Today I Played: Saints Row 4

If you haven't played a Saints Row game, then Saints Row 4 probably isn't what you assume it is.

Developer Volition has transformed one of the medium's most despicable series into a savvy parody, and has done so without relinquishing a lot of the original's base appeal. The plot of Saints Row 4 progresses via a series of sex scenes, shootouts and poop jokes, but with pleasure and levity, not cynicism and cruelty. It's scrapped human enemies of previous entries for aliens, and most of the extreme violence for cartoon-like attacks. Watch the video for footage of the Inflatoray and the Weapon of Mass Abduction.

Saints Row 4 is the ideal game for a Today I Played, because its world is like a performance space. There are streets, skyscrapers and elevated train tracks, sure, but really the space — and the abilities — are just props with which the player can weave together dozens of surreal scenes into their own summer action film.

I hadn't thought of that comparison, really. How, in a summer of bleak superhero movies, Saints Row 4 is a salve of happiness.

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