That's a Lot of Game - Hands-On with Saints Row 3

We take our first look at Saints Row 3, an action packed game that has so many elements it would be hard to miss with this one. But how did it play with our hands-on time at gamescom?
At game conventions I don't often get a chance to venture too far outside of the MMOG genre but this year at gamescom I was able to take a small step away for an hour to try some hands-on time with Volition, Inc.'s Saints Row 3: The Third, published by THQ. I hadn't played any of the Saints Row games before so I wasn't sure what to expect. As it turns out, having no expectations is one heck of a fun way to enjoy Saints Row 3.

Bobble-headed bank robbery The game itself offers flavors of Grand Theft Auto, Arkham Asylum, Uncharted and even a bit of the upcoming PAYDAY: The Heist. How does that all work together? Well let me illustrate.

To start everything off I played through a bank robbery scene which put me as one of 'the Saints' who are superstars with tons of cash from the second game. The disguise? Giant bobble-heads of the Saints themselves. The tongue-in-cheek humor continued as hostages and civilians would ask for my autograph as I proceeded to try to rob the bank. Zany scenarios with colorful characters, much like Arkham Asylum? Check.

The bank robbery itself was a rush. Special Force agents would swarm the building as they had to be fought back. Everything that could go wrong went wrong as my own team mates triggered alarms, all the while fighting and dodging our way through a bank that rivaled Fort Knox in size and security. Giant bank with endless interruptions from law enforcement, hostages and civlians, much like PAYDAY: The Heist? Check.

Flying off with the bank vault

Not-so-subtle getaway from a bank heist

Near the end of the scene the only way out was by attaching the bank vault to a crane and flying it out of there--the natural solution for any seasoned heist professional. As we hoisted off with the vault I found myself on top of the vault itself, being flown around, crashing into buildings and holding on to the chains for my dear life... while still being shot at from SWAT personnel and an enemy helicopter. Yes, I had to shoot down a chopper and enemies while trying to maintain balance on the flying bank vault. Insane adrenaline-charged stunt scripts that no human could actually perform in reality but fun as hell to play through, much like Uncharted? Check.

Sex, Cars and explosions - all the ingredients for an awesome game As fun as the opening scene was to play through the bulk of the game takes place in an open world city. Here you can commandeer vehicles, visit stores to buy clothes or change your appearance, shop for new vehicles and upgrades, buy big guns, blow stuff up, get into fist fights with pedestrians or just drive over them, or get involved in any number of mini-games or events. One of these events called Insurance Fraud has you run out into the middle of the street and fling your body over as many vehicles as you can in order to collect insurance money. Let's also not forget your ability to get your hands on some planes and tanks to do some extra destruction. Sandbox-style city with tons to do for hours of entertainment much like the GTA Series? Check.

Saints Row 3: The Third looks to be shaping up to be a title you won't want to miss. It has some really advanced design strategies but at its core Saints Row 3 is just raw fun, taking the best experiences from some of the most fun games of this generation and packing all those elements into a smooth-playing, at-times hilarious action-packed, customizable experience. Thumbs way up on this one.

Saints Row 3: The Third will be available for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 November 15 this year (Nov. 18 in Europe).

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