Tag Archive: Saints Row


People are always trying to combine things to make better and more interesting things: Peanut butter and chocolate; Batman with Superman—in comics, not in the movies; pineapple on pizza. Okay, the jury’s still out on that last one. In the case of Agents of Mayhem, though, all the best action of the 80s is being slammed together with the over-the-top humor and situations the Saints Row series was known for in a spin-off that takes place in the same universe. I recently got to go hands-on with Volition’s latest open-world foray, and it’s shaping up to be a love letter to everything great from GI Joe to Knight Rider.

In our demo, we got to play as nine of the 12 members of an elite super fighting force called Mayhem who, simply put, could care less about being heroes—the fact they’re saving the world from people even worse than them is a side bonus. They’re in it to win it for sure, but mostly just for themselves. It’s sort of like the enemy of enemy is my friend; they’re our friends just because they hate the really evil guys from a group called Legion a lot more than all of us. Each character fills a role on the team, offering up weapons and powers that make them great for different situations.

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Hollywood, for example, is the team’s pretty boy who loves nothing more than, well, himself. He wields an assault rifle for great medium range damage, and can fire a grenade from his groin—don’t ask. Then there’s Hardtack, who immediately comes across as a more narcissistic Shipwreck from GI Joe. Hardtack is a shotgunner who can take a licking and keep on…errr…shotgunning. What’s great about Agents of Mayhem is that before most missions you take on, you can choose three of the 12 characters on the roster, then switching between them on the fly. Finding a balance is often the best strategy, but depending on your style, you can specialize and go heavy offense, defense, or the like.

The game takes place primarily in Seoul, South Korea. Exploring the open world to find collectibles and side missions is critical to leveling your characters, which leads to better skills and stronger survivability stats like higher defense or health. Even moving about the world provides options, as you can utilize your powers, every character’s built-in triple jump, commandeer a car from the world, or call in one of your nitrous-outfitted Mayhem cruisers (including some with Kitt-like robot voice) should you so choose to.

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During our demo, we were able to check out five different missions. Two helped forward the story of the game as we took down high-ranking lieutenants inside Legion by blowing up basically everything in sight. Two other missions, meanwhile, were solo objectives that introduced us to new characters like Daisy, the roller derby girl with a Gatling gun and an alcohol problem (who ended up my favorite). Beating those solo missions unlocked new characters and gave us some critical backstory beats about the world and the team itself.

The last mission might’ve been the most interesting, because it was easily the most open-ended and tasked us with capturing a tower in the middle of Seoul. Capturing towers is great for experience, while also freeing areas of Seoul from Legion control. It’s a common video game activity at this point, but it definitely gave us a lot more reasons to explore the world. The mission also showed off some of the verticality of the game, as we had to climb several buildings to get to the capture point. It also highlighted the fast & frantic pace of combat, especially when swapping teammates as swarms of Legion soldiers attacked our position.

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My time with Agents of Mayhem might’ve only been a small cross section of the variety of scenarios the game promises to throw players into, but it was enough to pique my interest for sure. Its cutscenes and interstitials look like they could’ve aired as part of a Saturday morning cartoon block—with more adult themes, mind you—while the action felt like a cross between what we’ve seen before in Saints Row and something like Crackdown. There’s not as much customization as some would expect from Volition, with each character having a limited number of skins for themselves, cars, and their weapons—but that’s because the cast fits more carefully into a story that pays homage in its own weird way to a bygone era. If you ever wanted to see what might happen if GI Joe took a turn for the adult, then maybe got spliced with Archer or something along those lines, Agents of Mayhem looks like it’s ready to deliver just that in the package of a fun, open-world action game.

Agents of Mayhem is dropping on August 15 for Xbox One, PS4, and PC.

Giant strippers, manapults, and luchadores…

You’d be hard-pressed to find a game that matches the debauchery and excess of Saints Row: The Third. Pushing its own boundaries and depravity to the limit, this sandbox action-adventure goes to great lengths to parody anything and everything in gaming and pop culture—even itself—all in the name of entertainment. Whether you’re driving around with a tiger in the passenger seat to prove your bravery, participating in Professor Genki’s Super Ethical Reality Climax Japanese-style game show to earn big bucks, or then using said Professor’s manapult to suck up unsuspecting NPCs into a giant cannon and using their carcasses as projectiles, this game doesn’t exactly get the meaning of “overkill.” But all that wouldn’t mean a thing if the game weren’t fun—and, thankfully, it’s an absolute blast.

Saints Row: The Third picks up shortly after the end of the second game. The Saints, the street gang from the first two entries, aren’t persecuted or hunted like you might think—far from it. Instead, they’re treated like celebrities—or even superheroes. So when they go to rob a bank in their hometown of Stilwater, it’s more like a day at the office. But things quickly go awry when more police than the Saints have ever seen drop in on them, and they realize this bank robbery isn’t quite what they had in mind when it came to putting in some overtime. It seems a new crime organization called the Syndicate’s moved into town and after some action sequences that would put Nathan Drake to shame, the Saints find themselves having to rebuild in the sleepy harbor town of Steelport where they’ll reclaim their criminal empire before taking revenge on those who have wronged them.

Unlike in the previous Saints Row games, The Third’s designed to be more of an open-ended experience, with multiple paths that affect the ending. You’ve still got three rival gangs to deal with, but now they’re all working together to form the Syndicate: the Luchadores, a Mexican-wrestling-themed gang led by a masked man named Killbane, the cyberterrorist Deckers, and the gun-running and human-trafficking Eurogang known as Morningstar. But instead of picking these gangs off one by one like in previous installments, you’ll often have to deal with them on certain missions at the same time as you pursue the larger goal of conquering Steelport. And your gang wars will erupt to the point that later on, a fourth threat will make itself known—a special military unit, STAG, designed specifically to put you down.

As great as the campaign is, it’s still got its share of problems. Considering the scale of the world, you can forgive some glitches that crop up from time to time in the game, but some definitely irritate—and there’s nothing more frustrating than having to start a mission over because your cover mechanics glitch or your car suddenly hits an invisible pothole.

Competitive multiplayer, a staple of the first two entries, has been removed in favor of an emphasis on co-op. The campaign co-op does play very smoothly and isn’t really affected by friends dropping in and out of your “gang” over the course of the game, but honestly, I’d still just rather play by myself, since most of my friends and I aren’t on the same gaming level.

To make up for the lack of the multiplayer, The Third offers another co-op option aptly dubbed “Whored Mode.” And, just like that certain-sounding mode from that other game that revolves around wave after wave of enemies, Whored Mode’s best played with friends, where you can enjoy the absurdity together as you take down giant strippers, midgets in hot-dog costumes, or zombies—just because everyone loves killing zombies. If I had to choose, though, I’d still pick the competitive multiplayer aspect over Whored Mode, no matter how funny it may be—it just doesn’t provide the challenge of taking on a human opponent.

Despite my gripes with the multiplayer options, the 10-to-12-hour campaign’s still very much worth the price of admission, and it needs to be seen to be believed—trust me, this game’s done more than enough to earn its “M” rating from the ESRB.

SUMMARY: Not perfect by any means—but still a fun, off-the-wall sandbox that’s more than worth the price of admission.

  • THE GOOD: As over-the-top a game as you’ll ever play
  • THE BAD: Glitches sometimes get in the way of gameplay
  • THE UGLY: The zany enemies you’ll find in the new Whored Mode

SCORE: 8.0

Saints Row: The Third is available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. Primary version reviewed was on the Xbox 360.

Originally Published: October 19, 2011, on EGMNOW.com

We love Rim Jobs

There are a lot of games out there that take themselves too seriously. Everything is about saving the world from this or protecting people from that. Rarely do you get a game like Saints Row: The Third that just doesn’t give a crap about any of that and whose main purpose is to just give the gamer as many tools as possible to blow stuff up. It was for this reason that I was drooling like Homer Simpson over barbecue for the chance to go hands on with this game and it looks to deliver in ways I couldn’t even begin to imagine.

The story starts with the Saints, now international celebrities after having driven out the Ultor Corporation in Saints 2 from Stilwater. Deciding to rob a bank, they do it how any other superstar celebrity criminals would do it: dressed as their most recognizable face, Johnny Gat. Thing is though that they aren’t the only gang in town anymore and a collection of several other gangs calling themselves the Syndicate have moved in and kicked the Saints out. After some spectacular action sequences that would put Nathan Drake or any of those other “heroes” out there to shame, you find yourself, the leader of the Saints, in Steelport, ready to get some revenge on those who knocked you down a few pegs and to set up shop in this glorious new little town on the river.

From the second you press start, Saints Row: The Third is the most over-the-top third-person action game you will ever play. Volition and THQ have pulled out all the stops, some in questionable taste for those more politically correct gamers I’m sure, to make this the craziest game you’re ever going to play as long as you don’t mind the sometimes infantile humor. Which I don’t. From riding shotgun in a helicopter and raining rocket launcher death down onto your enemies (I love rocket launchers) to running naked through a mansion, drugged and barely cohesive, but still aware enough to break enemy necks as you work way through the…impressed…crowd (you’re packing in more ways than one!), every mission is challenged by the last to up the insanity.

But even beyond the main story missions, there is so much stuff to do on the side in Steelport that you’ll be able to have every carnal gaming desire satiated and then some. From performing various wrestling maneuvers when mugging unsuspecting citizens to having to drive a tiger, (yes, an actual tiger) around to keep it happy and from mauling your face off, every aspect of the game is designed to keep you laughing and to drive you to keep playing because you can’t wait to see what new line it will cross next. And it crosses A LOT of lines.

Besides the tongue-in-cheek humor throughout the game though, like the auto body shop “Rim Jobs” where you can not only pimp your ride with spoilers, decals, and the like, but also with kneecapping Ben-Hur like chariot spikes to destroy the tires of enemy vehicles or just mow down the populace, there is also spoofs on other games and media franchises, like the Tron based levels you’ll take part in when going against the hacking Deckers gang. Truly no one and nothing is safe if Saints Row thinks it’ll get a rise (figuratively, maybe literally) out of the user.

I’m not even close to scratching the surface though of all that there is in this game. Beyond the three main gangs you have to face, we also saw for the first time STAG, a government sanctioned military faction looking to destroy all gang activity and with STAG comes some Grade A military hardware like fighter jets and tanks and more rocket launchers to up the destructive ante. But if you really want some interesting vehicles, then pre-ordering the game gets you the Professor Genki pack, which includes the Genki-mobile. Professor Genki is a world famous (in the Saints’ world anyway) Japanese game show host that wears a jumpsuit, cape, and giant cathead. Unsuspecting contestants (which you will be one of later in the game) must work their way through Genki’s treacherous maze full of flame and electrical traps for cash and prizes while also avoiding his machine gun wielding furry dressed henchman. Back to the car though. It handles and looks like an ice cream truck, but it has a cannon on top that sucks in pedestrians and uses them as ammo. So really it’s just your average, run of the mill, man-apult.

Alright, so clearly there is a lot of mission variety and things to do in Saints Row: The Third. I’m having sensory overload just going back over this stuff and I only saw about 40% of the campaign. There is a lot more to this game than hysterical situations and zany characters though. You also have choices. As in other Saints games, you want two things from this world, money and respect. Money lets you buy things from tricking out your various headquarters to upgrading weapons, while respect is where the RPG leveling up elements sneak into this game. Each time you level up, you unlock access to new perks like increasing your cash flow from some of the businesses you’ll “protect” for a fee to being able to dual wield your pistols. The more crazy stuff you do while on a mission or out in the world, the more respect and money you’ll earn and so like everything else in this game, you are encouraged from the get go to just go wild and do whatever you feel like because the more insane it is, the bigger the reward. Have I mentioned my love of rocket launchers by the way?

Keeping in with the small RPG elements, we see a return of the robust customization system for your main character. With the crazier and more insane outfits offering you more respect, you might just be tempted to go gallivanting around Steelport in that S&M leather suit or in those long flowing pimp robes you’ve had your eye on for quite some time. You could also get inspiration from your friends because the game sees a return of co-op as well. Being able to see them dressed in zany outfits might inspire you some, but it can also help you on those tougher missions. Volition stresses the game was designed to be more of a co-op experience because the more people laughing at the same crazy situation only makes it funnier, but trust me in saying it doesn’t penalize you for playing the game alone and is still just as damn funny.

And if your mind wasn’t already melted from everything I’ve already described, we also saw the debut of a new mode to replace the traditional versus multiplayer from the previous Saints Row games. Ladies and gentlemen, prepare to have your mind (and maybe other body parts) blown in Whored Mode. Yes, Saints Row: The Third will feature their take on Horde mode where you will face wave after wave of gangster, pimp, deviant, midget, prostitute and any other insane foe you may face in the game in hopes of getting the highest score possible. I’m pretty sure it has rocket launchers as well. Also, a weapon called the Penetrater that’s also available in the main game. I don’t want to talk about the Penetrater because there are some lines that I can’t cross in this preview article. Let’s just say it sums up everything Saints Row is all about in one simple melee weapon.

Honestly, there is so much in this game that I saw in the hands-on I got that I could probably keep writing for a long time, but I don’t want to spoil all the surprises. A big thing to keep in mind is if you haven’t played the previous games, you don’t have to worry because the opening cinema explains everything you need to know and then you can just jump in and have fun. If you don’t feel like taking a game too seriously, but still having a ton of fun when playing, then you’re going to definitely want to check out Saints Row: The Third. It has readily available rocket launchers.

So what do you think? Are you a fan of the previous Saints games? Are you going to pre-order for the Professor Genki pack? Will you play co-op or solo? What about the new Whored mode? Let us know your thoughts with comments below!