The Amazing & Astonishing RPS Advent Calendar: Day 21

By RPS on December 21st, 2013 at 10:00 am.

Earth is no more. Humanity is all but wiped out. Those few that survive are trapped in a tortuous hell of monstrous alien creation. So let’s have some fun!

It’s Saints Row IV!

John: This is my game of the year. And I never imagined it would be. While I loved Saints Row 3, and was certainly looking forward to the next game, the collapse of THQ took place between the two. And it became apparent that what was intended to be an expansion for SR3 was now being turned into a full game. That has disaster written all over it. Saints Row IV should have been an awkward, half-arsed attempt to stretch something disposable into a full game. (Or “Doing a Dragon Age 2″, as I believe it should be known.) But my goodness, that didn’t happen. SRIV is the best of the series, a phenomenal piece of work that stands as a banner for all of gaming about how expectations and “realism” are the bane of ambition, and just a mad ton of fun.

It’s obligatory whenever you write about Saints Row to point out that it began as a pathetic GTA rip-off. Because it did. It was ugly, tacky, and I still have no idea how it didn’t end in a court case. It’s obligatory because it further emphasises the achievements of Volition to have taken something so tawdry (in every respect) and built on it to create one of the most fun games ever made. And even better, they did it cutting corners in the most incredibly clever ways. SRIV presents you with the same city as SR3, and entirely gets away with it!

That’s in a huge part down to the writing. The premise: aliens blow up the Earth and dump you – briefly the President of America – into a computer simulation of the city you knew. Same city, brilliantly glitchy graphics. You’re then tasked with rescuing many members of your previous crew from the hell-programs in which they’re trapped, while also driving super-jumping and flying around the city, just having a good time. It’s a world of bad puns, ludicrous destruction, and guilt-free murdering of pedestrians and cops, since they’re either simulations or evil aliens. Wheeeeee!

I throw that away, but that’s a huge thing too. While GTA descends further into a grim universe of misery and contempt, Saints Row ascends into a glorious playground of silliness and upbeat nonsense. This is a game where a dubstep gun causes pretend people to dance themselves to death. Where you have as much fun throwing giant furry animal heads through impossibly floating hoops as you do firing guns at policemen.

And it does all this with some of the smartest writing I’ve ever seen. SR3 delivered a superb script, with remarkable pathos. SRIV gets even better, if somewhat more light-hearted. The dialogue is like nothing else, so sharp, witty, and constantly hitting one-liners out of the park. And yet the characters have weight, significance. They build on their behaviour over the last three games, even lampooning their more crude realisations in the first two. Where Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon worked so incredibly hard to fall short of spoofing 80s gaming, Saints Row IV does it far, far better in a couple of throwaway scenes. The game is so bursting with talent that it almost feels casual about being brilliant. And Keith David!

All this, and the game where you can play as anyone you want. A fat, Hispanic transsexual? No problem. An emaciated black man with a giant panda head? Go for it. It allows you to be as outrageous, refined, grotesque or plain as you wish, and seems to honour that choice. That the extraordinary volume of dialogue for your character is recorded multiple times in multiple accents and personality types is incredible. Pick a French accent and your player will throw in French words. Pick Nolan North and, well, you’ve got Nolan North. It’s emblematic of just how much work went into this, how every detail was so cared over, and just how much this isn’t an over-stretched expansion.

Then my goodness, the Roddy Piper scene! The Biz Markie sequence! These are utter classics of gaming, moments we should be and are quoting in our gamer playgrounds. And then, that final gag, that moment post-credits. I laughed harder at that than anything else I can think of in years. I laughed so hard that I couldn’t breath. For real. I was collapsed on my desk, in genuine pain for lack of oxygen, and still chuckling, my face soaked in helpless tears of laughter. There’s no point finding out what that joke was, because it wouldn’t be funny out of context. But after 15 hours or so playing the game through, and then that line. That moment alone makes this my favourite game this year.

Jim: For the first few hours of Saints Row IV I had a spectator sat at my shoulder. He didn’t want to play, and he only begrudgingly watched. He was not impressed. He did not like what he saw. What a silly game. He was right. It is a silly game. And that unrepentant maelstrom of unsensible tastelessness was the reason I loved it.

It’s an explosion of ludicrousness. When I am playing Saints Row IV I am beating a piñata filled with games best ideas and worst jokes. And also its best jokes and worst ideas. They come tumbling out in a stupid mess. The fact that Volition where able to hold down this mad octopus of a game and get it out in a workable state is incredible. The fact that my spectating chum did seem why a make-up caked President Of The United States fighting UFOs with a AA gun wasn’t entertaining is more incredible still.

If anything took the sheen off this game’s expedition into batshit country, it was the overall feel of it. There was a sort of constantly sliding weightlessness that I never quite came to terms with. Something to do with the physicality of the characters (or lack thereof) and the general “gunfeel” which never quite gelled. That seems an odd reason to push this game down my list and away from GOTY candidacy, but it was enough.

Graham:

I played Saints Row 3 as a Latino toilet, but when the voice actress for my character didn’t return for the sequel, I felt like I needed to start fresh. So here’s my Saints Row IV character.

Maximum face.

This is maybe all you need to know.

Even after the joyful silliness of the previous game, I was constantly surprised by the effort Saints Row IV and its developers would go to make a joke. That’s typified early on, when your character is tossed into a Leave It To Beaver-style parody of 1950s Americana. There’s a town to run around, models and animations you’ll never see again, specific music, a ton of dialogue…

This is what makes Saints Row IV so special. It’s not just that it’s funny, it’s one of the few games where the jokes are the point. It’s not Monkey Island or Portal, where the comedy is a salve or buffer between puzzles. Saints Row IV’s action and combat are there to fill time while you walk between the jokes.

I wonder if the full-bodied gamey-ness of those jokes is why SRIV’s writer(s) aren’t as well known as Monkey Island’s and Portal’s. For Saints Row, the level artists and game designers are joke-tellers too.

Nathan: I think some random person on Twitter put it best: Grand Theft Auto V pretends to care but doesn’t, and Saints Row IV acts like it doesn’t give a shit, but really, really, really does.

It’s such an audaciously earnest and sincere game, especially for a triple-A production. Faux-cynicism and mean-spirited barbs give way to a cast of characters with natural, gloriously silly chemistry. It’s like that best friend you communicate with entirely by way of insults, but would take a bullet for in a heartbeat.

There are so many magnificently warm, incredibly dumb moments. Whether it’s watching modern Shaundi and the younger “Fun” Shaundi bond over a power-and-drug-fueled sprint through the city followed by a craterous co-op bitch-slapping of their awful ex or joining Matt Miller on his weirdly adorable Nyte Blayde geek-outs, Saints Row IV will make you smile about more than just dumb jokes. I don’t care if you cryogenically froze your heart cockles and then fired them into the deepest, loneliest reaches of space. This game will warm them.

And the best part? Anything goes. Yeah, Saints Row IV is still rampantly offensive, but it’s very nearly – and here comes a weird word choice – tasteful about it. Or at least even-handed. The game goes out of its way to let you be whoever you want – no matter what kind of wild (or entirely reasonable) fantasy you wish to fulfill. I think the moment my ludicrously American fusion of Abraham Lincoln, the Statue of Liberty, and Jesus asked Kinzie, “Hey, wanna fuck,” and she replied by affectionately punching him in the face and saying, “Let’s go,” I knew everyone was more or less on equal footing. (That said, when vice president Keith David spurned my advances, I was heartbroken. HEARTBROKEN.)

That’s to say nothing of the basic mechanics, which are basically Xbox cult favorite Crackdown on radioactive flying squirrel steroids. In other words, delightful, though also rather janky and weightless in places. But the simple acts of soaring for miles and tentacle-batting random pedestrians halfway to Japan made this my favorite open world to rampage around in since Just Cause 2. I didn’t get quite as much mileage out of it (At this point, my Just Cause 2 You’ve Played counter reads, “Please, do something else. The world is so rich and full of possibility. Volunteer at a soup kitchen! Buy a pet iguana!”), but I might have had just as much fun.

In closing, Saints Row IV made me grin like an idiot. Four more years! Unless that’s in reference to how long it’ll take before Saints Row V comes out, in which case less than that.

Adam: I agree with everything written above, including the part when John says Saints Row IV is his game of the year and then Jim says it can’t possibly be his game of the year because the movement and shooting doesn’t feel all that great. I’m particularly on board with Nathan’s assessment that this is most sincerely silly thing I’ve had the pleasure of playing in a long time. It’s a gloriously daft game, packed with strong performances, intelligent humour and more superheroics than you could shake a Penetrator at.

Instead of repeating things that have already been said, I’m going to tell you about the most ridiculous in-game habit I formed this year. A friend watching me play Mass Effect a few years ago was amazed by how brutishly ugly my Shepard was. He had a head like a scarred potato. A cheap and considerably cheerless Halloween decoration bought in the veg aisle at Aldi when all the pumpkins had run out, and then carved into the semblance of a face using a plastic spoon.

I explained that Shepard was like that because he’d been born that way. I randomise everything that genetics would choose, allowing myself to pick beards and hairstyles, but leaving everything else to chance. Saints Row IV has the best character customisation I’ve ever seen and through the wonders of plastic surgery, it’s possible to change the president at any point in the story. So this is what I do – every time I die, I head to the nearest clothes store and randomise my outfit, buying one new item in each category and then rolling a die to pick each piece of clothing. I do the same at the plastic surgeon.

I’ve leapt from the top of alien towers as a rotund goth, sprinted through the streets wearing nothing but a holster and a hat, and discovered the most diverse cast of characters I’ve ever seen in a computer game. And they were all me and they were all beautiful accidents.

Back to the Calendar!

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80 Comments »

  1. AngoraFish says:

    There goes the obvious pick for #1 … leaving Bioshock Infinite as the clear remaining favorite.

    • airtekh says:

      My money’s still on Gone Home.

      • dE says:

        If that’d happen, they could probably sell the salt from the lake of tears that will bring. So Gone home it is. GOTY.

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      I felt sorry for Binfinite. Steam sold it with free XCom EU, which for me frankly outclassed it. Bioshock I played for a bit, then I decided to try EU. 196 hours with XCom later, BI was sitting there doing this ;_; and pointing to the “4 hours” next to the PLAY button in Steam. This is coming from a massive fan of the previous Bioshocks (I’ve played #1 about 6 or 7 times through and really enjoyed the second). Infinite just didn’t have any hook (well OK apart from skyhooks) to make me want to continue. Maybe it gets better after a few hours, I don’t know. The enthusiasm just wasn’t there to make it jump out from my Steam backlog.

      • mouton says:

        That’s the problem with games sold in a pack, you can miss genuinely good ones just because they are different.

        I mean, I only touched TF2 a year after I bought Orange Box. I know, right!

        • CookPassBabtridge says:

          I take your point, but to be brutally honest, I don’t think it was being sold in a pack that caused me to overlook it. The overarching emotion I felt when playing it for those 4 hours was irritation, as opposed to “this is pretty good but maybe there’s something better”. The combat just felt .. off, and I just wanted to stop playing it. Rapture amazed me, made me want to rummage in every corner. Columbia made me feel beige. Hearing aid beige.

          XCOM was immediately fun and rewarding, and its actually converted me to RTS. I don’t know, maybe its genre fatigue and I’ve had my fill of FPS, but yeah.

          • mouton says:

            To each their own! I loved both games.

            XCOM isn’t RTS, though, it’s turn based. Still have to pick the expansion at some point, heh.

          • CookPassBabtridge says:

            Heh yeah true but XCOM was my gateway drug to RTS. Now I am hooked. Not pushed on as far as what enthusasts would call “true wargaming” – but AirLand Battle has become something of a favourite, as has Men of War. I’ve even stopped hearing the voice acting…

          • subedii says:

            I’m afraid the combat doesn’t get any better to be honest. If anything I thought it got more irritating, I just don’t think it was designed all that well.

            That and I didn’t really think too much of the story and characters either. But that’s a diatribe that’s been had already.

          • Goodtwist says:

            CookPassBabtridge, what is your Wargame name? I’ll keep an eye at you ;)

          • CookPassBabtridge says:

            Hi Goodtwist, I haven’t started with the multiplayer side of it yet, just splashing around in the campaign and skirmish (I know, I know, MP is where its at but the AI doesn’t get irritable when I accidentally sacrfice a load of AA I forgot about in a wood :) ). Are you a frequent online player? Good experiences thus far?

          • Goodtwist says:

            I haven’t touched the campaign since the very launch of the game yet. Simply, once you taste blood there’s no going back. Even on hardest difficulty the AI is ridiculously weak. As for unfriendly team mates… well you gotta have bad luck and stumble upon a dickhead. I guess that if you let everybody know before the round that you’re new they might even try to school you a little.

            If you want you might find me as Buregdzya in game.

          • Skiddywinks says:

            I’m right there with you. For all the raving about the game it is a soulless experience for sure. I felt like I was in a museum. There was stuff to look at but nothing to do. The combat was largely boring, the skyhook was, literally, a move to an on-rails shooter for those sections and while the first sight of Columbia was quite breathtaking, it had none of anything that made rapture so incredible.

            Over all though I am not that bothered because they didn’t call it BioShock 3. It’s a spin off and it feels like one to appeal to a more CoD loving kind of player.

    • Premium User Badge Oozo says:

      There’s Gone Home and Binfinte. I think Teleglitch might show up as well, it got lots of love all around here. Kentucky Route Zero already was in the calendar, wasn’t it?

      • Premium User Badge daphne says:

        No…

        No, it wasn’t…

        Happy go lucky $5 says they have already reserved a spot for it in next year’s calendar (what with the remaining three episodes coming out then and all) but the game will be facing so much competition that year (I can name no less than ten calendar-worthy games in just about three seconds right now) I’m worrying it will be overlooked then.

        • Premium User Badge Oozo says:

          Oh. That’s a pity. I mean, you can argue that only two parts (and two intermezzi) of five have been published so far. But when those parts are so very interesting and aesthetically pleasing… let’s say that for me, even if no further parts ever were published, KRZ would still be a fantastic achievement. Certainly one of the best game experiences of 2013 for me. but we’ll see what RPS make of it.

      • Blackcompany says:

        Is it possible that they would consider XCOM – Enemy Within, to be their GOTY?

        I know technically its an expansion. But it has its own executable, and it can be run separately from XCOM. Making it – admittedly, only technically – a separate game. But that might be sufficient to allow it consideration for GOTY.

        So long as its not Bioshock: Infinite or Metro: Last Light. Both are…decent…games. Metro gets real good in places, once you get past the hand holding. And has some parts that boder on greatness.

        Meanwhile Infinite is…named after the number of times you have to listen to Elizabeth ask you to catch a coin while repeating the same tasks you’ve already done. It had potential; imagine an open word Columbia where you had to play PI and actually investigate to find Elizabeth, plan your escape, etc. As opposed, you know…what we got.

        Regardless, eager to see the GOTY, but would not be surprised if XCOM: EW slips in there on a technicality.

    • BadBannana says:

      Two Brothers?

    • Xocrates says:

      I still have a glimmer of hope for Gunpoint.

    • The Pink Ninja says:

      Obviously it’ll be God Save the Queen

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        “Games involving the Royal Family” now added to 2014′s wishlist

        • Premium User Badge phuzz says:

          Surely there should be a game where David Icke* is correct and then you have to kill all the reptiod aliens that have taken over the country/world?
          Man, just reading through his wiki page throws up loads of ideas for a game.

          * ex-goalkeeper for Hereford United

    • Henke says:

      Shadow Warrior hasn’t been in the calendar yet, has it? Considering that it’s the best FPS of the year, it’ll likely still be included!

  2. melvar says:

    Way to post the whole article on the front page there, buddy.

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      Well, it saved me a mouse click. Thats like a small christmas present right there.

  3. Premium User Badge li says:

    Hey, where’s the mystery of opening the little compartment to discover what’s inside?
    (It seems that a -more- cut is missing)

    Edit: quickly fixed!

  4. FurryLippedSquid says:

    Graham, did you set out to make your character look like a herpes-ridden Rupert Grint, or was that just a happy coincidence?

  5. Premium User Badge Anthile says:

    I have a hard time believing there are three games ranked higher by RPS this year, one of them being most certainly Binfinite.
    Personally, this is the game of the year to me. It cannot be overstated just how great the writing is and how much fun everything else is. It’s a this-is-why-I-play-video-games game.
    In other words, yoouuu, you are what I neeeed…

    • Zekiel says:

      There aren’t three games ranked higher. There’s one game ranked higher – the order of games in the calendar is meaningless, apart from number 24.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Except that the need for dramatic speculation because of that last one being “the best” means there is pressure to put its competition as late as possible.

      • John Walker says:

        The official position is: “in no particular order, until it is.”

        The top five or six are the top five or six, but again, they’re not in order. Then 24 is the winner.

        You know, like in all charts, right?

        • Premium User Badge Anthile says:

          I always assumed there was an elaborate point system or something.

        • The Random One says:

          I’ve always thought that the top five or six weren’t the hiveminds’ top five or six, but the five or six people think have a chance of being the first one, so are pushed to the top to keep the suspense. Suspense!

  6. Spacewalk says:

    It’s my game of the year too mostly (but not entirely) because of Roddy’s section, the OTT takedown moves you can bust out, the text adventures, the weapon skins and the whole 1950s section near the start.

    Oh wait, that’s most of the game. Maybe I should’ve chosen one of those things to like the most.

    • Teovald says:

      Then maybe you can shed a light on the Roddy section for me please ?
      SPOILERS !
      I did not really follow that treason and counter-treason thingy .. Why is Keith David forgiven at the end of that sequence ?

  7. WhatKateDoes says:

    Loved SR3, and I anticipated SR4 to be as good, especially as a co-op game, and it certainly started that way. The mass effect references were great, the 50s bit, the player customizations/clothes… But then I felt it peaked too early with the superpowers and I bored really quickly of it… Barely I guess 1/4 the way in. This was exasperated by the gloomy feel of the largely purple and red world we inhabited… I much preferred the vibrant colour and life of 3. I hope to be sufficiently bored over Xmas to return to it so I can finish it, and get to see the rest of the humour.

    • siegarettes says:

      I mostly powered through for the writing. After you beat the game you can change the color filters to a bunch of different ones as well, including the sunny looking ones of previous games. Some of the late game set pieces are gloriously stupid as well.

  8. Eight Rooks says:

    This is the game that makes me both very, very pleased to see it in the calendar and frustrated that I just don’t get how so many people can love it quite so much. I was wrong to dismiss the franchise, I happily admit that, and even though I haven’t finished IV it’s still given me some of the most fun I’ve had playing videogames this year.

    But… Saints Row 2 was mediocre at best, frequently dreadful, a tedious 20-hour slog through a meaningless parade of nastiness that just happened to have some decent voice acting. The Third and IV are basically an entire writer’s room doing backflips trying to build something off that, and though it’s occasionally very funny and quite clever and it’s pretty cool to see the developers abandon all pretense at taking things seriously it’s… it’s really not superb writing. As a book or a film or anything else it’d be laughed out of court.

    And oh, look, someone taking a pop at Dragon Age II? Funny, since at nearly 20 hours through IV I’m still enjoying myself but… I’m definitely getting that exact same feeling of – hack another pointless store? Clear out another alien troublespot where I just point and they all die? Haven’t I done this exact same thing fifty times already to absolutely no discernible purpose beyond numbers continually going up?

    Weirdly the thing I’d praise it for the most is the thing most of the RPS writers seem to pick on. I thought the controls were fantastic from the moment I got my first power, and still do – like the dreadful Prototype 2 if it was actually as awesome as it aspired to be. Few games in 2013 have struck me as this much fun just to play, to inhabit the character, to move around and explore. Although even then I couldn’t help but think hey, isn’t this basically the only good bit of The Third’s terrible DLC trying to prop up a full game?

    It is great fun. And it’s great to see people having fun with it, and writing at length about how much fun they’re having so other people can perhaps give it a shot. But… jeez, you guys talk a whole lot of crazy talk as well, is all.

    • derbefrier says:

      I feel the same way about these open world gta type games. They always start out fun but within the first few hours the games already shown you all it has to offer the rest is just the same old shit. I get this feeling in every gta game and every SR game and I never end up comming close to finishing them. I don’t care how funny the game is if the gameplay grows stale after only a few hours something is wrong. Though to be fair I have always harbord a distaste for 3rd person shooters in general.

    • The Random One says:

      I honestly think SRIV’s writing would hold up just fine if instead of being a silly comedy videogame it was a silly comedy movie.

  9. Commander Gun says:

    Gone Home is will be.

  10. Kadayi says:

    Enjoyed the hell out of SR4, but when all is said and done it honestly helps if you’ve played at least SR3 and SR2 if you can handle the terribad port (http://idolninja.com/ has some fixes..but still save between missions) beforehand because much of the narrative and humour is reliant on a knowledge of the past titles and events that happened within them.

    Also boo at the volition for needlessly changing the two of the player character voice actresses from SR3 (yet the male voices stay the same…what gives)

  11. robsk ii says:

    I’m a little sad there won’t be a place for Rising Storm. I know it’s an expansion, so maybe it can’t count, but for me it’s incredibly compelling. Requires investment to get into i, but one you ‘get it’, it’s one of the most engaging multiplayer fps titles there is. It creates moments like nothing else, frantic, barbarous, sometimes even grimly amusing. It betters its mother title in every way, and if you ask me, Banzai it’s one of the greatest mechanics there is..!

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      It’s a great game, certainly, but it didn’t hold on to me.

      • robsk ii says:

        Fair enough! Evidently it really presses my subjective buttons. I do think there’s nothing else quite like it, and vaguely wonder what it could be with a big budget. I guess the things I love about it would risk being watered down to maximise commercial impact, though.

  12. Premium User Badge ffordesoon says:

    I’m surprised so many people are so sure Binfinite will be on the list. I sorta had it pegged as a “missed it by that much” game. Kieron seemed to like it a lot more than any of the current RPS crew.

    I thought it was fantastic, and would have been my easy GOTY a few years ago. That it’s barely in my top ten speaks to how far video game storytelling has come since the original. It does puzzle me that so few people seem to like the combat. There was probably a bit too much of it, and it made the same mistake the original Bioshock made of allowing you to play it in the most boring way imaginable, but I thought it was a delightful toybox of shootybang and a lovely story.

    I do wish the game hadn’t been so annoyingly afraid of committing to an ideology that it was willing to stack the deck in a somewhat artificial way against the Vox, and that it had followed through on the race/class war side of the story more definitively instead of using it as a backdrop. But as a whole, I really did love the hell out of it.

    • Smuckers says:

      Yeah, it seems like the hivemind didn’t dig it as much as i did. I’d be surprised if it showed up on the list. I didn’t think the combat was dreadful, but i also thought that it felt really out of place. To me, Infinite felt like it was originally going to be a much braver game at some point during its development. I can imagine a much shorter game, focused entirely on stealth where you have to blend in and escape columbia. Maybe you have a gun with only one bullet and you have to save it for Comstock or something. I sorta had this feeling that Irrational were at some point making something really odd and daring, and then, when either they couldn’t get that to work, or someone from 2k came by and freaked out, they panicked and threw that combat into the game just to have something for the player to do.Tl;DR: I liked infinite, felt like gaming’s 6th sense or inception, would be surprised to see it on the list.

      • Zekiel says:

        I really would have liked to play your version of Binfinite – it would have been a lot more thematically appropriate. Probably wouldn’t have sold quite as well though.

        • The Random One says:

          Also, in that version, when Booker loses his gun before being launched into the city, it’s foreshadowing his fragility instead of just being pointless.

  13. Premium User Badge Gap Gen says:

    Whenever I hear dubstep now, I imagine a Hispanic woman in her 50s in a red jumper, black suit and bowler hat with a cat backpack shouting OH YEAH in a Cockney accent as everything explodes.

    • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

      You would LOVE Saints Row IV, then.

      • Premium User Badge Gap Gen says:

        Yeah, I should play it some time, although my therapist gently discourages it.

  14. Obc says:

    i just finished it a few days ago and my god what a brilliant experience. i was laughing so much. it was like watching a great ensemble comedy ala 30 rock or Community where they are firing puns and jokes every second out of every mouth. every character was a joy. there was pathos, joy, sillines and loveable care in the game from each character to the next and every line and delivery. e.g.: when the boss frees ben king they insult each other, bicker and in the end the boss knows whats exactly bugging him (ben only came in second) little stuff like this gives the characters some depth and gravitas while still allowing them to roam around and throw furries into cages for a gimp before heading for a gimp riksha race.

    power armor/robto, “you got the touch”, keith david, “all right… lets save santa”, johnny gat, prof. genki and the commentators etc. were all so much goofy fun. never had

    the story quests also gave way to new type of game mods, be it 80′s beat em up, or tron like bike racing or text adventures. this made the game never become stale mechanic wise.

    best game i have played in a long time and definatly the most fun i had ever with a game.

  15. PopeRatzo says:

    In my heart, Saints Row IV was the best game of 2013.

  16. Premium User Badge FriendGaru says:

    I only got around to finally playing this a week ago, and it was just delightful throughout. To my surprise, I actually found myself caring about the characters this time around. Saints Row 3 was a bit too far on the sociopathic murder spree side of the equation to view the characters as anything more than joke machines, but this time around I actually was able to get a bit invested in their various obsessions, hangups, and neuroses. I hope to see them again on another adventure through space and time.

    It was also one of the rare times I’ve laughed at video game sex jokes. The ‘romance’ dialogues were both amusing and well targeted satire.

  17. Laurentius says:

    Totally lost on me, humor and sillines seems forced, city is boring and bland, sure it’s better to fly and jump around then atrocious driving model form SR3 but superpowers in boring city won’t save this game for me. In comparison to SR4 , AC4 and TR rebbot are masterpieces of fun videogame. Stuck at 30 % and havn’t played since Spetember and unlikely to boot up in forseeble future.

    Where is FEZ and Gunpoint ?

    • TimePointFive says:

      Finally. I thought I was losing my mind.

      • DestroyYourEgo says:

        You are NOT alone…. I LOVED the SR series (yes, even The Third). But this one was, to me, just like Dead Island: Riptide- a seemingly dull DLC trying to mimic a full game. And, low and behold, Deep Silver published both (draw your own conclusions on that one).

        Just glad I’m not the only one that thinks SR4 is utter bollox.

  18. Premium User Badge FriendlyFire says:

    There’s one thing I’d add here: SR4 also managed to do satire right. So many “satirical” games end up cloning the things they criticize, making them no better (a game criticizing dull third-person corridor shooters being itself a dull third-person corridor shooter? GENIUS). SR4 manages to isolate the satire from the base game and stays fun throughout.

    Also, it would probably count as one of the best superhero games ever made. Marvel/DC, what the fuck are you waiting for?

    • In Zod We Trust says:

      Agree on the superhero game thing. I hope there is modding for this game (I thought that was going to be the case?) because with a bit of tweaking making the gun/gang/gear/super power upgrades all coming from the same resource pool I think you could make a game where you could easily make a gun character (Punisher), driver/pilot, or regular superhero.

      Get some multiplayer in there and factions/teams and you could have something amazing.

  19. Vinraith says:

    Hilarious, genuinely fun to play, and quite frankly the best game all year for de-stressing. Despite a backlog a mile high I played this thing through twice, just because it’s been a hell of a year and I needed a good laugh/power trip.

    • Premium User Badge Gap Gen says:

      The superpowers are amazing, even as they make the base game of driving around completely pointless. Also DUBSTEP GUN.

      • Vinraith says:

        Yeah, no real need to drive (though flying still has some uses). And yes, so many fun ways to kill people. Half the time I just melee’d them, nothing beats a crotch punch that sends them flying into the next county.

  20. Premium User Badge Gap Gen says:

    OK, so I have just finished this. What DLC is worth picking up?

    • Xocrates says:

      The christmas one is pretty good, albeit really short. Enter the Dominatrix has its moments, but I wasn’t hugely fond of it – though the ending is either the worst thing ever or the best thing ever, probably both.

      Though if you get the Season Pass on a daily deal on Steam, I would say it’s totally worth it.

      • Obc says:

        the christmas one had a nice character arc for the boss and a overall better and more funny story.

        though ETD had one of the most “bat-shit” ending ever. seriously, its was stupidly awesome.

        so buy santa and watch the ETD ending on YT ;)

    • Keyrock says:

      Like all Saints Row story DLCs, they’re both really fun and really short.

  21. malkav11 says:

    I agree with pretty much everything except people’s desire to compare the game to Crackdown, which it has very little in common with, instead of Prototype, which it is much more reminiscent of.

  22. d00d3n says:

    Nice to see RPS credit the underdog Metro: Last Light by giving it GOTY!

    Spoilers:
    22. Gunpoint
    23. Bioshock Infinite (outrageous and silly choice, but at least it is not getting GOTY)
    24. Metro: Last Light

    • Premium User Badge Aerothorn says:

      Sorry, d00d, but there is no universe in which Gone Home doesn’t get a spot on the calendar, so ditch one of your picks.

  23. Premium User Badge Bluerps says:

    This game is so amazing. It’s my GOTY too.

    Favorite moment: When you escape in the space ship, and the main character turns on the radio.

  24. LordMidas says:

    I’d have put this as my fave of 2013. SRIV is pure fun. And the Dubstep gun is a work of genius.

  25. Universal Quitter says:

    I’ll never understand why people seem to hate or love this game. I thought it was a fun experience that certainly had its high notes, but the game definitely had issues, particularly with the way controlling your character felt…well, saggy?

    It was just a good game, to me. One notch above OK. Like, Mirror’s Edge or those old Spider-Man games from the PS2 era.

    Also, holding the character back from achieving true sustained flight was a dumb choice. I can punch nuclear explosions into the asphalt, but flight would break game-balance? Fuck off…