Saints Row IV has so many differences from Saints Row the Third, it's staggering. Sure, most of the combat can be the same with certain guns, and creating chaos while driving around never gets old. However, between the new weapons introduced in the game – which you can read about in our Weapons Guide and the new super powers you have, there's a lot more you can do.
Yes, you have super powers – you're a regular Superman, or Superwoman, if you prefer. With these, you can send Emperor Zinyak and his pesky alien armada back to the Stone Age. Here now is a breakdown of each of the super powers, and how they work.
As we explained previously in our Travel and Vehicle Guide, super speed unlocks after about the first hour of play, and provides a great way of getting around the city at a fast pace. However, it also serves as an offensive tool if you use it the right way.
Once you activate super speed, smaller objects will fly out of your way, whether it's gun-toting alien thugs, normal passersby or vehicles. Even dump trucks don't stand a chance when you're running at a rapid pace. This is useful if you need to get through groups of enemies in a hurry, or clear out the space surrounding an alien checkpoint.
You can also combine your super speed with grapple attacks, running at an alien and tapping the R3 button to execute a powerful finishing move, which will turn them into a bloody mess. You'll want to use this often, especially if you're conserving ammunition.
The Force Field unlocks a little later in the game, and will help you get the jump on enemies. It's more of a defensive tool, but quite a good one, as it blocks incoming fire and projectiles that come your way. This not only keeps your health in solid status, but is also cool to watch, as everything from large blasts to bullets bounce off. It's not as cool an effect as bulletproof skin – like Superman has – but it's the next best thing.
Death From Above
Once you develop the gift of super jumping and being able to boost yourself in the air – using an air dash ability that's useful for leaping at enemies and running through them – you also have an outstanding diving attack that can clear out a cluster of aliens in a hurry. Simply target where you want to land – using your analog stick – and launch your attack. Your character will thrust his or her way downward, eventually landing and shattering the ground around them. Any cars or characters in the area will go flying as a result. Use this when you want to launch a surprise attack on an alien perimeter, or simply want to take out a bothersome squad of cops.
Ever feel like unleashing the ultimate Curb Stomp? Saints Row IV lets you do just that with the Stomp maneuver. However, instead of just squashing someone's head in – like you normally would – this special power unleashes a wave of seismic activity that sends everything within a close range toppling over. This is great if you're surrounded, or simply want to watch cars fly up and crush incoming aliens that want to put you down. Use it against larger groups – or to stun bigger enemies – and it'll work in your favor every time.
There are three different types of Stomps that unlock throughout the game – Gravity, which launches everything higher in the air; Rock, which sends rocks flying everywhere; and Shrink, which makes everything pint-sized. No matter which way you go, humorous – and effective – results will follow.
You'll pick up telekinesis after a couple hours, at first being able to throw people and objects around – as you do in the Professor Genki-hosted mini-activity – and then developing new abilities, including shocking things with lightning to make them more explosive, or stealing energy from innocent folks and gun-toting enemies before throwing their useless bodies away. The more powerful you make your telekinetic powers, the better you become.
The blast works one of three ways. You first unlock the ice blast, which allows you to shoot bursts of coldness at ground and aerial enemies. It's really effective against flying vehicles, as well as those speedier bike aliens that like to get around. The next one is fire, and this is just as good to use, thanks to its flame-spreading capabilities and destructive power. Save this for vehicular use if you can, as cars blow up nicely once they're aflame. Finally, the glitch blast lets you freeze up enemies within the "program" and take them out of existence. The effects from this one are really cool.
Buffing Up Powers
One final thing to keep in mind is that you'll want to "buff" up your powers so they become stronger. To do this, simply run around and pick up the glowing blue energy clusters scattered throughout the world. The more you collect, the better off you'll be.
Saints Row IV is available now for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.