Saints Row 4

Mod of the Week: First Person View, for Saints Row 4

Christopher Livingston at

Which do you prefer: first-person games or third-person games? Don't answer, because it doesn't matter, because mods. The First Person View mod for Saints Row 4 takes your eyes (which have been hovering in the middle distance behind you) and crams them back into your presidential skull where they belong. Of course, this causes your head to completely vanish. It's weird. I'll explain below.

A mod that takes a game made for a third-person perspective and forces it to become first-person seems like it's setting itself up to fail, but actually, first-person SR4 is a surprisingly decent and natural-feeling experience. Just keep a couple things in mind, mainly that the mod is still in alpha (and Volition has yet to release official mod tools), so there are additional tweaks and fixes to come. Also, once you've installed the mod and start running around, your eyes will bounce around inside your head a bit, letting you look at the inside of your own face.

Looking at your own face makes it a second-person shooter, I guess.

Luckily, there’s a simple fix, and it involves shopping.

Everyone relax. I don't have a head, but I am still your president.

Drive or sprint over to the nearest Planet Zim clothing store. Once there, you’ll need to buy a particular item, the Saints Fleur Chain (remember, it's in hat menu, not the necklace one). You’ll notice (like Marty McFly’s older brother after Marty started dating his own mom) that your head has now disappeared. It’s a bit distracting, just like in real life when you meet someone who doesn't have a head, but having an invisible head means you won’t have to stare at the back of your teeth while you run around. No one else seems to notice that you’re running around headless, or if they do notice, they’re politely keeping their comments to themselves as you plow into them at 90 miles per hour.

Seriously. Why do you guys even try.

Shooting guns in first-person mode is works just fine, for the most part. Okay, your weapons don't exactly fit into your hands, which you won't notice too often, seeing as how you'll be busy pumping bullets into cops and aliens and citizens. Pistols and machine guns feel roughly as good as they do in third-person mode, which is to say, well, not that great, really? But fun enough! The rocket launcher is a bit weird, as it sort of phases out of reality when you reload it, but otherwise, it feels perfectly normal and natural to be suddenly killing everything and anything in first-person.

Same crazy shooting, fresh new perspective.

Where the mod really becomes fun is when you start using your superpowers. Super-sprint and you’ll blast face-first through vehicles and pedestrians, making the world seem even more vulnerable to your sheer awesomeness. Super-jumping, meanwhile, makes you feel like Faith from Mirror's Edge after a massive dose of gamma rays. If you look down while jumping, you'll see arms pinwheel for balance and your legs and knees shifting and moving as you sail through the air. Wall-climbing a tall building and then super-jumping off the top is amazingly fun and exciting from this new in-head view.

I'm like the Hulk, only with tattoos, and much more violent.

Death from Above, the power-up for the super-jump, also feels pretty great in first-person. Hovering in the air above an enemy while you peer down and target them in first-person view makes you feel like a real superhero (or superjerk, I guess, if you’re targeting an innocent citizen or mascot). Unleashing the move is a little wonky, as you occasionally wind up looking through the inside of your arm as you plummet back down to the street. Still, supremely satisfying and fun from a new perspective.

Death from Above is the best, and now even better.

Once you've jumped around the entire city for a couple hours, take a break from Mirror's Edge and visit Bioshock, because Telekinesis is also fun in first-person. Pick up cars (or dudes), hover 'em around in front of your outstretched hands, and fling 'em into dudes (or cars).

Gently informing a construction worker that his union-mandated break is over.

Driving still takes place in third-person view, so you get to watch your headless body drag drivers out of their vehicle, which is funny and a little horrifying. (Frankly, I generally prefer to drive in third-person view in games anyway, except maybe in the Far Cry series.) Also, while you’re driving, your head is kind enough to reappear, so you can check your clown makeup or face tattoos in the mirror.

This pedestrian died for a screenshot, and I salute him. Or make SOME sort of gesture.

Would I play through the entire game like this? I kinda doubt it, but if you're looking for an excuse to pop back in and play more SR4 than you already have, this is a fun mode to play around with, and, like I said, it really does feel pretty natural to suddenly be playing in first-person mode. Hopefully future versions of the mod will include a toggle for switching between first and third person views on the fly.

Rockets. Red glare. America.

Installation: Again, the mod is still in alpha, and there have already been several versions released (this write-up is based on v0.3). Visit this thread for the latest version (scroll down to the bottom of the first post). The installation instructions are there as well, and they're simple: just extract the files, drop 'em in your SR4 install folder, and launch the game.