Published on March 24th, 2013 | by Darik Kirschman4
Saints Row IV eyes-on impressions
The chief philosophies of the Saints Row franchise for the past several years have been “fun trumps all,” and “embrace the crazy.” It’s easy to see, looking at the evolution of the series, that Volition has truly taken these mantras the heart. From a GTA clone, to a vast crime satire about feces and hip hop, to human catapults and hovering jets in only three games. The forward momentum is even more evident in the upcoming Saints Row IV, and I was lucky enough to attend a non-playable walkthrough for the game, followed by a Q&A session with Volition.
The footage shown was, in a word, ridiculous. No doubt you’ve all seen the release trailer already, but Volition showed off brand new gameplay, highlighting the superpowers that the player character can acquire. Super speed, gliding long distances over a digital construct of the city of Steelport, high-powered melee brawling, an ice blast that can be used to freeze enemies and objects, and telekinesis are all making an appearance. Volition stressed that these powers gradually level up throughout the game, giving the player a strong sense of empowerment — though they stated the new alien menace, named the Zin, may have several tricks up their sleeves as well.
Customization is such a huge part of the Saints Row franchise and, as such, the developers wanted to extend that same sense of craziness and style to the game’s weapons. Rocket launchers can be cosmetically altered to resemble a guitar case or a loving facsimile of a Super Nintendo Super Scope. These enhancements complement existing mechanical weapons upgrades, allowing for a whole new way to personalize Saints Row to your particular wants.
Volition also mentioned vehicles, showing off a large, purple and gold mech that every alien-abducted gangster-turned-President should have in their garage. UFOs were also teased, though not shown. The developers say they felt that with the addition of insane super powers allowing players to traverse the city in exciting new ways traditional vehicles were a bit of a step back. Expect new things to drive, but don’t expect nearly as many as Saints Row The Third brought to the table.
All in all, Saints Row IV is shaping up to out-do its predecessor in sheer size, craziness and pure fun. Multiplayer is set to be a major component of that fun and madness, with Death Tag, a popular mode from Saints Row 2, returning along with other unseen types of play. How excited you are about this game probably depends heavily on how much you enjoyed The Third, but honestly, any game that has something called a “Dubstep Gun” (which allows you to blast people with gnarly, throbbing, deep bass — to which they dance before eventually dying) should be somewhere on your radar. Hail to the Saints.