Third Street Saints are Back..?
Deep Silver, the new publisher for the Saints Row franchise since the fall of THQ, has released numerous trailers for the upcoming Saints Row IV, hitting Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Windows on August 22, 2013.
I played the second game of the series first because of a friend. I ended up beating it in just a few days. The series had me hooked. It was everything Grand Theft Auto IV wasn’t. It featured a different kind of protagonist: instead of a depressing foreign gentleman, it featured a psychotic killer who had an almost Walter White quality about him/her. You began to hate your character for their actions, but you kept playing because that story engrossed you. You cared for your lieutenants, especially Johnny Gat. He’s awesome. It took the old Grand Theft Auto humor we saw in the GTA III trilogy and amplified it, while GTA IV totally ignored it. It adopted hitman missions, street races, and stunts from Grand Theft Auto and added a few great activities on its own. You can be a brutal bodyguard to a celebrity, tossing harassing fans into helicopter blades. You can ride shotgun on a septic truck and spew feces on local neighborhoods. The world is your oyster. The character customization was also mind-blowingly deep for a GTA clone (which the game pretty much escapes being with all of its incredibly original and innovative features).
At around the time of the release of Saints Row: The Third, I played the first game in the series. It was more serious than the sequel, but the story was just as present. Every character had a drama to them and their own way of doing things and this kept them interesting. Admittedly, I liked the nearly-silent protagonist shtick. The protagonist had a total of four lines in the entire game, almost each one a sarcastic reply to something. Every time he spoke, I lost it laughing.
I played The Third not long after it came out. I was beyond disappointed. The second game was an incredible success due to its ability to balance its silliness and its seriousness. The Third made no such effort. It swung into insanity.
The silliness in Saints Row 2 was so special because it still had roots in reality. It didn’t happen all of the time. In The Third, the silliness is all that there is other than the few serious story moments. I also found the costume shop really easy to find, which was disappointing. Before, it was hidden deep away in a huge shopping mall, which was also pretty well hidden. This easy costume shop only adds to the obnoxious level of the humor. You can dress like a clown from the start and swing a sex toy bat at anyone you see. It gets boring really fast because it’s the main source of entertainment in this game.
They also reduced the character customization to a really depressingly low level. And the re-design of all the characters is just…weird.
You can see why I’m not too excited for IV. Deep Silver acquired the franchise for its success and saw the sales numbers for the third installment. They figured it would be best to push the boundaries of the irreverent humor even deeper, they said in their acquisition statement. Because the third one did well financially, they plan to keep letting down fans of the previous two installments who didn’t care for the most recent one.
In this one, the Protagonist becomes the President of the United States. That sounds pretty funny and a little realistic, I thought. A criminal politician? This happens every day!
Then, I saw the aliens and super powers.
Maybe it’s best not to judge it until it’s out, but I’m not too excited. Even the Saints Row fans themselves that stuck it through the third game make this game unbearable. I literally read some comments on the trailers and I just couldn’t even process them. “It’s SR…It doesn’t need a storyline…”
There’s also the Super Dangerous Wub Wub Edition, which includes fan-elected stuff, like the dubstep gun (seriously?), a Dubstep Doomsday Button (don’t even ask), and an 8-inch tall Johnny Gat memorial statue (I refuse to believe they killed the last good character left in the whole franchise). This whole set will cost $99.99 and is console exclusive. This set will also include the Commander in Chief Edition, free with all pre-orders. It includes an Uncle Sam costume, a Screaming Eagle VTOL Jet, and the ‘Merica weapon.