Gamescom 2011: Saints Row: The Third Hands-On Preview

We drop into the city of Steelport and cause as much havoc as possible.

One of the many reasons open-world games are so enjoyable is that even when you don't feel like progressing the plot of the story, you can still have hours of fun doing just about anything your heart desires. THQ and Volition Games dropped by our offices the other day to let us have some fun toiling around the new city of Steelport in the upcoming Saints Row: The Third. Rather than being forced into playing through the story-based missions, we were given the opportunity to go wild in the city, and although it was fairly familiar stuff, it was still quite satisfying.

Just another evening in Steelport

From the get-go, players of past games in the franchise will feel right at home because very little has changed in terms of aesthetics and control. Once you grab a controller and set foot in the city of Steelport, it will feel as though you have always been there. Some new additions this time around include more wrestling moves in hand-to-hand combat and additional ways of modifying weapons to give each of them more power. Your arsenal includes being able to call in air strikes that have incredible range and other military-grade capabilities.

Another addition to your move-set is the ability to literally smash your way into a car. When running at full speed toward an automobile, heading towards the windshield or a door, rather than opening it and excavating the driver from the vehicle, you can smash through the glass and take control. Seeing it happen once is quite a treat, but doing it time and time again will put a smile on your face. It may seem odd how I describe it, but once you see it in action, you’ll get the idea.

Of course, you can still take part in a number of different missions if you so choose. In one particular, story-based encounter, your only objective is to get yourself injured enough to scam an insurance company. How do you accomplish that? Simple. You walk in front of traffic and let drivers ram you as hard as possible. The most enjoyable sequences were when we managed to time getting hit by a car, flying in the air, and then getting hit by another as we landed. You don't have all day to get hurt, so you have to move quickly, and getting hit by multiple vehicles is necessary to increase your combo and reach the required monetary goal.

At the same time, other mission types from previous games return. Mayhem, where you cause as much destruction as possible within a given amount of time, is back and is just as enjoyable as before. Again, much of what made previous Saints Row games so enjoyable has returned, and for the most part, it was a blast being in the middle of all this frantic action.

Beauty or Beast? You decide

Our time in Steelport was brief. Outside of the one story-based mission we encountered, the objective of the demonstration was to cause as much chaos as possible in the given time. We had some time to fool around with the customization as well. Both car and character customization felt deep and included greater options, such as increasing your breast-cup size or "package," and each was very easy to navigate. There are a lot of cool things to discover, and finding everything should take a while. There is still plenty that Volition is holding back prior to the game's mid-November launch, so expect to see and hear more regarding Saints Row: The Third in the very near future.

Written By

Former GameSpot Associate Editor, current Content Manager for EA SPORTS.

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Saints Row: The Third

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Discussion

59 comments
leezer4000
leezer4000

they'd want to change the release date as skyrin and new assassins creed all coming out in same week maybe should delay for say a month.

SirBullworth
SirBullworth

hopeing that the customization lets you make your players hair longer like in the first one on xbox 360 that would be nice

unisyn
unisyn

is it impossible for people to like both GTA and SR??? they are both fun to play, i dont understand y people like to compare and contrast these two.

psycho75
psycho75

@punksterdaddy haha yeah probably,lets just try nd forgive them they dont know what they saying,not every game is for everyone,and understanding art is worse nd harder.

KrazzyDJ
KrazzyDJ

Grand Theft Auto games are getting increasingly geared towards realism while the Saints Row series is structured more around crazyness and chaos. This single factor should suffice to discourage any unfair comparisons between the two series of games !!!

punksterdaddy
punksterdaddy

@psycho75 I am glad someone agrees with that comment, thank you. I just had a quick look down the page and I see people are still bashing GTA? Some folks are never happy, it is the nature of spoiled brats I suppose? lol For the guy commenting on how GTA IV was a step backwards, he must be off his rocker? The game was superior to many others is so many ways, even if San Andreas is the best of the whole series, I still cannot see how IV was a "Step backwards!" The visuals being the most obvious improvement, amongst other things, such as the mobile phone usage, the internet cafe, the bonkers cousin and a Steroid junkie named Brucie, to name but a small 1% of the improvements contained within! I wonder what everybody on here will say about the next GTA, once it is finally released? Not as good as the epic GTA IV, maybe? lol numptys!

derek_brown
derek_brown

ahhhh........man i still say bully is better

ACESandElGHTS
ACESandElGHTS

MikeNelson247: San Andreas is quite simply one of the top 10 video games of all time. GTA 4 did not live up to it (although it was fairly awesome) and Saints Row 3 looks like the spiritual successor to San Andreas. For Real. I can only hope it lives up the hype.

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

@punksterdaddy Yep, it'll be allll your fault! Haha. Nahhh i'll give it a go. Cheers mate.

MikeNelson247
MikeNelson247

@derek_brown I need both GTA 5 and Bully 2. @Atheosis - Ok! you didn't like GTA 4 but what is your opinion about San andreas?

Atheosis
Atheosis

@MikeNelson247 In my experience no game deserves a perfect score, least of all a game that's a step back for an entire series.

derek_brown
derek_brown

@MikeNelson247 i wouldnt say gta is legendary @Atheosis Bully is better than SR 2 (sigh..............i wish they made bully 2 i dont need GTA)

MikeNelson247
MikeNelson247

@Atheosis - If you hate Gta, stop talking about it. It got 10, caz it deserved. Love SR, but don't make fun of Gta. Gta is legendary. Don't compare these two games. Both are very different. Who cares, Rockstar earns hell more than THQ.

Atheosis
Atheosis

@derek_brown I don't hate GTA IV. I simply stated that SR 2 was better. GTA IV is quite possibly the most overrated game I've ever played. That doesn't mean I hated it, or thought it was particularly bad. It just wasn't all that great either. That Gamespot and others gave it a perfect score boggles my mind honestly. I think it was a 7.5 out of 10, and was clearly inferior to previous installments in the series.

X-RS
X-RS

All I can say is that I hope once Rockstar finally figures out what direction they want to take the GTA series in (Volition seems to know where they're going with SR) that they redo the controls. Mashing A for run and left/right for weapons becomes a pain fast.

derek_brown
derek_brown

@Atheosis why hate.........if dont like it.....dont buy it.....................there are a millions of people who will buy it.............i like what i saw in SR........you didnt like gta 4 whats next............you will hate action adventure ............welll you have you opinion i dont judge you

Atheosis
Atheosis

@derek_brown and MikeNelson247 I've been playing GTA games since GTA III and they've grown completely stale as far as I'm concerned. Saints Row 2 was simply more fun than GTA IV. People who gave GTA IV a 10 are either delusional or were paid off. That game wasn't anywhere near perfect. In fact, it was the worst GTA game since they started making them in 3D.

derek_brown
derek_brown

@MikeNelson247 @Atheosis please dont compare this two games.........they are different...........GTA shouldnt change.....its great as it is...............and if you want insane we have SR

MikeNelson247
MikeNelson247

@Atheosis - You can never say that. Saint's row 2 ain't better. It's good but not better than Gta 4, that's why SR2 got 8 and Gta 4 got 10.

punksterdaddy
punksterdaddy

@warhawk-geeby Oh no... Don't put that kind of pressure on me? It does depend on what your own definition of crap is though? Not that I think that you won't like it anyway, I'm sure you'll love it?

vasgko2
vasgko2

They try to make something different in order to avoid the comparison with GTA but the result already feels a bit "strange". I don't think that this game will be a success

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

@punksterdaddy Alright man.. I'll take your word on it. If it's crap though I'm blaming you :P

psycho75
psycho75

@punksterdaddy yes agreed, two lookalikes two different experiences,about complaints...well people love to complain,its really rare not to stumble on a over critical post here on GS nd other sites, although critics are important to maintain the quality bar i find the majority just stupid. people like to complain how video game is dead or there is no more creativity or always more of the same nd rip offs but thats exactly how games evolve ,on recicled ideas,aways was nd will be... people should pay more attention in the proposal of the games before talk BS

punksterdaddy
punksterdaddy

I do not get this constant comparisons between Saints Row and Grand Theft Auto...? Does that mean all FPS games are just Call of Duty in drag? Does it mean that every driving game is basically Gran Turismo etc etc....? Yes they are both Sandbox games that involve a criminal underworld, stealing cars and shooting anyone you wish too but there the similarity's END! I'm sorry, but it really bugs me that anybody other than the Rock* team, that are wishing to create and develop this genre of game always get the tag... "They are just ripping off GTA," when that isn't what they aim to do. These developers are bound to realise the brilliance of Grand Theft Auto as does everyone else and they just wish to create their own title(s) with a Sandbox style in mind. Well, I think that this should be seen as a good thing and not a blatant rip off, like I've read so many times before on many posts. Simply because I am tired of the same old, same old FPS titles that seem to spring up every few months, not to mention all their DLC that comes along behind it? What we really need, is more titles like Saints Row and GTA and not complain that it is being ripped off? Rockstar should and probably do, take it as a compliment, that every sandbox title gets compared to GTA even if it is not exactly the case!

punksterdaddy
punksterdaddy

@warhawk-geeby I know what you mean... I was a bit sceptical when it came to Saints Row, therefore I never played the 1st one and I waited until Jan 2011 until I played SR2, not deliberately trying to avoid it, I just had other games I was more interested in first. When I finally played SR2, I was... Delighted with it!! So much so, I went out and bought the first one too, right after I had finished SR2. It really is a good game series that not only has you doing loads of fun missions but it also has the most hilarious characters and story lines ever seen before in a game! The side missions are the best thing about the series, as they are brilliantly bizarre and never get boring! This time last year I wasn't that bothered or interested in "Saints Row," Now a year on and I am drooling with just the thought of playing another for Christmas... They really are that GREAT!!

Infinity_Gauntl
Infinity_Gauntl

@Metalshin0bi Yeah this has definitely made it to a day one purchase for me, which is a sacred place this year I'll tell ya (especially in NOV). What did it for me is the E3 demo where he running around clobbering people with a womans self help device, runs into the cat-a-pult car, and then by the end with the jet. Just the vast amount of crazy ==== in this game and how fluid everything is really impressed me. @Speuj I just oredered SR2 for $25. Thanks for the heads up, looking foward to it!

kex72
kex72

Da row Da row Da row.........Da row?

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

I never have tried Saints Row, always thought it looked a bit stupid to be honest. I know there's a huge fan base behind it though, i'll probably give this one a go if it gets decent review.

Phil-teh-Pirate
Phil-teh-Pirate

This hands on sucked. How long did they drop in for? 15 minutes?

Warlord_Irochi
Warlord_Irochi

SR and GTA are different approaches. The fact that they are a open city does not mean they are the same. Would you say that Infamous and Prototype are the same as GTA too? Personally, I enjoy SR a lot more.

robd8
robd8

@HaloPimp978 GTA 4 was released in 2008, saint's row the third is going to be released in november. you cant compare those two games. nevertheless i thoroughly enjoyed saints row 2, i just hope volition dont let us down.

HughJaHead
HughJaHead

Wait, we can change our "package" size, oh god...... can't wait for this game!

sportwarrior
sportwarrior

I couldn't get into Saints Row 2. The graphics were awful and that first battle against the cops put a terrible taste in my mouth that I wasn't able to get rid of. I'm still very much open to this game, though. Def willing to give it a chance.

Atheosis
Atheosis

@HaloPimp978 Saints Row 2 was better than GTA IV.

HaloPimp978
HaloPimp978

This Saints Row will be way better than GTA IV.

m6x_p0w3r
m6x_p0w3r

@Metalshin0bi instead of the thought of your love for GTA being replaced... think of Saints Row as the middle ground between GTA games... i mean who doesnt love the fact that you can go absolutely batsh!t crazy in a new city with EVERYTHING at your disposal.

SirBullworth
SirBullworth

I forgot to put in my last message it would be nice to add more then 6 voice's in the game for the main character they had 6 voice's last time in SR2. 3 voice's for the guy's and 3 voice's for the girl's so for alot of other gamers that are Male and female 10 or 20 new and old voice's for both gender's. Would be great to add for this addition to the series 10 or 20 voice's for male and female characters thats unreal if they were able to do that.

muppen
muppen

I had a great time with SR2 and The Third looks to improve in every way possible. Day 1 buy for sure.

snugglebear
snugglebear

Can't wait. I have so much fun in these games.

SiLenTWarrior29
SiLenTWarrior29

I'm gonna get this game only cause I've been waiting forever for GTA5... But to me gta is still the best only cause it's the original sandbox game and it never failed at it... SR at first I also took it as a gta knockoff but this one looks promising... Looks like SR is really starting to step out of gtas shadow really making rockstar step their game up.. And I really do hope so.. Cmon Rockstar announce GTA5 already!

dstv
dstv

i might actually buy this

SuplexKirby
SuplexKirby

They have hover bikes? This game is gonna be sick.

Speuj
Speuj

@Infinity_Gauntl Dude... seriously... treat yourself to SR2 for 20$. You won't regret it! I thought the same way as you until I tried it! Farking hilarious game...

kickboxer101
kickboxer101

@raven449 I agree. They're both open world games but are completely different. I guess people think Call of Duty and Battlefield are the same just because they're both first person shooters.....oh wait......;-)

raven449
raven449

Can we please stop beating the dead, buried, and turned to dust horse of GTA vs SR THEY ARE TWO COMPLETELY DIFFERENT GAMES!!

brodie333
brodie333

the fanboys are out... GTA and Saints Row... they are classified as the same game but are played completely differently. GTA is more real, and you have to play it like that. Saints Row is more arcadey, and more for fun. both games are amazing.

videogamer008
videogamer008

i dont want to hurt peoples' feelings and i really DO have respect for other people's opinions and i love peoples' opinions..... this is indeed a flipping amazing game and thats going on my christmas list and a lot moore games. Between Grand Theft Auto series and Saints Row series, i would vote that the two series are amazingly outstanding...

Majkic666
Majkic666

Saints Row has always been better then GTA