The President Goes Super (E3 2013)
Saints Row IV is definitely one of the wildest games that were shown at E3. Taking the solid groundwork laid by the previous three titles, Saints Row IV takes the over-the-top sandbox game to even zanier heights as Deep Silver and Volition expand the gameplay with super powers.
Set immediately after the events of Saints Row the Third, the main character has been promoted from controlling the Saints popular brand to the President of the US. The player's new position is introduced through a scripted press conference where the player can decide on various issues such as creating a cure for cancer or ending world hunger, along with other pressing matters such as "Punching a dick in the head" or "Punching a dick in its head".
When the player finally reaches the press conference, it’s interrupted because of aliens taking over. With various friends and homies from the player's gang being abducted, the player has to go through the white house to find out where all of his friends are being taken to. This section played a lot like Saints Row the Third and was pretty basic, although since it felt familiar, it was welcome. After moving through the White Crib (House), the action heads to the front lawn, where the player pilots a mech to take down an alien ship. The player eventually reaches the alien ship, where he is abducted too, and the game then takes a wild turn as we are skipped ahead to a section from the middle of the game.
The next section starts on the roof of a skyscraper, and the player is told to collect blue modules; the thing is, there wasn't any way off of the roof without jumping! It was here that I was introduced to the superpowers available, and I was able to just jump off or accelerate my descent to the ground with the press of a button. Pressing the sprint button in the middle of this descent allowed me to fly, and I really started to feel powerful as I landed to the ground and everyone else was still normal and unpowered. Here, I started playing around with another super power: igniting bullets. Previously only allowed to be purchased for the SMG, it was really fun to have the ability added to all of my bullets as I cause havoc that no cop or swat team could enforce. Also of note is a new weapon, the Dubstep gun that forces people and cars to dance.
While the super powers almost make the game feel as if it were an open-world title with a cheat mode on, it all ties into the overall story. I was told that the city the player sees is actually a computer simulation controlled by the aliens, and if too much havoc happens, they will interrupt things. I saw a little bit of this as a cop turned into one of the aliens seen before the abduction. After speaking with the developers, it seems that the storylines of the previous games will be played through the simulation with the new super powers, so expect to see a lot of the situations from the previous games to return, only with super powers.
Launching this summer, Saints Row IV is setting itself even further apart from its rival GTA, as it takes open-world games to a new, crazy frontier. Taking the series' over-the-top history, but this time adding crazy super powers will not only make it stand out from competing titles, but will also bring something new to the table for series vets.
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