Now, I’m not sure how many of you even vaguely desired a return to the Saints Row series after the Third came out. It certainly lacked the raw customization glory that the second yielded, favoring zanier missions and weirder plot. All the same, the desire to remain tame caused it to come off as a little lackluster; a shy step into avant-garde. Saints Row IV, however, is an entirely different story.

In the Fourth, the Third Street Saints are now political assassins, sent to take down terrorists in the Middle East. One thing leads to another, Playa defuses a nuclear missile headed towards Washington D.C., and presto change-o, you’re the president of the United States. After several entertaining scenes of saying “fuck you” to cancer or world hunger, punching a political opponent in the head or balls, and generally being a deviant badass, aliens invade and abduct all your homies. Their boss Zinyak gives the Playa special treatment; an ass-kicking and a special spot in the Zin Empire digital storehouse.

Yes. Aliens. This is what you have been waiting for. At least, I hope it is, because it’s hilarious. Playa is then placed in a stasis chamber and mentally inserted into a Matrix-like computer simulation. After enduring a “Leave it to Beaver” themed brainwashing program, Kinzie helps the Playa escape, which involves running around naked and woozy and covered in alien prison cell goop and murdering alien guards. Don’t worry, your birthday suit doesn’t make you take extra damage.

Saints Row IV

From that point on, the game functions more or less like any other Saints Row game. Complete story and side missions to gain control of the map and conquer the Zin Empire from within its own digital framework. I am leaving something rather important out, though. Something that makes Saints Row IV TRULY fun, and sadly makes driving cars obsolete…

Superpowers! Yes, this is mechanically similar to Prototype, but done better. Sorry, bioweapons, buuut the space-gangstas kicked your butt. By hacking the Zin systems, Kinzie can empower you with a multitude of different abilities which have their own multitudes of variant functions. Elemental blast, telekinesis, ground stomp, and elemental auras are your offensive abilities, allowing you to turn any firefight into an ice, electricity, or oh no we’re all suddenly tiny fight. Your passive abilities are super speed and super jump, which make navigating fake-ass Stilwater all the easier. Additionally, most side missions are restructured to focus on the use of your superpowers, because driving around with a tiger in your passenger seat just doesn’t cut it this time around.

Saints Row IV

The weapons also get considerably sillier, and offer skins that reference other sci-fi movies with similar pea shooters. Want to be Han Solo, Robocop, or Terminator? Want to dress up like Neo and be The One? Now you can, all while shooting black holes, dropping the bass with your dubstep cannon, and sending people sky-high with the abduction gun! How exciting! And for you nostalgics out there, don’t worry about not beating people with a giant floppy dildo. They brought that back, and gave it a pretty glowing recolor too. It even has a brother! The tentacle bat! Disclaimer: equally floppy. Okay, I should probably let you discover the weapons on your own rather than blather about it.

You can still store and customize vehicles, as well as unlock special variants by completing side missions. It definitely feels unnecessary once you start upgrading your super speed, but some of them look so darn cool you just HAVE to pimp them out and use them as nitrous-powered battering rams. As a perk, there’s no fall damage, so feel free to do very silly things with tall buildings.

Saints Row IV

Final note, apparently Saints Row IV is a dating sim, and everybody is cool with getting it on with guys and girls! And robots. Talk about your loving space-crew, huh? I won’t give away any saucy details, but damn if it isn’t tough to get to the romancing scenes. They’re definitely worth it, though, if you know what I mean. Wink wink.

You can trust Stuart Andrews of TrustedReviews when he says that Saints Row IV is silly and fun. Like, REALLY silly, and REALLY fun. I agree that it’s also nice to see that Saints Row has finally found its own identity as a game, tossing in subtle (or blatant) references that make you go “I remember that!” and then use such nostalgic paraphernalia to blow up a hovertank full of aliens, or by course of doing something nostalgic blow up a hovertank full of aliens. There are more options, of course, but explosions speak louder than words. BOOM!

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