Saints Row IV: Re-Elected is the the newest and most absurd mainline entry in the long-running franchise. For my money, it’s also the most enjoyable (narrowly edging out its predecessor in Saints Row: The Third. Now you can take in all the over-the-top action and self-aware humour with the game’s most recent port to Nintendo Switch.
Saints Row IV: Re-Elected Details
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Reviewed on: Nintendo Switch
Publisher: Deep Silver
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
Enter the Dominatrix
Saints Row IV emerged at a strange time indeed in its initial release. Its original publisher (THQ) famously went bankrupt and folded, auctioning off its studios and IP to the highest bidder (with Deep Silver nabbing the Saints and developer Volition). It was also originally meant to be a standalone expansion to Saints Row: The Third with a much smaller scope, but was later shifted to a full-fledged numbered sequel. This likely in a bid to generate more income and save the THQ ship from sinking.
Tumultuous times like these usually spell doom for a game. Bankrupt publishers and an increasing scope don’t often bode well for a development team. Yet somehow, the Saints managed to emerge triumphant.
The resulting release—first available on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360—is a fun romp through a virtual Steelport. The game reuses a heavy amount of assets to be sure (it’s basically just a re-skin of Saints Row: The Third), but it flips the script by placing the Saints in a VR prison run by alien invaders. Your job is to break the simulation, using superhuman powers you’ll earn by hacking your virtual jail cell along the way.
What would you do with all that power?
This inevitably makes Saints Row IV: Re-Elected one of the better superhero games out there. The main character feels like a blend of Deadpool with about 1/4 of Captain Marvel’s power. You have an absolute arsenal of both lethal and amusing armaments. However, add to this about half the lexicon of standard superhero abilities.
Like Deadpool, Saints Row IV: Re-Elected also leans hard into self-awareness in its own absurdity. It’s a franchise that got its start as a Grand Theft Auto clone. However, by Saints Row IV: Re-Elected its really grown into its own. While the GTA franchise always strives to maintain some connection to reality, the Saints have made a living by putting games like these under a microscope and magnifying the parody in it all to a much more extreme degree.
So by now in Saints Row IV: Re-Elected we aren’t even concerned with stealing cars or robbing liquor stores. We’re too busy leaping city blocks in a single bound, freezing our enemies then shattering them with super-speed, and even sending them into the abyss with a “Black Hole Gun”.
If there’s a downside, it’s that it does make the game a bit easy. God-like powers make you nearly invincible from the start, and if you’re looking for a serious challenge you likely won’t find it here. If you want to sit back and have a mindless blast wreaking havoc and laughing along with a hilarious narrative the whole way though, Saints Row IV: Re-Elected has you covered.
The Saints make a Switch
Saints Row IV: Re-Elected is a port of the original game plus a heavy dose of additional content. It was originally brought over to this generation of consoles on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. This version includes visual upgrades as well to take advantage of newer hardware.
This Switch port however does not quite look as good as its other current generation counterparts. Remember, this is now a seven year old game from the previous generation. When playing on the Switch, its inevitable that Saints Row IV: Re-Elected is going to show its age at least a bit.
Nevertheless, even though the Nintendo Switch port isn’t as shiny as other consoles, it still plays relatively well. I didn’t experience too much in the way of screen tears or dropping frames. For a game bustling with super powers, explosions, and lots of enemies, it holds up nicely.
Still, if you’re spoiled for choice, the Switch may not be the place to play Saints Row IV: Re-Elected if you want the best experience possible. One simply can’t argue that it doesn’t look better and smoother on more powerful hardware. Yet at its core Saints Row IV: Re-Elected is still a great game, and I’d recommend playing it anywhere over letting it pass you by.
Docking vs. handheld mode
Whenever possible, I prefer to play Saints Row IV: Re-Elected in docked mode as opposed to handheld. Initially, I thought that taking the game with me on-the-go would be the biggest draw to replaying it. However targeting and aiming just doesn’t feel as good with the Joy-Con thumbstick.
Conversely, playing Saints Row IV: Re-Elected on the big screen with my Switch Pro Controller feels much better. Part of the game’s appeal is being able to pull off quick combos by flipping rapidly between weapons and a host of outrageous powers. For me, the Switch Pro Controller is really a must to get the most enjoyment out of harnessing the amped-up combat system.
Saints Row VI: Re-Elected brings its amusing satire and powerful combat to Nintendo Switch
I’ve always been a fan of the way the Saints Row franchise continues to lean into the surreal aspects of the genre. That’s probably why Saints Row IV: Re-Elected is my favourite game in the series. It’s also why I am happy to take another crack at the campaign on Nintendo Switch.
That said, while the game is solid fun in my opinion, its age does show a bit on the Switch platform. As such, it may not be the best place to play—but for those who prefer the Switch environment, it’s definitely not a chore either. All-in-all Saints Row IV: Re-Elected is a wonderful blend of comedy and action. It successfully parodies itself and the genre, and mixes it all together with satisfying superhero-like combat.
+ Satisfying combat with plenty of unique guns and powers
+ Plenty of content across the base game and expansions
+ Hilarious story with plenty of self-aware satire on video games
– The age of the game shows more on Switch than other platforms
– God-like powers make the game very easy
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF SAINTS ROW IV RE-ELECTED
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5