Saints Row IV: Enter The Dominatrix DLC Review

By
gaming:
Chad Goodmurphy

Reviewed by:
Rating:
2.5
On October 23, 2013
Last modified:November 8, 2013

Summary:

Enter the Dominatrix provides fans with an interesting look at the project that eventually inspired Saints Row IV. However, it quickly becomes obvious that Volition made the correct decision when it decided to cancel the noted expansion, as what's showcased within this downloadable content file is very mediocre.

enterthedominatrix4 640x360 Saints Row IV: Enter The Dominatrix DLC Review

After finally developing a strong, albeit outlandish series identity with Saints Row: The Third, franchise creator Volition Inc. decided to capitalize with a quirky, thirty-dollar expansion called Enter the Dominatrix. However, the new experience, which was expected to sell separately at retail, ended up being partially cancelled. Now, it seems like the reason for that decision was that the developer thought its idea was a below average one and simply wanted to move on by taking ideas from the in-development project so that they could be used in the next numbered franchise sequel, Saints Row IV. However, at the time, it was simply said that the idea had outgrown itself, which also seems to have been true in hindsight. Still, Volition, which was recently acquired by Deep Silver, has given those of us who looked forward to playing the strangely titled add-on campaign a chance to do so through DLC means.

Those who have previously played, watched or read about Saints Row IV should know the sandbox-action-meets-superhero-game’s general storyline. However, if you’re new to things, what you need to know is that players take control of a user-created member of the Third Street Saints, who just so happens to have been elected into the White House as the President of the United States of America. However, unlike his peers, this President’s term ends up being disrupted by an alien invasion from a race known as the Zin, and its leader Zinyak, who captures all of the popular gang’s members before placing them into a simulated version of Saints Row: The Third‘s city of Steelport.

Like its successor, Enter the Dominatrix takes place inside of a computer-generated version of the aforementioned and familiar city. Little is mentioned regarding the setting, but all of the digitized citizens, waterways and buildings still exist within this five mission-long DLC campaign. What’s unfortunate, though, is that the developers failed to really utilize the location here. In fact, what we’ve received is a mishmash of relatively basic missions, most of which are quite short and focus heavily on generic, weapon-based combat. Sure, you can use your super powers, but they must be unlocked through a skipped training montage that takes place in-between two early stages, and really aren’t very necessary.

enterthedominatrix 640x360 Saints Row IV: Enter The Dominatrix DLC Review

If you’re wondering why the term ‘skipped’ was used in the above paragraph, then you’ve touched upon one of the more creative aspects of this add-on. You see, instead of being a straight take on what was previously known as Saints Row: The Third – Enter the Dominatrix, this Saints Row IV DLC version is a director’s cut or what have you. As a result, it’s streamlined, and features occasionally comical interviews with its familiar main cast members, including an unfamiliar and boring newcomer named Donny. Expectedly, the Saints mess with things and end up skipping, fast forwarding and completely deleting certain segments, including the above-mentioned montage wherein the player’s created character receives his or her heroic super powers.

The general idea behind the noted design is a smart one, because it helps to take away from some of the one and a half hour-long storyline’s content, and also allows for the use of conceptual art cutscenes as opposed to fully rendered ones. However, even that sense of tongue-in-cheek, fourth wall-breaking humour isn’t enough to make this a memorable experience, and, in all honesty, it quickly becomes evident as to why Enter the Dominatrix wasn’t released as its own retail package. Simply put, it’s mediocre-at-best and lacks a lot of the creativity that fans would’ve expected following the conclusion of Saints Row: The Third.

Outside of its very brief length, what’s on offer here has various issues. First up is its storyline, which is generic and centres upon the idea that the player’s victory against Zinyak, which occurs at the end of mission one, ends up causing the city simulation to focus its negative coding into one digital entity known as the Dominatrix. Of course, the uninspired and leather-clad evildoer then ends up wanting to capture and destroy the Saints, and that’s pretty much it. There’s really very little to the plot, which keeps it from ever becoming interesting or engrossing. You pretty much just shoot this, destroy that and then blow something else up until things are over.

enterthedominatrix3 640x360 Saints Row IV: Enter The Dominatrix DLC Review

Although gameplay is what keeps Enter the Dominatrix from truly being bad, it’s not necessarily because of anything new. In fact, the interactive content found within this DLC is worse than what you’ll find in Saints Row IV, because it feels rougher around the edges than what we’re used to. That’s not to say it’s terrible or anything, because it isn’t, but it’s simply a generic take on what we all love about this series. Although the developers tried to inject a bit of creativity into the adventure by creating a scenario that has the Saints flying into Paul, the gigantic Saints Flow energy drink can monster, the mission stinks of recycled ideas. Honestly, though, that’s the truth about just about everything here, because Volition used Saints Row‘s basics to rehash wave-based combat scenarios and uninspired boss battle types. In fact, what really keeps things afloat is the fact that Saints Row IV has solid gameplay mechanics that are taken advantage of within its first piece of ‘major’ downloadable content. That, a fantastic cameo from a hilarious old friend and a comedic jab at George Lucas’ far, far away galaxy.

Now, when it comes to presentation, things are pretty much the same as you’d expect outside of the new cutscene style that was mentioned earlier in this review. Enter the Dominatrix looks quite similar to the game it ended up inspiring, but isn’t as visually polished. Things tend to look overly dark and somewhat drab at times, especially during interior shots within the gang’s hideout and a gimp-filled sex brothel that acts as the setting for part of one of the five included missions.

enterthedominatrix2 640x360 Saints Row IV: Enter The Dominatrix DLC Review

When it comes to sound design, there’s not a lot to complain about. The voice acting continues to be great, and the script, which switches from good to underwhelming throughout the campaign, features a few lines that will have longtime fans laughing out loud. Then, outside of those aspects, there’s merely a below average soundtrack and the quality sound effects that those who’ve played the core game will be familiar with.

To conclude, it unfortunately must be said that Enter the Dominatrix doesn’t deliver anything noteworthy, and ends up being mediocre-at-best. It’s tough to completely trash this add-on, though, because the core mechanics that are present within Saints Row IV are enjoyable and above-average, and this expansion is generally identical in that regard. Its problems are simply the result of a lack of inspiration and some misguided thinking, making me thankful that it was abandoned so that its best parts could be used to create a better game. Still, there are some good laughs to be found here, and it’s interesting to be able to look back at what was once going to follow Saints Row: The Third.

This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of the add-on, which was provided to us.

Saints Row IV: Enter the Dominatrix DLC
Underwhelming

Enter the Dominatrix provides fans with an interesting look at the project that eventually inspired Saints Row IV. However, it quickly becomes obvious that Volition made the correct decision when it decided to cancel the noted expansion, as what's showcased within this downloadable content file is very mediocre.


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