Saints Row IV: Re-Elected review for Nintendo Switch

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: Xbox One, PS4
Publisher: Koch Media
Developer: Deep Silver/Volition
Medium: Digital/Cartridge
Players: 1-2
Online: Yes

Saints Row IV is easily one of my all-time favourite games. I loved it when it first came out on PS3, I loved it when they re-released it on PS4, and I?ve always thought there?s a good argument to be made that it?s one of the best superhero games ever made. Couple that with the fact I enjoyed Saints Row: The Third?s Switch port, and you can see why I was eager to play SRIV on Nintendo?s handheld, too.

But this…this is a tough version of the game to love.

Don?t get me wrong, when Saints Row IV on the Switch works, it works just fine. This is the same game that graced the current and previous generations of PlayStation and Xbox, so all the things I loved about the game on those platforms, I also love here. It?s gloriously silly, with dubstep guns and super speed and side missions where you get tanks and blow everything up. The game sets you loose in a alien computer simulation of the Saints? beloved Steelport, and gives you everything you need to wreak insane havoc.

The thing is, it doesn?t work a good chunk of the time. I had to redo the game?s first mission once because it crashed the first time through. Then it somehow got worse in the second story mission, when it got stuck on a loading screen twice, and crashed entirely another time on top of that. The third mission? Another eternal loading screen that required I quit out of the game entirely and redo the mission from the beginning.

In other words, it took me well over an hour (and possibly more than two hours) to play something that should?ve taken maybe thirty minutes, at the outside. No matter how much I love making things explode, that?s unacceptable. To be fair, after that, the game managed to go another hour or so without breaking down entirely, but ?only kind of broken? isn?t exactly a glowing endorsement.

Compared to that issue — that is, the fact that the game really struggles to run when you ask it to do something like saving, or loading a new screen — my other issues with this version of SRIV seem like minor quibbles. Firing your weapons isn?t as smooth as I remember it being — but given I spent all my time simply running at enemies and then hitting them with wrestling moves, that didn?t bother me too much. I was also kind of weirded out by how my character looked — any time the game zoomed in on her face, not only did her skin look oddly-textured, I felt like I was looking at flesh-coloured blobs stuck on a polygon face model. This feeling intensified during a scene when my character was running around naked (with blurs hiding the appropriate bits, of course), and you could see the weird skin-like texture was everywhere.

To be completely honest, if the rest of Saints Row IV: Re-Elected worked on the Switch, I don?t think I?d necessarily even notice any of that — as I wrote about another game recently, I?ll never complain if a game sacrifices looks for performance. The problem here is that not only does Saints Row IV look kind of bad, it runs abysmally. It takes a lot to get me to feel negatively towards one of my all-time favourite games, but this kind of achieves that dubious goal.

Koch Media provided us with a Saints Row IV: Re-Elected Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: C-