Saints Row IV
Saints Row IV doesn’t win any awards for graphical fidelity, frame-rate or even gameplay innovation. But it’s still a REALLY fun game, and that is why Saints Row IV makes it into my top ten list for this year.
Game kicks off with the Main Character being the President of the United States very briefly, until aliens come and fuck your shit up. From there, the game decides to cook up a scenario which allows the insanity of the gameplay to exist, and hell, in some cases it actually doesn’t, which I’m 100% fine with.
Sure the city is the same as Saints Row 3, sure they’ve built the game on a very familiar framework, but the additions they did add help craft an intoxicatingly fun experience in Saints Row IV, with the super powers allowing for incredible mobility, which helps traversing the city and gathering collectibles not feel like an absolute burden, and the offensive abilities also feel fun to use while fighting off enemies.
I can’t comment too much on the musical selection of the game, due to only listening to the classics station (not to be confused with the classical station), but from what I heard on there, I was psyched the whole way through. Hearing Aerosmith’s ‘’Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing’’, Biz Markie’s ‘’Just a Friend’’, Men Without Hats ‘’Safety Dance’’ and several more tracks that were just a blast to listen to, especially since Saints Row IV allows you to play the radio while on-foot now.
I know I haven’t really commented much about the actual game itself, but the easiest comparison is to it to compare it to Saints Row 3 mixing with Crackdown, and making that combination work. Sometimes you don’t need to start from scratch to make a great follow-up, as long as you add enough to make it feel enjoyable and don’t break anything along the way.
Top 10 Runner-up: Grand Theft Auto V
Grand Theft Auto V in many ways exists on the other side of the spectrum from Saints Row IV. It is a brand new environment, with several new gameplay mechanics, even including multiple characters with unique activities and abilities to boot. Rockstar certainly made a very pure follow-up from GTA IV, also improving upon many of the aspects that I didn’t really enjoy in IV.
GTA IV felt like a realistic world, it was a cool showcase, a very visual world with plenty of detail but it also felt dull, drab and boring in a lot of ways. GTA V shows off that Rockstar North have established their ability in creating these worlds but they have also decided to have so more fun while having the player engage with that world. From practically dumping a black market gun stockpile onto your player very early on, to having sidequests that involve outrageous activities and very charming, quirky dialogue exchanges, to the very storyline feeling a lot lighter than the one present in GTA IV’s. The musical selection is alsol very well thought-out, including several varieties of tracks to account for different tastes, from Snoop’s ‘’Gin & Juice’’, to Aphex Twin’s ‘’Windowlicker’’, to Kendrick Lamar’s ‘’ADHD’’, Tyler the Creator’s ‘’Garbage’’ and Queen’s ‘’Radio Gaga’’, among others.
I think GTA V is a great game, certainly worth playing for someone who wants that experience, but it ended up on the runner-up spot due to still adhering a little too much on its world ‘’making sense’’, if you follow what I mean. I’m sure there are people who would MUCH rather that than just a complete nonsense world just for the sake of fulfilling the player’s fantasies, but that’s not for me.
Also the multiplayer is about as busted as Rocky’s face at the end of every Rocky movie.