Saints Row IV is one of my favorite games of 2013 and a great guilty pleasure. It may not have the complete polish and shine of something like Grand Theft Auto V, but it has some of the best open world gameplay in years and some hilarious writing and acting to boot. When talking Saints DLC, however, the landscape has typically been filled with disappointment. Item packs galore and the random, super short, sort of boring story packs are all that we’ve seen developer Volition pump out for Saints Row: The Third and Saints Row IV. Up until now that is.
How the Saints Save Christmas is the newest story-based DLC for Saints Row IV, and it might possibly be the best DLC in years for the franchise. To get this out of the way first, it’s still short. It took me about an hour and a half to complete without looking for collectibles (which there are quite a few of). That slight disappointment aside the DLC itself is a lot of fun, and hits hard on the humor that made the main game so fun. Using a lot of entirely new assets Volition is able to transport us into our very own Christmas movie starring the Saints (specifically Shaundi and Santa) complete with angry Gingerbread men and robot reindeer.
The basics of the DLC’s story is that Shaundi comes back from the future to warn the Saints that Zinyak has captured Santa and turned him into a killing machine. The Saints can still save Santa if they act now, and with Shaundi’s help you are transported into various holiday simulations including the North Pole, to fight off the bad guys and save Christmas. The plot is fine, the acting and dialogue is where the DLC stands out. It retains the fun, hilarious banter that made Saints IV so funny and doesn’t skimp on the references.
The gamepaly of the DLC is mainly typical of what you see in the main game. You’re gunning down gingerbread men and elves while trying to help Santa save the North Pole. Volition does introduce a new activity in the DLC that involves flying Santa’s sleigh around the city and shooting presents at houses of “nice” people and blowing up houses of those who have been naughty. This is actually a good bit of fun and even reappears as a new activity once you complete the DLC (with an achievement tied to it).
Overall this is the best Saints DLC in quite a while and is worth checking out for those who want more Saints to play, and more fun story to dive into. It’s short, but you’ll still get some enjoyment out of it and you can always go back to look for collectibles. For those who have been waiting for their season pass to pay off this is a good step. If you didn’t buy the pass it’s worth your time to pick up this DLC alone as well. The Saints saved Christmas, and this DLC saved some of my faith in the future of Saints DLC content.