E3 2013: Saints Row IV (Hands-On)

by: John -
Ah Saints Row. I had a lot of fun in Saints Row The Third so I was pretty excited to try out Saints Row IV over at Deep Silver's booth. The demo had you play a little bit of what looks like the beginning where the aliens first come to attack and then a little bit of the open world portion that we've all come to know and love.

First up, the gang's all back. Kinzie, Oleg, Josh Birk, Pierce, many of your friends from the third game are part of your crew as you are now the President of the United States. Walking through the White House, you can see the Saints influence as you're served by females with low cut tops and strippers' dancing with the poles stationed throughout the White House. As you are walking to a press conference, you're given some choices such as a character voiced by the awesome Keith David wanting to know if you want to cure cancer or end hunger. Another had Josh asking if you want to go out to a party. 

Like the beginning of Saints Row the Third, you'll partake in some action that are intermixed with in game cut scenes. The aliens start their invasion and that's when all hell breaks loose. That awesome Saints Row humor abounds as I laughed out loud when I hear Kinzie tell the alien leader she's smarter than anyone on the room and gets promptly abducted. As I battle the aliens with my secret service, I hear one shout out has he dies, "Tell my wife... I have another wife.." I then strap myself into a shooting gallery type scene where I hop into a turret and took down enemy ships that flew towards the White House. The scene ends with a small quick time like scenario fighting the alien leader leading to my defeat.

The second portion of the demo had my character infused with super powers, and boy are they fun to use in the open world. Imagine Crackdown, but taken up many notches. It took a little getting used to, but I was soon running at super speeds around the street, up the side of buildings, jumping high in the air, and crashing down with my fist to the ground sending debris and people to the waste side. I played with the freezing power, which froze enemies and vehicles in place letting me punch them into small pieces. The telekinetic powers allowed me to launch anything and anyone through the air, while the fire power created an aura of destructive fire around me causing anything near me to become engulfed in flames. The super powers are a great deal of fun and adds a new element to the series.

The famous wub wub dubstep game was in the demo, and yes it is really awesome to use. Shooting out beams of light and broadcasting some infectious dance beat, the gun was a total blast to use and seemed to be a big hit around me in the room as well with other members of the press. 

I was able to try one of the side missions and it was another Genki challenge. I had to use my telekinesis to throw various things into floating targets earning me points. Cars, people, Genki head models, the targets dictated what you needed to toss through before you completed that section and moved on to the new one. It's a nice little diversion, but I'm anxious to see what new mini games are available in the final now. Oh, and it sounds like Hulk Hogan is back to narrate the action in the Genki mini game as well.

Graphically, it does look like the previous game, so I wouldn't expect too much increase in that area. Now, I am used to playing the game on the PC so I don't know if the anti-aliasing problems persist but there were some pretty bad jaggies and there were ties the hair and teeth had some weird white pixels around it. I'm hoping these get fixed before the game's released, but if you liked the look of the previous game, you'll be fine with what Saints Row IV has to offer.

Saints Row IV is more of Saints Row The Third with super powers, aliens, over the top action and humor. And that's not a bad thing at all. The co-op feature is back so I'm sure I'll be spending a ton of time with a friend to go through the entire game. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Saints Row The Third and having played Saints Row IV here at E3, I think I'm going to be pretty happy with it as well.

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