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  1. Hey, great news! Saints Row IV is out today. The fourth installment to this sandbox series promises to be just as outlandish and fun to play as some of its previous installments, and if the reviews that are already out are anything to go by, it's a fantastic experience to be had. This series hasn't always been quite so crazy, however. In fact, earlier titles in the Saints Row continuum had trouble shaking the stigma of being a 'Grand Theft Auto clone'. While its fairly obvious that Saints Row has moved well beyond that stigma, it's interesting to see how the games have developed over the last seven years. In celebration of Saints Row IV's release, let's take a look of the series as a whole. The original Saints Row came to the Xbox 360, and gamers everywhere were quite excited. Saints Row was the first sandbox game for the system and for the generation alike, preceding Grand Theft Auto IV by a bit under two years. As such, gamers and critics alike praised the new IP, many saying that it was far more fun than any sandbox experience they have played before, including the granddaddy of the series. Interestingly enough, the title had initially started development for the PlayStation 2, under the rather lacking title Bling Bling. After a couple years, however, development moved to the Xbox 360, and eventually it became a 360 exclusive release in mid-2006. While there were plans to make the title go multiplatform, the PlayStation 3 version simply took too long to create and was no longer relevant. The Windows version did eventually end the original console's exclusivity, but the first Saints Row is still a Microsoft exclusive title. Anyhow, the first Saints Row focuses on you, a random bystander, who almost gets killed in a sudden gang fight. You're saved by Johnny Gat, leader of the 3rd Street Saints, and end up joining the gang to get 'The Row' under their control. Unlike other titles in the series, Saints Row plays it safe with the setting (for a sandbox game); both the plot and general gameplay make it very much a Grand Theft Auto clone. There are a few tweaks to the general formula to make the title a little more fun to play, but there's no denying the striking similarities. However, the game does end on a very interesting note: After a long string of crimes and misdeeds, the player meets with a corrupt politician on a yacht. After some talking, a bomb suddenly and unexpectedly explodes; leaving the fate of your character undetermined (though probably dead). It's an ending many developers wouldn't dare to pull off, since such an ending can really disappoint gamers. However, Saints Row did it anyway... and it helped lead into quite the sequel. Saints Row 2 began its development shortly after the release of the first game, and this time it was released for the PlayStation 3 as well as the Xbox 360 (and eventually a PC release). The second title in this series hit store shelves in October of 2008 after a few delays, coming out after its biggest competitor, Grant Theft Auto IV. From the get-go, the development team knew that Saints Row 2 would have to be different to survive. Lead producer Greg Donovan explained to Game Developer magazine in a Saints Row 2 postmortem that "From the start, the team“s fundamental goal was to create an original open-world gameplay experience that would further distinguish Saints Row from other non-linear games, and carve out a distinct identity in the genre." During Saints Row 2's development, two things were paramount: The game having a unique identity and giving players as bug-free of an experience as possible. The latter led to the previously mentioned delays, but when Saints Row 2 finally launched, many gamers thought the wait was well worth the delays. Saints Row 2 takes place five years after the original. After waking up from a five year coma after the yacht explosion, the player (with some serious plastic surgery done) breaks out of prison and finds Stilwater a very different place. You, now being The Boss, set out to revive the Saints and bring the city back under their control--even if that means taking down the corporation that brought the city back to life after a devastating earthquake. Unlike the original, which plays it safe, Saints Row 2 takes itself out of the comfort zone a bit. While the main story of the second game is still Grand Theft Auto like, the game features some very tongue-in-cheek humor that really sets it apart. You're still a gang and working to take over the town, but the dialogue and some of the cut-scenes give you a feel for something more. The beginnings of the series' quirkiness were there, but it was not the entire game; it's for that reason that many fans still consider the second game their favorite. It was a mix of the typical crime-ridden sandbox style with a bit of crazy flair: Nothing too crazy that keeps the essence of the original intact, but provides an entertaining ride through the new Stilwater. In terms of gameplay, most of it stays the same, but with some refinements to help make the game more fun to play. The biggest new addition was the inclusion of multiplayer; you and a buddy could get together and create havok on Stilwater together in drop-in drop-out co-op, or even go head-to-head in a couple minigames. Players could even go do their own thing without being restricted by the game; the only time were a player's forced to do anything is if a story mission is activated. So at the end of the Saints Row 2, the Saints again own the city, and are more or less able to do what they want. Seems like a happy, conclusive ending, right? Maybe not... Then came Saints Row: The Third... the title in the series best known for its over-the-top nature and presentation. The humorous, crazy antics of the second game are taken to a new level here, and how successful that was depends on who you ask. But more on that in a bit. Saints Row: The Third was supposedly in development as early as the second game's release, as was common with more popular game series, but little more than the name was known about the title until March 2011, mere months before the game's November release. Despite the short time between announcement and release, however, the third title of the franchise received a heavy advertisement campaign to get hype for the game going. With such a campaign, THQ made sure that this title would reach a wider audience than ever before. As for the game itself, the development team set out to create an experience that was far more over-the-top than Saints Row 2. Donovan stated that everything had to be over-the-top with Saints Row: The Third; otherwise, the title wouldn't be able to stand out amongst the crowding sandbox genre. The team did succeed in what they set out to do, and as such gave the series its own unique identity, and one that can hold its ground even against the likes of Grand Theft Auto V. Also interesting to note is that in the interim between the two games, a completely different Saints Row game was announced. First titled Saints Row: Drive By then Saints Row: Money Shot, the downloadable title was to be released on PSN and XBLA to market for the third game. It was a bit of an unusual title; instead of the typical Saints Row gameplay, you play as an assassin that can control the path of a bullet, and were tasked in doing so to hit your marks. The game was later cancelled, and the rewards for playing the game that transferred up to Saints Row: The Third were later made available as DLC. Anyhow, the plot for Saints Row: The Third starts off after the events of Saints Row 2 (naturally), and now the Third Street Saints have made quite a name for themselves. The gang has moved up from the streets of Stilwater, becoming a household name with their own clothing and merchandise line. However, after a botched bank robbery that was to be part of their movie, The Boss (that's you) and the Saints' other top members get arrested. After a series of events, you end up in the new city of Steelport, with new gangs to overthrow and a new area to reign supreme over. While the gameplay still retains the feel of a Saints Row title, everything else about the game is completely over-the-top. Gone is the still serious, but humor-lined plot of the second title; instead, Saints Row: The Third is completely silly and ridiculous all the way through. Some fans were upset with the change, but still others enjoyed the nature of the third title. Saints Row: The Third managed to sell more copies than the previous two games, selling over 2.6 million copies by the end of the company's fiscal year (in March, so over a six month period). Undoubtedly, fans spoke with their wallet with the latest release of the series, and Volition's idea to make the series stand out from other sandbox games was a success. Which brings us to the present--or more specifically, today. There is no doubt that Saints Row IV continues the quirky humor started in Saints Row 2 and taken to whole new levels in Saints Row: The Third. After all, The Boss is now the President and you have to fend off an alien invasion. For better or for worse, the Saints Row series has gone in its own direction, and found a very unique, if somewhat ridiculous, voice in the genre.
  2. gaiages

    Saints Row (2)

    From the album: The Dusty Photo Album

  3. gaiages

    Saints Row (1)

    From the album: The Dusty Photo Album

  4. Saints Row IV is one incredibly anticipated game coming out next month. If you did not yet pre-order the game or its special edition then you now have the option of grabbing another special edition before the August 20th launch. Today Saints Row IV Emperor Zinyak's Game of the Generation Edition was unveiled. This is an addition to the already existing Saints Row IV The Super Dangerous Wub Wub Edition. What reason is there to buy the new edition over the existing one? Well, it comes with a light up display case which has a rotating floor. Yep, that's just what every gamer needs. If you do feel you need a fancy rotating display case then you can pick this version up for $130. In comparison, the Super Dangerous Wub Wub Edition costs $100. Of course, the more expensive set comes with everything in the other edition too, but it still seems a bit odd. Then again, Saints Row is known for being strange.
  5. Marcus Estrada

    E3 2013: Hands-On With Saints Row IV

    For a long time, it seemed that Grand Theft Auto was the main series people went to for sandbox style exploration and intense levels of possible violence. Of course, there are other games that exist with expansive worlds to explore (and possibly wreak havoc in) but GTA stands as the best known. When Saints Row first came out, many took it as an obvious copycat of the GTA formula. Although the game wasn“t great it did manage to carve out a new identity for itself. It wasn“t trying to be serious in any way, but to mock the establishment of GTA. Saints Row 2 worked to further tailor this image and by Saints Row 3 we had a perfectly capable and hilarious franchise. How does Saints Row IV fare? From what I tried of the demo at E3, it is shaping up to be the most incredibly asinine versions of Saints Row yet - and that“s a good thing. The game started me off with little pretense. Thanks to the ad campaign around the game I was aware that I“m playing as the President, but nothing in the game really alerted me to that. Instead, I was popped out into the middle of a city, given slight explanation of buttons, and then free to wreak havoc for ten minutes. The first thing I realized was that I could fly. For reasons that must make sense in context, the President has powers that grant him the ability to jump really high, run super fast, and glide around high in the air. It seemed that the main character was overpowered just with these functions, but it“s possible the demo had these abilities maxed out or something. Either way, after bouncing around off buildings onto unassuming people, I decided to check out the weaponry. There are some “normal” weapons in the President“s stash, but also a handful of wacky weapons. First, I made use of the dubstep gun because, honestly, how can anyone ignore it? The results were as funny as expected, wherein the gun blasts dubstep music at its targets as they crumple to the ground. Other weapons included what looked like a water gun with lasers, a black hole gun, and lightsaber lookalike. Beyond using some incredibly strange weaponry, I was also able to hijack cars and motorcycles to head toward glowing markers. These areas featured a handful of side quests, although the ones I visited weren“t particularly interesting. One was based around matching objects that the game requested. For example, there was a human-shaped silhouette which I had to fill with a distraught citizen. The event was timed and pretty dull. The same could be said of a race I entered which had the President running at full speed down busy streets. With that said, the full Saints Row IV is obviously going to have far more to show for itself than these two minigames, including a story. I feel that the story is what will really set this game apart as the wackiest yet, and since I didn“t get to experience it in the demo I“m really missing out. So far though the game looks great, controls well, and has a nice set of weapons and abilities. Fans of the series won“t be disappointed by what IV brings to the table.
  6. Marcus Estrada

    Saints Row IV Screenshot

    From the album: Marcus's Album

  7. Marcus Estrada

    Saints Row IV Weapons Screenshot

    From the album: Marcus's Album

  8. Marcus Estrada

    Saints Row IV Special Edition Gets Weird

    If there's one things fans have come to expect from the Saints Row series it is that the game never holds back. Everything is amped up from game to game and we can only wonder as to how much further Saints Row IV may go than its predecessors. At the very least, we can now be assured of this special edition being the strangest of the lot so far. The special edition is titled Saints Row IV: The Super Dangerous Wub Wub Edition. It includes a foot long replica of the Dub Step gun which plays sounds akin to what it does in game. Also included is a doomsday button replica and 8" Johnny Gat statue. Beyond these tangible oddities, all pre-order DLC is also included. Interestingly, these bonuses were definitely pulled from the survey held a while back to ask fans what they wanted from the next Saints Row special edition. They listened to fans - but will fans now accept the collectibles? It costs $100 to nab the unusual assemblage of items when Saints Row IV launches on August 20th.
  9. There's so much done in the modern game market to try to generate as many launch sales as possible. This is due to the way the market gauges success, wherein a game is required to make a certain amount in a specific small time frame to be considered a success. Such has generated the existence of pre-order bonuses, and the more modern "upgrades" to so called special editions. Saints Row IV is just another game this generation following that path. It's still unknown if an actual special edition is coming (but there was a survey asking about tangible items for it). Either way, anyone who pre-orders the standard game is "upgraded" from a regular purchase to the Commander in Chief edition. As you might expect, this change which has no extra fee is basically just another way to describe pre-order DLC. It comes with an Uncle Sam outfit, a jet that is painted to look like a bald eagle, and the 'Merica weapon. Really, that gun in particular looks the best with its flamethrowers, "dub step guns", and rocket launching capacity. It's a shame that it apparently won't be a part of the game proper. Saints Row IV is set for launch August 20th for PS3, 360, and PC. It will also be the first Saints Row game published under Deep Silver as they purchased the IP in THQ's collapse.
  10. Marcus Estrada

    Saints Row IV Announced for August Launch

    When THQ folded and began selling off assets, many were worried about how their favorite franchises would be split up. Deep Silver nabbed the Saints Row name and are ready to help see the next game in the series see completion. Today they announced that they're bringing Saints Row IV out this year. The game, still developed by Volition, was described as follows: "Now the larger-than-life insanity of the Saints series gets a new twist with a catastrophic alien invasion, and the aliens have transported the Saints to a bizarro-Steelport simulation. Wield gargantuan superpowers and fight to free humanity from alien granddaddy Zinyak's mental grasp. Escape the simulation that's trapped the Saints crew, or die trying. Saints Row IV lets players delve into an arsenal of alien weaponry and technology that will turn each Saint into an ultimate entity of destruction. Utilize out-of-this-world superpowers to fight all the way to the top. With intensified action and enhanced customization, players can use their newfound superpowers and leap over buildings, outrun the fastest sports cars, or send enemies flying with telekinesis in the greatest, most insane installment of Saints Row yet." There's no doubt that the upcoming game will still be incredibly strange, but in an even more obvious fashion than usual. However, those who would have liked to see the next game on a new system are going to have to wait for "Saints Row V", as Deep Silver made the announcement for current gen consoles as well as PC on August 20th. Joystiq then received clarification on that statement and were told their plans do not include a Wii U release.
  11. Have you felt like indie bundles are sometimes too indie? Maybe not, but for many, there are often packs filled with games that we've never heard of before. That's certainly not a bad thing, but there is something to be said for familiarity. Perhaps sensing this, the Humble Bundle people have started up a developer-specific pack. This certainly isn't the first time they've done so, but it may be the first time it has been for a well-known developer. The Humble THQ Bundle is currently offering probably the best deal on these games you can get (outside of Steam sales). At any price over a dollar you will get these six titles: Company of Heroes (PC: Steam) Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts (PC: Steam) Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor (PC: Steam) Darksiders (PC: Steam) Metro 2033 (PC: Steam) Red Faction Armageddon (PC: Steam) However, the most enticing part of the bundle comes only if you pay higher than the average (currently near $8). For that donation, Saints Row: The Third will also be included. There's a little more being done to entice players to purchase from Humble Bundle as well. Picking up this set also entitles you to soundtracks for almost every game. Only Metro 2033 is left out of the MP3 roundup. Here's Humble Bundle's trailer although most of these games are probably familiar:
  12. Marcus Estrada

    Steam Summer Sale 2012 Community's Choice

    From the album: Marcus's Album