E3 2013: Saints Row IV (Xbox 360) Preview
During E3, we got the chance to pick up and play the next installment of the Saints Row franchise in Saints Row IV for the Xbox 360. The Saints are back for another wacky, mayhem-fueled ride. But this time the Saints face a threat unlike any other – an alien invasion. You play as the Saints leader who has now become President of the United States. And while you are partying it up in the White House, an alien invasion encompasses the globe. The demo starts with the White House going under siege by the alien leader Zinyak and his forces. You get the chance to stock up on some weapons from the tricked out armory that the Oval Office has become and take out some of the aliens. You then get to make your way to the North Lawn and unleash all the might of Uncle Sam with some heavy artillery cannons to battle the alien drop shops. Eventually you are forced into a hand-to-hand fight with Zinyak, done through QTE’s, and things do not end well for the Saints leader. Your entire cabinet of advisors has been captured, and the aliens have taken over the country.
The demo picks up in the main portion of the game. You as the Saints leader are now stuck in a computer simulation created by the aliens. The good news is that since its a computer simulation like The Matrix, you have lots of super powers and other abilities at your disposal. The game now plays a lot like Saints Row meets Prototype or Infamous. You have a sandbox in a gigantic city which is filled with separate challenges and mini-games you can play through. There are power-ups you can collect to help you unlock new skills abilities. You can mug civilians to collect money to buy new weapons, upgrades, and costume items. There are also tons of aliens patrolling the city. Attacking an alien police unit brings upon waves and waves of enemies, eventually climaxing with a formidable, gargantuan alien brute you have to face. From playing the demo, it looks like there are specific alien control towers you will have to take over in order to break free from the simulation, free your cabinet members, and defeat Zinyak.
I like what they’ve done with the alien menace plot and getting to play as your character with super powers. The controls are very smooth, and there is lots you can do. Tons of new weapons are at your disposal, including a lightsaber-type of sword and also of course the Dubstep gun. The Dubstep gun does not pack a lot of punch, but its effects are hilarious and perfectly in line with this game. There is also a Black Hole gun that shoots mini-black holes at your enemies and sucks everything around them inside which is badass. The Saints Row franchise has always been rather depraved and over the top, and this game is no exception. However it works because the game is not mean-spirited about it, and its done more for the sake of humor and parody than anything.
Saints Row IV will be released on Xbox 360, PS3, and Windows PC on August 20.