Prepare for madness – Saints Row: The Third hands on preview

It’s been a little while now since I last got to see Saints Row: The Third in action, so I jumped for joy upon discovering that I could get my hands on the game at a student lifestyle event of all places – It seems that university is even crazier than I’d first heard!

I opted to start a new game rather than play on somebody else’s file, and this started with a hilarious advert for the energy drink “Saints Flow”. Basically what this consisted of is a guy getting beaten up by about five others before taking a drink of Saints Flow and proceeding to kick all of their asses, he then dunks a basketball and poses for the camera with the drink. This truly hilarious little ad goes to show just how far the Saints have come since we last saw them in the city of Stillwater.

I was then thrust straight into the game’s first mission with the bank robbery as seen before, however instead of shooting my way out of the bank to safety, I immediately put down my guns and proceeded to beat the crap out of all people that opposed me. It was easy to see that Volition have indeed revamped the melee combat as promised – simple punches and kicks are performed with the right trigger (R2 on PS3) and will see your opponent dead within a few hits, whereas the more cinematic finishing combos are performed with the left trigger (L2 on PS3) and your opponent won’t be getting back up after one of these. Some finishing combos feature on-screen button prompts, but having both failed and succeeded in hitting the requested buttons, I didn’t see a difference in the attacks – this could however be due to the early build of the game I played.

After managing to dropkick and punch my way through the hordes of swat members, and not forgetting to sign an autograph for a loyal Saints fan, I was presented with the mission’s awesome ending piece and then set free to do as I pleased on the streets of Steelport. This is where the real fun began!

Within seconds, several civilians lay broken at my feet with the telltale marks of a dildo bat (a.k.a The Penetrator)on all of them, but I didn’t stop there! I went on a full scale rampage earning me a rating of three shields from the police and several angry Luchadores after my blood! The situation became increasingly crazy as helicopters, swat vans, and Mexican wrestlers chased me through downtown Steelport like some kind of wild animal, but with airstrike guns and mind controlling Genki squids at my disposal I was unstoppable.

Oh, and did I forget to mention the lion’s head, bikini top and cheerleader skirt that I was wearing? The costume shop (Let’s Pretend) holds host to a variety of outfits including pirate, cowboy and super hero suits, and combined with the plastic surgeon (complete with sex appeal slider and tan line generator) you can really make your character look however you want them to. And from what I saw today, a giant green gorilla wielding a dildo was pretty normal!

Once the situation with the law had calmed down I decided to briefly stop by the Professor Genki super ethical reality climax show and have a quick game of Professor Genki’s Super Sparkle Lab – the objective? Fight through a booby trapped laboratory whilst shooting stuff. It was incredibly fun, but if I see another set of electric gates at any point in my lifetime, I think I’m going to cry.

After my little stint on the game show I went to check out the gun store to see what was new, and it didn’t disappoint. Weapons can now be upgraded to various different levels, with each level drastically improving the weapon’s performance.
An example of this is the shiny new pump action shotgun that I bought; by the time I’d upgraded it from level one to level four, it had an increased ammo capacity, a laser sight, a semi auto firing rate, a grip handle and a torch attachment on it. Unfortunately though, not all weapons are upgradable which is a shame as I was hoping to put spikes or something on my dildo bat, and also, at $100,000 the Apoca-fists are a bit pricey!

Another area in which Saints Row The Third has seen a definite improvement is the driving.
For starters, the accelerator has been moved from the A/X button to the RT/R2 button to keep with the times, and the driving speed has been much improved which makes those long journeys a lot more entertaining and those car chases a lot more hectic.
Skidding around corners is now possible with the A/X button when driving, and you can also shoot from your car by using the LB/L1.
Perhaps the greatest thing about cars in Saints Row: The Third though is the fact that they can be customised to drastically improve their performance, and that’s why I paid a visit to Rim Jobs.

There are lots more customisation options for vehicles now and these have been divided into categories including “performance” and “visual”. I chose to completely improve the performance of my car by reinforcing the bumper, reinforcing the frame, improving tire durability, improving torque, adding kneecappers (spikes coming out of the wheels) and of course adding nitrous.
Besides the nitrous and kneecappers, all of these improvements are made in levels in the same way as when improving your weapons, and the resulting effect of the highest level of car customisation was an extremely fast, seemingly invincible vehicle – no matter how many times I crashed or flipped at high speed, I couldn’t seem to get a scratch on my new bumper.
It wasn’t long then before I found myself being chased around by angry masked Mexicans and SWAT members… again.

As well as the ordinary vehicles in the game, I did have a fortunate run-in with the Gatmobile – a vehicle featuring a giant Johnny Gat head complete with flamethrower disguised as cigar. Of course this served to somehow improve the time I was having, as several innocents were barbequed in the name of fun.
Unfortunately though I couldn’t find the two vehicles that I wanted to try the most – the VTOL jet and the Genki Car, but I think that if I’d been allowed to have anymore fun with the game it would have been considered illegal, so I can count myself lucky.


After my experience with the game I can safely say that Saints Row: The Third doesn’t just retain all of the craziness and fun of it’s predecessors, it magnifies it tenfold and leaves you with an idiotic grin on your face even if you’re doing nothing in particular. Judging from comments such as “This is the best game ever” and “That Saints Row 3 is heavy you know” floating around whilst I was playing, I don’t think that I’m the only one who is desperately awaiting the moment that the game is released on the 15th of November in the US and 18th in the UK.

Copyright © 2011 MCM BUZZ – Movies, TV, Comics, Gaming, Anime, Cosplay News & Reviews