Thursday, December 15, 2011

30 Minute Playtest: Saints Row The Third

Crazy. That's the best way to describe the first 30 minutes with THQ's new sandbox epic. Before I'd even had time to catch a breath, I'd been involved in a bank heist - on a scale similar to that brilliant moment in GTA IV - evaded the cops, been captured by a rival gang, flung myself from an aircraft, and bought a giant pink dildo to give passers by a sound beating. Oh yeah, and there was the little incident at the heavily defended army base where I stole an armoured vehicle and shot Predator missles into incoming tanks. And a helicopter flight. And a few car thefts. Shoot outs. And a bit of character customization! Phew.

Put aside the craziness, however, and those first 30 ludicrous minutes of gameplay left me craving more and suggested that this is certainly bigger, better and even more outrageous than the fantastic second instalment and its jailbreak intro.

Since those first few scenes of mayhem, it's clear that the Third Street Saints have their work cut on by taking on the new kids on the block, The Syndicate - a well-funded gang that wants its share of the spoils in Steelport. Your assets have been frozen so you're starting with no money and no hideout, and it's not long before you're mugging pedestrians and completing insane missions to earn some cash. More money means more weapons and upgrades - including the adorementioned giant floppy dildo!

If you were a fan of the previous games in the series or other sandbox epics like GTA IV, the format will be instantly accessible. Accessing your phone brings up a map and allows you to set the GPS for the best route between locations. From this handy menu you can also call for help from gangmembers, as well as checking out upgrades and mission information. A scrollwheel also gives access to those all important weapons.

There are loads of missions to enjoy and the dialogue is funny as hell - but there's also plenty of enjoyment to be had from straying off the beaten path, stealing a car and exploring the vast map. You'll be hooked from the start. It looks and feels better than the second game - but one thing hasn't changed... the fun factor!


Does it beat JC2 for sheer balls out mental?

Just Cause 2 was full of destruction and freedom... but Saints is truly "mental" - the story makes little sense but it really doesn't matter! Recommended!!! And it's got co-op so you can share the mayhem!