I got an exclusive look at what’s next for Volition’s successful Saints Row franchise at PAX East, and I can say with confidence that the next title in the series won’t disappoint loyal fans. The developers take the gameplay over the top in a way that’s sure to make players giddy.
Arguably the biggest change for Saints Row 4 is the fact that instead of controlling a normal gangster you’re now playing as the President of the United States whose been recently captured by an alien race known as the Zins. The aliens want to break your will to control you as they please. To do so, they place you in a virtual Steelport to assimilate you. As the most powerful Saint—and the most powerful man of the free world—you fight back in an effort to escape the fantasy world the aliens have created.
How do you fight back, you ask? Well, for one, your new weapons will be sure to help. In your arsenal is a gun that inflates enemy’s body parts to ridiculous proportions until they pop from growing too big. In the demo an innocent civilian is shot until his head expands to the size of a weather balloon, only for his eyes to suddenly inflate and his whole cranium pop in one bloody explosion.
Another gun that will be a blast to use is the Dubstep Gun, which—you guessed it—shoots out waving rays to the beat and sound of dubstep music. People caught in its wake begin to dance uncontrollably or pixilate until they die, whereas cars that are shot suddenly bounce around on hydraulics. Such weapons are proof of Volition’s vision to take the series even farther on the crazy scale than ever before. Each weapon’s skin is customizable as well, adding more variety to an already customizable game.
Another new addition to the series is the addition of upgradable super powers. The president can sprint at breakneck speeds, jump over entire skyscrapers, and even glide across the city, making vertical and horizontal travel better than ever before. In combat, players can perform several satisfying melee finishers to exterminate enemies in gory fashion.
Volition is also focusing a lot more on collectibles, bragging that Saints Row 4 has the most collectibles of any game ever. Another change is that while popular minigames such as Whored Mode are gone, in their place are several more innovative activities to do in-game for extra cash and experience.
One such activity allows players to control a powerful mech and wreck as much havoc as possible in the shortest amount of time. Such gameplay is just pure fun, which is really all Volition cares about. It’s even possible to eventually unlock the mech for your personal garage later in the game.
A big change fans might not be used to is that gangs are now out. The Zin alien race is the only main enemy in the game, which is a significant difference from older entries. However, Volition is confident that it will work for the title in a way fans will enjoy. The aliens can teleport in to where you’re at and fight you instantaneously at any point. Fleeing isn’t an option, as the Zin can follow players to any vertical level you’re on.
So far two classes of Zin have been revealed. The lowly grunts act as the weak fodder for players to continuously take out, but the demo ended showing off a much more sinister enemy: a warden. These giant beasts are sure to act as minibosses throughout the game and will make a formidable foe against your newfound powers.
Volition’s hands-off demo has us excited for what’s coming in Saints Row 4. The developer is proving that it can take the franchise to the next level, something I wasn’t personally sure they could accomplish. You can get your hands on Saints Row 4 when it releases in August.