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'Saints Row IV' cleared for Australian release

tech reviews Updated: Aug 23, 2013 18:01 IST
Saints Row IV

Better a month late than never, as Australian pre-orders for off-the-wall action game "Saints Row IV" will come with Presidential character costumes in keeping with its White House theme.

Often risque in its approach, "Saints Row IV" was granted an MA15+ classification at the third time of asking after its publisher agreed to remove a problematic mission.

The game puts players in the shoes of the US President, formerly a street thug before becoming a commercial hit, and then heading up an international peace keeping agency before assuming Oval Office duties.

Outlandish as that may seem, it's perfectly in line with the "Saints Row" schtick provided by Illinois studio Volition Inc., once a sideways look at the "Grand Theft Auto" series, now a bona fide success in its own right, stuffed full of pop culture references.

"Saints Row IV," for example, dares to grab hold of "The Matrix" and turn that 15-year-old film's virtual reality superpowers into a game better than any of the licensed tie-ins that followed.

Sci-fi franchise "Mass Effect" is also given a thorough ribbing, while designs and lines crib from "Predator," "Apocalypse Now," "Armageddon," "Star Wars," "The West Wing" and, quite typically, "Rainbow Brite."

But despite crude humor and ridiculously excessive violence, the Australian Classification Board refused to let Volition's game through due to the presence of an optional mission that sees side-character and Secret Service chief Shaundi smoke alien drugs in order to gain superpowers.

With the mission now removed, Australian distributor AIE confirmed that locals would be able to get hold of the game from September 12 on Xbox 360 and PC, and September 19 on PlayStation 3, rewarded for their patience with the Presidential Pack's costumes and facemasks that let players dress up as Abe Lincoln, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.