Thursday, January 26, 2017

Saints Row IV - Wrap-up

Well, that was goofy as all get-out. I mean, I knew it was going to be, going in, because I've played these DLCs before, but I'd forgotten some of the details.

"Enter the Dominatrix" goes completely off the rails at the end, with the sudden appearance of the Raptor people and some kind of interplanetary celebration where Cyrano, the king of the Raptors, awards the Saints some astonishing honors and favors and . . . No, you know what, I agree with the DLC's commentary. It was too out there, even for the Saints Row series.

Speaking of which, the running commentary from the various Saints was the best part of "Enter the Dominatrix." The DLC's central conceit was that it was not only unused content from before SR4 became its own game (the whole "aliens invade and put the Saints in a virtual reality Steelport" thing was originally supposed to be a SR3 DLC), but that the characters were aware that it was unused content, and so they took the player through it, documentary style, pointing out plot points relevant to their characters and the inconsistencies that led to it being cancelled. And of course, poor Donny, who managed to survive both SR1 and SR2 was crestfallen that his big promotion to lead character wound up on the cutting room floor.

The meta-level self-awareness was fun, but the actual DLC was mostly pretty dire. Fighting a dominatrix AI just wound up feeling . . . icky (though the return of Zimos' pony cart, this time in a race narrated by the Genki-bowl guys, was a blast).

By contrast, "How the Saints Saved Christmas" was positively wholesome. The Boss learns to be less of a grinch (and maybe even learns exactly what a "grinch" is) and a future cyborg Shaundi comes back to the present to stop Santa from going insane inside Zinyak's VR prison and subsequently becoming the evil Warlord, Claws. For me, the whole "evil Santa" shtick wore out its welcome around the second time Futurama did it, but this DLC manages to save the concept by undercutting it with some genuine sweetness. The montage at the end of the Saints doing all sorts of Christmasy activities in virtual Steelport was ridiculously adorable and a perfect way to end my time with the game (though the closing stinger, with a nude, gel-covered Santa looking around, disoriented, post-rescue actually got me laughing out loud).

Anyway, despite having just spent nearly 75 hours with the Saints, I'm almost tempted to fire up my old Xbox and play Gat out of Hell, just to round out the experience. However, I'm not going to, because I've come to realize that purchasing these games for the PC was a mistake. I got them because I somehow thought that having a portable version of Saints Row on my laptop would be a welcome convenience, but in practice, I wound up playing most of those 75 hours on my couch, with an Xbox One wireless controller and my laptop hooked to the TV with an HDMI cable.

Don't get me wrong, it was fun, and playing these games really helped me unwind, but if I'm just going to recapitulate the console experience, why did I even bother to get the games for PC?

I can only hope that in the future, I'll think these things out more carefully.

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