken to 100% within 12-13 hours. Honestly, I’ve paid $20 for a lot less fun, and although the game is short, what is there is solid gold. Plus, if you’ve never played Saints Row IV, or just want it and all its DLC on latest gen consoles, you can get Saints Row IV: Re-Elected, which includes this expansion for about $50. Gat out of Hell was a great swan song for Saints Row IV, and it is now one of my favorite entries in the series. There are plenty of games out there about depression, sexuality, violence, politics, and so on, and sometimes it makes me tired. I love Saints Row because I never have to deal with any issues within. There’s no agenda and no life lessons to learn. There’s only pure escapism. which is what games are meant for in my view. If I wanted to worry about all that, I’d just go to a college campus and listen to people complain for a few hours. As it is though, I hope that more developers take a cue from Saints Row and realize that it’s still okay to tell jokes and implement cartoony violence that’s still ridiculous and fun. I know gaming as an industry is maturing and people want to present new ideas and make statements using the media, but luckily, whenever I feel like I need a break, I will have Saints Row proudly on my shelf. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
SRIV: Gat out of Hell photo
Like a sinner before the gates of Heaven
There’s something about a series that doesn’t feel the need to make a ton of social commentary, or really feel grounded in reality. The Saints Row series is like if the worlds of The Naked Gun and Grand Theft Auto...

Free this weekend photo
Free this weekend

Play Civilization: Beyond Earth, Saints Row IV for free on Steam

This weekend only
Jan 15
// Steven Hansen
Saint's Row IV and Civilization: Beyond Earth are both free to play on Steam this weekend. Both are good to go until Sunday, 1PM PST. Try 'em. If you like 'em, both are on sale over the weekend, too. $5 fo...
Saints Row photo
Saints Row

This is Saints Row: Gat out of Hell's musical number

When Clancy Brown tells you to do something, you listen
Dec 03
// Jordan Devore
"It's a whimsical, weird fucking game," former Volition creative director Steve Jaros said of Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell when I spoke with him about the Disney-inspired standalone expansion. It's true: there's a musical num...
Saints Row photo
Saints Row

Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell leaves no deadly sin unchecked

Needs more sloth, to be honest
Oct 15
// Brett Makedonski
Johnny Gat's not a good man. Powerful, but not good. That's why he uses each and every of the seven deadly sins to send all of those already dead to the after-afterlife. Most of them look like they deserve it, to be fair. Especially those nipple-rubbing demons.
Gat Out of Hell photo
Gat Out of Hell

Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell takes us on a fly-by tour of the underworld

And re-murders the post-alive
Sep 24
// Brett Makedonski
Sprout some wings and take an aerial tour of Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell and New Hades with Johnny Gat acting as a murderous guide. When he's not perusing the underworld via an overhead view, he's running down demons in his rambulance or firing swaths of rockets from his armchair. Our promised musical number hasn't shown up yet, but so far, everything is so wonderfully Saints Row.

Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell was inspired by Disney movies

Sep 02 // Jordan Devore
In Gat Out of Hell, your player character from Saints Row IV, the President, is pulled into hell to marry Satan's daughter Jezebel. The devil believes the Saints boss to be the most dangerous person alive -- a perfect general to lead his army against heaven -- but Jezebel isn't interested. Johnny Gat and Kinzie Kensington journey to hell to save their fearless leader and from there, it's up to you playing as either character (or both, in co-op) to wreak havoc however you see fit. Perhaps you'll use some of the ridiculous new weapons based on the seven deadly sins. My favorite one shoots locusts, which is almost as good as a gun that fires bees. Almost. You're meant to run around -- or fly; you have wings -- and fill up a piss-off-Satan meter at which point the story will unfold as various milestones are met. Gat Out of Hell features historical figures and even characters from past games, including Dane Vogel and Dex, plus "well over 30 instances of open-world things to do," according to Jaros. After reaching 100 percent completion on a given island of hell, you'll be rewarded with an epilogue relating to its central character -- like spymaster general William Shakespeare, for example. Completionists will also be able to unlock a "crazy epilogue" for the full story. Asked if Gat Out of Hell was considered canon or if it'd have an impact on the series' story going forward, Jaros just kept saying "I recommend that you play it" with a smile on his face. "It is not a Saints Row V. It is not a sequel," he said. "It's a fun thing for our fans. A new place to go and play around with super powers. Another city to go and terrorize. [A chance to] play as a character that people really seem to dig, and just have another excuse to have a lot of fun and do some shit that we're able to get away with." [embed]280509:55544:0[/embed] Okay, so about that Disney connection. "I'm pretty certain that we'll be the only open-world game that comes out with a full-blown musical number in the middle of the critical path," Jaros told Destructoid. "One of the things that we lean on [heavily] for inspiration for this is Disney movies. I'm a big Disney fan. For instance, if you remember stuff like in Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella, the beginning of the movies [have] the ornate story book that opens up. It's illuminated text and story-book pictures, and a narrator -- that's kind of our story structure. Jane Austen narrates you through this fairy tale; Jezebel is very much a sort of Disney princess." The creative director made it clear that "It's not a parody of Disney at all, but it echoes some of those themes." There aren't any talking animal buddies here, but Gat does have a talking gun who wants to help him become the ultimate killing machine. Basically, Gat Out of Hell is what a fairy tale would look like in the Saints Row universe. "It's a whimsical, weird fucking game."
Saints Row photo
There's a full musical number and everything
I've played and enjoyed all of the Saints Row games to date, but wonder how much longer this can last. How much more ridiculous can the series get, and even if there is room to up the insanity, do we even want that? Where Vol...

New Saints photo
New Saints

Volition announces standalone Saints Row expansion Gat Out of Hell

Also, Saints Row IV for PS4 and Xbox One
Aug 29
// Steven Hansen
At its PAX panel, Volition announced a new Saints Row, a standalone expansion of Saints Row IV called Gat Out of Hell (PC, PS3, 360, PS4, Xbox One). It has you travelling to Hell, is half the size of Steelport, and feat...

29 pieces of goddamn DLC included

Saints Row IV National Treasure Edition collects all the DLC in one package
Jun 24
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Well just like Saints Row: The Third, Deep Silver is re-releasing Saints Row IV and including all 29 downloadable content packs. Really? 29 goddamn pieces of DLC? Ugh. Gross, but now's as good as time as ever to buy Saints Ro...
Deals photo

Deep Silver kicks off two weeks of Humble Daily Bundles

Some old, some new
May 13
// Jordan Devore
Over the next two weeks, Humble Bundle will be running 24-hour deals and the promotion kicks off this morning with a repeat of the Humble Deep Silver Bundle. It was a pretty good compilation originally, and it's back with upd...
Games with Gold photo
Games with Gold

Saints Row: The Third and Dust are next for Games with Gold

Free to download in May for subscribers
Apr 30
// Jordan Devore
May's free titles for Xbox Live Gold members are some of the best featured in Microsoft's Games with Gold promo so far, I'd say. We're getting the action-adventure RPG Dust: An Elysian Tail from May 1 - 15 and the ridiculous ...
Divekick photo

Johnny Gat joins the roster of Divekick

Saints Row meets Divekick makes perfect sense to me
Apr 08
// Alasdair Duncan
When I first saw the trailer above, I thought "C'mon, Maurice Tan, former Destructoid writer/current Deep Silver PR dude, April Fools' Day was last week, you're a bit late with the jokes." But no, it's no joke; Saints Row ma...
Saints Row IV photo
Saints Row IV

Saints Row IV thinks highly of itself, releasing Game of the Century Edition

Also, a Dead Island double-pack
Apr 02
// Brett Makedonski
Ever since the third installment in the series, Saints Row has been a franchise that hasn't been afraid to toot its own horn. Not necessarily without cause, though -- after all, Saints Row IV was pretty darn good. B...
Free Steam Weekend photo
Free Steam Weekend

Play Company of Heroes 2, Saints Row IV for free on Steam

Free to play until Sunday afternoon
Jan 16
// Jordan Devore
This weekend on Steam, both Saints Row IV and Company of Heroes 2 will be playable for free. If you like what you find and want to continue after 1:00pm Pacific on Sunday, which is when this promo ends, the titles are on sale...
Saints Row photo
Saints Row

Voice actor says he's working on new Saints Row

Tell us more, Jay Mohr
Dec 19
// Jordan Devore
Actor and comedian Jay Mohr said on Twitter yesterday that he was contributing to a new Saints Row. Not that anyone was expecting Volition to stop making these games all of a sudden. "About to do my voice over work for new Sa...

How the Saints Save Christmas out today

Santa on a rampage
Dec 11
// Conrad Zimmerman
The previously announced holiday add-on content for Saints Row IV, How the Saints Save Christmas, has been released along with this delightful trailer which explains the premise. Simply put, Santa Claus is apparently some ki...
Saints Row IV photo
Saints Row IV

How the Saints Save Christmas is the next Saints Row DLC

Volition is holiding a Christmas carol contest
Nov 25
// Jordan Devore
Above all else, I dig the spot-on name for Saints Row IV's upcoming DLC. How the Saints Save Christmas promises to be "a holiday classic for the whole family" (riiight) when it arrives on December 11 for $6.99, or as a free d...
Deep Silver photo
Deep Silver

Deep Silver is having a big discount sale on Steam

Saints Row and Dead Island are among the titles reduced this weekend
Oct 24
// Alasdair Duncan
Big publisher sales are always a great way of filling any big gaps in your Steam library, especially if there's some franchise bundles. Deep Silver is having a weekend sale on lots of PC titles, including bundle deals for Dea...

Get ready to spank: Saints Row IV: Enter The Dominatrix

Oct 23
// Dale North
We thought Saints Row: The Third expansion Enter the Dominatrix was some silly, horny internet thing. But it's real, and it's out today on the PSN, XBLA and Steam, priced at $6.99. If you've got a season pass, well, it'...
Saints Row photo
Saints Row

Saints Row IV's Enter the Dominatrix lives up to its name

First look at the DLC
Oct 10
// Jordan Devore
Enter the Dominatrix was originally going to be an expansion for Saints Row: The Third, but it's since been reworked as DLC for Saints Row IV. And, now, we have a release date: October 22, 2013. If you've got a season pass, i...
Shadow Warrior photo
Shadow Warrior

Saints Row's dildo bat is a weapon in Shadow Warrior

Devolver Digital + Deep Silver = this
Sep 24
// Jordan Devore
For all of the time we've spent talking about it, Destructoid readers should be familiar with Saints Row: The Third's "The Penetrator," aka that dildo baseball bat. I'd say it's back, but it never truly left. The infamous mel...
Jimquisition happens every Monday!
Some gamers are skipping Grand Theft Auto V, unwilling to play the role of a thief, a gangbanger, or a psychopath. While others may shy away from being the villain, Jim Sterling actively revels in it. Indeed, to play the villain can not only be fun, it can be downright fascinating.

Saints Row IV free DLC photo
Saints Row IV free DLC

Saints Row IV's Gat V pack is free on Steam today

Imagine that! Dress like Johnny Gat
Sep 17
// Chris Carter
Saints Row IV came, saw, and conquered critics alike as well as the charts, and now you can pick up a free bit of content if you're rolling with the Steam version. For today only on the PC, you can pick up the Gat V Pack for...
Saints Row photo
Saints Row

Saints Row IV sells a million copies in first week

Someone's going to make this about GTA V, aren't they?
Aug 28
// Jordan Devore
In its first week of being available at retail, Saints Row IV has sold more than one million copies. Sold, not shipped. According to publisher Deep Silver, the PC version of the game tripled the first-week sales of its predec...
SRIV tentacle bat photo
SRIV tentacle bat

Saints Row IV's tentacle bat got built in real life

Aug 26
// Steven Hansen
Sure, the Saints Row: The Third dildo bat was cool. However, today is the day of the tentacle. Saints Row IV, in its self-one-upmanship, needed to raise the ante and thus the tentacle bat was born. What's more, a team of spe...

Review: Saints Row IV

Aug 20 // Jim Sterling
Saints Row IV (PC [reviewed], PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)Developer: VolitionPublisher: Deep SilverReleased: August 20, 2013 (NA), August 23, 2013 (EU)MSRP: $59.99 I was laughing out loud with actual noises emanating from my mouth within the first ten minutes of Saints Row IV, and the laughter rarely eased up for the rest of the adventure. Comedy in videogames is a tough nut to crack, but the loving parody, hyper-violent slapstick, and sheer audacity of Volition's latest makes it look effortless. Not only that, it tells an engrossing and surprisingly coherent story on top of all the silliness.  In a plot that proudly steals from The Matrix, They Live, and a bevy of other pop culture fixtures, Earth finds itself under attack by aliens, because of course it does. Though much has been made of The Saints taking the American Presidency, there's no actual time to enjoy running the country, as the Zin Empire kidnaps most of the cabinet and places our antihero -- the puckish rogue known predominantly as The Boss -- into a virtual reality designed and ruled by the deliciously affable Emperor Zinyak. [embed]259412:50006:0[/embed] The Boss must break free of the simulation, rescue his or her crew from their own virtual Hells, and eventually strike back at the Zin. Full of constant surprises, gameplay switches that subvert expectations, and some cracking one-liners, Saints Row IV brings back the kind of satisfyingly deranged narrative that made Saints Row II so wonderful. Unlike The Third, there's a sense of pacing, structure, and conclusion that offsets the overall wackiness. It is aberration tempered with intelligence, something the series needed to return to. Without that crucial sense of chaotic organization, the sheer level of ridiculousness in IV would risk running out of control. Placing players in a virtual Steelport has given Volition the excuse to truly push the boat out this time, leaning on the Matrix references to turn the Boss from hardy sociopath to full-on superhero. Enjoying a range of fresh powers drip-fed by story missions, the Boss gains access to super sprinting, super jumping, freeze blasts, fireballs, and more, with ideas liberally reaped from games such as Crackdown, inFAMOUS and Prototype.  Rather than simply rip off other games, however, Volition has carefully cherry-picked and refined the very best ideas from the leading sandbox games on the market -- the criminal freedom of Grand Theft Auto, the wall-running and super speed of Prototype, the energetic powers of inFAMOUS, the explorative collection quests of Crackdown, and Saints Row's characteristic nonsense have been beautifully distilled and mixed to create the ultimate tribute to everything open world games have been this generation.  Of course, Volition's not just lifted ideas from other games. A range of new abilities and weapons are on offer, from a ground stomp that shrinks surrounding people, to a gun that fires black holes, and the power to call down alien abduction beams from the sky, there's a ton of demented toys to play with. Telekinesis, mind control, a dubstep gun, giant mech suits, freeze blasts, electrified bullets, inflato-rays -- suffice it to say, there's a ton to use, and almost all of it can be upgraded and augmented.  As well the main story missions, all of which are fantastically varied and regularly make affectionate fun of other videogames and genres, each member of the Saints has specialized Loyalty missions, there are loads of activities and collectibles to find, and a whole host of extra challenges. New activities include a riff on the old Fight Club challenges (this time using super powers), Genki Bowl (in which you throw people, cars, and Genki items through floating rings), and special races through the simulation's virtual systems. Of course, classics like Insurance Fraud and vehicle thefts have been retained.  There are no rival gangs to fight with for control of the city, but the Zin influence over Virtual Steelport is there to be undermined by disrupting the system in various ways. Flashpoints can be cleared of alien guards, Zin towers can be climbed and conquered, Viruses can be injected by enduring wave-based enemy assaults, and stores can be hacked for access and extra money (drolly referred to as "Cache" in this particular game).  Describing everything you can do in detail would take forever and more words than most of you are prepared to read, but suffice it to say that while The Third felt a little shortchanged, IV lavishes content upon the player with wanton abandon. More importantly, it provides this content in stages, with a fantastic sense of build that keeps the player consistently invested and eager to discover the next wonderful toy. It doesn't simply start at the extreme end of "balls out" with nowhere further to go.  The game admittedly does begin with explosions and silliness, but by focusing on variety rather than simply scale, IV doesn't suffer from trying to continually top its own ludicrousness. The result is a game that's confident in itself, that doesn't seem like it's desperately trying to live up to its reputation as a "crazy" experience. It is a game that, despite being about aliens and superpowered virtual realities, sticks to a certain twisted sensibility, and ultimately is a better game for it.  Many of the story missions take place outside of the Steelport simulation, allowing Volition to experiment with fresh types of gameplay and a linear structure that provides a better environment for storytelling and humor. You'll get to engage in a funny Metal Gear Solid pastiche, bring ruin to a 1950s paradise, and even get some beat 'em action going on. Saints Row IV plays many different tunes, and it plays them all with a shocking level of competence.  Everything feels so much more dense this time around, and the cocktail of activities means things never feel too repetitive, even when performing the same activities. Rewards for completing sidequests and obtaining collectibles are generally excellent and worthy of the effort, meaning it can be hours of enthralling distraction before one even gets to the first main story mission.  Saints Row IV addresses many of my gripes with The Third, but a few lingering niggles remain in the woodwork. I still miss the pure villainy of the Boss as found in Saints Row II, since players continue taking on the role of a less morally corrupt antihero. The old gang dynamic has been totally discarded, and while the Zin make for interesting opponents, they lack the variety seen with such enemies as The Brotherhood and Ronin. A new annoying enemy type also puts in an appearance -- shielded Wardens, which need to be blasted with a superpower before they take bullet damage, and they hop and jump everywhere for maximum irritation.  These really are minor gripes in the face of all that IV gets right, however. While we'll never get the old Boss back, Emperor Zinyak is truly delightful as the Saints' new foil (just wait until he sings). Though the Zin are rather uniform in appearance, story missions often take players to entirely different worlds and even finds an excuse to resurrect some of the old Steelport and Stilwater gangs (albeit temporarily). While the Wardens are a pain in the ass, at least they don't appear frequently.  Despite returning to a replica of Steelport, the new aesthetic makes it feel like a totally new environment. Walls shimmer and pedestrians glitch out, the sky is an oppressive red in Zinyak territory and a calming blue in a Saint-controlled hood. Signs urging citizens to OBEY are littered throughout the city in a nod to that oh-so classic Roddy Piper movie. Sometimes the shimmering feels a little too much, but overall the game does a damn fine job of making Steelport feel fresher than it is, especially now that you can leap and glide from its digital rooftops. The new weapons all look and sound wonderful when in use, with some lovely explosive effects.  The game's soundtrack really hits the mark, though. Vehicles are practically useless this time around, so the radio can be played at all times, meaning Stan Bush's "The Touch" is liable to play wherever you go, making even the tiniest of actions feel like the most badass and celebratory of achievements. Some absolute belters are included on the radio stations this time around -- from Haddaway, to Thin Lizzy, to Aerosmith. Sometimes the game takes over the music for its own purposes, and does so to tremendous effect. Volition's exploitation of pop culture for cheap (but effective) laughs is bloody masterful.  IV's voice talent is just as good, too. All the voice actors for the Boss put in a solid performance (especially the obligatory "cockney" one), while the likes of Matt Miller, Shaundi, Kinzie, Pierce, and Jonny Gat are as amusing and pleasant as ever. J.B Blanc, however, smoothly steals the show as the suave Zinyak -- both charming and completely deserving of a vicious comeuppance.  Saints Row IV is, from start to finish, a pleasure. It's a pure pleasure to play. I was cynical, given my feeling let down by The Third, but Volition has worked hard to address almost everything wrong with its last outing, and provide something that delivers over and above expectations. What I love most about IV is how it puts the player first -- absolutely every new feature and ability gifted to the player seems designed purely to make the game more convenient to enjoy, and more fun to play.  And this is why I felt sad when the final credits rolled ...  Cause even when I dream of you,The sweetest dream will never do,I'd still miss you babe,And I don't want to miss a thing. Don't want to close my eyes,I don't want to fall asleep,And I don't want to miss a thing.
Saints Row IV reviewed! photo
And I don't wanna miss a thing!
[Ed. note: Bumping our review from last week, as the game is available in stores today.] When I finished Saints Row: The Third in 2011, I left the experience feeling somewhat sad. It was a good game, but it felt shallow, held...

Very quick tips for Saints Row IV

Aug 20 // Chris Carter
Basic Tips: Level up jumping powers first. They pay dividends as you're more easily able to trounce around and unlock more cores. If you're frustrated by climbing up buildings, eventually you'll unlock the ability to wall-run, similar to Alex Mercer from Prototype -- just keep leveling up until you earn the right to purchase it. You can "pre-load" super-jumps in the air by holding down the jump button, then letting go once you hit the ground. Traversing across vertical terrain is easy if you have the glide ability. Hold down the glide button (LB or L1), then let go when you're near a building, pre-load a super-jump, and repeat. When you're fighting Wardens, patience is key. Switch to the fireball ability, and wait until the Warden is done jumping around before you blast his shield. Otherwise, he'll just jump around again and re-cast his shield before you can get a chance to do any real damage. If you're looking to make short work of them, save up ~30,000 cache (money) for the rocket launcher as soon as possible. When choosing what powers to wield, use fire on vehicles, and ice on units. Remember to double-tab the direction pad to switch. If you're in a jam, sprinting in circles and using the sprinting attack can make for a quick instant kill. You can use this multiple times in succession. Complete all of the crewmate activity missions (not the loyalty ones, but the ones where the game gives you mixed objectives). The rewards are fantastic. [Jim Sterling] If you find yourself in a troubling firefight, try and pick off enemies one by one behind cover. Super sprint into the health, rinse, and repeat. Of course, grabbing the "less damage while sprinting" and "vacuum up health" upgrades will help considerably. Don't forget that you can turn on the radio at any time, even if you're not in a vehicle. Press the B button (Circle) to bring up the menu, and change the radio station with LB and RB (L1 and R1). You may not even notice it, but when you're not using ammo, a tiny white circle appears on the screen. Use this to aim your projectile powers, and more importantly, aim your jumps when looking down at the ground. It's really easy to forget about your power dive ability that you'll earn a few hours into the campaign. Press the aim button (LT or L2) in the air to hover, aim the cursor, then press the attack button (RT or R2) to do a Superman-esque dive into a group of enemies. You can do this often -- all it costs is stamina. If you really want the Dubstep Gun, you'll earn it towards the end of the campaign anyways, at which point you can just equip it from your armory. Don't forget that you can access the "phone" menu by pressing the Back button (Select), and call your crew for help (it's the lower left option). I kept forgetting this because it's so hidden, but it's very useful. If you're having trouble during missions involving constantly spawning enemies via portals, the best course of action is to head to a nearby building, and shoot the portals from afar. Otherwise, you risk getting constantly hit, and by the time you get your bearings, more portals will spawn. Without spoiling anything, this works very well in the final fight.
Saints Row IV tips photo
Zap the Zin Empire
Saints Row IV is the wackiest game yet. Just when you thought hitting people with giant dildo bats was crazy, how about smacking aliens with giant dildo bats while running 100 miles per hour, leaping 100 feet in the air -- as...

New releases photo
New releases

New releases: Purple is back in style

Plus, The Bureau, Splinter Cell, Disney Infinity, and more
Aug 19
// Fraser Brown
Bloody hell, this week, calm down. A slew of games are clamouring for your attention over the next seven days, some of them really rather good. At the top of the pile, however, is Saints Row IV. I didn't think the series wou...

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