Hands On – Saints Row: The Third

By John Walker on November 3rd, 2011 at 1:00 pm.

Really, it's nothing like you're expecting.

What are you expecting from Saints Row: The Third? From the promotional material so far, it’s probably an awful lot. They’re promising the moon. I’ve had a good long play of the early stages of what’s obviously a huge game, so I’m beginning to get an idea of quite how it’s balancing it all.

Obviously copied from Grand Theft Auto III onward, the first Saints Row was a pointless game. If you’re like me, when you play GTA there comes a point where you stop following the story, stop checking the missions, and just go insane. Run over as many people as you can, see how many cars you can blow up, and act like a wrecking ball. Then it’s out of your system and you’re back to the game. Saints Row has tried to embrace that space, to create a game within those moments of madness. But the first was too tied down to its own self-belief, an idea that it was supposed to be the wacky thing, that if it was outlandish enough, you’d experience the same. And it didn’t work. It was just a weak GTA in a sea of foul puns and deeply unpleasant stereotypes.

Then along came Saints Row 2, without much expectation from us, and it was remarkable. It figured it out. It had to let the player be the one having the fun. But at the same time, it structured spraying shit on neighbourhoods within a strong, solid story of gang rivalry, and the characters within it. Suffering barely forgivable issues in a crappy PC conversion, however, meant that we always felt detached from the fun we should be having, staggering framerates and poor textures keeping the joy at arm’s length.

Third time lucky? Well, Saints Row 3 is aiming to be something else, too. If you’ve seen any of the trailers, then you’ll know Volition’s presented aim is to go even deeper into that crazy space, to let the whole game be an outlandish mess of mayhem, crammed with three-foot dildos, wrestling giants and airstrikes. It’s interesting to discover quite how much of that is pomp, a veneer hiding a second thoughtful, smart and structured game.

Whether you want to hear that or not will probably determine how much you’ll want to play. But I get the impression that it’s all for everyone’s own good. Because like giving a kid the key to the sweet shop, eventually you’ll be sticky, sick and miserable, desperate for a sensible cheese and ham sandwich. It’s as if Volition can’t help but be clever, while desperately hoping the cooler kids won’t notice.

So pretty much straight away, after going through the absolutely incredible character creator (I’ve never seen such astonishing detail letting you craft every feature to intricate detail), you’re deeply involved in the plot. This begins in Stilwater, the frustratingly spelt hometown of the first two games, where the Saints have become the dominant gang to a massive degree. You’re taking part in a bank heist, during which the police and hostages beg you for your autograph. A heist in which you’re all wearing masks of your leader, Johnny Gatt, including Johnny Gatt. You’re at the top of your game, rather than a lowly grunt working their way up the ranks.

Then weirdly that all comes to an end. For various reasons you find yourself in a new town, Steelport, where the Saints are not nearly so revered. It’s a strange move, since there has been so much noise made by the developers about how they don’t want you to feel on the bottom rung again. However, once again, it’s cleverer than that. Steelport is ruled by the Syndicate, a collective of other gangs who control various sections of the large city, and they’re not pleased by the arrival of the Saints. Because, your reputation comes with you. So it’s sort of both, really. Yes, you’re starting the domination of another city, but I’ve never felt like I’m on the bottom rung.

Pretty much straight away the game starts throwing toys at you. That catapult vehicle, that vacuums up pedestrians and then lets you fire them at buildings/cars/police, is almost instantly available. Within the first hour you’re equipped with a tool that lets you call down airstrikes, even controlling missiles. There’s no question that you’re instantly powerful. But of course this means the opposing gangs have also stepped things up. You’ll perhaps not be prepared for a game which involves genetic experiments and science fiction technology. Because Saints Row 3 isn’t held back by anything petty like reality.

And yet, at the same time, so far it feels like a very structured game. While I can have mad moments tearing up the city, I’m finding myself far more drawn to completing the chains of missions I’m offered via my cellphone. Because here, even in those missions that are really just introducing some of the side-games, comes a ton of brilliant character-driven action. Superbly crafted companions provide awesome cutscene entertainment, as well as enjoyable banter as they join you in a task. Banter that, sadly, repeats identically if you need to restart a mission, which in an especially tricky one can grow to grate rather deeply. Talking of which, character barks are so idiotically sparse that I grew to hate them within the first couple of hours, especially when they’re spurted completely out of context. Pedestrian barks are similarly misplaced, with people screaming at me about the speed I’m driving when I crawl gently down the road. Which inevitably gives me the license I require to run them over.

I’ll get onto the side-games, the tone of the missions, and the more extreme madness, in a second preview next week. This time I’m hoping to convey a more general atmosphere of the game, that exists in that peculiar space between all-you-can-eat playground and structured, almost linear game. A space I think that couldn’t have been much better chosen. But that also brings me onto that other issue of Saints Row: taste.

It’s so strange. Like Saints Row 2, everything about SR3 seems to be designed to be massively offensive, and yet completely fails to be. Missions involving rounding up “hos”, strip clubs, endless references to “bitches”, and the like, are so peculiarly powerless. The portrayal of men isn’t much more rounded, really, which certainly creates a feeling teetering toward balance (but still a long way off), and I’m left feeling confused and hypocritical about it all. I think it really helps that I’m playing a female character, whom I designed to be overweight and have dressed deliberately slobbily. That she’s voiced by a great actor, and treated by the other characters in the game not only as their boss, something they greatly respect, but also as a woman, makes a difference. I don’t want to get too distracted by this here – I think this is a matter for a much longer, more thought-through piece after the game is out. But I just want to report that somehow, within the extreme attempts to be offensive, it’s not really doing a great job of that. It does, however, seem to be doing a pretty good job of everything else.

I’ll be back with lots more specifics next week.

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83 Comments »

  1. Network Crayon says:

    Saints Row 3 Promises to be the Super Villian Sim i’ve always wanted.

  2. Sami H says:

    “bitches”

    Here we go again…

    • alundra says:

      don’t worry, you can play as an ugly fatso woman in a position of power, that erodes any other worries.

    • Quizboy says:

      Valid point still valid: shock!

    • Maktaka says:

      I for one would like to have Wayne Brady’s input on the situation.

    • DaFishes says:

      Yeah, “Don’t worry, you can also play as an unattractive woman who (GASP) still manages to garner respect” doesn’t really mitigate the “lol bitches” factor.

      I am, however, pleased that you can play as a woman, and that whatever you play, they let you get your look precisely the way you want. People do some pretty awesome things with their Saints Row characters.

    • alundra says:

      @DaFishes

      No?? it doesn’t mitigate it?? in your opinion what would it take to mitigate it??

      this, having in account that you obviously have never dealt with the dark side of an unattractive woman in a position of power.

    • Cooper says:

      Any utterance of bitch does not hold the same power and importance as any other utterance of the same word. Nor does it necessarily convey the same meaning.

      This is something that (particularly US folk around ‘the C word’) often fail to grasp.

      The Batman AC problem was that it was in amongst some pretty lazy and myopic treatment of female characters. Moreover, that it was so lazy and had so little thought behind it (like most sexism) it becomes even more vital to speak against. (Unthinking predjudice often deserves more attention and vocal critique, as it usually more prevalent and accepted.)

      Here, from the videos (which have been oddly focused on inciting objection) and small previews, it’s not that the laziness isn’t there, it’s that it’s amongst a context of some nuance. At least if it’s anything like SR2.

      And, yes, bveing able to express oneself as a fat woman and find power invested in that character by your treatment by others in a world does, to a large extent, diminsh the power of unthinking sexist utterances of ‘bitch’.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      “And, yes, bveing able to express oneself as a fat woman and find power invested in that character by your treatment by others in a world does, to a large extent, diminsh the power of unthinking sexist utterances of ‘bitch’.”

      No. Just look again at that screenshot. Really empowering, huh? So stupid can’t believe John means that.

    • Danorz says:

      do you mean that screenshot where the person that is the most scantily dressed in sexualised garments is the man in the gimp mask

    • Mctittles says:

      I might start caring about these petty things the day that midgets are no longer an acceptable person to joke about.
      Who has it worse off really?

      But no, they aren’t the ‘popular’ thing to complain about.

    • Mctittles says:

      Case in point:
      http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/09/13/hands-on-payday-the-heist/
      (search for midget)

      And that’s just recent. Want to find other physical disabilities, cultural differences, lifestyle choices that RPS finds funny? Just think of one and do a search.

      Too complicated? Ok, only women, gays, and blacks are allowed getting a tear over.

    • Merus says:

      nah, this sounds fine. The Arkham City stuff was never about the word, it was about the misogyny inherent in the tone of the game. This isn’t something a lot of gamers are good at noticing.

      Saints Row 3 sounds like it’s satirising misogyny, which is pretty brave. I know the kind of feminists who get really bothered by the way games present gender really liked Saints Row 2 because the PC was The Boss over and above their gender. It sounds like Saints Row 3 will be just as inclusive even when it’s being excluding, which is quite the trick.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      I have got to say…most discussions about political correctness reek of some guys just wanting to make themselves important, rather than there actually really REALLY being an issue.

      Also it is sad that we are so obsessed about the perceived weak sides and victims that in general it becomes so one-sided that the fathers that are unable to get custody, the men that are domestically abused etc in real life barely seem to “exist”.
      Or how, in our genre, the men that are constantly portrayed as the brutalizing, corrupted, deviant villains, just as much as always have-to-be-doing-the-right-thing heroes create either a vision of unreachable manlyness and moral that is hardly ever achievable by an actual human or an aura of evil and danger that in turn makes all the “oh that evil rapist gender has to be punished, tamed and put away” stereotyping stronger.

      I don’t have enough vocabulary or structure here, but my point is this: the one sided bemoaning of supposed offense makes me sick, especially as it is the people who actually take this crap serious in the first place(and yes, that is very much those that take offense in the first place for the most part) that give the words their power to hurt and abuse, not those making light of them.

      Comedy/Parody/Humour saves and cleanses.

  3. djbriandamage says:

    I bought Saint’s Row 2 because of the praise RPS and PC Gamer bestowed, but I never got more than 30 minutes in because it was a buggy hunk of crap. It may well be the glitchiest, least-polished game I’ve ever bought. To think this turd came from the same geniuses that made Descent turns my brain to tapioca.

    I’m highly, highly skeptical of Volition now. If I buy this thing it will be long after release, assuming adequate reviews, and certainly not at full price.

    • Threep says:

      Saints Row 2′s PC version was done by CD Projekt. 3 is done by Volition themselves, so odds are it might actually be well made.

    • johnpeat says:

      Don’t forget that the Gentlemen of the Row mod made PC SR2 into a very, very playable game.

      It’s not perfect – it needs a half-decent PC – but it’s VASSSSSTLY improved and VASSSSSTLY more fun than GTA4 ;)

    • djbriandamage says:

      Thanks to you both for those helpful comments! I want to see the game through RPS’ eyes so perhaps I’ll try this mod you speak of.

    • mjig says:

      It should be noted that the Gentlemen of the Row mod is extremely small. Took me something like 20 seconds to download.

      Unfortunately my game was running too fast, so I had to install another tool from the Steam SR2 forums to slow it down.

      Still, took me about 10 minutes or so to make the game go from unplayable piece of crap to bug free good time. Pretty decent performance as well.

    • Roshin says:

      Get your mod here, gentlemen.

      http://idolninja.com/sr2.php

    • mwoody says:

      Yeah, just suffix “with the Gentlemen of the Row mod” to any discussion of SR2 PC. It’s sort of assumed.

  4. Baka says:

    “after going through the absolutely incredible character creator (I’ve never seen such astonishing detail letting you craft every feature to intricate detail)”

    So is it a better version than the Initiation station we can play around with right now? That would be glorious, because right now it’s a step down from the Saints Row 2 one.

    • Jesse L says:

      The facial feature customization is better, but there’s a major step down in the clothes department. There’s no layering of clothing, the hats and sunglasses are almost all novelty silliness, and there are no options as to how to wear clothes – hats at an angle, shirts tucked, hoods up, all that great stuff. I can live without it but I’m really surprised that there’s apparently been a devolution in this area. SR 2 had the greatest character customization ever. So far this looks like a step back. It’s still good compared to most games, but…

      Loving the integrated physics for hair and clothes, though.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Maybe, sadly, “cloth and hair physics” is the reason why parts have been simplified. It’s hard enough getting multiple layers of decor to not clip through each-other or the underlying body (see: how limited such capabilities usually are and how there’s usually at least some degree of failure when it’s attempted), but adding physics simulation on top does not sound computationally cheap or fun to deal with.

      Still. The news that this has some structure behind it that avoids Candy Shop Sugar Overload Syndrome pleases me greatly.

  5. ColdSpiral says:

    “Suffering barely forgivable issues in a crappy PC conversion, however, meant that we always felt detached from the fun we should be having, staggering framerates and poor textures keeping the joy at arm’s length.

    Third time lucky? Well, Saints Row 3 is aiming to be something else, too.”

    So can we assume from this that you were given PC preview code which, wonder of wonders, actually works?

    Also, would you kindly elaborate on “the absolutely incredible character creator (I’ve never seen such astonishing detail letting you craft every feature…)” – particularly compared to the features presented by the Initiation Station? (Edit: Baka beat me to it…)

  6. thegooseking says:

    The question is: is the PC port better than that of SR2? I played about with the character creator, and certainly that to me seemed a lot smoother than the character creator in SR2, but that’s just the character creator, so it’s hard to judge the rest of the game from that.

    I also noticed that, let’s not mince words, a game designed for a gamepad gave appropriate cues if you were actually using a gamepad (at least, an Xbox 360 controller), but switched to keyboard cues if you put the gamepad down and pressed some keys, unlike SR2, which just gave keyboard cues no matter what input you were using. It’s a little thing, but it’s a good little thing.

    • johnpeat says:

      Again – gentlemen of the row fixed that in SR2 – in case you’ve not tried it :)

    • Fierce says:

      Every time I see someone mention this, I feel compelled to point out that Capcom games on the PC, noteably Devil May Cry 4 and Lost Planet 2 (and for all I know, the recent Street Fighter 4 games), have done this keyboard-controller context switch on the fly for a LONG time, and have never been appreciated for it.

      Not trying to stroke them off for it, just whimsically mentioning how unfair it sometimes is when other games or studios do great things that no one notices… and then are absent from the Annual Honor Roll as other, newer games are celebrated for doing it.

      Just saying. Didn’t mean to distract from your “SR2 didn’t do it, SR3 does” point. It really should be a standard PC port feature by now and games that lack it are just showing their level of quality and professionalism for their conversion projects.

    • Danorz says:

      saints row 3 isn’t actually a port

  7. IchigoRXC says:

    I managed to make Red She-Hulk in the Initiation Station. *Grins*

  8. alundra says:

    Three foot dildos?!?! People catapults?? Air strikes??? GTA V clear a path!!

  9. scoopsy says:

    The previous two Saints Row games have felt more like satire of offensiveness than truly offensive themselves. Consider the “Fuzz” minigames from SR2, where at times the producer will hand you a chainsaw and encourage you to use it for your policing.

    For me, this breaks through some floor of good taste, right into a new era of absurdity.

    As such, I’ve never really found the games offensive or even thought they were *trying* to be offensive. I know that seems odd to say about a game that features minigames about driving around, covering people in human waste, but I think it’s true.

    • Jesse L says:

      Seconded, and well said.

    • TheApologist says:

      I’ve not played the games, but this is how the trailers and other coverage strikes me – as some absurdist place beyond offense

    • Napalm Sushi says:

      And fourthed. “Absurdist” definately describes my interpretation of the game shown in the trailers better than “trying to be offensive”.

    • Shooop says:

      I know that seems odd to say about a game that features minigames about driving around, covering people in human waste, but I think it’s true.

      Not many people complained the sniper in TF2 doing exactly that (minus driving around) was offensive did they?

      Right on sir.

    • Love Albatross says:

      Agreed. Never felt that Volition was trying to be offensive with Saints Row. It’s just totally absurd and so deliberately and wildly over the top.

      Cannot wait for this, loved the series since the very first game.

    • Danorz says:

      it’s called “immunity in excess” and saints row 2 was the first game i think i ever saw use the concept properly

  10. Oneironaut says:

    This is what I was worried about with this game. I thought all of the focus on crazy stuff would take away from the main storyline, where the balance between the two was so great in SR2. Thanks for allaying my fears. Now I have to decide whether or not I want to preorder it, when I’ll get Skyrim only a few days before.

  11. Apples says:

    I was disappointed with their focus on porn stars and “whores” in the marketing, considering that SR2 was surprisingly equal opportunities and inoffensive when it came to gender – the continuation of that into the game itself is sad, but then it has to have that veneer of all-out offensive ‘gangsta’ misogynist culture for the whole concept to work. It’s an odd thing. Not really comparable to the merely ignorant and out-of-place casual misogyny in Batman etc I think.

    Good to hear that it remains a smart game. Volition actually seem to understand much more fully than Rockstar what it means to have a violent, unlikable psychopath as a protagonist, what with the final secret mission and the credits track being Face Down. It’s weird that the barks are so sparse though considering that SR2 has so many I don’t think I’ve heard most of them?

    • Kandon Arc says:

      “I was disappointed with their focus on porn stars and “whores” in the marketing”

      As compared to SR2′s use of Tera Patrick in their promo videos?

    • Apples says:

      I thought that was only for the DLC (which I didn’t bother getting because yeah, it did just seem like a “HURR PORN STAR IN GAME!!” cash grab from the publishers)? Not really sure what the main SR2 marketing was like, I bought it on a whim way after it came out.

  12. oceanclub says:

    I’m surprised there’s no mention of how well it technically runs. I bought SR2 almost-full-price on the basis of a review here, and I still feel cheated by how shoddy the game was. Considering SR2′s rep, I would have thought this hands on (I know it’s not a full review) would at least allude to how well it runs/doesn’t.

    P.

    • Dominic White says:

      The ports of Red Faction: Guerilla and SR2 were outsourced. Red Faction: Armageddon was done in-house at Volition and turned out great. As this is running on a variant of the same engine, there’s really no reason why it wouldn’t perform well.

    • clippa says:

      “Red Faction: Armageddon was done in-house at Volition and turned out great”

      Except for the horrifically low field of view of 45!
      You read that right, 45! Which had to be fixed via a third party hack which I think no longer works since the game was patched.

      A high field of view is one of the most important things in a pc game, as important as decent mouse/keyboard controls. So I’d say no, they aren’t there yet.

      “So can we assume from this that you were given PC preview code”

      Hehe, yeah, if so, surely everyone coming here wants to know how well the pc version runs, have they nailed the controls? Does the mouse have negative or positive acceleration, what is the framerate cap? Is it well optimised, is the fov too narrow?
      We can go to any other site if we want to just read about the game :D

    • Squiddity says:

      @clippa, that’s a vertical FOV, if I remember right, not a horizontal one, so it’s not actually as bad as, say, a 65 FOV.

  13. ninjapirate says:

    “the absolutely incredible character creator (I’ve never seen such astonishing detail letting you craft every feature to intricate detail)”

    I still think APB’s character creator set the current benchmark – does SR3′s compare with APB’s?

    • Squiddity says:

      My main complaint with the character creator is that it doesn’t let you fiddle with things like waist size, arm width, etc.

      I’d really like my Russian bruiser lady to actually look like she is a Russian bruiser lady, and not some weird person who doesn’t look intimidating at all (I thought my SR2 character looked more intimidating, and she still managed only to look like a fitness model) and has disproportionately large hips. :\

    • Ganj says:

      The Initiation Station, at least the one that’s been made available prior to the game propers release, doesn’t compare all too favourably with SR2′s level of choice, let alone something as spangly as APB, (Reloaded)’s. Most notable omissions are the ability to move decals / tats exactly where you want them – they’re in pretty much fixed places with SR – though it has to be said there are a fair few tats and many places to put them too.

      Still it’s a whole lot better than most other character customisers you’ll come across in games.

  14. V. Profane says:

    Is there a randomiser button for the character creator? I usually find tweaking character appearances to be a chore and just pick the default.

    • ColdSpiral says:

      Yes, there’s a randomiser on a few levels of the editor tree. For example, you can randomise the whole face, or the hair / eyebrow / beard style and colour, in one hit. Then you can go into the settings for, say, eyes or chin, and randomise them exclusively. I can say that I whiled away a few minutes tonight mashing away at the random button – most of the male characters it produces are passable, once novelties like steel eyes are cleaned up, but random female faces are largely an exercise in creepiness.

  15. Brahms says:

    I quit the second game when I started a mission that said “Spray sewage for cash and respect” it triggered some taste baseline in myself and I’ve had a dim view of the series ever since. I understand that people don’t like grimdark, overly serious things, but it seems like this is just as juvenile as Call Of Duty style theatrics. I’m trying to understand this as something that an adult wouldn’t be ashamed to be interested in. Could someone point to a parallel to it in another medium which might make it easier for me? Is it somewhat like a Tarantino film? Or those zombie films by Sam Raimi?

    Or do you all just not care?

    • Apples says:

      Obviously the game is entirely tongue-in-cheek, and the side-missions are very silly (though you should have tried Insurance Fraud, that usually has people in hysterics first time seeing it), but there are darker moments too. Being absolutely serious here: the cutscenes are done incredibly well and better than most AAA games. The Brotherhood and Ronin storylines have some genuinely grim things in them, but your character is such a mentalist that much of it is portrayed in a light-hearted, comical way when it really isn’t.

      I guess it’s a bit like a Tarantino film? I think Tarantino and Raimi films are really, really stupid and I love SR2, for whatever that’s worth. I think the atmosphere is kind of similar to things like Shaun of the Dead, where it’s definitely comedy, but it’s also really violent, and sad if you think about it.

    • ColdSpiral says:

      I confess I found the sewage mission pretty distasteful, and never picked it up again after that first attempt. The conclusion I came to was that it was a mistake in placement; once you’re loose in the city, the game says “hey, you should play a side-mission!” (and in my own case I missed the “side” bit and was left wondering what it had to do with the plot) and then directs you to the closest, which is unfortunately that one. If it’d been the one where you hoon around on a quad bike while on fire, for example, it would have been a better first impression.
      As far as film comparisons go, it’s somewhere between Tarantino and Guy Ritchie, tending toward the freakish child of Edgar Wright and Kevin Smith. Certainly more Hot Fuzz than Bad Boys II.

    • Danorz says:

      like a lot of things in saints row 2 the initial “why the fuck am i doing this?” isn’t rhetorical and does get answered, in one set of the missions you are driving around with a realtor who is trying to lower prices of an area so it can be bought up, in the other you are riding around with an anticapitalist reactionary with the best french accent ever doing a dirty protest against the actons of ultor and their employees.

      it’s 2 sets of motivations that manage to be pretty clever in their opposition while being the same mission in different places. saints row has always been the smart kid that acts out.

      (also best delivery of “YOU… BOURGEOISE FFFUCKS!” you will hear in anything ever)

  16. Njordsk says:

    I’m extremly skeptical on SR3.

    I sometimes like causing mayhem in GTA or other sand boxes game, but that’s maybe 10% of my play time. If the game tends to much into the stupidity and rampage I might just get bored really fast.

    From what I’ve seen it’s trying to hard to be stupid and out of place, I mean giants dilodos and farts, WTF.

    I’d like a demo to make my mind, but I guess that won’t happen.

    • Apples says:

      Have you played SR2? It’s not so much about “LOL EXPLOSIONS AND DILDOS”, it’s about freeform sandbox fun and customisability, as well as good story missions and characters. I get bored just wandering around in games too, and I don’t really like GTA. The marketing is stupidity and mindlessness to attract buyers and because that’s part of the satirical nature of it.

      GTA4 had a really terrible sense of humour and lots of people liked that. Honestly farts are probably a step up in sophistication from “BIG AMERICAN TITTAYS”.

      Seriously, try SR2 (on a console). It is cheap and amazing.

    • Blain says:

      Also, OnLive lets you play the first thirty minutes of any game on the service and was showing SR3 in their demo reel at PAX.

    • Starky says:

      It’s as 45 vertical indeed, which is fine (and allows for horizontal expanding automatically to aspect ratio) – 45 vert is about 70-75 horizontal – which is perfectly fine for a 3rd person game (90 is far too much for a 3PS – unless you’re playing on a 52 inch TV from 2 feet away).

      It’s like load of people who were madly (and ignorantly) freaking out at BFBC2 and Crysis 2 for having “only” 55 FoV – (which was actually 90 horizontal) upping that FOV to 90 and giving themselves horrendous fish eye (because their FoV of 90 was equivalent of around 115 to 120 in most games horizontal setting).

      I distinctly recall Total Biscuit doing this for his Crysis 2 vid – which looked just awful (though high FoV looks worse in vids than in play).

    • RegisteredUser says:

      I in turn get bored by “Okay, follow this car. Now do a car chase. Now drive your car from here to there. AND NOW EXCITEMENT! Drive a boat! Now drive your car from here to there. Now do a car chase. Now drive..”

      So, er, yea.

  17. Bluerps says:

    That sounds actually rather nice! I love the madness which has been shown in the trailers, but I don’t think that madness alone would be fun for a long time.

  18. Ultra Superior says:

    “I’m playing a female character, whom I designed to be overweight and have dressed deliberately slobbily. ”

    You hate women, John. You hate them so much you find pleasure in this, don’t you. How big was the dildo again? How big exactly? We all know you know the measurements darn well.

    • Urthman says:

      Hating women?

      Taking joy in the fact that video games like this one are pretty much the only place in any medium you can see a conventionally unattractive woman treated with respect like a badass on the same level as a male action hero played by Christian Bale or somebody — that’s basically the opposite of hating women.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      You don’t treat women with respect in Saints Row 3, no – you are given the chance to create a murdering maniac with a dildo as a weapon, free to mutilate her body in dehonesting fashion, taking joy in a twisted parody on eating disorders, adding to the pressure women experience in consumer society. Bravo John. Hilarious.

      Now any character from SR3 is as far from portrayal of any real woman as possible.

      Inquisitor Adrastia, that is what I call a woman in position of power. She has dignity and she doesn’t show cleavage, no, she single handedly averts Exterminatus of the entire sector! And she reminds me of my teachers. http://goo.gl/76qRF would you call her conventionally attractive?

      Now the key difference here, is dignity. ALWAYS DIGNITY!

    • Seth says:

      Ultra Superior, compadre, women have every bit as much right to be undignified as men do.

      Saint’s Row is, weirdly, one of the most progressive, women-friendly franchises out there.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      Seth, compadre, the context of dildos, pantyhose and praising the most (intentionally) tasteless game for creating a strong woman character (cause she has guns and goons) – it’s so wrong it’s mental. Take it easy.

    • alundra says:

      I don’t think John meant bad by the way he designed his female SR3 char, I think he just wanted to show that it does not necessarily has to be the usual sex bomb stereotype. This just goes to show that when it comes to politically correctedness, people are as hard to please as a dignified woman.

      Well in this game you have no reason to complain, design your character exactly like you want, I’m pretty sure you can get it to be an average looking woman, well in her 50s, with short hair, hard facial expression and dress her like an executive.

      And just wait for a weapon mod in which she will sue for sexual harassment any ma…enemy that looks at her for more than 10 seconds and it will be the epitome feminist perfection.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      Given that there are global water shortages, a worse than expected cO2 emission record in 2010 and melting icecaps you guys need to seriously get a grip on what’s really a real world problem that deserves time, energy and discussion.

      Making fat chicks for fun in a video game is likely not crucial to our species as a whole.

  19. DaFishes says:

    But my real question is this: WHERE IS TOBIAS? Please tell me he’s in this one. He was funny as fuck.

  20. Galaxy613 says:

    You want to know WHY SR3 is dipping into Sci-Fi? It’s because ALL of volition’s games are connected. Eventually Red Faction happens, eventually Freespace happens…

  21. Ultra-Humanite says:

    Yes, I can’t wait for another piece that reminds me that people lost their ability to just be entertained without being offended.

  22. Belsameth says:

    I always thought that the fact that they’re so *massively* offensive against litterally everything and everyone, it stopped being offensive was one of its strong points…

    But that might just be me :)

  23. Laurentius says:

    Is this PC version hands-on ? Character creator although detailed seems like badly done console port and graphics is really unimpressive. ( to wit i have very bad feeling about PC SR3 version).

  24. Vexing Vision says:

    As someone who really doesn’t like GTA (I loved RDR though), this is actually good news and makes the game quite interesting to me.

    Hmm.

    From zero interest to Steamsale candidate within one article! Not bad.

  25. Jambe says:

    As others have said, I doubt SR3 is trying to be deliberately offensive, at least not to its target audience. What you seem to think is “offensive” strikes me as zany OTT satire-type nonsense, and that’s why I like it.

  26. sinister agent says:

    I liked the first Saints Row. It was fun, and never took itself seriously, but still had some decent characters, and had many improved features over the previous GTA games, to the extent that even GTA 4 borrowed from it (although it was lacking some, too, to be fair). The first time I played the insurance fraud side mission will stay with me for a very long time.

  27. Delusibeta says:

    I’ve been tempted for a while… and then Tesco started doing pre-orders for sub £20. Details here: http://savygamer.co.uk/2011/11/03/saints-row-the-third-professor-genki-limited-edition-pc-18-90/

  28. Emeraude says:

    Looking at it, I have little to zero interest in that game… but that character creator ?

    Damn I could spend HOURS in that. I can picture myself buying the game just so I will. And the more I read comments here the more I feel like tracking a copy of SR2 for that purpose.

  29. Reset says:

    Had been pretty excited by a lot of stuff I’d seen on SR3, including this piece, but then everywhere I’ve looked seems to say that the co-op mode, which is the only multiplayer option, can’t handle more than two players at once. Which just seems like a waste of a big, fun chaotic opportunity.

    • malkav11 says:

      I can sort of understand where you’re coming from on this but a) supporting two players without any sort of corralling functionality in a giant open world setup like Saints Row is already a pretty stiff technical challenge, and b) if SR3 is anything like 2, everything will support coop, with many specific changes made for two players. (E.g., in the Escort activity, in singleplayer you drive around while a prostitute makes time with a VIP in the back. In coop, the second player serves as the prostitute (with some potentially hugely awkward imagery to boot) and must perform actions as if they were in the Ho-ing diversion. In the fire gokart activity whose name I’ve forgotten, a single player must drive skillfully and carefully to hit as many pedestrians and cars as possible and hit prerigged explosions. In coop, these still help, but the second player can also throw molotov cocktails around infinitely.)

  30. malkav11 says:

    Just a quick point of order: Johnny Gat is not the leader of the Saints. The PC is the leader of the Saints. Johnny Gat is his/her second in command and the most memorable supporting character.

  31. running fungus says:

    Frustratingly spelt? You did that on purpose.

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