Tucked away in one of the private meeting rooms of the LA Convention Center, Deep Silver is showing off Saints Row IV with hands on demonstrations exploring two sections of gameplay. So, does the game live up to the series’ crass, yet endlessly entertaining pedigree? I only got to spend half an hour with the game but, from what I’ve seen, it looks like fans of the series are in for a treat once Aug. 20 rolls around.

The game opens with you, the leader of the most powerful gang in the world, The Saints, settling into your new job as the most powerful person on the planet, the President of the United States of America. Some familiar faces from the previous Saints Row games make an appearance, and then everything goes to hell as a horde of aliens decide to invade. So, yeah, business as usual for The Saints.

After pumping a few dozen bullets into the series’ new antagonists, the demo fades to black and jumps forward to a later point in the story, when your character has been given super powers. So now you’re a super-charged president with a glowing katana and a cannon that creates black holes. If that doesn’t pique your interest, maybe Saints Row IV just isn’t going to be the game for you. If that’s the sort of ridiculousness you can really get behind, however, then expect it to be dished out in heaping helpings once Deep Silver finally releases the game for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC on Aug. 20.

While most of the controls are the same as you remember, you’re super Pres. has also been given some new abilities to help them go toe to toe with the alien scum. Your jump is more like a bound, and holding the button down for a moment will allow you to catapult your character hundreds of feet into the air.

You can now run along the sides of buildings, sprint faster than any of the cars (almost making me wonder why driving is even an option at this point) glide through the skies and unleash a bunch of super powers that let you freeze enemies, set everyone on fire and grab/hurl object with kinesis.

That’s all complemented by the game’s trademark cheeky humor, complete with goofy one-liners, rude gestures and more than enough profanity.

Finally, my hands-on demo wouldn’t have been complete without taking the Dubstep gun for a spin. And by “a spin,” I mean that an unfortunate majority of my demo was spent unleashing the thing on innocent bystanders, silently giggling to myself as neon lights and earth-rumbling wub-wub set nearby people to dancing and made everything else in the area explode. It was glorious.

From what I’ve seen, Saints Row IV isn’t trying to reinvent the series. It’s still the same sandbox you’ve grown used to playing in. The difference is that said sandbox now comes packed with some shiny new toys.

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