Saints Row IV – Just When You Thought It Couldn’t Get Any More Ridiculous
Jonathan | On 03, Jul 2013
Over the past week, reviewers around the country have been indulging in a two-hour preview build of Saints Row IV – the fourth entry in the Saints Row franchise.
Spoilers of the first couple of hours are present below, read on at your own risk or pleasure.
If you’ve never played the Saints Row games, you’re in a for a real treat.
Saints Row draws from the classic Grand Theft Auto formula of open world exploration and mayhem but then dials it up to 11, adding all sorts of ridiculous nonsense and situations that are so far-fetched, even comic books seem more realistic than the events that happen to the Saints.
Saints Row IV is everything Saints Row the Third was, but even more outlandish. Upon starting Saints Row IV, you’re thrust into a rescue mission that seems very reminiscent of events found in other shooters like Call of Duty or Battlefield. However, after about ten minutes, you quickly realize that things are about to get all types of stupid, and you’re left with one of the funniest intros I’ve seen in a game in quite some time.
I won’t ruin it for you, but I can tell you it’s something you’ve probably seen before and if you remember the pop culture reference that its from, you’ll quite possibly find it just as hilarious as I did.
After you complete the intro, the denizens of the US adore you and vote you in as the President of the United States. With the Saints leading the country, it’s pretty clear that mayhem is right on the horizon.
You’ll create your character, along the same lines of Saints Row the Third. If you’re familiar with these games, you’ll immediately recognize some iconic options for your character creation. Dances such as the Ric Flair strut and the Kenny Powers crotch shuffle from Eastbound and Down are just a few of the over the top style choices you can choose for your character. My favorite option? When you choose a “voice” for your character, you’ll get an assortment of typical “build” type voices, and then there’s an option called simply “Nolan North”. You guessed it. Nolan North, the famous voice actor, pretty much plays himself as the leader of the Saints in your game.
Once your character is created, you’ll hold a press conference and you’ll make a few choices as you walk to the press room. As you make your way, out of nowhere an alien race called the Zin attack the White Crib (because the Saints wouldn’t just let it be a house). You’re basically powerless as you watch all of your cabinet members get abducted by the aliens, and eventually shootouts with aliens in the hallway lead to a big artillery cannon on the front lawn which allows you to take out invading spaceships as they fly in for more attacks. Ultimately, your attempts are futile as you launch into the main ship only to be crushed by the leader of the Zin Empire.
You eventually wake up in a 1950s TV simulation, which only further illustrates just how ridiculous Saints Row IV is. After some communications and a few anachronisms, you find your way back to what you think is Steelport. It turns out you’re actually being held inside of a simulation, controlled by Zinyak, the leader of the alien invaders.
Though it seems like “more of the same” Saints Row IV quickly introduces a new feature that turns the gameplay completely on its head: Glitched code.
As you retrieve glitched code, you can essentially turn it into “superpowers”. These new abilities take the typical Saints Row formula and mix in elements of Prototype, Crackdown, and Infamous, creating one of the most enjoyable free roaming experiences I’ve had since last year’s Sleeping Dogs.
While playing through the preview build, I had a childlike smile on my face the entire time. It was like Christmas. I couldn’t get enough. When I finished the storyline that ended the preview, I went back into free roam and collected more glitch code.
Though you’re only really given a small taste of what’s to come, Saints Row IV hooked me super hard, and it’s all I’ve been able to think about all week. I cannot wait to get my hands on the final build, and thankfully it’s just around the corner on August 20th.