Hands-on preview: Saints Row 4
In 2011 the Saints Row franchise took a turn for the weird and crazy with the release of Saints Row The Third. Later this year Saints Row 4 will be upon us and The Upcoming has been hands on with it to see just how crazy it’s going to be.
Five years on from the end of SR3, we’ve saved Steelport and are now happily set up in the White House as the president. Wandering through the corridors on the way to a press conference we cure cancer, accept an invite to a party and punch someone who’s annoying us, if we want to. Nerves over the press conference are soon shed with the invasion of aliens, bursting in abducting and killing people. The Zin aliens are led by Zinyak, a large alien brute with a dapper English accent who kicks our ass quite well.
The demo then skips to take us to the digital simulation version of Steelport that the Zins have taken us to. Here we get to see just how the game has cranked up the levels of insanity from its predecessor, this world is really one where anything goes. Superpowers and a range of bizarre but genius weapons abound and this is core to keeping the game fresh but still part of the Saints Row experience.
The weapon that’s received the most media coverage so far has to be the “dubstep gun” which is as fun to play with as it looks. Power it up and fire at people to make them dance and cars to make them bounce, get bored of the track and change it with customisation. The gun has a number of skins available to buy at the various gun stores around town and each skin applies a different track to the gun. If dodgy dance moves aren’t your thing you may prefer to launch black holes around town with the “singularity gun”. There’s a gang of aliens annoying you, simply rip a hole in space and time and watch everything in the vicinity get sucked into it. For the traditionalists out there there’s also a range of guns from small to rocket launcher for all your shooty bang needs.
It’s not just the weapons that can be customised either, if you get bored of your outfit you can customise and get a new one. If you want a complete overall you can even head off to the plastic surgeon and get a new one. Around the world are glowing clusters and these can be collected in order to upgrade not only your weapons but also your superpowers.
Superpowers grow in power as you level them up and they come in four flavours; freeze, rock, telekinesis and fire. Whether you’re shattering frozen enemies, causing earthquakes with your feet, throwing objects with your mind or running through the streets on fire you are sure to have a lot of fun. Not only are the abilities fun to use in general gameplay but they are also needed to complete various activities dotted around the town. One of these activities, “Prof. Genki’s Mind Over Murder” had us throwing people, cars and Genki heads through hoops using the telekinesis power.
The game overall plays really well and is everything that a Saints Row title should be; fun and funny. There is enough of Saints Row The Third in there to keep it feeling similar, but certainly a lot of extras and differences to keep it feeling fresh. This is the most open Saints Row game to date allowing you to play as you want. Saints Row 4 is a game for faithful fans or newcomers to the series who want an action filled game with a sense of fun.
Saints Row 4 is released August 23rd for XBOX 360, Playstation 3 and PC.