Saints Row 4: Re-Elected

Key events

Cancelled Saints Row PSP game unearthed

Cancelled Saints Row PSP game unearthed

Canned Saints Row: Undercover to be live-streamed next week.

A cancelled Saints Row PSP game has been revealed.

Dubbed Saints Row: Undercover, the canned project was shuttered in 2009 when developer Volition and then-publisher THQ decided it wasn't up to scratch with the series' standards.

Amusingly, most folks at Volition these days didn't even know it existed. As explained in the video below, Volition associate video editor Josh Stinson simply happened upon the game laying in a wayward PSP dev kit tucked away in a storage room.

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Sex. Sexy sex. The place of it in games is something of a hot button issue in the industry right now, but more often than not when we do decide to discuss digital coupling, we keep returning to the very worst examples of it. Personally I'd love to see a bit more of the old rough n' tumble in games as a whole, but is it too much to ask that, if we're going to Do It, we at least do it right?

Face-Off: Saints Row 4: Re-Elected

We had mixed feelings about the PS4 version of Saint's Row 4 after taking a look at the game last week. While the boost to 1080p resolution and higher frame-rates clearly provides a better experience than the last-gen versions, highly variable performance meant that the conversion wasn't as solid as it could be, with the existing PC version remaining the best way to play the game. However, we wanted to go in-depth on final code, while also assessing how the developers would tackle the Xbox One version. Would the developers attempt to run with a 60fps update, or instead lock at 30fps to avoid the consistency issues found on the PS4? On top of that, we also wanted to check out the Gat out of Hell standalone expansion.

As things stand, the final version of Saints Row 4 Re-Elected appears to be identical to the code we previously looked at: uncapped frame-rates are present, while the non-functional v-sync option that puzzled us last week remains equally bereft of purpose in the release code. All of this is mirrored to perfection on the Xbox One edition of the game, except there's an even bigger impact on performance, owing to the system's less capable GPU. On the plus side, there's no reduction in resolution - the Xbox One version of Re-Elected and Gat out of Hell produce the same native 1080p presentation as their PS4 counterparts. This is a big deal bearing in mind the compromises made on the last-gen versions.

The only downside with this rendering set-up is the bizarre lack of any form of anti-aliasing - a situation that is common to both PS4 and Xbox One versions of the game. This creates more pixel-pop, shimmering and break-up across finely detailed scenery than we'd expect to see from a current-gen console release. Quite why the developer went down this route is unclear as the presentation could have been improved by using something along the lines of SMAA, but even plain old FXAA would have been better than nothing. It's all the more curious given that 2x MSAA is present on Xbox 360, while a post-process solution is deployed on PS3.

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Digital Foundry vs Saints Row 4: Re-Elected on PS4

Released towards the end of the last-gen lifecycle, Saints Row 4 demonstrated how dated console hardware struggled to keep up with the technological demands of the latest triple-A titles. Despite numerous improvements over its predecessor, the game suffered from poor frame-rates and compromised image quality, impacting on the overall enjoyment of the game. While the wacky sci-fi settings, satirical humour, and crazy range of weaponry still allowed for enjoyable moments on both Xbox 360 and PS3, it was clear that the PC game was by far and away the best way to enjoy the experience.

Amidst a proliferation of last-gen titles arriving on PS4 and Xbox One in 'remastered' forms, the release of Saints Row 4: Re-Elected is something of an opportunity, allowing us to potentially enjoy what is a great game, free from the compromises wrought by last-gen hardware. But this is more than just a simple port. For those jaded by the procession of remastered games arriving on the new consoles, Saints Row 4: Re-Elected includes a significant extra to sweeten the deal: the inclusion of the Gat out of Hell expansion, a brand new standalone release on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC but included as part of the deal for PS4 and Xbox One owners.

It's an enticing extra we'll be looking at closer to release, but for the purposes of this article, we're checking out the core Saints Row 4 experience and the upgrades made to the game. Given the massive leap in GPU power, there's the potential for running the new edition at 1080p60 - the gold standard for remastered titles on current-gen consoles. But just how well has High Voltage converted across the original work? Are we looking at a simple PC port or a more fleshed out reworking of the game's visuals?

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Behold: Saints Row: Gat out of Hell's glorious launch... infomercial?

You've got to hand it to Volition and Deep Silver, the developer and publisher behind Saints Row 4. In addition to creating one of the smartest, funniest, most fun, and shockingly progressive adventures in recent years, it's also assembled quite the marketing campaign for its upcoming next-gen re-release, Saints Row 4: Re-Elected, and standalone expansion Gat out of Hell.

This latest launch trailer takes the form of an infomercial espousing the virtues of Saints Row 4's new content. You know, things like "enhanced graphics, extra nut kicks, sharing and livestreaming, extra polygons, 666 times the colours, one million p or more resolution, more english speaking aliens, [and] more obscure pop culture references."

As a bonus, that number at the bottom actually leads to a very funny six-minute message. Though we're not sure if the "calls from outside the US and Canada may be charged at your telecommunication provider's international call rates " line is a joke or not. But if you can, give it a listen.

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