Ten days ago, THQ confirmed the return of the 3rd Street Saints in the latest retail instalment of the Saints Row franchise, Saints Row: The Third
. Game Informer has again managed to grab themselves an exclusive reveal on the latest AAA game to be announced. Here is a summary of the information:
Players have seen the 3rd Street Saints through countless gang wars whilst trying to gain overall control of Stilwater. Now, the Saints have finally been successful; so successful that they have now signed a marketing partnership with the huge Ultor Corporation. The gang members are mainstream heroes with their own line of merchandise, and even have an actor shadowing them in preparation for a role in a film detailing the rise of the gang's reputation. Despite this, they are still gangsters at heart, and because of the lack of competition in Stilwater, the gang's instincts take them out of familiar territory.
Whilst attempting to lift a bank vault out of the ceiling via helicopter, things go wrong, and the gang members find themselves holed up in a prison cell. Unfortunately, an international crime ring known as the Syndicate, led by Phillipe Loren and flanked by Viola and Kiki DeWynter, happened to own that bank, and they're not happy. After bribing the local police, you and your two accomplices, Johnny Gat and Shaundi, are taken hostage on the Syndicate's private jet. The Syndicate attempts to extort 66% of all future monthly profits from the Saints, but these go as smoothly as the bank job leading to a gunfight breaking out. This is where the game begins and players take control of their character; the same character that was the main protagonist in the last two instalments of Saints Row. I won't go into too much more detail, but when the first mission ends, your character is in a new city called Steelport.
After realising that Stilwater is being controlled by the Syndicate, the Saints migrate to set up their new home in Steelport. The city itself is rundown and decaying. Town planning is a myth in Steelport, and an economic recession has meant that the town has deteriorated. However, the skyline has been designed so that it can be seen from any part of the city, so players will always be able to point themselves in the right direction without the need for constant use of the mini-map.
The Syndicate isn't going to allow the Saints to settle, and are just as eager to have Steelport for themselves. Loren has recruited thousands of thugs into three new gangs. Loren personally leads the first gang, Morning Star, suit-wearing Europeans who specialise in prostitution and peddling weapons. They also specialise in SMGs and sniper rifles. The violent Killbane leads the second gang, the Luchadores, who are found in the SW area of the city. They specialise in drug dealing and illegal gambling, and are easy to spot in their SUVs. Their weapons of choice are heavy weapons or will even use close quarters combat. Internet god Matt Miller leads the third gang, the Deckers, who specialise in security and money laundering. However, as the game progresses and gang wars become more frequent, a government-sanctioned task-force known as the STAG (Special Tactical Anti Gang) unit will be charged with ridding the streets of gang members, regardless of their affiliation.
Previously, these gangs would have separate storylines that rarely intertwined. Now, the gangs regularly interact with each other and the storylines are much more closely linked. There are several ways to complete missions, and the decision ultimately lies with the player, as there is no 'correct' method of doing things.
Aside from the storylines, there are also a series of flashpoints spread across the city. These indicate the locations where the Syndicate gangs like to engage in their preferred illegal activities. Taking these over will grant the Saints more turf, but purchasing shops, completing other activities and taking over strongholds are also important parts of the game. Don't worry though, without going into too much detail, there will still be plenty of crazy activities to engage in.
Aggressive actions earn respect, which works like XP. This can be used to buy new perks and abilities. Player choice is paramount, and you will be able to customise your character to suit your specific play style.
Not only can you customise your characters abilities, but in true Saints Row style, players can also customise their appearance to ridiculous lengths. Furries, pirates, S & M gimps and the mascot from the Saints Row energy drink are all possible, and the Image As Designed plastic surgery locations allow players to change the appearance of their character at any time. Saints Row 2
allowed players to customise their gang members too, but only one outfit could be saved. In Saints Row: The Third
, players can customise up to four outfits for their gang members.
Cars are also customisable to a greater extent, with bumpers, torque, spoilers, and even underglow lighting among the options. However, if a car gets wrecked at any time or ends up at the bottom of the ocean, it can still be salvaged and repaired. Players will not lose their investment.
As well as being able to customise the cars, gang members and your character, you can also upgrade guns. As players become more powerful, new perks and bonuses become available for purchase. For example, a standard shotgun turns into the three-barrelled Gravedigger when it is fully upgraded, providing you have the cash of course. As with the cars, you will never lose out on your investment, as the upgraded weapons are added to your inventory permanently.
Players will be glad to know that every weapon has a specifically animated nut shot waiting for discovery. For example, players wielding a bazooka can perform a "golf swing" that connects firmly with its intended target. In another improvement, grenades are mapped to the RB shoulder button, and can be thrown regardless of what is equipped as the primary weapon at the time. Food consumption, the form of health recharge that was previously mapped to this button, has replaced the grenade in the radial selection wheel. To account for the loss of ability to quickly heal, the time for health recharge is being significantly reduced instead.
There will be several new weapons too. Here's a brief summary of some of them:Air Strike
The air strike is guided by laser, and can demolish large groups of enemies without players having to confront them directly. It is simple to use: point at your target with the laser, then wait for the ensuing napalm carpet bomb effect.Predator Drone
In a similar style to the AC-130 level in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
, activating the drone will switch players to a top-down perspective. Standard bombs are dropped using one trigger, while the other trigger will release a smart bomb equipped with precision guidance via the analogue sticks.RC Gun
Players can assume control over any vehicle by attaching an electronic bug fired from the RC gun. After attaching the bug, players can drive the vehicle as if they were actually in the driving seat.Sex Toy Bat (yes really)
This is exactly what the name suggests: a floppy phallus sex toy that can be used as a melee weapon.
Unfortunately, the flying fart bomb will not be one of the new weapons. The "concentrated blast of flatulence contained within a glass jar" was to be thrown at enemies, the idea being that the smell would cause them to vomit instead of fighting. Some members of Volition's team loved the idea, but others thought that it was too over the top. The idea was binned.
As a final point, competitive multiplayer will not make a return in Saints Row: The Third
. It seems that players didn't enjoy the competitive multiplayer modes as much as they enjoyed single player and co-op multiplayer. Co-op multiplayer will be making an emphatic return, with every mission and activity being able to be completed in drop-in, drop-out co-op play.Saints Row: The Third
is due to be released in this coming Holiday season.