In Saints Row 4, you play the leader of the Saints and the President of the United States, and are tasked with fighting off aliens using a mixture of superpowers and futuristic weaponry. The Saints Row series has made a habit of trying to outdo itself in terms of ridiculousness, and apparently after introducing a certain purple sex toy that can be used as a weapon in Saints Row 3, Volition decided that aliens and superheroes were the next logical step.

To give gamers a better idea of what they’re in for when the game arrives this summer, Volition has released seven minutes of gameplay footage with commentary by producer Jim Boone, which you can watch above. The video gives an outline of Saints Row 4‘s plot, such as it is, and shows some of the game’s more radical new gameplay elements in action.

A few items in this video are things that we’ve heard of before – the inflater-ray and dubstep gun being the most memorable examples – and earlier promotional screenshots have already shown the rocket launcher that can be customized to look like a guitar case. The main enemies in this game are the Zin, an army of invading aliens who have kidnapped several members of the Saints and planted their mother ships all over Steelport.

Saints Row 4 Gameplay Footage

As you can probably tell from watching the footage, particularly the latter half of the video, Saints Row 4 now bears a greater resemblance to the Prototype games than it does to the Grand Theft Auto series. In fact, a lot of the superpowers and animations that are shown off seem similar to Prototype. Before we put derivativeness on the “cons” list for this footage, however, it’s important to remember just how much fun the chaotic, cathartic, overpowered gameplay of the Prototype games was, turning the city into the player’s own personal playground with plenty of targets for smashing.

It would be a bigger issue if Saints Row 4 was drawing inspiration from games that weren’t good to begin with, but since it’s extremely unlikely that we’re ever going to get a Prototype 3, Saints Row 4 will do for a substitute.

One of the things that might be considered a drawback for fans of classic Saints Row action is that there doesn’t seem to be much incentive for the regular old kind of driving or shooting – though you might consider that a positive. The video shows the player stealing a monster truck and using it to silence some police sirens, but when you’re playing a character who can probably run faster than most of the cars in the game, stealing vehicles seems a little redundant.

What do you think of this gameplay footage? Are superheroes and sci-fi the right direction for the Saints Row series, or do you think this is the wrong kind of ridiculous?

Saints Row 4 releases August 20, 2013 for the PS3, PC, and Xbox 360.