Saints Row IV has been a subject of controversy among fans since its announcement. They have a spilt audience were as those who have been with the series since the start are quickly growing disappointed in the games new direction and those who loved the previous game, Saints Row: The Third, are worried that Saints Row IV is more like Saints Row 3.5. At E3 2013 Deep Sliver gave hands-on time with a story mission, as well as, a brief look into what to expect from Saints Row IV’s free roam. Being such a huge target in the industry isn’t a good thing and all this negative attention should be put to rest once getting hands-on with Saints Row IV but that statement is both true and false.
The demo started with a story mission that will be in Saints Row IV. The mission took place just before the alien invasion at the White House. We were told that the mission we were able to play was not going to be the first in the game. We were also very confused at how the game was going to react to the choices that players were able to make in Saints Row: The Third. When we asked the assistant project manager, Robert Gable, what happened to the choice left up to the player at the end of Saints Row: The Third we were told that Volition sided with the choice that they felt was best (SRTT spoiler alert ahead) and the team chose to keep Shaundi alive. Quite a disappointment to those who may have chose to do something different to avoid Gangsters in Space in Saints Row: The Third. This left us wondering why they would have let the players choose any aspect of the game in the first place.
In the story mission we were able to play the leader of the Saints and now president was sent walking through the White House. In a hallway we were prompted to make decisions for life altering events like feeding the hungry or curing cancer and ect. After we got pasts the choices Shaundi warns us of a possible alien attack and just then everything goes haywire with none other than an attack by aliens. As we try our best to fight off the swarm our friends and former gang members get abducted into an alien ship. The main character continues to attempt to fight them off but ends up coming face to face with the lead alien king Zen. Button prompts force the player into an epic battle with the alien where it is impossible to win. We end up sucked into an alternate reality where we have super powers, our goal; to save the Saints.
After the mission we were granted access to try out the free roam to a minor degree. To our surprise the button combos and ways of using these super abilities came very natural. They were easy to execute and it was truly a breeze to get around the contorted alternate city of Steelport. We got to try out super jumping over buildings, gliding and running faster than cars could drive. We also got to test out our combative powers on unsuspecting Steelport residents and of course our new alien enemies. Some of the abilities we used to take out these creatures were setting ourselves on fire to where everything we touched also was set ablaze, super stomping which caused an earthquake like effect for those in a certain radios, freezing enemies with ice rays that we could shoot from our hand and telekinesis like abilities were we can pick up things and throw them very far. The super abilities were easy to use, fun to execute and more but we couldn’t help but ask ourselves if this is really what a Saints Row fan would ask for.
On top of getting to use a variety of great superpowers we got to use a bunch of different insane weapons as well. Out of all the weapons we got to try the one that seemed most effective was the Blackhole gun. We got to launch blackholes at groups of enemies and watch them get sucked out of our dimension. One Blackhole Gun could suck up multiple enemies which was very useful when trying to conquer points on the map controller solely by aliens. Of course, we also got to try out other guns announced by the development team like the Dubstep Gun and more which were all interesting in their own way.
With what we experienced it can’t be said that the game was bad, because it wasn’t, but we just don’t see this game being a Saints Row title. It is such a leap from what they have given us in the past we are left feeling heartbroken and betrayed by a series we once loved so dearly. While their past games were compared to industry leaders like Grand Theft Auto; some saying that it is the leader of the shared genre, now, the closest thing we see this title to comparing to is Crackdown. A very unfortunate turn for a game we wished to see nothing but greatness from. Maybe the end of the game will erase the main characters memory and send them back to the end of Saints Row 2… Or maybe that thought is this a desprite fan dreaming. This game makes no since; a change in genre to an already established franchise… why? All in all, it was not a bad game but a horrible addition to the Saints Row family.