Saints Row IV — A Retrospective on this… Weird Game

Jeffrey McGee
4 min readFeb 10, 2023


It’s like Grand Theft Auto… but weirder

This week was rough! I tried playing remastered versions of certain games I enjoyed 10 years ago, give or take, and I was reminded by my computer that I need to get a new one. I keep repeating the joke that it’ll eventually reach its limits and I’ll have to come up with new ways of reminding my readers that, at some point, I won’t be able to play any new games. That is, unless I get some good hardware. What did I do to combat the problem? I played the original version, not the remastered one. But what game am I talking about? I should’ve said this from the get-go, but it’s Saints Row IV.

Saints Row is a franchise that has an ambiguous reputation, depending on who you ask. This game was inspired by Grand Theft Auto, but at the same time, it allowed the player to do some wacky things not normally found in a GTA game. I’m not too sure about what the first entries in the series were. However, in the fourth entry, you play as a god amongst humans who can super-jump high into the sky and run extremely fast. The game’s arsenal is also very creative, as there are all kinds of doo-hickeys that are bound to make the player’s experience as weird as possible, such as the “Dubstep Gun” which plays dubstep when you shoot with it. And apparently you also have super powers, although I only ever got to freeze my enemies, but more on that later.

You see… in Saints Row IV, you play as the president of the United States. I’m not sure what led up to the part where you play as leader of the free world, but it’s a zany take on the whole badass president shtick that’s sure to humor at least somebody, because I didn’t laugh. Anyways, aliens are invading the country and it’s up to the president and the eponymous Saints to save the day. Anyways, during the two hours that I played it, this is how I felt…

The naked part was really uncomfortable

The game starts out with a quick recap of the events that happened in previous titles, which is natural, seeing as this is the fourth installation in the series. Since I hadn’t played any of the previous titles, I had no idea what the narrator was even talking about. The lack of footage from the previous games made it even harder to understand what was going on. Regardless, the game gets to a point where you play as an invincible super soldier, whose face is obscured by a helmet. It’s later revealed that you’re playing as the president of the United States, but I’ve already mentioned that. Interestingly, there’s a selection of presidential archetypes for the player to choose from, which will be their playable character for the remainder of the game, be it male or female. So, I picked one and proceeded to play the game for another who-knows-how-long. I was prompted with all kinds of things at the beginning that aren’t worth noting, until aliens started invading out of nowhere — and then I, as the president, had to defend the country, rather than the world at large, from invading interlopers.

So, in the next part, I find myself in some 50s-esque environment. I play along with whatever prompt I’m facing, until I get to the point where the whole thing is revealed to be a simulation (what a surprise!). I, as the president, break out of the tube that I was kept in. For the next thirty minutes or so, I run around naked with nothing but a block of pixels obscuring the sight of my privates. I shoot baddies, which are aliens, all the while wondering where I can find some pants. I progress through the level partially looking away because of how uncomfortable it is every time the president crouches. I get past the naked part, finally, and the next few minutes are accompanied by the 90s classic “What Is Love”, if there’s anybody out there that remembers that song (I certainly do). Anyhow, I ride around on a spaceship, some stuff happens, and then the president goes back into the simulation for some unknown reason. It introduces some mechanics during that part in the game, and then I just goof around until I’m ready to move on.

It was fun for 2 hours, but I’d rather play games that came out today and not a decade ago. Now, if only I had a stronger computer

In Conclusion…

Saints Row feels like an unusual GTA experience where you use your godly presidential powers to wreak havoc on the alien empire that’s invading earth. All the while, it feels a lot like Prototype, that one game where you have an abundance of powers to play with and is a personal favorite of mine. So, if you’re looking for oldies, I recommend that one.

Anyway, Saints Row’s attempt at a story-heavy experience, loaded with comedic moments at every turn, isn’t quite bad, but I assume people today would rather just play something more contemporary, like literally any game that came out this year.

I suppose I could’ve advanced more into the game and get a more concrete opinion on what I could’ve done with it. But like everyone in this world, I’m short on time and have to use it efficiently.

Nonetheless, if you’re really bored and have nothing better to do, I suppose Saints Row IV could kill a few of your hours… or a lot.