I pledge allegiance to the United Saints of America
I was a little worried about Saints Row IV when it was revealed at PAX East. My main concern being how much fun would it really be revisiting Steelport even with superpowers and such. After some hands-on time though, I really can't wait to dive into the stupid world of Saints Row all over again.
Yeah the environment is largely the same, but personally that's something I'm okay with as that's given Volition the chance to focus way more on upping the gameplay, adding a ton more mini-games, and creating a story as absurd and funny as you fighting off an alien invasion as the President of the United States.
Saints Row IV (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC)
The demo I went hands-on with started me off in the story where your character is now the President of the United States. You have to make your way to the press room to hold a conference, and along the way you'll feed your pet tiger, pick between signing a bill to end world hunger or fuck (cure) cancer, and punching an annoying senator in the dick. A President does what a President wants to.
The President will also surround himself with only the people he trusts most, and in this case it's pretty much every major character from past Saints Row games. A ton from The Third like Shaundi, Kinzie, Pierce, Oleg, plus a bunch of others including Keith David as Keith David!
Once in the press room all hell breaks loose as aliens crash the party, literally. They blow open the roof, and the leader of the Zen empire flies in, declaring to the world that they're here to take over the planet. Players then have to fend off aliens in the white house, but not before a quick stop in the Oval Office so you can equip yourself with the weaponry hidden behind various wall panels.
Players will eventually make their way out to the front lawn of the White House where you'll hop into a giant turret in order to shoot down alien spaceships swarming above Washington D.C. This lasts for a couple of minutes until the main mothership shows up and crashes right on your lawn. From here players will jump into the ship, confront the alien Zen leader and ... get your human ass handed to you. The Zen leader is no push over.
Next we were dropped into the open world aspect of Saints Row IV, which takes place in a virtual reality simulation of Steelport. The city is largely the same, well except for the giant alien towers and spaceships that are scattered all over the place. The whole point of this virtual reality world is so the Zen can brainwash humans that are placed into it. You're the leader of the Saints and America though, and instead you bend the simulation to suit your desires.
And this is where the superpowers come in. It's like how Neo was able to bend the Matrix to his will, except cooler because you have way more abilities here. Here's the list of just some of the powers you'll have: super jump, the ability to glide, super speed, wall running, telekinesis, ice blasts, super strength, fire attacks, and lightning attacks. You'll have to earn new powers and upgrades for them so you're not a totally overpowered badass right from the start. Plus your powers are tied to a meter that recharges over time in order to limit and balance things out.
Oh right, there's still guns too. It's largely the same setup as in The Third, except you can also customize the actual look of your weapons now too. A machine gun with a skin that makes it look like a super soaker? Awesome! I got to use the Dubstep gun, which lost its novelty after like a minute. I did have fun with the new Black Hole gun which, you guessed it, shoots out mini-black holes that sucks up anything near it.
As for activities, man, the map was so full of them it was insane. One new mini-game is Blazin', which utilizes your super speed to run through checkpoints across the map. Then there's Professor Genki's M.O.M (Mind Over Murder) where you have to use your telekinesis to grab people or objects and throw them at various targets.
I had a lot of fun with Saints Row: The Third, and I know I'm going to enjoy Saints Row IV even more. Running around as the President with super powers in an open world setting? Fuck yeah.