Saints Row The Third

In this week’s Power Up! Gaming Blog, Glen Ferris takes to the stupidly violent streets of Saints Row The Third before getting excited about Sesame Street and handheld F1 racing…

Saints Row The Third – Review

Nobody could accuse the Grand Theft Auto games of being high-minded, but compared to Saints Row, they’re positively cerebral. A series that has always revelled in ramping up the cartoon violence in a sandbox world populated by freaks and weirdos, Saints Row plays like a gangster epic from the minds of Cheech & Chong.

Saints Row The Third, is no less balls-out, bullet-spraying, foul-mouthed, bad-mannered mental than its predecessors – in fact, it ratchets up the crazy to a whole new level.

The story finds the Third Street Saints having now achieved megastar status in their home town of Stilwater (they’re on billboards advertising energy drinks and a feature film based on their lives is in the works), only to be kicked off their turf by the mysterious Syndicate.

Now ensconced in the rather insalubrious surroundings of Steelport (described by one character as “Bangkok's abusive father”), the Saints have to start all over again in their fight to become the baddest gang in the city, while also getting their revenge on the shadowy figures who ejected them from Stilwater.

The plot, of course, plays second fiddle to a game that is so gloriously OTT and stringently ungrounded in any form of reality that we would defy anybody not to get a kick out of playing it. Game developers Volition, Inc. have simply created a videogame that packs in more action and silliness than you could ever hope for with more cars to jack, enemies to whack and pedestrians to thwack than is decent.



After a great opening level which sees you robbing a bank with a helicopter and freefalling from an exploding plane, it’s back to Earth and down to business as you invest in properties, try on a few new outfits and take on some money-making Activities (escorting tigers, killing mascots, breaking into military weapons caches, that sort of thing). All of which could strike you as a bit samey from the previous games, but it’s all just a clever way of getting you used to the world of Steelport before the game really starts rewarding you in earnest.

Stick through the overfamiliar opening missions and it won’t be long before you’re tackling everything from zombies to Burt Reynolds. The more you play the game, the better it gets. As your Respect level builds, you gain access to bigger and crazier weapons and vehicles and, accordingly, the game becomes more enjoyable as you level up.

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Of course, it’s not a game for everyone. Whether or not you’ll enjoy it depends on how amusing you find the notion of using a giant purple dildo as a weapon or firing citizens out of a human cannon. As for the violence, well, let’s just say if you don’t like the idea of getting your hands dirty with everything from assault rifles to chainsaws and airstrikes to satchel bombs, then you may want to give this a big swerve.

Saints Row The Third is undeniably done in the worst possible taste but it’s presented with such gleefully maniacal energy that you can’t help but have a laugh with it. Whether it’s laying waste to an entire city block in your tricked-out helicopter, dressing up as a furry animal in one of Steelport’s many bizarre boutiques, going on a murderous rampage with a friend in Co-op Mode or fighting off endless hordes of street walkers in the indelicately titled Whored Mode, this is a game which has its phasers set to fun. That alone makes it well worth you giving it a shot.
 

F1 2011 set to be a PlayStation Vita launch title

Seemingly not content with having created the must-have racing simulation for all platforms, those all-conquering folks at Codemasters are also making their mark on systems that haven’t even been released yet. It’s been announced that F1 2011 is set to be a launch title for the hotly anticipated PlayStation Vita when it’s released on February 22 next year.

The PSP-replacing handheld will play host to a remarkably handsome-looking version of the best-selling game which includes all the tracks from the 2011 F1 season and all the competing teams. What’s more, four players can compete against each other at any one time, while the ability to indulge in the two-player co-operative Constructors Championship-chasing career mode remains from the console version. As launch titles go, we can’t think of anything that will take greater advantage of the Vita’s incredible potential.


 

Sesame Street: Once Upon A Monster

Having recently become a new father (a truly awesome thing, but it can really cut into your gaming time), I was shocked to discover that the great Sesame Street is no longer on UK TV screens – how will my youngster learn how to count and spell now? School? Heaven forbid!
My chagrin swiftly turned to elation, however, when Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment announced the release of Sesame Street: Once Upon A Monster, a game that features all the characters and elements we love about the legendary show and presented in glorious Kinect-vision too… Ha, take that normal stupid TV.

Just like Kinect Disneyland Adventures, the title chucks young gamers into a truly interactive experience where they get to meet all their favourite furry monsters and learn some key life skills along the way. Grown-ups, meanwhile, can chip off to the spare room and continue their search for those elusive Riddler trophies in Arkham City. Everyone’s a winner.


 

Next week…

Finally, those muscle-bound, lycra-clad ring jockeys from World Wrestling Entertainment are back… And this time they’re bringing the pain and an errant apostrophe in WWE ’12. We’ll be smelling what The Rock is cooking, assuring John Cena that we can indeed see him and checking out what the latest offering from THQ has in store.


  

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