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E3 2013: Hands-On With Saints Row IV


Marcus Estrada

For a long time, it seemed that Grand Theft Auto was the main series people went to for sandbox style exploration and intense levels of possible violence. Of course, there are other games that exist with expansive worlds to explore (and possibly wreak havoc in) but GTA stands as the best known.

 

When Saints Row first came out, many took it as an obvious copycat of the GTA formula. Although the game wasn“t great it did manage to carve out a new identity for itself. It wasn“t trying to be serious in any way, but to mock the establishment of GTA. Saints Row 2 worked to further tailor this image and by Saints Row 3 we had a perfectly capable and hilarious franchise. How does Saints Row IV fare?

 

From what I tried of the demo at E3, it is shaping up to be the most incredibly asinine versions of Saints Row yet - and that“s a good thing. The game started me off with little pretense. Thanks to the ad campaign around the game I was aware that I“m playing as the President, but nothing in the game really alerted me to that. Instead, I was popped out into the middle of a city, given slight explanation of buttons, and then free to wreak havoc for ten minutes.

 

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The first thing I realized was that I could fly. For reasons that must make sense in context, the President has powers that grant him the ability to jump really high, run super fast, and glide around high in the air. It seemed that the main character was overpowered just with these functions, but it“s possible the demo had these abilities maxed out or something. Either way, after bouncing around off buildings onto unassuming people, I decided to check out the weaponry.

 

There are some “normal” weapons in the President“s stash, but also a handful of wacky weapons. First, I made use of the dubstep gun because, honestly, how can anyone ignore it? The results were as funny as expected, wherein the gun blasts dubstep music at its targets as they crumple to the ground. Other weapons included what looked like a water gun with lasers, a black hole gun, and lightsaber lookalike.

 

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Beyond using some incredibly strange weaponry, I was also able to hijack cars and motorcycles to head toward glowing markers. These areas featured a handful of side quests, although the ones I visited weren“t particularly interesting. One was based around matching objects that the game requested. For example, there was a human-shaped silhouette which I had to fill with a distraught citizen. The event was timed and pretty dull. The same could be said of a race I entered which had the President running at full speed down busy streets.

 

With that said, the full Saints Row IV is obviously going to have far more to show for itself than these two minigames, including a story. I feel that the story is what will really set this game apart as the wackiest yet, and since I didn“t get to experience it in the demo I“m really missing out. So far though the game looks great, controls well, and has a nice set of weapons and abilities. Fans of the series won“t be disappointed by what IV brings to the table.

 

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