Business is about to pick back up for the Third Street Saints.
"Saints Row IV," the follow-up to the best-selling 2011 action game "Saints Row the Third," is less than two months away from release, and we have a first look. Just as its predecessors did, this follow-up gives you the ability to run wild across the fictional city of Steelport, fighting both human and alien enemies while fighting as president of the United States.
We recently checked out the beginning of the game, which is similar to the " Grand Theft Auto " series, but with a larger scope of activities and a warped sense of humor. Here are 10 of the craziest things players are capable of doing in "Saints Row IV" — thus far.
Save the world from nuclear disaster — with help from Aerosmith
The opening level of "Saints Row IV" has you and your Saints invading the compound of terrorists who are about to launch a nuclear missile into Steelport. Your character grabs onto the missile after it launches, slowly climbing up and disabling its panels while avoiding debris. As this is happening, the development team pokes fun at the Michael Bay film "Armageddon," with Aerosmith's "I Don't Want To Miss a Thing" playing in the background and characters saying fond (or not-so-fond) farewells to you. But your character survives and lands smack dab in the desk chair in the Oval Office. [See also: The Top 10 Largest Nuclear Tests ]
Make presidential decisions no president ever could
As you start the game, you're the president, working his (or her) way down the hall to the press conference room. Along the way, you can make a few decisions, whether it's smacking around a senator bent on filibustering you, or helping your vice president, actor Keith David, decide whether to end world hunger or put a stop to cancer (with "[expletive] cancer" as the decisive choice). Your actions don't really have much of an effect on the rest of the game, but it's good to see the reactions from your choices.
Customize to your heart's content
Not only can you customize your character's appearance — from wearing a zoot suit to running around naked — but you can also adjust his or her attitude and voice. You can even choose a female character and use Nolan North — the voice actor behind " Uncharted "'s Nathan Drake — as her default dialect. In addition, the game also lets you give your weapons a personal touch, such as turning a rocket launcher into the lethal guitar case from the movie "Desperado."
Your character is able to adopt superpowers, which come in handy when an alien force invades Steelport. One of the better powers is being able to run at light speed through the streets. Not only does it enable you to get to locations faster, but you can run over everything — enemies, cars, passersby — with ease. [See also: Why Warp Drives Aren't Just Science Fiction ]
Fly like the wind
One other new ability that comes in handy, especially in avoiding confrontations on the ground, is flying. Get to a high enough spot in the city and you can glide around with ease, targeting enemies on the rooftop and finding hidden power gems that can increase your fighting capabilities. Furthermore, you can add an exclamation point to your flight by performing a devastating "ground pound," zeroing in on enemies and scattering them everywhere.
Blow people up — as in, inflate them
One of the coolest guns in the "Saints Row IV" world is the Inflation Ray. With this, you can turn innocent passersby into balloons, inflating them to the point that their eyes bug out of their heads. Once they get full enough, they explode into a bloody mess — which is ideal for the world of "Saints Row." [See also: Could an X-Ray Death Ray Really Work? ]
It's great driving around with various vehicles in Steelport, but "Saints Row IV" has an ideal vehicle for cutting through traffic — a full-size robot. Climb into this bad boy and you can level anything in your path with guns and missiles. Furthermore, you can save your ammunition and simply walk over enemies while barely taking a scratch.
As part of your superhuman abilities, you're given the power to freeze anything — cars, enemies, innocent folk — and shatter them with one of your guns or a well-placed punch. With flying enemies, this is a superb ability, as you can stop them cold — literally — and watch them crash into the streets.
Open up a black hole
The Black Hole Gun is a remarkable weapon for the world of "Saints Row IV," as it allows you to open a space rift pretty much anywhere you want to on the map. From there, it does the dirty work for you, sucking up everything within a small radius — including cars — and evaporating it out of sight. For larger foes, this is a truly efficient weapon. And it's entertaining to watch these bad boys open up.
Bring death by dubstep
Finally, if there's one weapon you must experience in "Saints Row IV," it has to be the Dubstep gun. This laser rifle runs on the beat of a Skrillex-style groove, with whomever you're shooting stopping in their tracks and dancing themselves to their demise after just a few seconds. You can blow up cars and tanks with it, too, if you shoot at them long enough.
If you want a (nonlethal) Dubstep gun of your own, you can preorder the "Wub Wub" edition of the game (preselling now for $99.99). It includes a physical recreation of the gun, complete with audio effects.
"Saints Row IV" will arrive on Aug. 20 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC for $59.99.
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