Publisher: Deep Silver
PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
The Saints Row team did the best thing possible to sell their game in our recent preview. They didn't bother concerning themselves with a lengthy trailer that established their narrative themes, character progression, set dressing, voice actor names or influences. Neither did they spend a particularly long time on introduction. They were rightfully confident in what they’d put into their new game and how we’d react that they barely provided any lead-in. We showed up because we know what Saints Row is, what it does and what to expect. They rewarded that inquisitiveness with a brief video presentation of in-game footage and ran down a checklist of new features.
Saints Row 4 is every bit the classic Saints Row
game, if you’ve ever seen one. It’s absurd to the point of stupidity, but it’s a knowing stupidity that’s crafted by geniuses. Prior to our demo, the company explained that any time a design decision needed to be made, the deciding factor was always whether it would be fun... and ludicrous.
To that end, here’s a list of new things that they’re adding to Saints Row 4:
There’s a gun that shoots dubstep. It’s a dubstep gun. It looks like a boombox. You put dubstep in, it shoots dubstep out, it makes anyone in the blast radius start dancing. We can’t even be sure if that causes any immediate damage, but it for sure prevents them from doing you any harm.
There’s another gun that will expand the bodies of anyone it touches. If you shoot them the body part you’re focused on will start puffing up like a balloon. That part in the recent trailer where the policeman’s head grows and looks like a spineless pufferfish? You can do that to anyone. Any body part.
Each weapon can now be cosmetically customised too. Previously you’d be able to upgrade your guns to have different damage scaling and ultimately boosted effects, but now they can take on entirely new looks that don’t really make any sense. A rocket launcher was the one the team focused on, showing that you can make the gun look like a Super Scope if you want, or just have a guitar case that shoots high calibre ballistics.
Oh, and you don’t have to rely on guns, because you’ve got superpowers now. Yup. They dropped any remaining thread of realism and just decided to make it possible for you to jump on top of buildings like you’re playing Crackdown, slowly float back to earth like you’re wearing a wingsuit and run at super-speed if you feel like it. You’ve also got telekinesis, allowing you to pick up, carry and throw any size object. Not only that but you’ll also be able to freeze your enemies and then shatter them with a punch. Sure. Why not?
You can get in a Mech Suit, with requisite armour, guns and jump-jets that’ll let you suddenly take flight. It can be used during the game’s rampage missions and presumably you’ll be able to call it in at any point during free-roam.
The world’s been invaded by aliens now and they’ve become the game’s biggest threat. It’d probably be disingenuous to the fiction to have to go up against another set of gangs, you’ve spent the entire series teaching any that would try and fight against you that you’re more than capable of fully dismantling them. The only people left to fight would be creatures without any kind of concept who you are.
The thing that really caps all of this off, though, is that everything, from piloting a Mech Suit to performing Super Jumps, is something that you’re doing as The President Of The United States Of America. You’re President in this game. You’re the figurehead of a country. An elected official by representative, presumably unanimous, vote.
In the game’s fiction, millions of people decided that your character, a mass murdering drug dealer in the most deadly gang that’s ever been, is suitable enough to be their leader. You’re using that trust to roam the streets and punch random pedestrians in the crotch.
Saints Row 4 is out on the 20th of August. You’re about as prepared as you could possibly be.