When we first saw Saints Row: The Third, we thought we got a fairly good idea as to the direction it was taking - in an effort to distance itself from the competition, the latest Saints Row game has thrown reality out the window to give a no-holds-barred exercise in over-the-top action and plain silliness. It seems that despite being shown the big purple dildo-bats and the man cannon-mobile, nothing can quite prepare you for the level of "what the bitch?" that Saints Row: The Third has reached.
|Quantum of solace in the fact that your bum doesn't look big in that...
We first realised that something was wrong (and by 'wrong', we mean 'Jesus Christ what the hell have we gotten ourselves into?') when we checked out the games take on Horde-mode. Called 'Whored Mode' (queue: Snickering), in the first wave we found ourselves surrounded by men in gimp masks armed with the big purple dildos, and all we had were flame-throwers. This is a co-op enabled mode, so there were two of us and we had to torch our foes to death whilst avoiding getting bludgeoned to death by (hopefully un-used) oversized sex toys. Trust me when we say that things got far worse from then on.
Whored mode is the co-op offering the developers hinted at when we last saw them. Apart from the drop-in/drop-out co-op of the main game (which includes co-op specific missions, as well as the ability to play the whole game in co-op), this is the only form of multiplayer the game has at the moment. It's ok, if a bit whacky. There are a number of maps to choose from, and each maps comes with its own wave set, although the sets will be the same every time you play through a map. The waves differ from boss fights (which are the most normal waves, it has to be said) from whacky scenarios like the one described above. It's not really something you'll want to play on your own though, so make you bring a friend your sexually comfortable with - it could get messy.
Then there is the main game itself - the first mission you've probably seen a dozen times by now, as it's the same as what we saw too. You've probably even seen the second mission as well, the one with the Jet airplane. Both are equally as ridiculous an action, and both are equally as over-the-top - like we mentioned in our last preview, the missions are more crafted set-pieces that allow for bigger and better things, and the opening part of the game sums that up perfectly. In essence, you're playing to different games - you're playing the story via a string of connected missions, and then there's the open world portion of the game that's more your stock GTA
|You are the (sex) controller...
There are some things in the missions that simply aren't possible in the main game, and visa-versa. Both have their purpose, and both are there for different things. The missions will deal with each of the three gangs that inhabit Steelport in turn, and they are all interconnected, so your decisions with one gang will affect how the others behave in relation to you. There is also a fairly 'open' approach to the missions, as many of them can be completed in several ways and there will be multiple endings.
When you're not following the story however, you'll be wanting to earn money and slowly take over Steelport from the other gangs. You basically have to roam the town looking for stuff to do, like breaking up gang operations, recruiting new members, and buying property. Like all open world games, it's easy to get lost wondering around and doing stuff, and if we were to criticise the game at this juncture we'd point out that a bit more direction wouldn't hurt. Also, the placements of missions and tasks etc... is a bit erratic, forcing you to traipse all over the city despite the fact that your base at the beginning is confined to one small area.
Our time with Saints Row 3
was limited, but fun. We haven't even talked about the character creation system yet, the potential of which is as vast as the players potential to create some bat-shit crazy characters with it. In the interest of time management, we decided to stick with the stock character, but watching some of my colleagues create some truly weird and wonderful 'people' (if you could even call them that once they had finished with them) was just as entertaining as going around beating up bystanders with a massive comedy glove.
It's not long now until Saints Row: The Third dildo-punches its way onto shelves, and to be honest it's one to look forward to. We suspect the open-world segments may fall short a bit in the long term, it really depends if volition can keep the variety up and stop things from getting stale - certainly making the city smaller but denser is a step in the right direction though. It's the missions though where most of the attention has gone so as long as you care about seeing the story through you should have plenty to enjoy in this game. Saints Row: The Third is due out on PC, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 on November 15th in North America, and November 18th in Europe.
Most Anticipated Feature: There's just so much silliness in this game, it's hard to point at one thing.
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