Objectively, Saints Row IV: Re-Elected + Gat Out of Hell is the weakest remaster to be released on a current-gen systems to date. It boasts a serviceable graphical uptick, packaged with all the DLC missions and weapons, plus a short but sweet standalone DLC pack as a cherry on top. In short: It’s a gussied-up Game of the Year Edition. Of course, that’s really only a problem for people who never intended on playing Saints Row IV again.
Saints Row IV did for its series what Fast Five did for The Fast and the Furious. It is, at once, a love letter to where it came from and an ultimate advancement of its best ideas into something considerably bigger, more cohesive, and infinitely more fun. For the second time now, the game is releasing deep in Grand Theft Auto V’s shadow (two months prior to GTA V in 2013; now two months after GTA V’s remaster), and both times, it’s a clear shot across the bow of that series’s—earned, to be fair—self-importance. Often juvenile, foul-mouthed, and ridiculous, but never mean-spirited, Saints Row found itself perfected in IV. Driven by one of the strongest comedy scripts in a video game, it’s dedicated to the cause of fun times above all else.
A love letter to where it came from and an advancement of its best ideas into something bigger, more cohesive, and infinitely more fun.
It’s ultimately what the Saints are fighting for in their war against the very effete, British Zinyak. It’s what makes every opportunity for the Boss to get excited about songs on the radio so endearing. It’s the ethos that keeps the gameplay simple and accessible, where every button press does something amazing. It’s what makes hanging out with this cast through good and bad times a blast. It’s the draw of making every weapon just as customizable as the Boss him- or herself, where any given moment can see you shooting black holes into the middle of a street, before pulling out Deckard’s gun from Blade Runner to finish off any survivors. These are the joys that are now the sole domain of Saints Row, and two years after the fact, it’s still as addictive as it was on day one.
And so, we have Re-Elected, which lets players have instant access to the bonus weaponry, the two released DLC missions, plus the new Gat Out of Hell expansion, all running at an inconsistent, but still generally smooth-looking 60fps. There’s still a little bit of legwork that goes into unlocking most of the content. The vast majority doesn’t unlock until the end of act one, at which point you spend about five minutes being bombarded with unlock notifications. Even then, the two built-in expansions are far easier to deal with after your Boss has more of an arsenal on his or her back, and How the Saints Save Christmas should certainly be saved until the end, as something of a perfect send off to the Saints Row universe as we know it. Enter the Dominatrix should be taken less as a full-on set of new missions, but as probably the most elaborate deleted scene in media history, complete with in-character commentary and storyboards. Gat Out Of Hell, on the other hand, is its own separate entity, but it’s ultimately little more than a new set of side activities in a brand new town. Namely, Hell itself. It’s a fun diversion, with some great art direction, a few smirking, infernal twists on activities from the main Saints Row IV game, but fails at making good with its stellar premise. All of the extra content maintains the quality of the original game though and included as part of the package as opposed to added cost, they’re all pleasant, welcome, and satisfying additions.
Ultimately, Saints Row IV is worth a second go-around, even if you played and loved it once. Unless you’ve been obsessively tied to it since release, chances are that there’s still a Boss voice you haven’t played yet, a costume you haven’t tried out, a character you haven’t created, or dialogue you haven’t heard, or you just want to fly around virtual Steelport again without having the frame rate freak out at you. Saints Row IV is still worth another ride, a little prettier than before. Everything else is just icing on the cake.