Saints Row IV (PS3) – E3 Preview

While at E3, I got a special hands-on preview of Saints Row IV to see just how it could top the crazy antics of the last game.

Since The Third, the leader of the Saints found a way to be elected President, but, sadly, before you get much of a chance to enjoy the new position, aliens invade and you need to defend your country. After hitting up your hidden weapons cache within The Oval Office, you must make your way through a series of hallways until you end up manning a Howitzer sitting outside The White House. Eventually, you will run into a much larger foe and inevitably get abducted by your new overlords. This is when the real game starts.

Standing atop a giant tower with no way down, a prompt tells you to jump. Falling to your impending death, you realize that are no longer your normal self, you now have superpowers.

With the ability to dive at sonic speeds, glide, run faster than any vehicle, launch things into the sky with a single kick and leap over building with little more than a push of a button, you become a one man army. While you are still able to traverse the landscape as you normally would in previous titles, with cars and bikes, the premise of doing anything other than jumping over a building or acting like The Flash feels a bit mundane.

This ability to do whatever you want in the world does add to the sensation of the world being your playpen, but somehow feels like it’s too far of a departure from the series as we knew it. Guns and vehicles are now relics to a super powered hero that is fighting enemies that could be dispatched of easier with a swift kick than multiple shots to the face. This seems to be why a number of weapons this time around have been designed with added abilities to give them more application to the world than a normal gun, even though those are still available too.

One key weapon that was on hand was the Dubstep Gun, a gun that turned everyone within range into a pop-and-lock crew while distorting the soundtrack. Using the weapon was quite a bit of fun, as everyone would stop what they were doing and break out into dance like an out of synch flash mob, letting you dispatch them with ease. The only real issue with the weapon was that it felt like a gimmick, and while I didn’t get tired of it with my short hands-on preview of the game, I did feel that it was just a way to entertain myself until I felt like ‘super-powering’ my way through the game again.

Ultimately, it is still too early to know just how much of Saints Row IV has really changed from its predecessors, but from my time with it, the game seems to have taken great lengths to keep the franchise feeling fresh – and that in itself is pretty cool.

Make sure to keep hitting that refresh button until PSLS gets their hands on a review copy of Saints Row IV, as we will be bringing a much more in-depth look at this over-the-top open world title in the coming months. Also, if you can’t wait, or want to know more about the team that is developing the title, make sure to check out my interview with Senior Producer Jim Boone.