Saints Row The Third was my first foray into the Saints Row world, and I was amazed at 1) how delightfully, ridiculously silly the story was and 2) how open and expansive the game world was. I could easily spend 100s of hours on sidequests and just messing around in the world. Saints Row IV is even larger, from the number of sidequests to the sheer size of the world to the number of collectibles available. The Saints Row IV strategy guide covered it all brilliantly and efficiently, and it’s a perfect companion to any Saint who wants to complete the game to 100% including earning gold medals, completing all challenges, taking over all alien territory, and finding all collectibles.
Most strategy guides for games that contain both a main quest and sidequests separate the two quests. The reasons vary. Sometimes it’s because the sidequests have little to do with the main story. Sometimes it’s because the sidequests are so numerous and/or massive, it makes more sense to keep them separate to avoid confusion for the user. SRIV has an abundance of sidequests, but the guide writers included these walkthroughs within the main story when the quests unlock.
However, these sidequest walkthroughs aren’t always in the order they appear in the game; instead, the writers arranged the sidequests and main quests in a way that is most beneficial for the user. For example, the strategy guide may suggest one sidequest before another because one mini-game is slightly easier than it is in the other sidequest. Or the guide may suggest a particular quest so the user can obtain a perk or a weapon before tackling the next quests. Yes, it’s really holding the reader’s hand, but at the same time, it also prevents the reader from being confused or frustrated when the guide suggests using a particular weapon later down the line. This has happened to me on more than one occasion with guides and has always frustrated me to no end (i.e. Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII strategy guide). The only complaint I have is that the sidequests are not listed elsewhere, so if you skip any of them and want to do them later, you’re going to have to do some page flipping.
A lot of these sidequests are mini-games (the game calls them activities) that often include races against a clock of some sort. While most of them require simply practice to master them, the strategy guide does give a few suggestions how to get a gold ranking in each activity. Like in the mayhem activities, the guide will point out the best targets to get the cache rolling in, or prepare the user for the type of Rift closing mini-game the player will have to face–race or platforming. For the store hacking activities, the complete list of hacking solutions for each store is conveniently laid out, leaving absolutely no excuse for not hacking everything in sight. Yes, it feels a little like cheating, but I call it being efficient!
In addition to an abundance of sidequests, Saints Row IV has an abundance of collectibles. One of the collectibles, the data clusters, are not mapped out in the strategy guide, but I’m forgiving of that since there are over 1000 of them. I can’t even imagine what a map of that would look like without being a mess. The strategy guide doesn’t really map out any of the collectibles, but the collectibles are organized by region of virtual Steelport and displayed via screenshot. Since each region isn’t that huge and each screenshot is quite clear, it’s very easy to find all of the Zinyak statues, audio files, and text games.
The only appendix that is lacking at all is the weapons appendix, which sadly, does not identify any of the Easter Egg weapons, such as the Loud Locust and the trademark Dildo Bat. I had heard of the Loud Locust from a friend, and I instantly scoured the guide for any mention of this weapon or any of the Easter Eggs listed online, and none were within. Obviously, not finding these weapons will not prevent players from finishing the game or hinder the overall experience, but secrets like these should be mentioned in any strategy guide whenever possible.
The strategy guide would have received a perfect score if it had these Easter Eggs, but I can still highly recommend this strategy guide for anyone looking to complete everything in Saints Row IV. To be honest, the list of all hacking solutions is almost enough to recommend purchase to anyone.
SGR Rating: 4.5/5
Authors: Doug Walsh and Joe Epstein
Editions available: Paperback
Acquired via Publisher