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

Japanese gaming legend Tomonobu Itagaki will be featured as a playable character in THQ's upcoming open-world adventure.

by

Those lucky enough to be present during THQ's Tokyo Game Show showcase today were given quite the treat when the publisher announced that celebrated Japanese game designer Tomonobu Itagaki (Dead or Alive, Ninja Gaiden, Devil's Third) would be making an appearance in the upcoming Saints Row: The Third. Not just any old appearance, mind you: Itagaki will be featured as a playable character, giving gamers the chance to don the signature leather jacket and sunglasses and run amok on the streets of Steelport when the game ships later this year.

The announcement came during THQ's presentation of Saints Row: The Third during this year's TGS, which consisted of a demo showing off one of the signature missions in the game, followed by a brief hands-on session with the game.

As we already know, the point of Saints Row: The Third is to get as crazy, wacky, and over the top as you can get away with in a game, complete with dildo bats, rocket launchers, and a bazillion and one different ways of kicking someone in the nuts. The gameplay demo focused on one of the main missions, which sees the Saints trying to infiltrate the cyber-hangout of the Deckers, Steelport's elite cyber criminals. To do this, the Saints have to enter a virtual-reality portal and navigate their way to the Deckers' hideout; in the demo, Kinzie Kensington (voiced by actress Natalie Lander) sends one of the Saints into the portal but accidentally has his avatar show up as a toilet. Desperately trying to fix her mistake (or just having a laugh?) she changes him into a blow-up sex doll, and finally, into himself.

The next part of the demo focused on the customization options in Saints Row: The Third, which have been significantly beefed up since the last game. Walking into a shop called Image As Designed, you can pretty much make your character look exactly how you want, with customization options for race, body, face, hair, makeup, and personality. Of course, if you're too lazy to bother with any of this, you can just play as Itagaki.

Itagaki actually introduced his own character during the THQ presentation and took control of him for a while. Naturally, the first thing he did was punch some innocent bystander in the stomach. He then proceeded to ride a flying Jet Ski down the busy Steelport streets and mow down people before parachuting off and launching a missile attack on a nearby luchador hangout. You have to admit, the man has style. (According to his own story, Itagaki was really impressed with the game after seeing it at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo and told THQ as much. Impressed by his honesty, they decided to make a character after him.)

After the presentation, it was time to get hands-on with the game. This demo didn't focus on a particular mission but rather just let players loose on the streets, so we took the opportunity to try out one of the new side activity missions which we've been hearing a lot about. While Professor Genki has become something of an unofficial mascot for Saints Row: The Third, we really haven't seen much of Professor Genki's Super Ethical Reality Climax, an ironic take on the Japanese game show concept. The idea here is that Professor Genki hosts a Running Man-style reality TV show in which contestants must enter an enclosed mazelike warehouse with one objective: kill all the other contestants while dodging deadly contraptions and dudes dressed up as mascots. The whole thing has an air of crazy about it, but it can be a very good distraction for when you tire of hitting people in the junk with the underside of your weapon.

Speaking of weapons, our hands-on demo also let us try the very cool, very creative octopus gun--a gun that shoots slimy cephalopod molluscs at your enemies, rendering them temporarily friendly and allowing you to dispose of them as you will (shooting them in the face with a rocket launcher always works well).

Finally, we learned that the Saints Row team has renamed the left trigger the "awesome button," because pressing it at opportune moments throughout the game lets your character perform a variety of complicated wrestling melee attacks that often end in hilarious finishing moves.

We can definitely say that we're eagerly looking forward to our next encounter with the madness that is Saints Row: The Third. The game will ship November 15, 2011, on the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Discussion

25 comments
blowtrees
blowtrees

Saints Row, the always raunchy white trash cousin of GTA. Looking forward to it, but will probably need extra jimmy hats.

kazumashadow
kazumashadow

My god i want this. I loved Saints 2, and this is like 10 times more awesome, the over the top action is the best thing in the series,i mean, c'mon what other game has an "awesome button"?

deathdoc
deathdoc

The Japs should concentrate on cleaning up the NUKE mess they have and keep their crap console games away from the PC. (Kill the mindless console poison, PLEASE) Steve Jobs was the creator of computer redundancy where you got what you get and that's it. No tweaking a system or using your mind, just use the computer the way I made it. The Japs built on this and made consoles to own the market share of brain dead (or just lazy) people. Sorry but 95% of games made today are ports for the lazy and have no quality or user knowledge at all.

Kane04
Kane04

I remember Saints Row 1 being really popular on early days, but i suspect that it was because GTA4 was still a PS3 exclusive. I remember users posting on forums saying how much better it was than San Andreas on the PS2 and that over all it was a better series. Only took the announcement of GTA4 being on the 360 on day one to put this apple on the "fair" basket.

terminator661
terminator661

Saints Row 2 was a really fun game and this looks just as awesome :D

jk80
jk80

Yeah I'm totally thrilled that Tomo- whatever his name is is in SR3.

MN121MN
MN121MN

If you actually watch the demo, Itagaki didn't touch the controller... Though that's the PC version demo..

antoniobandino
antoniobandino

Man, I was always such a GTA fanboy and Saints Row hater but @#$# me, this looks fantastic!

dark_rising76
dark_rising76

You know that you have a good game when they have something called the "awesome button." We can only wish that our lives had an "awesome button" that we can press everyday.

Delkura
Delkura

You know what? F*** November 15th! I want it now!!! :(

OldDogOfWar
OldDogOfWar

best game ever, no im serious it is..

Ergo_Proxy656
Ergo_Proxy656

November is gonna be a busy month this year...

bandarman
bandarman

I can't believe that its still 2 months left for this game to ship. I WANT IT NOW!

Un4givingAsault
Un4givingAsault

I would trade all these good games coming this fall for Skyrim right now just so i can forget about them lol.

hiphops_savior
hiphops_savior

I'm going to go broke in the next few months, especially with Skyrim, Skyward Sword, Super Mario 3D Land, and now this.

Nergil
Nergil

Normally this would be a day 1 buy, but i have to spread my game purchases out...skyrim and zelda will be sucking the life out of me when this comes out.

snugglebear
snugglebear

I actually want to play as Itagaki, now.

Falcon084
Falcon084

The waiting for this game is killing me!

stephenage
stephenage

I really want to play as Tomonobu Itagaki, and I don't know why...

edje69r
edje69r

There is a video of this demo on youtube, but the octopus gun is new to me looks awesome