Tag Archive: thq

In Soviet Russia, Game Plays You!

World War II has long be fertile ground of video games, and for good reason. There are clear-cut good guys and bad guys, enough conflict to tell the story of countless heroes, and plenty of opportunities to romanticize the cultures and countries involved. There’s one area of the war, however, that games have long had a blind spot for: the Eastern Front.

As the Germans continued to spread out across Europe and into North Africa, they found their greatest difficulties arose when they attempted to cross the Ural Mountains and conquer the Soviet Union. The USSR, of course, fought using attrition warfare, whittling down German forces, take advantage of the long Russian winters, and even destroying some of their own resources to prevent them from falling into enemy hands. Many believe it was this strategy and prolonged conflict that finally led to the fall of the Third Reich.

But that’s enough history for today.

Company of Heroes 2, THQ’s follow-up to the popular real-time strategy game, looks to explore this rarely represented conflict—and take full advantage of those long Russian winters as well. Earlier this month, I got to go hands-on with both the single-player and competitive multiplayer modes, giving me a chance to see firsthand what it’ll take to survive along the Eastern Front.

During my single-player time, I tackled a mission that tasked me with building up the Russian forces and conquering three strategic points along a riverbed. The bleakness of the winter setting was immediately apparent, as a whirling snowstorm blew in and hindered my onscreen vision. I also saw the effects of hypothermia set in on my troops, causing them to take ill and requiring me to build fires to keep them warm while we waited out the storm.

As I started my advance across the frozen tundra, I approached the riverbank and experienced another new dynamic as German tanks started moving across the ice towards my position. The game advised me to use mortars to blow holes in the river to sink the German tanks. It would hinder my progress, shrinking the lanes my troops could use to cross the river, but considering the damage it would do to the German armor line, I was left with little choice. As the Panzers sank to their watery graves (in exquisite detail for an RTS game, I might add), I was able to advance across what was left of the frozen river and conquer the objectives with little resistance from the remaining German forces.

While much of this single-player excursion played out like most other RTS games with regard to stockpiling resources, building units, and attempting to use superior strategy to overcome our foes, the new environmental hazards and dynamic terrain were a joy to play around with. From minor visual details like tank tracks in the snow to the new tactical options afforded by the winter elements, there were enough innovations here to make the standard RTS gameplay feel novel and fresh.

After thumping the Germans in the single-player mode, I was afforded the chance to take on some human opponents in versus multiplayer. Wanting to continue to experience the cold Russian winters, I tried out some new maps—including one where the middle capture point was placed on a tiny sliver of land surrounded by a frozen lake. Here, after my experiences in the single player campaign, I made my greatest RTS stand in quite some time.

Allowing myself to fall behind early and basically giving my opponent the middle capture point, I settled in around my base and began to build. Tank after tank after tank would soon dot my base’s perimeter. With only 50 or so points between me and defeat, I sent my armor columns onward towards the middle point. My German opponent did not stand idly by while I built my forces up and had quite the armor division himself by the time we faced off for our grand conflict.

He had unwisely placed much of his armor on the fragile ice, though. With a few well-placed barrages from my tanks, I sent much of his armor to the bottom of the lake and deployed a single engineer to capture the point. Thanks to my shelling, I’d set up a natural barricade of broken ice that my opponent was unable to overcome. Victory was mine, and it was time to break out the finest Russian vodka to celebrate!

Much like the single player campaign, the multiplayer was tremendous fun, and having to balance the elements along with the unique terrain made for a RTS experience unlike any other. What’s more, the level of detail on each unit and locales is almost unheard of in an RTS. If the small snippet of game play we saw was any indicator, Company of Heroes 2 should be a must-have game for strategy fans and World War II buffs alike when it launches on PC in 2013.

Darksiders gets a heaping helping of Death

It’s not easy for new franchises to break through in today’s videogame market, but the first Darksiders was able to find an audience by incorporating mature themes with familiar gameplay that hearkened back to classics like Metroid or The Legend of Zelda. So, with such a promising start, you wouldn’t expect a sequel to completely overhaul many major features. Darksiders II does just that, though.

In fact, if you were to put Darksiders and Darksiders II side by side in front of a player, they’d be hard pressed to say they come from the same universe. Yet not only does Darksiders II take place in the same universe, but it expands upon it in numerous ways, along with adding in features and gameplay mechanics from dungeon-crawling RPGs.

Darksiders II takes place at the same time as the original game; while War attempts to figure out who’s set him up for the crime that triggered the Earth’s early demise, Death figures the only way to absolve his brother of his punishment is to rectify the crime and try to restore humanity back to what it once was. To do this, Death travels to strange and foreign lands and meets creatures so fantastic and monstrosities so twisted that his own ghastly visage may have a run for its money.

From the second the story starts, in fact, the art design demands your attention, whether it’s Gothic architecture contorted into mountainous landscapes or massive rivers of lava weaving their way through hollowed-out gorges. And when you combine this with the epic scale—the open world’s four times larger than in the first Darksiders—you can easily get lost in the beauty of this distinct universe.

But Darksiders II isn’t just pretty on the surface. The hack-n-slash combat flows smoothly as you string combos together, the tight free-running controls make it feel like nothing’s unobtainable if you really pay attention to your surroundings, and the new RPG elements mean that your weapons and armor are constantly changing and upgrading due to the thousands of pieces of loot (which also directly affect how Death looks). No two players should have the same Death by the time they finish the game, as you can buff him up to the point where he resembles a traditional tank, make him more of a field general as he taps into his Necromancy abilities and calls forth his own undead army, or find a balance between the two.

My favorite part of being able to collect all the items is that you can actually dispose of trinkets you no longer need in an interesting fashion—massive piles of loot usually lead to inventory problems for many of us natural hoarders, after all! By finding possessed weapons, you can actually feed your junk items to these special treasures to power them up and cause untold levels of havoc. It’s definitely a lot more efficient out in the field than waiting to find a store, that’s for sure.

While many problems from the first game have been fixed—like imparting a more clear-cut feeling of character progression this time around due to the leveling system and a less-linear world outside of the dungeons—several new flaws have replaced the old ones.

The most glaring issue is the low level cap, which was instituted in order to prevent the idea that you might need to grind out levels to advance through certain dungeons—or that, by grinding early on, you’d have an easier time working through the game as a whole. Instead, if you naturally progress through the game, you’ll always be right about the same level as the enemies. But in Darksiders II, many sidequests require constant backtracking, so the low level cap means that the game doesn’t reward you any XP for vanquishing enemies several levels below you.

Despite minor annoyances with the level system and the occasional free-running glitch, Darksiders II is superior to its predecessor in every way. It’s got a larger, deeper world with a wide breadth of characters, a thrilling story that sucks you in and doesn’t let go, and some insane over-the-top combat. All those elements make this a must-have for fans of action-RPGs.

SUMMARY: Darksiders II trumps the first entry in almost every important way, even if a few new minor annoyances crop up in the process.

  • THE GOOD: Massive, beautifully designed open world.
  • THE BAD: RPG system creates a couple of new problems.
  • THE UGLY: Well, the dude’s called “Death” for a reason.

SCORE: 9.0

Darksiders II is available on PS3, Xbox 360, and PC, and will be available for Wii U. Primary version reviewed was for Xbox 360.

Nation of Abomination

Many major gaming franchises have found numerous ways to break out of their digital worlds and continue to permeate the pop culture between game releases. This cross-medium promotion helps franchises like Halo, Gears of War, Assassin’s Creed, Mass Effect, and many more stay relevant while also expanding on the fiction started in games.

Another of these franchises is Darksiders, which had a comic book one-shot around the release of their first game. With Darksiders II just around the corner though, author Ari Marmell brings us a lot more words and pages (no pictures though) depicting the Darksiders universe in the new novel Darksiders: The Abomination Vault.

The main plot of the book revolves around Death who has just returned from exile for some unknown reasons and the secrets that he has kept hidden for millennia, back when his kind were a dominant, realm conquering species. Only with the help of key angel allies and his brother War can Death hope to keep these secrets safe from those would use them to pick up where Death’s people left off and once again bring pain and suffering to all beings in existence.

If you are a fan of the Darksiders game, this book does a tremendous job of laying a foundation for Death before you get a chance to play as him in Darksiders II. You learn about Death’s personality, his powers, and the lengths he is willing to go to reach his objectives. You also appreciate the brotherly rivalry he has with War as the two play off each other’s strengths in and out of battle very well and very often and it strongly establishes their relationship before you see Death go to battle for his brother in the upcoming game.

But this book isn’t just about building hype up about the game as it stands up as a wonderfully action-packed tale all on its own. The descriptions of the battles that take place and the sinister villains who rise up to face-off against Death and War are brilliant and fans of this kind of fantasy will not be able to put the book down as the pacing is intense and adrenaline fueled.

The only real downside I felt from this book is that there are four horsemen and although it was nice this book wasn’t a Death only adventure, what with War playing an integral part, I would have enjoyed more interaction with Fury and Strife, the other two horsemen in the Darksiders universe who really only had small cameos. Their descriptions were intriguing and their personalities were definitely different enough from War and Death to make them stand up on their own, so for them to never really factor into this grand, realm threatening adventure was disappointing.

All in all though, fans of Darksiders should blow through the 351 pages this book entails in no time once it becomes available July 24th as it’ll serve as a tantalizing appetizer to Darksiders II in August. If you have $15 to spare, this book is definitely a fun and enjoyable read and should be considered if you’re looking for a new fantasy book to pick up.

SCORE: 9.0

THE BUZZ: THQ has officially announced their pre-order deals for Darksiders II at Best Buy, Gamestop, and Amazon and they are all available from now until the game’s anticipated release date of June 26th.

EGM’S TAKE: The best deal of the bunch looks to be the one from Gamestop as a pre-order there nets you the “Death Rides” pack featuring multiple exclusive side-quests worth about an extra two hours of content and will allow you to explore more of two areas in the game: Maker’s Realm and Dead Plains. I’ve always preferred more content over anything else when it comes to my DLC.

The Best Buy offer is more for the player who cares about his Horseman’s looks though with the “Angel of Death” pack. A unique set of enhanced Angel armor, a pair of upgraded scythes, and a special visual trail for your companion crow Dust are featured in this pack.

The Amazon offer is for the “Deadly Despair” pack and only offers players a permanent speed boost to Death’s mighty steed Despair. If you’re all about getting from point A to point B as fast as possible though, and if this world is supposed to be as big as its being touted to be, then speed might make a big difference in your game play experience.

What do you folks think? Are you going to pre-order the game now for the extra content? Is there a particular store that you prefer regardless of deals? Or are you just going to wait and see and not bother with the pre-order? Let us know your thoughts with comments below!

If you smell what the WWE is cookin’

After a decade-long brand divide, the WWE’s recently made strides to show unity with their RAW and SmackDown shows and pay-per-views. In response, their yearly videogame’s dropped the annual SmackDown vs. RAW title to hammer home this brand solidarity—but that’s not all that’s changed in THQ’s annual wrestling sim. WWE ’12 finds a way to take the great customization and storyline strides that last year’s game made and refines them to provide the most authentic wrestling simulation to date.

Of course, what’s the first thing any player does with a typical WWE game? Check out the Create-a-Superstar feature! Even non-wrestling fans get caught up in the fun of creating a grappler from the ground up, and this mode sees much of the detail of previous versions return, along with new logos, designs, and physical-feature models to hit an even wider range of possibilities. But WWE ’12 also adds the new Create-an-Arena mode. Not only can you whip up your own wrestler from scratch, but you can also dedicate a squared circle to your grappler—or any of your real life-favorites. Hulkamania can run wild again with a ring drenched in red and gold, or you can show off your Macho Madness with a rainbow electronic ticker in honor of the dearly departed Randy Savage—and this is just scratching the surface of a mode I poured several hours into alone. And you can once again create logos, finishers, movesets, and even your own intro videos for the Titantron—and it’s all shareable via the WWE Creations online feature.

Another key to making this the most authentic WWE experience yet? The WWE Universe and Road to WrestleMania options. Now featuring stories that more closely mimic those you might actually see each week on RAW or SmackDown, these modes make every match and decision truly count. Maybe you’ll try to bring Sheamus back into the limelight of the WWE Title chase or push your created character to the top of the ranks and make him a legend in his own right. The Road to WrestleMania’s been trimmed, though—instead of choosing from one of five superstar storylines, you simply press play and begin the near-endless simulations of what you might see from varied wrestlers’ points of view.

But the action in the ring’s where you might see the biggest step up. The controls now feature a more casual-friendly A-button grapple prompt instead of the second analog stick, which actually gives the game a bit more of an arcadey feel, as you’ll find yourself button-mashing a bit more than you’re used to—the experience almost hearkens back to the No Mercy and WWF Attitude days in some ways. This might bother some people, but it isn’t striking enough that you won’t be able to adjust. The in-ring action’s further augmented by improvements like “wake-up taunts” to help set up finishers, better movement on the ring ropes, and an onscreen presentation that more closely mimics the actual WWE TV shows.

One element that’s definitely been criticized in past iterations, though—and it crops up again here, unfortunately—is the collision system. You’ll still see the occasional “quicksand” glitch where a wrestler’s suddenly waist deep in the mat, while an Irish whip against the steel steps can have you or your foe quivering and quaking for several seconds. Still, these moments happen more rarely than I’ve seen in any previous version of the game.

WWE ’12 is strong coat of polish on last year’s game, and when you combine that with even more customization and creation features and a beefed-up roster of several dozen wrestlers (including old standbys and never-before-digitized legends, like one of my personal favorites, the man they call Vader), and you’ve got by far the best WWE wrestling simulation we’ve seen to date—one that’ll layeth the smacketh down upon any and all wrestling haters.

SUMMARY: Some control improvements and fleshed out game play modes highlight the deepest WWE videogame experience yet.

  • THE GOOD: The most realistic WWE experience yet
  • THE BAD: Some collision and control issues remain
  • THE UGLY: Some of the created characters already uploaded to the servers

SCORE: 9.0

WWE ‘ 12 is available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Nintendo Wii. Primary version reviewed was on the Xbox 360.

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.

Back in September we went hands-on with an early build of UFC Undisputed 3 and detailed the new control schemes and new weight classes you could use. We recently were able to go hands-on with a more complete build and while the controls still amazed us with the ease we were able to pick them up and play, and many of the fighters seem to be better balanced than before, we were more focused this time around in taking a step back into the MMA past.

For 10 years Pride Fighting Championships hosted some of the best MMA fighters in the world and saw the rise of superstars like Rampage Jackson, Wanderlei Silva, and Mirko Cro Cop. Taking place in Japan, the men who competed in Pride were the ones who helped put MMA on the map as when they launched in 1997 they immediately began an AFL-NFL type of rivalry with UFC that propelled both organizations into the limelight. Unfortunately, the larger, American based, UFC would buy out Pride and attempt to perform an AFL-NFL merger circa 2007, but instead simply absorbed many of Pride’s best fighters and let go of everyone else, basically disbanding the organization. But, since UFC owns all the rights to Pride now, they decided to tip their hat to their former number one rival and offer a Pride rules and fighter mode in UFC Undisputed 3.

From the second we hit the character select screen we knew we were in for an intriguing new experience. Since many current UFC fighters cut their teeth in Pride, we were able to choose from both Pride fighters and UFC fighters who once competed in Pride and given new, younger looks to reflect the time period in their lives for which they fight with Pride. We saw a leaner, younger looking Rampage Jackson, a meaner looking Wanderlei Silva, and Mirko Cro Cop with a better head of hair. Their stats were also very different from their UFC versions to help represent where they were in their careers. It’s not just about the fighters though. Pride mode sports a completely different feel to it. The announcers are different. The arenas, rings, and referees are different. And most importantly, the rules are different.

Pride was so intensely popular with some people because it was also so brutal compared to many other MMA organizations as it allowed moves that would be considered fouls elsewhere. And all those moves are allowed in Pride mode. Piledrivers (called ‘spiking’ an opponent in MMA), elbows, soccer style kicks, and (my personal favorite) foot stomping an opponent’s face while they are down are all legal and even encouraged in Pride mode in order to get the victory and adds a whole new level of brutality to the game. On top of this, the time and weight class rules are laid out much differently to UFC and so fighters who might be in different weight classes and can no longer compete against each other in UFC, can go head-to-head once again in Pride.

After several bouts in Pride mode, I admit I can see why it was so popular and had me wondering if it was based in the US instead of Japan if it would have been able to compete better with UFC. But what’s done is done and all I can say about this new game mode is that if you were a fan of Pride more than UFC, you have a big reason now to buy this game now as this is easily the most accurate representation you’ll ever get now of that once great organization.

What do you folks think? Are you a former Pride supporter or is it UFC all the way for you? Will you dabble in this new mode? What do you think of the different rules? Let us know with comments below!


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!

Originally Published: June 21, 2011, on EGMNOW.COM


WHAT ITS ABOUT: This is the latest installment of THQ’s hit yearly WWE wrestling franchise, which sees a much needed facelift while still featuring some of the sports entertainment business’s biggest names.

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: This franchise had been just coasting along up until last year’s revolutionary online Royal Rumble feature. But that was only the beginning as this year’s entry marks not only a branding change that falls in line with the WWE’s slow movement to dissolve the rivalry between their RAW and Smackdown TV programs, but adds a brand new submission system and new “Predator” gameplay mechanics in honor of the game’s cover boy, Randy Orton.

WHAT RAY THINKS: I was able to take control of “The Awesome One” himself, The Miz, for a brief demo against a CPU Randy Orton and was amazed at not only how smooth the new animations for the game seemed, but how much easier it was to just pick up and play, which should please old and new fans alike. I just hope they work out the glitch that wouldn’t let me pin Orton after performing four finishers before November’s launch.

Back in December I had the chance to attend the 2010 SpikeTV VGAs and work the red carpet. Here I got to catch up once again with old friend and Oscar winning director Guillermo del Toro. Instead of talking about vampires this time around, Guillermo, Danny Bilson, and I chatted about THQ’s new game that Guillermo is working on called Insane.