When you have a franchise that takes itself as seriously as Grand Theft Auto often does, it seems inevitable that a series would come along that would point out the funnier side of action sandbox gameplay. Not only do you get that with Saints Row: The Third, but you also get a continuation of the story involving the characters from the previous installment, which is a nice change from the standalone storylines of each GTA game. In our most recent hour-long hands-on session with Saints Row: The Third, we shift away from the story and simply focus on the sandbox mayhem of the game. Here are 9 things we came away with:
- The folks at developer Volition, Inc like to call the sprint button the ‘Awesome button’, which when combined with the right trigger, executes a flying takedown on both rival gangs and bystanders. Each character has a host of different flying takedown animations to keep things fresh. These flying takedowns also extend to carjacking where you literally fly into the car to take control of it.
- What will undoubtedly be a favorite weapon for many players is Professor Genki’s All-Purpose Mollusk Launcher. The weapon fires an octopus that mind-controls its targets and detonates itself and its host at your whim. The mollusk mounted on the gun has a voice that is both cute and fittingly obnoxious at the same time. As powerful as it is, it’s surprising that this weapon will be available right from the get-go, provided you pre-order the game. It’s arguably one of the best pre-order bonuses of 2011.
- The Mollusk Launcher is actually part of a three-piece pre-order bonus that also includes a Professor Genki stunt suit and the Professor Genki Super Ballistic Manapult . The latter is a truck that sucks up people in its path, which you can then use to launch like cannonballs. It can hold 6 people at a time. None of these bonuses are console-specific or retail outlet-specific.
- One of the other weapons is a large and long purple dildo. Its name is straight to the point: The penetrator.
- With airstrikes being more commonplace beyond war video games, it’s of little surprise that Saints Row: The Third would have that as well. Just point the laser guide at the desired target, press fire and a bombing run will be flying by in a matter of seconds.
- With the exception of a few vehicles, anything you can drive can be customized. You can change both a car’s appearance and performance. Obviously every vehicle will have its own set of customization options. Every time you customize a vehicle, it’s saved in your garage so if you happen to blow up your truck, you can find it shiny and new in the garage.
- The character customization goes even deeper, where plastic surgery can allow you to change most anything about you in the middle of your playthough. You can change the standard customization assets of skin color, hair style, facial features, build, but you can also change your size and even gender. To further personalize your character, there’s a Halloween store called Let’s Pretend and a Saints Row themed clothing store called Planet Saints.
- It terms of the online/multiplayer, Volition is focusing on an two-player online co-op experience whether you and a buddy want to go through the story or screw around with the open world. While you do set the difficulty of the story at the beginning of the game, there will be a slight ramping up of difficulty when a friend joins. This also means that the game supports the convenience of drop-in/drop-out. There’ll also be added mission objectives for the two-player experiences, but these will just be minor enhancements that won’t lessen the single player version.
- One selling point about the map is that it’s densely packed with something to do on every street corner, even more so than your average sandbox game. This can be an activity, a story-based mission, a store, or a piece of property you can take over. The incentive to taking over property is to enhance your reputation which lets you upgrade your stats, upgrade your gang, and upgrade your weapons.