Saints Row: The Third Hands-On Preview

It’s no secret that I already love Saints Row: The Third – I was sold on it at E3, and now I’ve had the chance to play it at GamesCom I’m really sold. During my hour with the game I got to play out the story mission where the Saints rob a bank, and also spent a good forty-five minutes dicking about in free roam. The mission I got to play out was one that I had watched back at E3, where it starts off in an elevator with Johnny Gat putting on what is quite possibly one of the best disguises ever. The Third Street Saints are about to rob the bank disguised as themselves. So on go the giant bobblehead masks, and out come the machine guns.

When you reach the bank lobby, which must be about forty floors up, the shit hits the fan, and the next thing you know is the old biddies behind the counter have pulled out AK-47’s on you and a firefight ensues. As this firefight plays out, and during all of the other smaller gunfights in this mission, the Saints are constantly bantering with each other and referring to things which are going on around them – even taking the piss out of the enemies that are attacking them. Once at the vault, Johnny Gat realizes there is no way that you’re getting it open and it’s time for Plan B. A plan that is even more stupid than Plan A, but a plan so stupid it just might work. What you need to do next is make your way upstairs above the vault and plant explosive charges, blowing the roof off so a chopper can come in and airlift out your crew and the bank vault full of cash.

When I made it up to the floor above, it was filled with a few office workers cowering under their desks, except for just the one who was excited to see that the Saints had arrived and wanted my autograph. I kindly obliged before continuing to fight off waves of attacking SWAT who had been alerted to my presence, which was bound to happen having just blown the lid off a skyscraper, and I just need to hold out long enough and wait for the chopper to arrive. It’s at this point where I just assumed that my mission is over, I’d seen this part played out already, and it’s even featured in one of the games trailers. It has such a cinematic look to it that I think everybody in the room was surprised to be playing it out. You’re now on top of the vault, suspended by the chopper, holding on to one of the corner ropes with one hand and firing a big-arse machine gun with the other. Helicopters are flying towards you and dropping off SWAT on the rooftops while everything is just exploding around you. I know it’s over the top, but it was brilliant.

The control scheme fits Saints Row: The Third perfectly and anybody who picks up the pad shouldn’t have any trouble at all. Grenades are on the left trigger, shoot with the right, etcetera. My favourite buttons though have to be the left bumper, and the right thumb stick press. One of the game’s developers, Drew Holmes, dubbed the left bumper the “awesome button” – a name which I hope it keeps. The idea behind it is quite simple: you hold it down and everything you do instantly becomes more awesome, like pressing the Y button on its own would usually make you walk to the nearest car before pulling the driver out and driving off, but hold the awesome button down when trying to jack some poor mo-fo and you’ll take a running jump through the window, kicking them out of the driver seat and into the middle of the road. Just this one action alone is quite dynamic, and what direction you approach the car from and the type of car will dictate the way the carjacking plays out. I also really bloody loved the one that involved two-footed diving through the front window and knocking the passenger into the back seat.

My other favourite button was clicking the right thumb stick, which is known as the “crotch button” – I must of spent a good fifteen, maybe twenty, minutes of my time with Saints Row just running around and punching people in the crotch, it just never gets boring and I love it. As my time was getting on though, it seemed like a good idea to actually play out some of the game’s other features (although I could of quite happily spent the full hour hitting people in the nuts), so I popped along to the plastic surgeon to change my look. There are sliders and options in here for everything. The hardest of hardcore RPGs don’t have this many different options – you can run around as a chromed eight foot tall overweight naked guy with purple hair if you wanted. I opted to just fiddle and leave my fella as is, while watching the guy next to me go straight for a female character and turn the size of her norks all the way up. I won’t lie, I looked (it was hard not to), and I giggled like a twelve-year-old when I watched them flopping about all over the place. It was hypnotic… like a lava lamp.

A quick visit across town to the costume shop and I change into a cowboy outfit before I try out carnage mode. The idea behind it is simple; blow up as much shit as you can, as fast as you can. Trying to do it on foot wasn’t easy so I drove across town to pick up a tank and did it no problem. After that I picked a fight with the Mexican wrestling themed gang, the Luchadores, and spent the rest of my time getting a legger across town off the big bastards, calling in air strikes on top of them, and of course, punching them in the bollocks.

Saints Row: The Third is brilliant – it’s over the top non-stop crotch-shotting action. It’s not dark, it’s not gritty, and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s just fun, and I walked out of the demo grinning like a twat.

If you’d like to know more about Saints Row: The Third, take a read of our E3 preview, and also our interview with Drew Holmes, the game’s lead writer.

Games featured in this article
For more information on any of the games featured in this article, click on any of the links below

Last five articles by Lee



  1. Mr McGash says:

    Mega-Uber Barbara-Streisand !!!
    So Jealous, but so happy i will not be disappointed. Woooo Saints! YEAH!!

  2. Richie Rich says:

    I can’t wait for this. Great preview Lee, you always kill it. Top work.

  3. Edward Edward says:

    Argh, you’ve made me really need this game. Not want, but need. Damn you Lee! DAMN YOUUUUUUUUU!

Leave a Comment