By now, we all know there’s no reason to buy the Xbox One or PlayStation 4 version of a game if you’ve already played it on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, or PC, and all it adds is slightly better resolution and the already released add-ons. (Well, unless you like wasting money, in which case I can get you this really cool bridge in Brooklyn, cheap.) But while that’s also the case with Saints Row IV Re-Elected — a new version of 2013’s Saint’s Row IV that’s available on its own for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and in a bundle with the new (and also available separately) add-on Gat Out Of Hell for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 — there’s something else we all know that Re-Elected illustrates perfectly: game companies don’t do these kind of straight reissues if the original games weren’t fun to begin with.
Which is why, if you missed it before, Re-Elected is the version of Saints Row IV to get.
In the aftermath of 2011’s Saints Row: The Third, you’re still the leader of The Saints…but you’re also the leader of a free world. And your first act as President Of The United States? Deal with the aliens who’ve taken over the planet and have imprisoned you and your friends in a virtual version of the Earth. Which is still easier than dealing with congress.
Like previous games in this series, and other open-world crime dramas, Saints Row IV Re-Elected has you running amok in a big, open world full of story and side quests, skill challenges, collectibles, and random encounters. Except that, because it takes place in a virtual Earth, and you know that, you pull a Neo and start doing such superheroic things as running as fast as The Flash and leaping buildings in a single bound like Superman before he realized he could just fly everywhere.
Combine that with this series’ penchant for dirty jokes, over-the-top silliness, and pop culture references that fly as fast and furious as they do during a Robot Chicken marathon, and what you end up with is like a naughty, day-go version of Crackdown. Or Sunset Overdrive without all the skateboard-ish stuff. Or Grand Theft Auto V with a sense of whimsy.
And therein lies the problem with Saints Row IV Re-Elected. Er, problems (though they’re not so big as to be fatal). Because of your superpowers, some of the fights are a bit lopsided in your favor. And because it can be a bit silly — and dirty, and, well, a bit redundant like so many open world games — this can get tiresome after a while. But when taken in small-to-medium sized doses, Saints Row IV Re-Elected is not just ridiculous, it’s ridiculously fun as well.
Now, for those of you who played the original Saint’s Row, but are still reading this review for some reason, that bridge is $1000, and I don’t take checks. I also don’t recommend you spending any of that money on this instead. While Saints Row IV Re-Elected is better looking than the original, the graphics haven’t been redone like they were in The Last Of Us Remastered or the Halo 2 part of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, they just has a bit more definition. Which means they have no impact on how well this plays, it’s just a superficial upgrade.
More importantly, in playing Saints Row IV Re-Elected, I remember why I only played Saint’s Row IV once. There’s so much to do in this game — especially now that it has all the add-ons they, uh, added on — that by the time you get to the end, you’ve kind of had enough. Or at least I did. And I certainly didn’t get anything new out of it the second time around, it was just the same thing over again.
As for the add-on Gat Out Of Hell, well, you can read my separate review of that here, but suffice it to say that while people who’ve already played Saint’s Row IV should just get Gat separately, those who haven’t should pick up the Saints Row IV Re-Elected + Gat Out Of Hell bundle. And then play them months apart.
In the end, Saints Row IV Re-Elected is just a slightly cleaner, slightly fatter version of Saints Row IV. But while that means that people who played the original can save their money — say, for the inevitable, Saints Row V: Johnny Is Alive or whatever they’re going to call it — anyone who missed the ludicrous, and ludicrously fun game can enjoy the best version of it.