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PAX East 2013: Saints Row IV Gameplay Impressions

by on 03/24/2013
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Saints Row: The Third followed in the franchise’s famed steps for taking the path that rivals Rockstar’s GTA series with a complete over the top version of an open world game. Volition made it clear early in the meeting with us that they are going to stick to what they know and what has gotten them to where they are. Saints Row IV picks up sometime after the third in which the protagonist has worked his way into being the President of the United States. Not long after his term begins an alien force known as the Zin kidnaps the president and places him in a virtual reality of the Steelport he/she is used to.

Saints Row 4 expanding head gun

Some of the new guns shown included a rail gun that slowly inflated the recipient until they popped. The other gun shown which I enjoyed (possibly too much) was the dubstep gun. The gun, which had the feel of a rail gun shot out rays of dubstep that forces those in its area of effect to feel the effects of dubstep, such as dancing with shaking and over the top dubstep music until death. The player then entered a customized car with some monster truck wheels on it and went for a joyride to smash some vehicles on his way to a good old faithful “Friendly Fire.” Volition wanted to expand on the weapon upgrade system introduced in Saints Row: The Third. A new aspect of the weapon customization and upgrades is the ability to buy several new skins for different weapons. One example of this was the El Fugitivo which was a direct homage to the movie Desperado, and a Super Nintendo skinned rocket launcher. After customizing the demo player went back to the street and caused some problems for cops and civilians with his newly acquired guitar rocket launcher. This led the player to one of the activities in the area, “Mech Assault”, which is new to the Saints franchise. It is pretty much like the “Tank Mayhem” activity from SR3 but with a mech, and it looked as fun as everything else in the game.

The demo then went to the new aspect of Saints Row: the super hero powers that the player will gain throughout the game. The demo showcased four different powers, including super speed with a super jump, super strength, the ability to wield ice as a weapon, and telekinesis. They showed us how these different powers worked together, including a sequence in which the player froze a car, then picked it up via telekinesis and tossed it around. They also showed us the ability to run through cars using the super speed. These powers will be unlocked slowly through the respect rank that the player holds, and then the skills have to be purchased upon locking.

I have played every Saints Row game since its inception, and I respect the series and what Volition has done with it. This installment aims not to disappoint the loyal fan base that has been growing for the Saints Row games. From what I saw it will deliver on this aim and knowing the people at Volition might even surpass it with the over the top style the developers are known for.