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Saints Row IV First Look (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)

The Saints have returned – and this time they've taken over the country.
This article is over 11 years old and may contain outdated information

It’s a safe assumption that Deep Silver made out like a bandit with the THQ bankruptcy sale.  Not only did the company acquire the upcoming moody first-person shooter Metro: Last Light (which has been looking great in its last two years of development), but it also snagged Volition Inc., the team behind such games as Saints Row: The Third (one of THQ’s best sellers) and the Red Faction franchise.

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With Saints Row: Enter the Dominatrix announced and then put on the backburner last year, it was only a matter of time before it resurfaced.  Last week, it did in the form of Saints Row IV, the “climactic” chapter in the ridiculously over-the-top open-world action series.

Details are scarce at the moment (we’re waiting to get a preview of what to expect this weekend at the Penny Arcade Expo in Boston), but here’s what we’ve gathered thus far.  The Saints, having taken complete control of Steelport in the last game, have moved on to bigger things; namely taking over the presidency of the United States.  It’s not enough that they have rival gangs breathing down their neck to try and take their governmental spot, but now an alien invasion has come to the city, with the mighty Dominatrix and his army of freaks desiring a takeover of the whole planet.  The Saints, never ones to back down from a fight, set out to stop the invasion.

We’ve seen snippets of the gameplay from the teaser trailer (which you can find through this link), but the open-world madness that Saints Row: The Third pretty much perfected will be making a return in spades.  This means running around your capitol city and completing missions, ranging from car thefts (probably by jumping through the window again) to blazing your enemies with whatever weapon you have in your possession.

But with Saints Row, nothing is ever basic.  You can really alter your mission any way you see fit, whether you use telekinesis to fly around (abilities borrowed from Prototype 2 perhaps – but in a snazzier suit) or a laser-powered rifle to put aliens, cops and crooks all in their place at the same time.  The game will have no shortage of action, as there were segments that featured plenty of shootouts, some with the most unlikeliest of enemies.  When was the last time you saw a cop with fake googly eyes strapped to his head?

Though there’s no sign of the, ahem, “sex toy bats” (that’s the kind word here) in the trailer, that isn’t to say that Saints Row IV is backing down on its suggestiveness.  The trailer features blurred-out nudity in little snippets, and you can bet with the wild customization abilities will make a return. You’ll be able to fight enemies in the buff or maybe going all out in a super suit.  If we’re lucky, furry mascot costumes will also be making a return, because those things are quite intimidating…

The game engine looks quite similar to Saints Row: The Third at first glance, Volition Inc. should be adding some diversity to keep things fresh this time around.  We already spotted a few futuristic nods in the battle with Dominatrix’s aliens, including a car that resembles the Tron Light Cycle and cool phaser weapons that can do major damage instantly.  There also appear to be better character models, but expect some familiar faces from Saints Row: The Third to come back.  Because it just isn’t a party without old friends, right?

The usage of super powers could also boost the Saints over the course of the game.  We’re guessing there will be a system where you can level up by completing missions or grabbing collectibles around Washington, improving your telekinesis and other powers as well as your weapon arsenal, so you truly become as feared as you were back in Steelport.  We’re betting the game won’t take itself seriously; after all, The Third was all about being outlandish, hilarious and filled with plenty of subtle winks at the gaming audience.  Expect these to come back in spades with Saints Row IV.

All that’s left to wonder now is if the game will feature any sort of multiplayer aspect, where you can roll with your fellow gang members in defending your turf or completing missions in some kind of co-op way.  Volition’s keeping quiet until it shows off the game at PAX this weekend, so we’ll let you know what’s up in a future strategic preview.  Keep your friends close, just in case.

Even though THQ isn’t around anymore, Deep Silver is making sure the Saints Row franchise lives on in a big way, and if part IV can live up to the potential of its teaser trailer, it’ll be ready to go head-on with Grand Theft Auto V when it releases on August 20th for Xbox 360, PC and PlayStation 3.

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Prima Games Staff
The staff at Prima Games.