Saints Row IV

If there’s one thing you can say about the Saints Row series, it’s utterly batshit crazy…but that’s not a bad thing. It’s never been more apparent either than it is with Saints Row IV. In the newest  game, you are now the President of the United States – the most normal thing you can do in Saints Row – and that’s exactly how the demo starts.

You’re on your way to a press conference with some of your Saint cabinet members, walking through a – let’s say – much changed White House, getting the rundown of what you need. Once you have control, you have to walk down a hallway to get to where you need to but, as a President, it’s never that easy. You’re going to get stopped by a few people and have to help them as part of your presidential duties. At each one, you’re presented with a choice – my favorite of which is presented by your Vice President.

Saints Row IV   Hands On At E3 photo

It’s clearly evident that you’re the greatest president of all time but he presents you with the choice of being the President who cures cancer or the president who ends world hunger. Being the great man I am, I chose to cure cancer.

From the very outset, these kind of moments show that Saints Row’s crazy off the wall humor is present and just as good as before. After going through a few of these choices, you finally make it to the press room where Kinsey is being bombarded with questions from journalists. Shaundi stops you to inform you about a couple of MI6 agents wanting to meet with you about a threat of an alien attack.

Saints Row IV   Hands On At E3 photo

As you dismiss it and walk into the press room, wouldn’t you know it, aliens attack. This heralds the arrival of the villains for the game: an alien race called the Zin Empire. In the ensuing scene, most of your comrades are taken by these new foes as you make your way to the oval office and open up a veritable armory inside.

As you proceed through the White House, blasting aliens out of existence with the help of the secret service, you finally end up on the lawn as you see a fleet of ships descending on Washington. Luckily, you have a hidden air turret for just this purpose. After blasting ships out of the air, our hero ends up in a confrontation with the leader of the Zin, a battle in which he loses and ends up getting captured.

Saints Row IV   Hands On At E3 photo

This was the first half of the demo and showed a lot of potential for Saints Row IV. It was crazy, funny, and action-filled – just like you’d expect. I thoroughly enjoyed the White House section but the second half of the demo was what I enjoyed so much more.

For the second half, Volition dropped us straight into the middle of a city. No objective nothing, just the ability to roam and access to some unique weapons and, best of all, superpowers.

Awesome weapons are nothing new to Saints Row, and the ones I had access to didn’t disappoint. You have your average SMGs and shotguns but who wants to use that when you have a laser sword? Or a black hole gun? No one, that’s who! And, of course, there was my personal favorite weapon: the dubstep gun. This neat little thing blasts rays of light out while dubstep thumps in the background. While you’re doing this, any citizens in your general vicinity will start spastically dancing in that dubstep kind of way and cars start bouncing out of control. Just check out the video of it below. Priceless.

Of course, the newest addition to Saints Row are the superpowers and, boy, are they a whole lot of fun to use. First of all, it just starts with how easy it is to traverse the city. You start at the very top of a skyscraper and jump off and now have the ability to glide through the air and use a dash to get you where you’re going. When you reach the ground, you find even more abilities.

You hold down the bumper and suddenly you’re dashing through the city at super speed, blowing everything out of your way when you hit it. The longer you hold the A button down, the higher you jump – literally giving you the ability to jump over buildings in a single bound. Never have I played a game that allows you to get around as easy as this; it very much reminds me of Prototype but feels even better.

Saints Row IV   Hands On At E3 photo

In addition to these abilities, you now have super-powered abilities you can use, too. You can now use telekinesis to pick up objects and enemies, a fire aura that cloaks you in a barrier of fire (adding that to your shots and hurting anyone that gets close to you), and a stomp attack that involves a massive ground pound. You also get an ice attack.

All of these combine into an incredibly overpowered but incredibly fun run of chaos and mayhem. I had a blast just running around the city, blowing things up, throwing random people, and finding various objectives and missions. When I caused enough trouble, I would be attacked by both police and Zin forces as well.

Saints Row IV   Hands On At E3 photo

All in all, both parts of the demo that Deep Silver showed me had me thoroughly impressed. Although I’ve played previous games in the series, I’ve never been a huge fan but I have to say that Saints Row IV really got me excited for when the game comes out. Saints Row looks like it’s bigger, crazier, funnier, and better than ever.

Saints Row IV will release on August 20th for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and PC. Get ready by watching the awesome trailer below.