Saints Row: The Third

Saints Row: The Third

Saints Row: The Third
File:Saints Row The Third box art.jpg
Developer(s) Volition, Inc.
Publisher(s) THQ
  • JP CyberFront (PC)
Deep Silver (Platinum Hits)
Series Saints Row
Engine CTG Engine
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Release date(s) EU November 15, 2011[1][2]
(in some countries)

NA November 15, 2011[3]
AU 20111115November 15, 2011
JP 20111117November 17, 2011
EU 20111118November 18, 2011
JP December 16, 2011 (PC)
Genre(s) Action-adventure
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
Distribution Optical disc, download

Saints Row: The Third is a comedic action-adventure video game set in an open world environment. It is developed by Volition, Inc. and published by THQ.[4] It was released on November 15, 2011 in Australia and North America, and was released on November 18, 2011 in Europe for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.[5] It is the third title in the Saints Row series, after the release of Saints Row 2 in 2008. As in Saints Row 2, the player controls the leader of the Third Street Saints. The game world is the fictional city of Steelport, and the story focuses on the urban gang war between the Saints and the three gangs.[6] As the gang war intensifies, STAG (Special Tactical Anti-Gang), an elite paramilitary police force led by Commander Cyrus Temple is deployed to Steelport in an attempt to disrupt the violence.

Gameplay

Saints Row: The Third retains the blend of an open world adventure game and an urban warfare format that is traditional in the Saints Row series. The player, as the leader of the Third Street Saints, can explore the new city of Steelport, performing main missions that progress the game's story, and side missions. These side missions include Activities, minigames, Strongholds, rival gang bases that can be taken over to control a section of Steelport, and Flashpoints, on-the-spot gang warfare. Successful completion of missions can earn the player in-game money, weapons, cars, and gang respect. The Third uses respect as experience points which grant levels, the highest level being 50, which in turn enables the player to spend money on improving specific attributes of their character, such as melee combat or firearms skills.[4] The levelling system allows the player to purchase these attributes, or 'upgrades', each time the player character is leveled-up, with the various attributes requiring a certain level before purchase is possible. Money can also be used to purchase clothing items, weapons and cars, or may be used to upgrade weapons and cars, such as adding scopes or extra barrels to a weapon, which are then stored in the player's arsenal.[4] Finally, money can be used to upgrade the Saints gang, customizing their appearance, outfits, and headquarters.

The "Initiation Station" system allows players to upload their character creations to The Third's online community, and download other players' creations to use with their save game.[7] Within The Third, the player can set up to four different appearances for their gang.[4] Finally, money is also used to purchase shops and other properties within Steelport, which will provide a steady stream of hourly income, in game, for the gang over time.

In previous Saints Row games, players were able to approach each of the three rival gangs along separate story lines that ultimately culminated into a final conclusion for each gang. In The Third, the story lines between the three gangs are interconnected, and are instead played sequentially. In addition, some missions allow the player to make decisions which affect the availability of weapons and ally characters that can be called to assist the player in combat.

While completing some missions, the player may be given a choice of options to finalize the mission. For example, the player has the option of using a gigantic bomb to demolish one of the enemy skyscrapers in the city; though they will gain a great deal of respect for the action, it will alter the city's skyline for the rest of the game and cause non-player characters to react differently to the player, while leaving the building standing allows it to be used as a headquarters for the Saints.[4] New Activities have been introduced alongside many from previous Saints Row games, while others, such as Fight Club, are absent.[4]

The player's arsenal is presented as a pop-up compass through which weapons are equipped with the analog stick. Novelty weapons are introduced alongside the traditional arsenal of handguns and automatic weapons. Players will gain the ability to call down airstrikes on encamped enemies, or to use a remote control electric bug to control vehicles remotely.[4] Unlike the first two games, there are no health recovery items in favor of improving the grenade throwing system; in exchange, the player's health will regenerate at a faster rate as long as they stay out of the line of fire.[4] Nearly all actions in the game can be sped up by holding down a second controller button, dubbed by Volition as the "awesome button"; for example, when carjacking, holding down this button will cause the player character to missile-kick (known in the game as the Bo-Duke-En, a joint reference to the The Dukes of Hazzard and Street Fighter) the driver out of the seat in short order.[4]

In addition to the single-player mode, the game can be played co-operatively with another player.[4] As in Saints Row 2, the second player can participate in all missions and activities, earning credit for their completion. Certain activities provide different rules when a second player is present; for example, in the Tiger Escort activity, the second player will have to control the tiger in the backseat while the first player drives.[4] Because of their focus on this, Volition has removed the unpopular competitive multiplayer from the title.[4] Co-op features require an online pass.[8]

Synopsis

Plot

A while after the Ultor Corporation fall, the 3rd Street Saints have turned their street gang into a media empire, becoming icons and household names across the world, with their own energy drink, Japanese commercials, toys, a large fanbase, and a movie deal in the works. But when they attempt to rob a bank with actor Josh Birk, who is to play a Saint's member, their everyday routine takes an unlikely turn when the bank tellers unexpectedly start an all out gun war on the saints. The Saints attempt to airlift the vault out of the building, but when Birk foolishly sets off the alarm, it alerts the Stilwater P.D. and, after a large-scale firefight with police and S.W.A.T, the Saints are incarcerated.

In jail, Saints second-in-command Johnny Gat laments what the Saints have become, expressing disappointment at having strayed from their roots. At that point, an international criminal organization, called The Syndicate, bribes the police to release the Boss, Gat, and Shaundi. The three are forcibly taken to the Syndicate's leader Phillipe Loren, to try and negotiate a business plan with them aboard Loren's private jet. While in-flight, Loren tells them they will be allowed to live if they turn over 2/3 of the Saints' business in Stilwater. The Boss and Gat immediately reject this offer, and are able to fight their way out, with Gat commanding the plane back to Stilwater. The Boss and Shaundi use a parachute to escape the plane, but Gat is believed to be killed in the process.

Upon landing, the Boss and Shaundi find themselves in Steelport, the dystopian criminal city controlled by the Syndicate, a group of three gangs: The Morning Star, a gang with advanced technology equipment, controlled by Loren himself, the Luchadores, a Mexican gang lead by the killer wrestler Killbane, and the Deckers, a hacker-based gang led by Matt Miller. After calling Pierce Washington, the Boss's second-in-command, to Steelport, the Saints seize a Morning Star penthouse for their new headquarters, hijack a UAV from a military base, and begin attacking Morning Star's businesses, culminating with an attack on Syndicate Tower, Loren's headquarters, in which the Saints rescue Oleg Kirlov, an apparent superhuman and template for the Syndicate's Brute clones, and Loren is killed. When the Saints try to transport Gat's body to Stilwater for his funeral, Killbane, now leader of the Syndicate, leads an attack on them. The fight destroys Stilwater's Hughes Memorial Bridge in the process.

To retaliate, the player seeks out anti-Syndicate talent, recruiting Oleg as an enforcer, ex-FBI hacker Kinzie Kensington as an informant; Zimos, the oldest pimp in Steelport; and Angel de la Muerte, Killbane's vengeful former tag-team partner. They are later joined by Viola DeWynter after Killbane kills her twin sister Kiki out of rage due to a failed assassination attempt on the Boss. Her defection, however, coincides with the arrival of the paramilitary S.T.A.G. (Special Tactical Anti-Gang) forces in Steelport, created by Senator Monica Hughes after the destruction of the bridge to end gang violence once and for all. The Saints take on STAG regardless, resulting in Steelport going under martial law, whilst also dealing with the Syndicate.

After providing Kinzie with the appropriate technology, the player enters the Deckers mainframe, defeating Deckers leader Matt Miller's avatar in a virtual reality fight and driving him and most of the Deckers out of town. At Angel's insistence, the player opts to take on Killbane by killing the other contestants in his Murderbrawl XXXI pay-per-view to gain entrance, and then, with Angel's help, defeating Killbane in Murderbrawl with the option to unmask or spare him. Following his humiliating defeat, an enraged Killbane responds by instigating several attacks on the Saints and STAG throughout Steelport to cause chaos.

Whilst quelling the fighting between the Luchadores and STAG, the Boss is simultaneously informed that Killbane is escaping the city while STAG second-in-command Kia is holding Shaundi, Viola, and Mayor Burt Reynolds hostage at a Steelport monument rigged to blow to frame the Saints. The Boss kills Kia and saves Shaundi and the others, the Saints are hailed as heroes for saving the monument and STAG pulls out of Steelport with the threat that they will be back. The Boss tracks Killbane down to Mars and kill him in what is ultimately revealed to be a scene from the Saints sci-fi film Gangstas in Space, which the Boss and several members are acting in.

An alternate, non-canonical ending plays out should the player opt to eliminate Killbane. In which the destruction of the monument is used as a pretext by STAG to attack Steelport with the airborne aircraft carrier Daedalus. The Boss destroys the Daedalus, killing STAG leader Cyrus Temple in the process, and declares Steelport an independent city-state under the Saints' control, with Pierce taking charge as mayor, and Boss of the ultimate leader.

Voice cast

The following actors appear in Saints Row: The Third:[9]

Development

The Third was envisioned as early as September 2008, when it was in the early stages of production.[10] An investor's presentation was held by THQ in February 2009, wherein their lineup for the coming financial years was announced. The presentation announced that The Third was projected to release during financial year 2011.[11] In an interview for the December 2009 issue of Game Informer magazine, THQ vice president Danny Bilson announced that The Third would debut at the 2010 Electronic Entertainment Expo, and that it would retain the over-the-top style of its predecessors.[12]

During E3 2010, he revealed that the game would not debut there but would instead be shown at the Spike Video Game Awards in December.[13] He also revealed that THQ planned to release a Saints Row film as well as various merchandise such as a collectible card game and books.[14] At E3, THQ announced Saints Row: Drive-By instead. It was to be released on the Nintendo 3DS and via PlayStation Network and Xbox Live as part of a marketing strategy for The Third.[15] During the Spike Video Game Awards, Volition announced inSANE, a collaboration with Guillermo del Toro, instead of The Third.[16] It was officially announced for Q4 2011 on March 2, 2011 in a press release by THQ.[17] In May 2011, THQ announced that The Third's tie-in Saints Row: Drive-By had ceased development and had been cancelled.[18]

When THQ CEO Brian Farrell was asked if Grand Theft Auto V will affect pre-orders for The Third at THQ's Q2 financial conference call, he replied that GTA V and The Third are in a "completely different positioning". "I went online like everyone to see the GTA trailer. As you point out, it's a high quality trailer and I think it's going to be another fantastic game in the GTA series. That said, it also shows the completely different positioning of the two games. GTA is still serious and character driven – a very different experience. Saints Row – if you saw our video today – it shows you all the crazy stuff in the game. It's a totally different positioning, and if you read the forums it's like 'hey, I love GTA, and I love this game because it's a very different game that knows what it is and is very entertaining".[19]

Speaking with Spong, producer Greg Donovan said that in order for The Third to differentiate itself from other open world games, everything had to be "over the top this time around":

"Scott [Phillips] and I didn't work on [Saints Row] – we were on [Saints Row 2] and [Saints Row: The Third] – but I'll give you a bit of history about it all... The whole goal for [Saints Row] was to create an open world game on the Xbox 360, because there was nothing else out there at the time. We had no idea that [Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas] was going to be this urban contemporary simulator – and when we found out we thought 'well, shit'. We could do very little about going up against GTA at the time though, so we kept on at it. In Saints Row's defence though, it did have activities like Insurance Fraud, and other mechanics that similar games didn't. And from there it's seen a natural evolution, I would say for Saints Row 2. We still had some serious moments with it – we had long discussions in development over whether the Ronin should have swords on their backs or not, thinking that players would care about that stuff. But they don't. With Saints Row: The Third, we’re doing a complete reboot of the franchise, with new technology and everything else. Everything's just going to be over the top this time around. It works for us, it differentiates us from other open world games, we do it well, and players love it."[20]

Game engine

The game runs on the CTG (Core Technology Group) Engine. Volition considered using Geo-Mod in Saints Row: The Third, but decided not to do it because it would be "game-breaking" because of some missions that take place indoors.

Volition representatives said: "In regards to considerations over Geo-Mod 2, we get that question a lot understandably, and the answer is yes, we considered it. But we ended up not going in that direction for two reasons. One, it would have been very, very difficult to do. It would have been possible, but difficult. Two, I think you could make the argument that delivering that level of destruction arguably creates a game that’s different to what fans of the franchise have come to expect."[21]

Marketing and release

Prior to its release, Saints Row: The Third was marketed and promoted heavily through the use of numerous Internet and TV trailers to include hiring new rap duo Broken Pixels to produce an original song and trailer, "The Third Street Saints", as the official theme song.[22] In addition, several special editions of the game are available. To promote the game in Australia, THQ had securely-fitted attire women to dispense free petrol for motorists in the suburb of Redfern, New South Wales. The event lasted three hours until police were involved.[23] Saints Row: The Third has received heavy sponsorship and has appeared at game conventions with its own booth. Saints Row: The Third has appeared at E3, THQ Gamer's Day, Comic Con, PAX '11, Eurogamer Expo '11 and Gamescom.

Retail editions

Every new copy of Saints Row: The Third on PlayStation 3 features a complimentary download of Saints Row 2. This offer is only available in North America and the EU.[24]

There are three separate collector's editions available. All contain a copy of the game, along with several extras. The "Platinum Pack" is available in North America and Europe, which include a copy of the game, the Professor Genki Hyper-Ordinary pre-order DLC, the game's official soundtrack and a custom Saints Row headset.[25] The "Smooth Criminal Edition" is exclusive to Australia and New Zealand and includes sunglasses, a bullet-shaped ice cube tray, silver-plated Saints Crest cuff links and the game's official soundtrack. Customers who pre-order the Smooth Criminal Edition will also receive the Professor Genki Hyper-Ordinarypre-order pack.[26] The "Maximum Pleasure" is also exclusive to Australia and New Zealand, and includes Hyper-Replica Professor Genki head, Professor Genki Stuntman key-ring and Professor Genki banner pen.[27]

In addition to the standard version, a "Limited Edition" of the game has been announced, which was available through pre-order. The "Limited Edition" features the Professor Genki Hyper-Ordinary pre-order DLC as a bonus. The "Limited Edition" is available at the same price as the regular game, but in limited quantities, and is available on console and PC.[28]

Downloadable content

Several packages of downloadable content (DLC) have been released. The DLCs are as follows:

Online Pass

The pass that allows players to play the game in multiplayer.

Season Pass

  • "Genkibowl VII" - extra missions in which the the Saints participate in Professor Genki's annual Genkibowl
  • "Gangstas In Space" - extra missions in which the Saints must film a Saints movie based in space
  • "The Trouble With Clones" - extra missions where the Saints must fight a giant brute Gat clone
  • Nyte Blayde Pack - player gets an extra Nyte blade themed outfit and Nyte Blayde motorcycle

Other content

  • Invincible Pack - players get extra game cheats to use
  • Shark Attack Pack - players get a shark attracting gun, a shark hat and sailor outfit
  • Explosive Combat Pack - players get an grenade launching weapon and future soldier outfit
  • Z-Style Pack - players get character clothes similar to that worn the story character Zimos
  • Warrior Pack - players get extra clothes related to warriors, including a knight outfit and samurai suit
  • CheapyD - players get David "CheapyD" Abrams as a homie
  • Valve Clothing Pack - players get access to Team Fortress 2-themed outfits1
  • Funtime Pack - players get a professor Genki outfit and a vehicle with a usable people shooting cannon
  • Money Shot Pack - players get an extra outfit and vehicle based on the canceled project of the same name
  • Blood Sucker Pack - players gain vampire powers and an extra outfit
  • Special Ops Vehicle Pack - players get three Saints style special ops vehicles such as the VTOL plane
  • Steelport Gangs Pack - players get new Steelport gang outfits
  • Penthouse Pack - players get four characters as part of Gang Customization
  • Genki Girl Pack - players get three extra homies and their vehicle to use
  • Witches and Wieners - players get a flying broomstick and witch outfit and a hot dog wiener outfit
  • Horror Pack - players get extra outfits in a Halloween theme
  • Unlockable Pack - players get all choice-related unlockable items from the story
  1. ^ Only available through Steam

Soundtrack

Main article: Saints Row: The Third soundtrack
Saints Row: The Third - The Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Malcolm Kirby Jr.
Released November 1, 2011
Genre Soundtrack
Video game music
Length 28:07
Label Sumthing Else Music Works

Like previous games, Saints Row: The Third features a mixture of musical styles presented in the radio stations from Steelport, which can be accessed by entering most vehicles. There is also the possibility to pick individual songs and compile them into a single playlist from the in-game menu, referred to as a "mixtape", according to the game player's preferences.

The original score for the game was composed by Malcolm Kirby Jr.[29]

Track listing
No. TitleWriter(s) Length
1. "Saints Row The Third"    2:47
2. "When Good Heists Go Bad"    2:18
3. "The Mission Part 1"    6:05
4. "The Mission Part 2"    3:09
5. "Oleg and Kinzie"    2:30
6. "Killbane and the Syndicate"    4:33
7. "Stag"    4:07
8. "End Game"    2:38

Reception

Critical reception

Saints Row: The Third received mostly positive reviews. Reviewers praised the game's action, over-the-top gameplay, and quirky humor. According to review aggregator Metacritic, Saints Row: The Third has been better received than either of its predecessors.

The first review was published by Official Xbox Magazine for the Xbox 360 version, which gave The Third a 9.5 out of 10. They praised the game for its open world action, over the top action moments, self-aware sense of humor, and fun cooperative multiplayer. Their biggest complaint was that the story missions themselves do not allow for much creativity or improvisation the way that the open world does.[30]

The second review and the first for the PlayStation 3 version was published by magazine Play, which awarded the game 88%, and stated "It has its issues, it has its drawbacks, but Saints Row: The Third is an utterly wanton, totally ridiculous bag of laughs. It's difficult to dislike anyway, and even harder to dislike with such an enjoyable, escalatory campaign. Great stuff."[31]

The first review for the PC version of the game was published by PC Gamer, which gave it 83%, and stated that "It's mad. In fact, it barely makes any sense at all. But for all its wonky bits, there's an odd charm to Volition's decision to leave nothing on the drawing board. It's not the largest sandbox, but it is packed full of brilliant toys. Saints Row: The Third's commitment to unrestricted, ridiculous fun is unflinching, and the product is a city full of glorious slapstick debauchery."[32]

1UP.com gave the game a B+, and stated that "Lackluster side-content notwithstanding, Saints Row: The Third is so crazy and over-the-top that you can't go wrong with this game -- provided that you're the sort that would appreciate the game's knowingly juvenile sense of humor."[33]

IGN gave the game 8.5 and stated that "Saints Row: The Third gives the people what they want and drops us into an open world hilarious theme park. It doesn't take itself too seriously and only asks that you don't, either."[34]

G4TV awarded the game a 5/5, praising it for its over-the-top self-aware sense of humor, surprisingly likeable characters, and enjoyable gameplay. The only complaints made were that the humor fell occasionally flat and some people might be too easily offended. Regardless of the drawbacks, they stated, "The humor is ridiculously, deliciously over-the-top, perhaps borderline offensive at times, but the best creative works always are. The gameplay is as tight as it's always been but even more fun than ever thanks to the varied set of tasks placed in front of you. This series is a knockoff no more; Saints Row: The Third is, in a word, brilliant."[35]

Game Informer gave Saints Row: The Third a 9 out of 10, saying "Steelport will offer equal parts entertainment and absurdity". They also praised the game's deep and hilarious character customization, stating that "it will allow you to play as Ric Flair, Pantsless Collouss, and even [Game Informer]'S own Joe Juba". The main complaint of the game was for its glitches and absence of certain activities, such as Septic Avenger, from Saints Row 2.[36]

UK magazine Edge was more critical of the game, giving it a score of 6/10. The game's over-the-top style was particularly criticized: "Saints Row's weakest parts are hand-me-downs from its GTA source text, uncomfortably echoing the squalid business of pimpin' and hustlin' in the form of a lame cartoon, a whooping fratboyish endorsement of crime and female degradation, devoid of any conscience or commentary."[37]

Sales

On November 2, 2011, THQ CEO Brian Farrell announced that Saints Row: The Third was already the most pre-ordered title of the The Saints Row series. In fact, the game had four times the number of pre-orders Saints Row 2 had two weeks before its launch.[38] THQ estimated the game would ship over 3 million units before the publisher's fiscal year ends in March 2012. By comparison, Saints Row 2 launched in October 2008 and sold 2.6 million by the end of the fiscal year.[39] On January 25, 2012, THQ announced that The Third had shipped 3.8 million units globally and are expecting to ship between five and six million units lifetime on the title.[40] THQ's fourth-quarter financial report showed that Saints Row: The Third shipped over 4 million copies[41]

Sequel

Main article: Saints Row IV

On March 22, 2013, it was officially announced that Saints Row IV would be released by Deep Silver on August 20 in the United States and August 23 in the rest of the world. The game will be available for the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The plot will involve the leader of the Saints being elected President of the United States, only to have the world invaded by aliens. The Saints leader is placed in a computer simulation of Steelport, where they will wield a variety of superpowers in their quest to escape.[42]

References

External links

  • Official website