Support Paul, click to buy via us...
Saints Row The Third has been released on 360 and been provided for us to preview/review by the publisher.
Believe it or not we are still playing it. Here are some extracts of what we made of it in chronological order:
"Saints Row: The Third is a good time on steroids. Even a hardened multiplayer loving gamer such as me can see the sound entertainment logic behind running around an imaginary city naked dominating enemies with psychic sea creatures. Some will dismiss all this frivolity as just that, a feel good flash in the pan, but there is actually a lot more substance here than such a verdict would suggest..."
- Multiplayer Gamer (Fri, 06 Jan 2012)
Saints Row the Third 360 is absolutely ludicrous compared to more serious open world games, but that may not be a bad thing.
Getting some hands-on time with Saints Row the Third at the recent Eurogamer Expo, I was soon comfortable in spite of never having played the previous two games in the series. Saints Row the Third plays like you would expect an open world crime game set in a contemporary American city to play.
Run around, steal a car, pull a gun and open fire. It's criminal business as usual.
What distinguishes this game from, say, GTAIV, is the way that everything in Saints Row the Third has been turned up, exaggerated for maximum entertainment value. Crash a car, and the results aren't a bump and a dent, but the most over the top crash imaginable, with bodies flying through the windshield and landing in impossible positions.
A lot of the game's excesses, like the squid gun (which is exactly what it sounds like) and fetish-armoured gangs are absolutely ridiculous, but these cartoonish elements aren't necessarily a bad thing. They call these sandbox games, and sandboxes are meant for play - Saints Row the Third's lack of restraint feels like a licence to have cartoonish fun on a grand, bombastic scale.
Of course, running around causing random mayhem is only fun for so long, and Saints Row the Third will need a satisfying mission structure and over-arching story to provide anything more than brief thrills.
Just messing around I stumbled upon one ongoing thread, by shooting up a gas station which turned out to be a base for one of the gangs, who proceeded to fight back. The shootout was easy but a lot of fun, and turned out to be one base ticked off a list of such encampments I needed to destroy in a Crackdown-style campaign against the gang.
It will be interesting to see how Saints Row the Third plays as a full game, without the tweaks and constraints imposed upon a finite demo. On the basis of my time with the game, it's certainly one to watch if you like your open world games broad and bombastic.
Saints Row the Third is released for 360, PS3 and PC on 15 November 2011.
Saints Row The Third doesn't hold anything back, instead of a drip feed of abilities and locations it relies on your ability to sculpt a character and life in the world to draw you in.
In spite of the looming shadow of the GTA series, Saints Row has successfully found a great following and defined its own trademark style and appeal. This year, the third instalment is due to break, enter and probably re-arrange your crib.
In Saints Row The Third, the latest appropriately-titled entry in the series, THQ and Volition have once again forged their own path. While most open-world games task the player to rise through a criminal fraternity from the bottom, gradually gaining influence and power, Saints Row The Third begins with the player at the head of the street gang that has claimed the city and must now defend it from the attentions of The Syndicate -- a shadowy crime organisation seeking to claim the city for their own.
By opening the game with the player in full command of a city-wide set of resources and powers Saints Row 3 takes a huge gamble and promises to provide a differently flavoured experience.
Rather than providing players with a predetermined character and asking them to follow their path, Saints Row has always delivered a constum experience. Player character, vehicle and even your own home can be refined to your personal taste. In what was once a crowded open-world space, with many games trying to recreate GTA's magic formula, Saints Row has set itself apart with a great sense of fun, a bright palette and expression through user customisation.
Saints Row The Third is due for a release towards the end of 2011 for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: