Friday, August 17, 2012

Steelport Welcomes You...

So, I'm back!  And guess what I finished playing recently?

Tell me that wouldn't make a pretty slick hood ornament.  I dare you.

That's right, it was the month of Saints Row the Third.  I started the game back in January, but put it on the shelf for some other games.

Hi, remember me?

So now I'm back for another game review.  So without further delay...

This game is awesome.  

For the unaware, the Saints Row games are what would happen if you took a Grand Theft Auto game, but took out 90% of the melodrama, and replaced it with farts, drugs, and humor.  The story in the series is that you start off as a member of an upstart gang The Third Street Saints, and work your way to head hancho of the organization.  By the time Saints Row The Third rolls around, The Saints have become more than just the largest gang in Stillwater, they're global celebrities with their own line of merchandise like clothing and energy drinks.  

so while the first two games are about taking over the city of Stillwater and exposing crooked organizations, SRT focuses on what happens when an international crime syndicate (creatively named The Syndicate) pushes into Stillwater, and ousts the Saints from the city.  Granted, you get kicked out of Stillwater, and into Steelport in a HILARIOUS way: Mid-air firefight after blowing out the back of a flying carrier, trying to catch one of your friends before they hit the ground.

The FIRST mission in the game has you stealing a bank vault using a helicopter.  You're so popular that somebody asks for your autograph MID HEIST.  The game starts off high-octane, and then turns it up over the course of the game.  

So in Steelport, you're cut off from your assets in Stillwater, due to Syndicate interference, so you've gotta build your way back up again, while taking down the Syndicate branch in Steelport.  Steelport's Syndicate is made up of 3 separate gangs: The Luchadors, the Deckers, and the Morningstar.  

The first group you'll run up against is the Morningstar, run by a Belgian businessman.  The Morningstar are money driven, and have a hand in several different businesses, both legal and illegal.  After that, you'll run into the Deckers, a gang of cyberterrorists run by a British Superhacker.  And finally, the Luchadors; a gang of masked thugs run by an internationally renown wrestler Killbane.  

To take on the Syndicate, you'll end up recruiting several crazy characters.  First, there's Pierce, and Shaundi, your crew from Saints Row 2.  Then there's freak of nature Oleg, a giant, intelligent Russian man.  Also joining the Saints are Zimos, an old Pimp who speaks with an auto-tuned voice box (goddamn hilarious/glorious), Kinzie, a former CIA computer wiz and general shut in, and Angel, Killbane's former tag-team partner who was disgraced by Killbane.  All of these people have a grudge with the Syndicate in some way or another, and are willing to help you out.

Oleg, Pierce, Shaundi, Main Character, Johnny Gat, Zimos, Angel.. All here to wreck shit.

Some more details about the gameplay.  The storyline missions will take you about 15-20 hours if you don't mess around in the side activities, which, I don't know why you would skip them.  Some examples of things you'll end up doing: Tank Mayhem (destroy things with a tank), Mayhem (just destroy vehicles and cause other damage), Insurance Fraud (Get hit by cars for money), and Trail Blazing (drive a flaming 4-wheeler into things to make them explode).  

And then... there's Professor Genki's Super Ethical Reality Climax.  

A game show that I would totally watch.

Professor Genki's S.E.R.C is a game show where you run through a building shooting at targets, and live mascots, trying to reach a point total before the timer runs out.  The targets you can shoot are things like Health to heal, Time Extension, Ethical targets (picture of a evil looking cat with an eyepatch), Unethical targets (a very anime-esque panda bear), and Money bonuses.  There are electric and fire traps that you must avoid while avoiding being shot by the mascots.  It's fun, hectic, and just hilarious.  One of the best parts about this game though is the commentary.  The two announcers deliver lines with the drama of reality TV in the tones of over-the-top game-show hosts.  

To sum this up, the game was a bunch of moments for me.  Each part of the story had something that made it for me.  Whether it was the midair fight to start, tank skydiving, becoming Megaman, blowing up an aircraft carrier, remotely hijacking cars and driving them into a lake, or even having a tank made of 3D pixels.  The game is stuffed with personality and charm.  The writing is pretty good and the voice acting is solid.  

I feel that almost every gamer could enjoy this game, if they can get past the juvenile nature of it.  If you look past that, you'll more than likely find something to laugh at.

All and all, one of the best games I've played in recent memory.

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