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When talking about Saints Row 2, it’s impossible not to immediately acknowledge the hulking beast that is GTA IV. The Saints Row series is forever doomed to live in the shadow of one of gaming’s hugest franchises, and has so far come up short in its attempts to overthrow the king.
Saints Row 2 is not pretty, it is not refined, and it is not realistic. "We're going for a very over-the-top feel," commented James Tsai, the game's lead designer, as we chatted with him at THQ's yearly preview event.
The game is very over-the-top, both in gameplay and story, the latter of which has been criticized as an exercise in tired racial stereotypes and naive views of "street life." James disagrees. "It's about having fun. The
“So press the Left trigger for a melee take down.” Drew Holmes, writer for Saints Row: The Third, said. We went ahead and innocently followed his instruction. Our character whipped around and kicked the nearest pedestrian, who just so happened to be some sort of balloon chested stripper nurse in a g-string. After knocking her to the ground, our character jumped on top of her and started whailing away, initiating a QTE. Befuddled, we obeyed the onscreen prompts mashing LT and RT as if we were Kratos and she was Zeus. “Okay, now press LT while running and you’ll do a running takedown.” Our character leapt forward and grabbed another pedestrian’s head from behind, leaping and slamming it into the concrete before flashing a smile and a reclining pose for the camera. And we haven’t even gotten to the two-handed purple dildo yet.
Publisher THQ has announced that it has recruited a team of Penthouse Pets to form a special quality assurance team for Saints Row: The Third. According to THQ, occasionally naked ladies Heather Vandeven, Justine Joli, Heidi Baron, Shay Laren, Ryan Keely, and Nikki Benz will be brought on to “ensure a satisfying Saints Row experience whether playing alone or with a friend.”…
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!
Mike Grimm and I were fortunate enough to get a hands-on with Saints Row: The Third recently and damned if it doesn’t bring out the kid in us! Immediately following the demo, Volition’s Drew Holmes sat down with us and essentially confirmed our belief that it’s basically confirmed what we already knew: Saints Row is the modern day, interactive embodiment of the goddamned Looney Tunes! After all, if Bugs Bunny were still working in the same spirit as his original shorts, and not resigned to be a character on kids’ lunchboxes, he’d probably be punching people in the nuts until they explode.
Imagine a room filled with serious gaming pundits, arguing over the musty old trope of “Are games art?” Dour faces abound, and serious glares indicate that this is an important issue that we must discuss. Suddenly, a fat man in a Hawaiian shirt and groucho marx glasses bursts into the room waving a purple dildo in everyone’s face while ripping huge farts. The man presses a button on his remote control and a small army of prostitutes floods the room while a huge stereo emerges from the floor. The pundits suddenly forget what they were talking about and start to enjoy themselves. This man is Saints Row: The Third, and he has come to save us from this boring discussion.