E3 2011: Saints Row: The Third hands-on preview

I’ve been critical of Saints Row in the past, rather unfairly, and almost entirely because I could never see it as anything other than a GTA knockoff. Even if that may’ve been true in the beginning, the series has found a way to distinguish itself by diving face first into territory even Rockstar won’t attempt. While the Grand Theft Auto series has taken a more serious, plot driven route with its gameplay and characters, Saints Row has cranked up the absurdity to levels most games wouldn’t dare to tread. And God love ‘em for it!

It’s true for the series now more than ever with The Third, the closest thing to a spiritual successor to GTA: San Andreas this medium has to offer. Saints Row has always epitomized what the (disappearing) genre of sandbox games should strive to do: Go anywhere, do anything, by any means the player can think of. Not only does it have fundamentally solid gamplay to build off of, Volition, Inc’s tossed all restraint out the fucking window. Nothing is too crass, offensive, illogical, or ridiculous to be included, and the game’s all the better for it. Here are my five faves:

5. Dildo bat

GTA may’ve abandoned its famous weapon of phallic purple pain back in 2005, but Saints Row is more than willing to pick up where CJ left off. Besides, the one in San Andreas was more like a little rubber blackjack. Volition’s fed it a fistful of Enzite and turned it into a six foot Neanderthal club of lethal humiliation. I wish I could be more mature about inclusion of a Dildo Bat, but every time I see it I think of Bigfoot eating it like a popsicle and I laugh my ass off.

4. Dr. Genki’s Fantrabulous People Canon

Why should you have to constantly pick between a 4-door sedan that handles poorly and an SUV that handles even worse? Surely, there’s a better vehicle out there that comes standard with projectile weaponry that moves a tad faster than a Sherman tank, right? You have your answer with the Genki Mobile! As you drive around Steelport, this classy ride gives you the ability to suck up undeserving pedestrians and then fire them at will. Cruel, yes… but we’re talking unlimited ammo here, people. And just like everything else in Saints Row, it’s always funnier with nuns.

3. VTOL Jet

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m sick of games playing coy with their aerial vehciles. Maybe I don’t want to jump through a bunch of hoops for hours on end just to take flight in a weak ass helicopter? This here’s a government issue jet, heavily fortified with long range missiles to boot. Not only can you hover gracefully above the streets terrorizing innocent citizens, you can go supersonic and send the craft screaming cross the entire city at Mach… something. Doesn’t matter – fly how ya want. Just have a parachute handy.

2. Sweet, beautiful nutshots

That first Saints Row: The Third gameplay tease wasn’t fucking around. Saints Row truly prides itself in unnecessary roughness. I didn’t think anything could top the ability to piledrive a women on the street for no reason whatsoever, but then I spent some time with the crotches of Steelport. It’s not just that every weapon in the game has a melee function… every weapon has a unique nutshot. Just because…

1. Nudity!

Go balls out. No really, let ‘em swing! Saints Row might be the first console game I can think to finally realize that the greatest clothing option in a game all about personalized customization, is no clothes at all.

Above: This, I cannot explain… yet 

And we’re just scratching the surface, people. Obviously, Saints Row has much more filth and depravity to deliver, and I couldn’t be more excited. Honestly, I had no idea I’d like the game so much, and you can see in the video below that I was sincerely moved - flustered even - by all the glorious juvenile behavior on display. Keep an eye on this one, opportunistic politicians.

Jun 17, 2011




  • PopularBluesMagicianSandyCabbage - June 20, 2011 4:18 p.m.

  • 435 - June 20, 2011 11:51 a.m.

    I cannot wait for this game. I am a happily committed SR fanboy. :x
  • aliengmr - June 20, 2011 4:13 a.m.

    Sometimes its ok to toss out serious and gritty storytelling in favor of a giant weaponized dildo.
  • hardcore_gamer1990 - June 20, 2011 12:16 a.m.

    The homepage image showed me all I needed to know about this game. The images and the words in this article just reassured me. I think this is almost definitely a pre-order.
  • IceBlueKirby - June 19, 2011 9:44 p.m.

    I can't wait for this game. I played Saints Row 2 for a couple of years after I finished the story just to screw around and do whatever...this looks like it'll give me near limitless options for random dicking about.
  • thatoneguyPDX - June 19, 2011 3:34 a.m.

    SR1 was just GTA without the character, but in SR2 they seemed to have learned their lesson and just went silly with it. This looks like more moves in the right direction
  • Spybreak8 - June 19, 2011 2:57 a.m.

    Like the first two I'll be buying it when it's about 30 to 40 bucks. I have a lot of game atm and a sandbox game will def take a lot of my time.
  • inkyspot - June 19, 2011 2:06 a.m.

    Love Both GTA 4 and Saints row for different reasons. I knew I was going to buy this before it was even mentioned. VTOL... I was begging for this in Just Cause 2 (Another one of my favorites). I brought Red Faction Armeggeddon just because of this. I can't wait! VTOL... Yeah.
  • bron1417 - June 18, 2011 11:08 p.m.

    i've always loved Saints Row and this has made me want The Third all the more.
  • Groenewegen914 - June 18, 2011 10:45 p.m.

    Saints Row 3 = Random Greatness. I loved all Saints Row 1, 2 and can't wait for The Third!
  • CH3BURASHKA - June 18, 2011 9:35 p.m.

    Crazy sandbox it may be, but I'm always game for a good story. Having read the Game Informer article a while back, I find myself oddly intrigued by the various gangs and antagonists Volition's making up. I seriously doubt there will be any real emotional resonance, but as long as the story is entertaining and has a good pay-off at the end, I'm happy.
  • Yeager1122 - June 18, 2011 7:16 p.m.

    Saints Row is okay but ill always prefer GTA over Saints Row.
  • MyCoolWhiteLies - June 18, 2011 6:22 p.m.

    I enjoyed Saint's Row 1 when it came out. It was well before GT4 and while clearly it wasn't at that level, they really showed how a lot of next gen features would be able to make their way into a sandbox game. Saint's Row 2 really surprised me. The level of customization and random fun you could have was really refreshing. This one looks nuts, and I honestly can't wait.
  • Baron164 - June 18, 2011 3:15 p.m.

    I fell in love with Saints Row 2 when I played it coop with a buddy and the more I read about this one the more excited I get for it to come out.
  • md1292 - June 18, 2011 2:43 p.m.

    This article has sold me; I want this game.
  • Kyo - June 18, 2011 2:04 p.m.

    I still love and think of the first saints row as one of the best sandbox games I've played in my life up to this point.. but on that same note I think of saints row 2 as one of the worst, crazy lol. I only hope this game fixes the seriously giant list of problems the 2nd one had. That's my only wish for it.
  • FauxFurry - June 18, 2011 1:13 p.m.

    Hah! That's about one of the kookiest kinds of leisure suit that one could ever hope to wear, even moreso than some of the abominations that Saint's Row 2 let one concoct. It would take people who scoff at societal conventions to pull off wearing Technicolor fur-suits in the middle of a scrap with officers of the law. Dildo Bats, Fur-Suits,People cannons...I see where this is leading. Fur-suit dildo people baseball. Oh yes. Nude VTOL kamikaze nut-shot strikes strikes also hold much appeal for those who have even wanted to feel what it is like to be a naked terrorist (like that one scene on a commercial airliner in one issue of Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers). Saint's Row the Third will not only make up for any deficiencies in Duke Nukem's outrageousness, it is likely to make people forget Duke Nukem altogether...or to create a likeness of Duke Nukem in Saint's Row The Third to take part in wacky antics that the Duke could only dream of.
  • Bodock - June 18, 2011 12:12 p.m.

    Your move Australia
  • ichigoame - June 18, 2011 11:22 a.m.

    I have to admit I'm optimistic about this one saints row 2 was a let down for me, the motorcycles didn't handle well,the graphics looked like it was originally supposed to be a PS2 game, and yeah..the cheesy gangsta vibe, this looks way better though
  • jmcgrotty - June 18, 2011 10:18 a.m.

    " I personally find the Saints Row series (especially the 2nd one)" Odd way to word this, at least to me. Unless you are counting downloadable conent as different games, you have only played 2 games max (and seen coverage of a third one). To me, 2 games doesn't make a "series" yet. Ultimately, you will probably end up being right, but I think you worded this pooly. "I find the whole ludicrous dildo bat and such wacky antics to be nothing more than glorified novelty to sell the game due to obscene weapons. " Congratulations, you figured out the obvious! You are 100% right. And that is the point of them.

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