Zero Punctuation: Saints Row 4

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[quote="Sgt. Sykes" post="6.827975.20141755"]I own SR2 and SR3 and don't like neither all that much (SR2 being the most terrible PC port ever in existence doesn't help).

I respect the games, but I'm surprised how popular is the notion that SR = FUN FUN FUN. Okay, I guess running around with a pink dildo and causing silly mayhem is fun in a way, but I'm a little troubled by it.

I hope not all the developers will follow this path now and we'll continue to get also some serious games with context and story. Which can also be lots of fun.

/quote]
Games today try wayyyyy to hard to be serious, dark and gritty. I welcome some sillyness and I think we need more of that, not less.

lacktheknack:

AJey:

lacktheknack:

Proved that to who?

You?

I could counter that Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs proved that people want more than a good story in their games, and that would prove exactly as much (possibly more, because people are actually QUITE upset about the new Amnesia, while less than half are upset about the new Saints Row).

For starters to me, yes. But there are people who share that opinion. Here's the thing, I finished that game and i enjoyed it (to the point). But I would never call it good. Lets look at it objectively.

Story - simple, serviceable story without much complexity or meaning as a whole. It just acted as glue for other elements.
Characters - one-dimensional. They have their little quirk or feature that they play at, that's it. No development or arcs. Just chess pieces for main character to play with and get upgrades from.
Mechanics - it is a game built around gimmicks. Superpowers, odd weapons, strange vehicles - all are fun for 10-20 minutes, as a joke, for a laugh. But then it gets old very quickly and you start looking for a best hings to deal with any particular situation. You use superpowers to move around, or kill enemies efficiently, or use the best weapons. They even built all the challenges around those gimmicks to force players to use them more often. That's not very smart design. Gimmicks wear off very quickly.
Minigames - minigames that for some reason were made to progress the game, never feel fun, or challenging, or in any way plot related. "Complete this or that and you will destabilize the simulation" - sounds like a silly excuse than an actual plot point. Besides, you can do all the jumping, shooting and exploding outside those minigames. They seem out of place.
Series - SR4 made the established world obsolete. Sprinting is faster than driving, powers and moves are better than any weapon, gang members are simple unnecessary, most upgrades (character and weapons) are useless. It's like they were not even making Saint Row game, but a parody or an expansion at best.

Game doenst offer many interesting concepts to play with, or interesting characters, or amazing story. It's just silly, mindless, pew-pew fun. There's nothing bad with that, but that alone cannot make a game good.

Again... according to you.

Also, I bolded all the parts of your objective overview that are not objective at all.

So you want to tell me that the gimmick of superpowers retains its value throughout the game? That building challenges around gimmicks is clever design? Or that it was a fully fleshed out game? I'm sorry, but I dont understand your standards at all. What is there in SR4 for you that makes it a good game?

AJey:

lacktheknack:

AJey:

For starters to me, yes. But there are people who share that opinion. Here's the thing, I finished that game and i enjoyed it (to the point). But I would never call it good. Lets look at it objectively.

Story - simple, serviceable story without much complexity or meaning as a whole. It just acted as glue for other elements.
Characters - one-dimensional. They have their little quirk or feature that they play at, that's it. No development or arcs. Just chess pieces for main character to play with and get upgrades from.
Mechanics - it is a game built around gimmicks. Superpowers, odd weapons, strange vehicles - all are fun for 10-20 minutes, as a joke, for a laugh. But then it gets old very quickly and you start looking for a best hings to deal with any particular situation. You use superpowers to move around, or kill enemies efficiently, or use the best weapons. They even built all the challenges around those gimmicks to force players to use them more often. That's not very smart design. Gimmicks wear off very quickly.
Minigames - minigames that for some reason were made to progress the game, never feel fun, or challenging, or in any way plot related. "Complete this or that and you will destabilize the simulation" - sounds like a silly excuse than an actual plot point. Besides, you can do all the jumping, shooting and exploding outside those minigames. They seem out of place.
Series - SR4 made the established world obsolete. Sprinting is faster than driving, powers and moves are better than any weapon, gang members are simple unnecessary, most upgrades (character and weapons) are useless. It's like they were not even making Saint Row game, but a parody or an expansion at best.

Game doenst offer many interesting concepts to play with, or interesting characters, or amazing story. It's just silly, mindless, pew-pew fun. There's nothing bad with that, but that alone cannot make a game good.

Again... according to you.

Also, I bolded all the parts of your objective overview that are not objective at all.

So you want to tell me that the gimmick of superpowers retains its value throughout the game? That building challenges around gimmicks is clever design? Or that it was a fully fleshed out game? I'm sorry, but I dont understand your standards at all. What is there in SR4 for you that makes it a good game?

Well, the fact that it's fun. That's always a plus. Saying "It's not a good game because it's fun and nothing else" is a bizarre, alien standpoint to me.

Gimmicks don't necessarily get boring. Things like Just Cause 2's grapple fist, for instance, never got boring during my 100+ hours of playing. It depends if you really like what the gimmick does. Ergo, "Gimmicks get boring" is not objective.

"Minigames never feel challenging or fun"... I shouldn't have to point out why this doesn't belong in an "objective" overview.

Also, you claim it doesn't feel like a Saints Row game, because you connect games through gameplay and features. I connect games through familiar settings and characters. Saints Row IV could have been a turn based strategy game, and I would still think it felt like Saints Row as long as it stayed in Steelport or Stilwater with the same characters. So again... not objective.

So what makes me think it's a good game?

Well, if we assume it's functional and stable, then two words: Dubstep gun.

If you can't follow my train of logic into why that makes it a good game, then stop trying to "get it". You'll only make your head hurt.

BushMonstar:

canadamus_prime:

RedEyesBlackGamer:

I'd highly recommend it.

Ok then, I'll have to see if I can find them.

If I could make a recommendation, it'd be to play SR2 - not because many consider it the best in the series, but because that's the game that SRIV calls back to the most. There are definitely some big call backs to SR1 and SRTT, but there are even more for SR2, that'll really allow you to appreciate the game/story more.

I'd recommend mentioning the platform to get it on when suggesting SR2. For PC, SR2 does not function properly on newer systems. The biggest issue is the accelerated speed it plays at, they make the control(particularly driving) nearly impossible maneuver. I just played and beat it a couple weeks ago, while it was a very compelling game(my fav even though I played it after 3+4), I had to cheat to win once the missions required precision diving. Some people may not be able to look past the technical faults when playing that game.

I had a very good time with Saints Row 4, the most fun I've had since finishing Deadpool.

It was a very good sendoff to the "crazy" that was SR3&4

lacktheknack:

AJey:

lacktheknack:

Again... according to you.

Also, I bolded all the parts of your objective overview that are not objective at all.

So you want to tell me that the gimmick of superpowers retains its value throughout the game? That building challenges around gimmicks is clever design? Or that it was a fully fleshed out game? I'm sorry, but I dont understand your standards at all. What is there in SR4 for you that makes it a good game?

Well, the fact that it's fun. That's always a plus. Saying "It's not a good game because it's fun and nothing else" is a bizarre, alien standpoint to me.

Gimmicks don't necessarily get boring. Things like Just Cause 2's grapple fist, for instance, never got boring during my 100+ hours of playing. It depends if you really like what the gimmick does. Ergo, "Gimmicks get boring" is not objective.

"Minigames never feel challenging or fun"... I shouldn't have to point out why this doesn't belong in an "objective" overview.

Also, you claim it doesn't feel like a Saints Row game, because you connect games through gameplay and features. I connect games through familiar settings and characters. Saints Row IV could have been a turn based strategy game, and I would still think it felt like Saints Row as long as it stayed in Steelport or Stilwater with the same characters. So again... not objective.

So what makes me think it's a good game?

Well, if we assume it's functional and stable, then two words: Dubstep gun.

If you can't follow my train of logic into why that makes it a good game, then stop trying to "get it". You'll only make your head hurt.

I didn't say it was a bad game because it was fun. I said it was fun, but that alone was not enough to make it good.

You're right. Lets replace word "objective" with "analytical". I agree, gimmicks dont necessarily get boring. If there is the rest of the game to compensate or compliment that gimmick. SR4, however, is a gimmick in its entirety. Powers, weapons, minigames. There is no overarching mechanic or unifying element that makes it whole. It's just a collection of many little things that dont always go well together. You might like it, or enjoy it, but it does not make it good. If there are people who can get satisfied with hours of gliding and sprinting up buildings, then its great, for them. I just dont see how mechanical simplicity is a benefit.

Oh, no. It's not that i connect games through gameplay and features. My take has nothing to do with it. SR established itself as a crime game centered around gangs. It did that in the first, in the second, and even in the third, although with many goofy elements. But then fourth comes along and abandons that concept completely. Gangs and crime world becomes irrelevant they just abandon it, the world that they have established with three games collapses because devs had to write in the aliens, physical world stops making sense within the context of invasion, characters were turned into basic NPCs that give you quests for upgrades (with an exception of Kinzie). You say you connect through setting and characters? Well setting in SR4 is similar in name, nothing else. It's not the Steelport that Saints conquered in SR3. It's just a virtual copy, lifeless and mangled by writing. And the best thing they came up with characters was put some of them through their past experiences. No development, do depth, no conflict or drama. Just bodies with the names you know and voices that you recognize. I have no idea how you can connect with that.

Again, you cant claim it to be good on it being simply fun. That's not how it works. Say you liked it, maybe loved it, but calling it good based on single element is fallacious.

I actually really enjoyed SR4.

However, one thing I didn't care for in the Yahtzee review.

You know that boss fight he was gushing all over? He failed to mention that the song playing leading up to it was Stan Bush's The Touch (from 1986 Transformers fame). And it is completely and utterly glorious.

(He also failed to mention that you can actually listen to music without a car, but whatever)

MB202:
So I'm wondering, is Yahtzee going to review Rayman Legends? I can think of several criticisms that he'd make for the game, even though I loved it.

I REALLY hope so... His review of Rayman Origins is still one of my favorites... *thinks* Wait a second... When he reviewed Rayman Origins, it was alongside 3D Mario Land Super... So, does that mean he'll have to have a recent Mario game to compare Legends to? I can only see him compare it to New Super Luigi U (or New Luigi U Super), if he's going that particular route...

Boy, talk about a toss-up there... It would be Luigi vs Rayman and Yahtzee has a thing for Luigi more than Mario this round... Either way, I give it two to four weeks before he does Rayman Legends, either alone or alongside a[nother] Mario comparison...

The Saints Row IV review was neat, but I wish he'd close his quote marks at the end.

Reise:
I actually really enjoyed SR4.

However, one thing I didn't care for in the Yahtzee review.

You know that boss fight he was gushing all over? He failed to mention that the song playing leading up to it was Stan Bush's The Touch (from 1986 Transformers fame). And it is completely and utterly glorious.

(He also failed to mention that you can actually listen to music without a car, but whatever)

He also barely touched on how the game panders to all genders. Which from previous reviews here seems to be its biggest selling point. In fact its reason d'etre. That's what the whole episode should have been about. Not boss fights, music, or how wacky and fun the game is. Shame on you Yahtzee.

Oh and my Gran was incensed by your angst against totalitarian government censorship. How on earth are you ever going to be educated on how dangerous things are for you without some member of government employed gestapo around to tell you what you should be thinking?

I understand that it's very different from the first two games but I don't understand why people are so upset about this game being overly silly. We don't exactly have a ton of those types of games. SR3 and 4 were a breath of fresh air, for me. They were among the few games, in a sea of titles obsessed with being gritty and realistic, that only cares about silliness and fun. I'm really sad to see this series end

00slash00:
I understand that it's very different from the first two games but I don't understand why people are so upset about this game being overly silly. We don't exactly have a ton of those types of games. SR3 and 4 were a breath of fresh air, for me. They were among the few games, in a sea of titles obsessed with being gritty and realistic, that only cares about silliness and fun. I'm really sad to see this series end

People can really cling on to the tone of Saints Row 1, and 2, believe me. I still prefer the Purple/Black/Gold over Purple/Black/White of SR3, and 4, though it's far less severe of an example.

I guess there's now a void where the rags to riches gang game used to be. Saints Row, and GTA both left that void when they abandoned it for progression of plot, and different stories respectively, and no one's dared to fill it. And odds are if they did try, they'd be ridiculed as a GTA Clone which is exactly what happened to Saints Row 1, and 2, and why they went the way of 3, and 4.
Sleeping Dogs might've been a shot at filling the gangster void, but it wasn't very successful.

With the saga of the Third Street Saints wrapping up with SR IV, Volition might try to return to the roots people are demanding so much. Thein again, if they tried to make a gang war game again, they'd probably get ridiculed over that coz they've done it before, or something. <.<
Then again you just can't please everyone no matter what.

That said, I still enjoyed SR 2, 3, and 4. I didn't touch 1 coz of lack of gender select, bluntly.

Sgt. Sykes:
I guess running around with a pink dildo and causing silly mayhem is fun in a way, but I'm a little troubled by it.

Yeah... I personally see the SR series as an example of the lower end of the spectrum of video game maturity (that is, indulging male adolescent fantasies) along with most of the Duke Nukem franchise, DOA games, countless JRPGs, etc.

It's an unfortunate fact that these games continue to be made, and we can only hope that more mature games are good enough to outweigh them and thus uphold video games as a mostly-respectable medium.

Extragorey:
Yeah... I personally see the SR series as an example of the lower end of the spectrum of video game maturity (that is, indulging male adolescent fantasies) along with most of the Duke Nukem franchise, DOA games, countless JRPGs, etc.

I don't actually have a problem with the game itself or it's maturity/lack of, but I find weird how every reviewer states it's FUN. Every review of every SR game continuously repeats the word: FUN. And I'm not saying it's not (if you're into that kind of thing), but I don't like the idea that only such wacky games are supposed to be fun.

I get a lot of fun out of hardcore simulators, but try to find the word 'fun' in any ARMA II/III review or discussion.

"And taken as a whole, it's a complete mess." Favorite line of the whole video.

Captcha -- blue cheese. I prefer ranch, actually.

Sgt. Sykes:

Extragorey:
Yeah... I personally see the SR series as an example of the lower end of the spectrum of video game maturity (that is, indulging male adolescent fantasies) along with most of the Duke Nukem franchise, DOA games, countless JRPGs, etc.

I don't actually have a problem with the game itself or it's maturity/lack of, but I find weird how every reviewer states it's FUN. Every review of every SR game continuously repeats the word: FUN. And I'm not saying it's not (if you're into that kind of thing), but I don't like the idea that only such wacky games are supposed to be fun.

I get a lot of fun out of hardcore simulators, but try to find the word 'fun' in any ARMA II/III review or discussion.

well, fun is what you make of things, and of course if a game isn't marketed as fun right off the bat, initial reviews aren't gonna focus on it

however, given some time and the machinations of internet people

google "battle bus 3 the wrath of bus"

Sgt. Sykes:
Every review of every SR game continuously repeats the word: FUN. And I'm not saying it's not (if you're into that kind of thing), but I don't like the idea that only such wacky games are supposed to be fun.

I get a lot of fun out of hardcore simulators, but try to find the word 'fun' in any ARMA II/III review or discussion.

That sounds like something you should take up with the people reviewing and discussing the ARMA series. If their reviews won't tell you whether the games are any fun, they don't seem like very worthwhile reviews.

There's an inherent problem with the whole "fun" argument.

There's a problem with how one defines "fun" in the first place. What one person finds fun isn't necessarily what someone else will find fun. Taking Saint's Row as an example, I found SR2 to be very fun because it mixed based-in-serious story writing with let's-be-silly side activities. I did not find SR3 or SR4 to be fun because they lost the first half of that, focusing exclusively on the let's-be-silly to the point of absolute insanity. I also find games like Demon's/Dark Souls and Armored Core to be fun, and those have basically nothing in common with any Saint's Row title.

Secondly, games shouldn't be specifically marketed as being fun. Mostly because they're games. Games by definition are played for enjoyment. If someone developed a game that wasn't enjoyable, it wouldn't be much of a game and certainly wouldn't sell. That point aside, reviewers shouldn't have to tell you that a game is fun either. Taking the ARMA point as an example... If someone likes ARMA games, they could give a list of pro/con changes from one to the next. Or, if the game they're talking about is similar to the ARMA series, they can point out those similarities. In either case, the viewer is informed about how the game compares to a game/series they like.

1) Why didn't Yahtzee go off about most of the activities being forced down your throat in both main and side quests? I know he kinda lightened up to activities in SR2, but let's be frank. The activities in SR4 really kinda suck. There aren't really that many different kinds, and they become frustratingly redundant and boring really quick.

Then, ignoring lame activities, this game went a route that made me hate GTA:SA, that it tries to throw a little bit of everything in. If I wanted to play DDR, I'd play DDR. I'm not though, so why am I being forced to dance? If I wanted to play casual puzzle games, I'd play a casual puzzle game. I'm not though, so why am I being forced to play plumbing pipe mini games? Etc., etc., etc..

2) While I had fun with SR4, despite all the bugs, it really isn't the strongest game of the bunch. The biggest problem is that it's more like an add-on to SR3, not it's own game, as there really isn't that much different between SR3 and SR4. Same map and location, same characters, same activities. It could have just as easy been a SR3 DLC,

AJey:

lacktheknack:

AJey:
I'm glad Saints Row 4 exists as a game. It proved that fun does not make a game good and that people want more than stupid, mindless killy-stompy-bang-bang game.

Proved that to who?

You?

I could counter that Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs proved that people want more than a good story in their games, and that would prove exactly as much (possibly more, because people are actually QUITE upset about the new Amnesia, while less than half are upset about the new Saints Row).

For starters to me, yes. But there are people who share that opinion. Here's the thing, I finished that game and i enjoyed it (to the point). But I would never call it good. Lets look at it objectively.

Story - simple, serviceable story without much complexity or meaning as a whole. It just acted as glue for other elements.
Characters - one-dimensional. They have their little quirk or feature that they play at, that's it. No development or arcs. Just chess pieces for main character to play with and get upgrades from.
Mechanics - it is a game built around gimmicks. Superpowers, odd weapons, strange vehicles - all are fun for 10-20 minutes, as a joke, for a laugh. But then it gets old very quickly and you start looking for a best hings to deal with any particular situation. You use superpowers to move around, or kill enemies efficiently, or use the best weapons. They even built all the challenges around those gimmicks to force players to use them more often. That's not very smart design. Gimmicks wear off very quickly.
Minigames - minigames that for some reason were made to progress the game, never feel fun, or challenging, or in any way plot related. "Complete this or that and you will destabilize the simulation" - sounds like a silly excuse than an actual plot point. Besides, you can do all the jumping, shooting and exploding outside those minigames. They seem out of place.
Series - SR4 made the established world obsolete. Sprinting is faster than driving, powers and moves are better than any weapon, gang members are simple unnecessary, most upgrades (character and weapons) are useless. It's like they were not even making Saint Row game, but a parody or an expansion at best.

Game doenst offer many interesting concepts to play with, or interesting characters, or amazing story. It's just silly, mindless, pew-pew fun. There's nothing bad with that, but that alone cannot make a game good.

If you think the characters didn't have some type of development (not only from the beginning of the game to the end, but throughout the series as a whole) you weren't paying attention.

I could go more into it, but suffice it to say if you've been paying attention to the story and how everyone was characterized in the beginning compared to the end, you'd see there was quite a bit of character development throughout the game.

TheSKSpecial:

AJey:

lacktheknack:

Proved that to who?

You?

I could counter that Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs proved that people want more than a good story in their games, and that would prove exactly as much (possibly more, because people are actually QUITE upset about the new Amnesia, while less than half are upset about the new Saints Row).

For starters to me, yes. But there are people who share that opinion. Here's the thing, I finished that game and i enjoyed it (to the point). But I would never call it good. Lets look at it objectively.

Story - simple, serviceable story without much complexity or meaning as a whole. It just acted as glue for other elements.
Characters - one-dimensional. They have their little quirk or feature that they play at, that's it. No development or arcs. Just chess pieces for main character to play with and get upgrades from.
Mechanics - it is a game built around gimmicks. Superpowers, odd weapons, strange vehicles - all are fun for 10-20 minutes, as a joke, for a laugh. But then it gets old very quickly and you start looking for a best hings to deal with any particular situation. You use superpowers to move around, or kill enemies efficiently, or use the best weapons. They even built all the challenges around those gimmicks to force players to use them more often. That's not very smart design. Gimmicks wear off very quickly.
Minigames - minigames that for some reason were made to progress the game, never feel fun, or challenging, or in any way plot related. "Complete this or that and you will destabilize the simulation" - sounds like a silly excuse than an actual plot point. Besides, you can do all the jumping, shooting and exploding outside those minigames. They seem out of place.
Series - SR4 made the established world obsolete. Sprinting is faster than driving, powers and moves are better than any weapon, gang members are simple unnecessary, most upgrades (character and weapons) are useless. It's like they were not even making Saint Row game, but a parody or an expansion at best.

Game doenst offer many interesting concepts to play with, or interesting characters, or amazing story. It's just silly, mindless, pew-pew fun. There's nothing bad with that, but that alone cannot make a game good.

If you think the characters didn't have some type of development (not only from the beginning of the game to the end, but throughout the series as a whole) you weren't paying attention.

I could go more into it, but suffice it to say if you've been paying attention to the story and how everyone was characterized in the beginning compared to the end, you'd see there was quite a bit of character development throughout the game.

And how is that development? Remember, all that growing - although I dont think it is appropriate to call it this way - was done through specifically designed loyalty missions. All that character development that you mentioned is superficial due to its execution. That life-altering change is done in tiny game sequences and mostly through dialogue. There's no observable development over time, no buildup, no accumulation of drama, emotions or plot points. Just a short little mission where your crew members "grows". Where are the arks, the observable progression of their development? One or two missions spent on each character is not enough to make them grow. Asha starts respecting you just because you completed a mission with her? That's superficial. Shaundi comes to terms with her former self through superpower competition and a shootout? That's superficial. Matt gains courage by losing his pop idol? Come on, that's just wrong! Whenever character goes from A to B, it is not automatically character development. It needs to feel natural, causative, change needs to have a source and conclusion, it never happens suddenly, there's history involved, involvement with other characters and personalities. Well done character development is observable. You can see the key points of character's life that turned him or her into what they are. A 10 minute mission cannot do that. Even in the hub area they feel more like random NPCs than your mates. They repeat same one-liners, dont do anything character-y, or interact with one another. Sorry, it is hard for me to see them as well fleshed-out characters.

For the people who are on the edge about buying Saints Row 4: Wait until it hits the bargain bin and don't rely on Yahtzee's opinion.

TL;DR: If you're not sure then wait until it's cheap and buy it then. If you don't like it you only wasted like $20, maybe $30. Maybe you'll like it, maybe you won't, but you should judge it on YOUR opinion, not someone elses.

How anyone can trust a man who gets paid to lambast games is beyond me. Because that's what Yahtzee is - a critic - and he can be seen as over-the-top in offense of the game (rather than the opposite as seen by other reviewers). That's not to say he isn't entertaining (which is the whole point) but that making decisions based off his "opinion" is foolish.

Of course, even if he did take the standard route that most reviewers take you'd still be naive to judge your entire opinion off his. You are not him, regardless of how "similar" you think you are, and reviewers, however unbiased they want to be, tend to skip certain details and exaggerate others, particularly ones they don't like (people remember the negatives far more strongly than the positives, which is why ME3 got so much shit on day one).

I quite liked SR4 because the powers are a fun addition to the gameplay but thought SR3 had a better, overall storyline in comparison. The ending to SR4 felt more appropriate but didn't feel as epic as SR3's (which I equate to the music alone). Ultimately both are in a much different state than their predecessors, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

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