Unexpected Pleasures in Saint’s Row 3

Saints Row the Third

As many of you may know, I am the proud owner of a new gaming PC, so naturally I’ve been digging through my backlog of Steam games to put the new machine through its paces. Thanks to various sales, I have a pretty sizable collection of games despite not having a rig worthy of running them until now. One of the games I’ve been playing the most is Saints Row: The Third, which I bought as part of the THQ Humble Bundle. The funny thing, though, is that I didn’t buy the bundle thinking I’d end up playing much Saints Row; it was more that I’m a sucker for a sale price and thought some of the other games in the bundle might be worth checking out.

Part of the fun of my new machine is launching games and seeing how they run with all settings maxed out, so I spent most of one Saturday launching one game after another and playing with the settings. Much to my surprise, Saints Row is actually a gorgeous game, especially on the highest settings. Once that sank in, I realized that I was also having a hell of a lot of fun playing the opening set piece during a bank robbery gone wrong. Pretty soon after that, the game had its hooks in me, and I ended up playing it for a good six hour session the following weekend.

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Review: Saint’s Row: The Third

Saint's Row 3

When ranking the great surprises of this past generation, I would have to stick both Saint’s Row 2 and Grand Theft Auto IV somewhere near the top, for completely opposite reasons. GTA IV was heralded as the savior of all fun things ever, but turned out to be a game that I found soulless and dull. On the other hand, Saint’s Row 2 was dismissed as nothing more than a Grand Theft Auto clone — yet it found a way to make its sandbox a true chaotic playground in nearly every sense, offering up scores of hilarious rabbit holes, lots of customization and a decent story to boot.

Enter Saint’s Row: The Third, Volition’s follow-up to the mayhem manager and one of my most anticipated games for 2011. This entry into the bombastic franchise promised even larger scales of destruction, more violence, greater levels of absurdity (there’s a dildo bat, for goodness’ sake) and an all around hilarious time. But does it deliver the goods? One thing’s for certain, Steelport and the Saints will never be the same. Continue reading Review: Saint’s Row: The Third

Saint’s Row 3 and the Out of Date Escort Mission

Saint's Row 3

I’d like to consider myself a fairly patient gamer. I don’t have too many deal breakers or things that make me want to lambast a particular game in general. I’m very much able to greatly enjoy a number of titles despite small (and sometimes even massive) failures. That being said, there are occasional stumbling blocks I hit when playing a game that throw me for a loop.

Take Saint’s Row 3 for instance, a game that I love dearly at the moment. For all of its zany mayhem, hilarious writing and occasional forward-thinking (such as the GPS arrows on your HUD), the game has the occasional bothersome design hiccup. The biggest offender? Escort missions.

Like the top of some ancient relic poking through an otherwise serene landscape, these out of date mission prompts completely disrupt the flow of the game for me. What’s worse than that is the fact that for the first few hours, nearly every other mission you’re performing is an escort mission of some kind. Sure, they take on different shapes – you could be escorting someone below you while raining down rocket launcher fire or protecting a pimp while he goes to make girl/drug deals, but in the end it’s all the same.

As much as I should be used to these things appearing so frequently in games, it kind of seems like we should be past them now as a medium. I’m not saying that they should never appear again, but I do have to say that I’m surprised by their frequency, considering the fact that they have almost never been in the entire history of the people of Earth. I mean really, shouldn’t we have left these things behind last gen? I’m surprised that we still see these at all. You can add exploding red barrels to that list, as well. But I could be the only one that feels that way.

What do you guys think? Are escort missions out of date? Are there any other random gameplay tropes that still surprise you with how often they appear in modern games? Go!

Saint’s Row the Third and My Growing Appreciation of Maturity in Games

saints row the third

One of the many games I bought last Tuesday was Saint’s Row the Third, Volition’s newest entry in the kill-crazy crime series. I’ve put a fair number of hours into it (not as much as Skyrim or even Sonic Generations), and I think I’ve come to a shocking conclusion based on how some of the game is making me feel: I’m growing up.

This post isn’t a knock against Saint’s Row’s content; I know it’s full of juvenile humor, diving nut punches and mind-controlling octopus cannons and it does that all very well and even manages to pull off some insane gameplay without it being contrived. Besides, I’d have to be a pretty big troll to call out Saint’s Row for being immature. No, I’m just finding that some of the ancillary quests feel kind of silly and I’m started to get repulsed by the idea of shooting cops and civilians.

Yes, the old tried-and-true stand-by of the GTA-style sandbox game, descending into unbridled mayhem, no longer holds the appeal for me that it once did. I was showing the game off to my roommate and after shooting a mascot dressed as an energy drink and doing the same to a couple cops, I got a funny feeling in my stomach. I know these cops are just pixles and animated rigs moving on my screen, but busting a cap in them doesn’t hold the same thrill it once used to.

Saint’s Row the Third is still fun and I heartily recommend it to anyone who played the second one and loved it, but I’m kind of moving past the “see how long you can kill cops for” type of sandbox play and coming to appreciate structure more. What about you guys? Do you sort of feel the same, or do you think I’m just an old man yelling at Saint’s Row from his porch? Has any other game made you feel this way?

GamerSushi Asks: Doomsday Tuesday Roll Call?

Assassin's Creed Revelations

Wow. I think out of all the days that could have decked us in the Fall, it was today that I was most worried about. As Mitch has lovingly dubbed it, Doomsday Tuesday happened today, and with it came a veritable salvo of gaming entertainment. Or horrors, if you’re concerned about what this means for your wallet.

While I’m no doubt going to leave somebody out, the big games that dropped today include Saint’s Row: The Third, Halo: CE Anniversary and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations. So, yeah. Lots of stuff to play, I guess.

Rather than doing a slew of posts roll call-ing for each of these gems, I thought I’d put it all together in one post and just ask you straight up: which of these are you getting today? Are you getting any of them at all? As for me, I received Halo: CE Anniversary in the mail, and hope to add Saint’s Row: The Third and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations over time. But for now, Skyrim rules all.

So what about you dudes? Time to weight in on the roll call. Go!

GamerSushi Asks: Favorite Threequel?

Uncharted 3

Good things come in three’s. Or is that celebrity deaths? Who knows, but what we do know is that November is full of threequels, lots and lots of them. A threequel, in case this is your first day alive, is the 3rd installment of a franchise. This month alone we are treated to Uncharted 3, Saint’s Row: The Third, Modern Warfare 3, Assassin’s Creed 2: Revelations (the third game in the Assassin’s Creed 2 trilogy and yes, it counts) and already in September and October we had Gears of War 3, Battlefield 3 and Resistance 3. Whew!

Our friends at Wired’s game blog GameLife have pulled together a list of the best threequels in gaming history. There are some great games on here, including some that you may not have heard of or may not have thought were “Part 3’s” in their respective series. I look forward to finally trying Metal Gear Solid 3 when I get the Metal Gear Solid HD collection for Xmas. Take a look at the list and tell us what they left off! 1, 2, 3, GO!

Source: Wired

Saint’s Row: The Third Attacks BF3 and MW3

It’s the battle of the three-quels.

Everyone knows about the recent and heated feud between the Call of Duty and Battlefield franchises, as kicked into high gear by EA. With both of these juggernauts bearing down on each other this Fall season, it’s looked something like Godzilla versus Mothra, the two beasts lumbering into our collective view and ready to do battle.

However, there’s another number three hitting this season, and it doesn’t want to be forgotten: Saint’s Row: The Third. The newest installment of the open world gangster playground from THQ is now on the scene, trolling on both Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3 with this brand new trailer, which also happens to be packed full of win.

Every new bit of media I see about this game ensures that it’s going to be a day one pick up. What about you guys?