Saints Row series has always been about carnage with a laugh, a lighter version of Grand Theft Auto. Saints Row IV cranks up the volume even more, as you take on the role of a gangta-style president of the USA, singlehandedly stopping an alien invasion led by an oversize jerk of an alien.
As president, your workday starts of normal enough, making decisions like whether to cure cancer or feed the hungry, or to punch a guy in the nuts or the face. Just before a press conference, a lady warns you about an alien invasion, but it’s a pointless warning: before you have time to tell her she be trippin’, the invasion begins. While the big bad guy has plot armor, his minions aren’t so protected, and die easily enough. You’ll start out taking down aliens with a variety of basic guns, but those will quickly upgrade to battleship-quality weaponry…and the game is just beginning.
Eventually the aliens gain control of the world, and it’s up to you as President do something about it, and by “something” I mean “administer serious smackdown”. You start to gain superpowers as you play, navigating the city with super-jump, or super-flight (maybe it’s more like gliding), or by hijacking a car if that’s what you really want to do. While you can’t outright destroy the city building by building, the people in it are vulnerable, going down quickly to super-punches–this does attract the attention of the cops, however, not that they can handle a superhero. Really, the city should be viewed as one big amusement park for your benefit, with areas where you can use your powers for bonus carnage (such as telekinesis to chuck the right objects/people through various targets).
Deep Silver clearly has the emphasis of fun in this sequel, an I think that’s the right way to go–once you’re president, the only place left to go is crazy, and from what I saw at my hands-on play at E3, that’s the train they’re on. I may well get myself a ticket when Saints Row IV comes out in August 2013.