The suspense surrounding the mysterious Saint's Row: The Third can now end, with a brand new batch of magazine scans pulling the curtain back on Volition's third installment in the Saint's Row series. Besides giving a better look at the artistic style of the game, we now know the various criminal organizations, powerful figures, and new mechanics that players will be getting to know when the game launches this holiday season.
Saint's Row 3's first official screenshot and weapon details showed that the game won't be moving too far away from the franchise's established visual style or insane arsenal, but the new leaked images of Game Informer's coverage imply that the story component of the game will be getting a major upgrade this time around.
It was clear from the first images of The Third that the Third Street Saints had left the life of gangsters behind them for a much more high-brow existence, which the scanned magazine pages confirm.
But the new story details revealed will also include some big surprises, so even long-term fans of the series should listen up.
After completely removing any criminal competition in the small town of Stillwater, the Saints have been embraced by the community not as criminals, but heroes for removing dangerous crime from the streets. Overnight, the Third Street Saints have become household names, with a full range of merchandise, and even a major motion picture in the works.
With success comes complacency, and the Saints soon run wild like "kids in a candy store," entertaining themselves with bank heists and high-end jobs. It is during one of these routine jobs that the Saints have their party crashed. While removing an entire bank vault via helicopter, the Saints are captured and arrested by the police assumed to be bought and paid for. As it turns out, the bank in question is owned by a criminal organization known as the Syndicate.
It's at this point that the Saints's free reign comes to an end, and the player's game begins:
"After slipping the cops substantially more cash than your crew could pony up, the Syndicate holds you and partners in crime Johnny Gat and Shaundi hostage on their private jet. The three of you awaken to the sight of a cigarette-smoking Belgian named Phillipse Loren, flanked by his femme fatale assassins Viola and Kiki. An offer is presented - the Saints will be allowed to live in exhange for 66 percent of their monthly profits. Unsurprisingly, your character retorts by saying "Go make yourself a f***ing waffle" and a gunfight breaks out onboard the aircraft."
The player is given the challenge of taking out the remaining enemies and escaping from the plane, but in an unfortunate turn of events both the player and Shaundi are thrown from the plane.
Fans of Saint's Row will be happy to hear that the action doesn't end there, and in just the first look at what the developers have in store for the game, many expectations will quickly be exceeded:
"Controlling your character as he plummets through the sky, you steer him towards an airborne Syndicate member. Upon reaching him, you pummel him in mid-air... and steal his double Uzis. While avoiding debris and falling cars, you kill your enemies and manage to catch up to Shaundi. You deploy your parachute, and the girl seems appropriately impressed with this act of extreme bravery.
"This mission's already featured more action than any previous Saints game, so we expect the protagonist and Shaundi to float to the ground followed by a nice end-mission reward. Hoever, Volition prefers to layer crazy on top of crazy, so the plane begins a slow 180-degree turn in an effort to ram the two of you during your descent. Abandoning the role of gentleman, your character tosses Shaundi toward the ground and attempts to break through the window of the oncoming plane."
We'll stop there so there are still some surprises left for those who want to experience the game's opening with fresh eyes, but Volition has made their point. This game isn't just going to be bringing over-the-top weaponry, but mission design as well. These misions sound more like an Uncharted creation than Saint's Row, but given The Third's less-realistic design, it's hard to imagine how it will look in action.
Upon landing, the player soon realizes that a return to Stillwater isn't in the cards, so the Saints will have to start all over again in the new town of Steelport. As one can expect, the Syndicate is eager to sink its claws into the slum-filled city, so the Saints will have some competition in regaining power.
The Syndicate will be employing three different gangs throughout the city, with different focuses and methods. Morning Star is a collection of high-class criminals personally led by Loren, who prefer sniper rifles and SMGs in combat. Loren's twin sister bodyguards, Viola and Kiki DeWynter look as if they were pulled right out of a Bond film, but their Harvard educations prove that their brains are just as deadly as their hands.
Morning Star make the big decisions, but it's the Luchadores who enforce them. Led by former Lucha Libre wrestler-turned-murdered Killbane, these are the mask-wearing muscleheads seen in the first official screen. While the larger-than-life Killbane uses his flamboyance to gain favor in the media, his gang of drug-peddlers prefer to put their bulk to use toting heavy weaponry. Killbane and former tag-team partner Angel De La Muerte have had a falling out, resulting in Angel losing his mask: the ultimate shame to a luchadore. Angel and the Saints share a common enemy, so an alliance may be possible.
The computer-saavy geeks known as the Deckers round out the greater system of gangs, led by internet guru Matt Miller. The goth web-star may talk a big game, but his lack of education in social situations is sure to be good for a few laughs.
And laughs there will be, with the player's information on the city of Steelport coming courtesy of Zimos, a smooth-talking pimp with a long history in the city's darker side. Zimos' most unique quality isn't his flashy outfits, but his need to speak through a voicebox following a tracheotomy, resulting in all of his speech being delivered in, that's right, autotune. We don't know how they'll explain it, but we don't care.
The Saints will also have the government to worry about, and the newly-commissioned STAG (Special Tactical Anti-Gang) units. It's a foregone conclusion that players will have to battle other gangsters and the police, but Volition hopes that the backdrop to the chaos will impress fans and newcomers alike.
With the game decribed as "embracing the crazy," Volition isn't just relying on story and characters to deliver a worthwhile experience, but some interesting changes in controls. Players will once again be able to wield grenades along with firearms, but with the explosives assigned to the right-bumper. So no longer will fans of GTA need to navigate through their entire arsenal for the item.
The left bumper will be the most interesting on any controller, described by Volition as the "awesome button." The button will be used to add flourish to nearly any animation, as well as sprint. The example given is carjacking, which allows players to accelerate the animation by using the button to trigger a dropkick through the driver's window, sending the driver flying out the opposite side. Attack from the front, and be prepared to fly feet-first through the windshield.
But Saint's Row: The Third will be earning its M-rating as well, with the normal animations of carjacking featuring some gruesome violence. So fans of hilarious violence and over-the-top gameplay can trust that both their needs will be served, with the developers themselves assuring the industry that they are capable of drawing the line between humorous and tasteless.
These leaked pages from Game Informer are proof positive that the characteristics that fans of Saint's Row came to love are still alive and well, and if the mission described is a sign of things to come, then The Third really could take the series to new heights.
As of now, these images and details on Saint's Row: The Third aren't official, but we'll keep you updated on any new reveals from the magazine themselves. As far as wee see it, this holiday season couldn't get here soon enough.
Source: Saint's Row Forums