Saints Row, once just another Grand Theft Auto clone, has become a series that manages to marry enjoyable gameplay with a story that doesn’t even begin to take itself seriously. In fact, ‘serious’ may not even be in the Saints Row dictionary.
What it is: In Saints Row IV, you’ve gone from leader of the most successful gang to leader of the free world. Unfortunately, being President isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In the midst of either curing cancer or solving world hunger(sorry, you can’t do both), the economy is tanking and oh yeah, aliens have shown up to conquer America. Now you’re stuck in a simulation, a la The Matrix, and have to use your new superpowers, along with weapons like dubstep guns and black hole guns, to overthrow the aliens, escape the simulation and take back over the world.
Why we’re excited: The ridiculous premise allows Volition to go beyond reality and bring completely impossible things such as dubstep or black hole guns into the game, along with such superpower-related gameplay features. These include gliding across the city and sprinting up the side of buildings, as well as a super-sprint that will destroy and throw anything destructible that you run into, including light posts, cars and street signs. Additionally, when causing destruction and getting a high wanted level, the cops transform into the actual aliens, with their own versions of standard weapons like shotguns and machine guns.
What we’re wondering: Will there be a gradual progression of superpowers or will we be given all of them immediately? How will the mission structure work? We only saw a couple missions in our time with the game, and they largely consisted of running really fast in time trials. Compelling missions will be important for the final product, though given how fun running around and causing destruction with wanton abandon is, they may not be as important as in other open-world games.
Saints Row IV releases on PS3, 360 and PC August 20.