Saints Row: The Third (Review)

I think I’m about a month late to the Saints Row party but, whatever, I was busy playing Skyrim! Anyway…

There’s a lot that could be said about Saints Row: The Third. Prior to playing the game, I always thought that the series was just a more “gangsta” version of Grand Theft Auto and nothing more. Sometimes it feels good to be wrong about some things, and I’m certainly glad that I was wrong about Saints Row: The Third. This game is so much more than just a GTA-esque sandbox game and it is, dare I say, better than Rockstar’s series.

Saints Row: The Third is, yes, an open world sandbox game set in a huge urban sprawl. Just like in Grand Theft Auto you can steal cars, have shootouts with cops that grow progressively more and more intense the longer you hold out, play dress up by buying clothes, or even just mucking around with the pedestrians and traffic by causing general mayhem. The difference between the two? Saints Row does it better than Grand Theft Auto and it’s mostly because this game is just so insane that you cannot take it seriously.

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to beat zombies with a big two foot long dildo? How about to pilot a bizarre ATARI-esque tank in city streets firing giant explosive blocks? Or have you ever wanted to take a Jet Moto bike into the open and run over dozens of people? While we’re at it, let’s set a casino full of gamblers on fire with molotov cocktails. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget about throwing ourselves into traffic and getting rewarded for it. This game is just completely balls to walls crazy.

Character customization can be quite good in this game depending on what you're aiming for.

The story isn’t the greatest there is simply because the game is so ridiculous. Missions have you getting plastic surgery (and possible a sex change) to impersonate an enemy, turning into a toilet, waging war with a computer geek in a virtual world, and driving around the city with a pissed off tiger in your vehicle for no apparent reason. There is an actual story and it deals with the 3rd Street Saints ending up in a city called Steelport after a bank heist goes terribly wrong in their home city of Stilwater. With Pierce and Shaundi, you (the leader of the Saints) must establish a presence in the city by battling rival gangs for control over districts to raise your reputation and power in the underground. The further you progress in the story the greater your hideouts and residences (cribs) will be, and the Saints will acquire access to things that seemed completely out of reach at the start of the game. The story is just all about building your power and reputation in Steelport while not letting the rival gangs walk all over you. Eventually a military group called STAG will arrive in Steelport to bring the gang wars under control, and that’s where things get really interesting.

There are a few surprises and twists in the story throughout the course of the game, but nothing that happens will really blow your mind or have you on the edge of your seat. Saints Row: The Third isn’t trying to give you an epic story, no. This game just wants you to have a lot of hilarious and over the top fun in a city where anything goes. Literally. As I said, your missions will bring you face to face with an angry tiger, virtual reality baddies in a Tron-like world, zombies, and more. Fun comes before story here and it’s blindingly apparent.

Your character’s cell phone is pretty much the most important thing in the game as it has a list of available missions for you to take on while playing. If progressing the story isn’t something you feel like doing, you can have your phone direct you to various locales throughout Steelport that counts as additional content. The most enjoyable form of additional content has to be acitivites. These are essentially minigames that you can find on the side of the street and triggering them will initiate the activity itself. Some have you thrusting yourself into open traffic in an attempt to collect insurance money while another kind throws you into what has to be the most violent game show ever where the objective is to gun down enemies dressed in cute animal mascot costumes while avoiding many electrical and flaming traps.

Other things to do outside of missions include purchasing properties and shops. By buying these locations, you will earn revenue from them hourly. The more expensive the location is, the more you’ll probably get from it in return. Purchasing shops will give you discounts such as lowering the cost of ammo and making clothing cheaper to buy. Another handy thing about buying shops it that, whenever gangs or police are after you, entering a shop will immediately clear you of any notoriety you have.

Crazy carnage and unrealistic vehicles are the name of the game here.

One of my favourite aspects of Saints Row: The Third is the customization. The character customization process is pretty thorough (it has dozens of sliders for facial features) and can take you up to an hour to make your character if you’re really serious about getting them to look the way you want. Fortunately you can edit them again later by visiting plastic surgeons littered throughout Steelport. Many vehicles can also be customized by upgrading their brake, torque, and much more or buy giving them a new paint job, tossing some new rims on the wheels, or modifying the body of the car itself. Any vehicle that you modify will then be saved to your garage where you can access it whenever you’d like. The greatest part about this? If you blow up your highly customized car and then accidently blow it up, all you have to do is visit your garage again and presto! You can spawn the exact same car! It may be unrealistic, but it’s a fantastic feature which heavily endorses the whole “we just want you to have fun” aura that permeates this game.

Your character can also be customized via the upgrades menu from your phone. By selecting this you can increase your combat effectiveness (raises damage you inflict from guns, etc.), unlock gang bonuses, or just make life a lot easier for you by increasing your sprint speed or health regeneration. There are tons of upgrades available which will unlock over time by gaining respect which is a sort of experience point system. You’ll gain respect by completing missions, activities, and other various tasks. You can also acquire respect simply by performing stunts and such in the world like having several near misses in a row when you’re in a vehicle. There are tons of little things that award respect and you could literally decide to just grind respect and still have fun in this game since the things that grant respect are fun themselves.

One thing that I’m glad for in this game is how responsible the controls are. Traversing on foot is predictably easy to do, but I was pleasantly surprised when I realized how easy it is to drive the various automobiles, boats, and flying vehicles in the game. A few of them (mainly anything that flies) may take a few minutes to get used to but there’s little challenge involved and you’ll rarely ever find yourself blaming the controls for anything that happens.

The graphics in Saints Row: The Third are pretty impressive. Some districts of the city look really beautiful when you’re on foot, especially the downtown areas with huge neon displays. I haven’t found any areas of the game that look a little rough. Some locations may seem a little barren, but nothing actually looks bad in this game. Considering you can go into buildings as well (mostly just cribs, shops, and a select few others), there’s a lot to look at in the city itself. Characters also look pretty good in this game. Your homies (mostly Pierce and Shaundi) are quite detailed but other secondary characters such as Cyrus, Kilbane and Viola all look great as well.

Yes, you can parachute from that high up... and it's pretty damn awesome.

The sound work in the game is also quite good. Sound effects are mostly pretty generic and standard stuff that we’ve already heard before, but the music and voices are something else. The soundtrack in this game has some truly great licensed songs that you’ll hear on the radio by Benny Benassi, Bush, Robert Tepper, and Sublime while the mission sequences also boast some good tunes. I never expected to enjoy anything by Kanye West, but there’s one song by him called “Power” which plays during some great moments ingame and it really fits wonderfully with the action on the screen.

About the voices, I love them all. All of your homies have excellent voice actors bringing them to life and the antagonists aren’t half bad either (especially Kilbane). The voices that you can select for your character are all very good as well. I was instantly won over by Female Voice 3 for my Hispanic chick and it fit like a glove. Another voice worth mentioning is one by the never-out-of-work Steve Blum who provides the lines for another selectable voice that is simply titled “Zombie Voice.” By choosing this for your character you are entering a land of non-stop laughs. The zombie voice is less moan and groan and more… Spastic weird noises and grumbles. It’s pretty funny stuff, especially during one sequence where your character sings “What I Got” by Sublime with Pierce. I literally burst out laughing when I heard it.

So how good is this game? Pretty freaking good. There are some details I left out such as the co-op (it works beautifully and is a lot of fun) and probably a few other little things, but they are worth discovering on your own. There’s a lot of fun to be had in Steelport and I think just about anyone will enjoy this game. Saints Row: The Third is perhaps the quirkiest and silliest game I have ever played and I absolutely loved every single second of it. This game is a winner and if you’re reading this review then you must be thinking about giving the game a try. Do it. Now.

Final Score

9.3/10

Pros:
+ Steelport is a blast to explore and has lots to do.
+ The voicing in the game is superb.
+ This game has customization coming out the wazoo!

Cons:
– Later missions can become overwhelming with the amount of action happening at once.
– Loading times can infrequently spike at random.
– Unfocused storyline may deter those looking for a compelling quest.

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Terraria 1.05 Released

Version 1.05 of Terraria has been released, and it’s most likely the biggest and most extensive patch yet! Here are the patch notes for the new version, provided by developer Tiy and expanded upon by myself.

NPCs

  • New Enemy: Antlion
  • New Enemy: Blue Jellyfish
  • New Enemy: Crab
  • New Enemy: Demon
  • New Enemy: Hellbat
  • New Enemy: Lava Slime
  • New Enemy: Pink Jellyfish
  • New Enemy: Shark
  • New Enemy: Vulture
  • Changed the way worm enemies spawn.
  • Bats, Hornets, and Eyeballs no longer enter water
  • Slimes now float in water.
  • Only one giant slime will appear at a time.
  • The Guide now seems quite knowledgeable in what an item can be made into if you show it to him.
  • NPC shops now sell some items on certain nights, or after certain events.
  • Devourers should no longer gain random other enemies as its head.
  • The Nurse now charges the correct amount for healing.
  • Bats now have a death sound effect.
  • Talking to the old man at night will give the player a warning now before summoning the dungeon boss.
  • Entering the dungeon before defeating Skeletron now spawns a new NPC instead of Skeletron’s head. This should fix several issues with that event.
  • Enemy coin drops have been adjusted.
  • Man Eaters and Snatchers are no longer effected by knockback and can attack through walls.
  • Eater of Souls’ and Hornet AI has been improved.
  • Enemies now take up different amount of *slots* depending on AI style and strength. This will help balance conditions when there are lots of strong monsters spawned at once, such as Imps and Bone Serpents.
  • Fish are no longer upside-down when out of water.
  • Green slimes have been weakend so that start players can deal with them more easily.
  • Slimes and Flying enemies no longer make a splash sound when hitting water.
  • Items of “Blue Rarity” or higher no longer burn up in lava.
  • Burning Skull has been renamed to Cursed Skull, and given different AI.
  • Enemy caster’s have had their rate of fire slowed down.
  • Meteor heads have less health, do more damage, and move slower.
  • There are now slight size variations to the Eater of Souls and the Angry Bones.
  • Skeletron has less defense and health.

New Items

  • Antlion Mandible
  • Blowpipe + Blowpipe Seeds
  • Bottled Water
  • Dark Lance
  • Demon Scythe
  • Diving Helmet
  • Doctor Armor Set (Vanity Armor)
  • Familiar Armor Set (Vanity Armor)
  • Feather
  • Glowstick/Sticky Glowstick
  • Gold Chest
  • Guide Voodoo Doll
  • Illegal Gun Parts
  • Hellfire Arrow
  • Night’s Edge
  • Poison Knife
  • Sandgun
  • Shark Fin
  • Silver Bullet
  • Throwing Knife
  • Tombstone
  • Trident
  • Wooden Boomerang
  • Archery Potion
  • Battle Potion
  • Defense Potion
  • Featherfall Potion
  • Gills Potion
  • Gravitation Potion
  • Hunter Potion
  • Invisibility Potion
  • Magic Power Potion
  • Mana Regeneration Potion
  • Night Owl Potion
  • Obsidian Skin Potion
  • Regeneration Potion
  • Shine Potion
  • Spelunker Potion
  • Swiftness Potion
  • Thorns Potion
  • Water Walking Potion

Item Changes/Mechanics

  • New Feature : Buffs activated by Using Potions. Right click a buff to remove it from yourself.
  • The Silver Short swords recipe has been corrected, it is now craftable.
  • Torches and candles no longer work when wet.
  • Destroying a placed sign while you are reading it will no longer cause your character to become frozen.
  • Rocket boots no longer require mana. They will provide lift for 1 second and recharge every time the player touches the ground or uses grapple. Lift speed has been slightly increased to offset loss of long flights. This makes the boots more viable for caster Characters.
  • The explosion animation for bombs is now correctly displayed in multiplayer.
  • There is now a message pop-up when the player receives an item.
  • Filled Buckets may no longer be emptied into solid ground.
  • Pots in the underworld now have a chance to drop new items
  • Handgun and Phoenix Blaster have been reduced in size.
  • Lowered the knockback of Muramasa.
  • Reduced the damage of the Blue Moon.
  • Flintlock Pistol and Musket have increased damage.
  • Only normal trees drop acorns.
  • Falling sand clumps are no longer carried by magic missiles/flamelash.
  • Jungle armor is no longer a drop. It is a craftable set.
  • Magic Mirror now requires mana to be used.
  • Harpoon and Maces now correctly show the player’s arm animation.
  • The arms dealer will sell unholy arrows at night after the Eater of Worlds has been defeated.
  • Space Gun does more damage, but only penetrates 2 enemies.

Online/Server

  • Spam detection is less aggressive.
  • Increase multiplayer security.
  • Fixed a bug that could crash the server when the max amount of clients are connected.
  • Added an option to enable additional cheat protection for servers.
  • Servers now hibernate when no players are connected.
  • Blood Moons now stop correctly if time is changed to day by the server.

Interface

  • Upon death, A more specific death message will appear for other players, so they know how you died.
  • The crafting and armor interface text will fade out when an item tooltip is in front of it.
  • The Hot Bar now shows the name of the selected item.
  • PVP now requires 5 seconds between Activation and Deactivation and visa versa to prevent PVP spam. The same cooldown is in effect for Team Changing as well.
  • Added hotkeys for quickly drinking healing, mana, and buff potions.The healing/mana potion you use is based on the same principle arrows are. Top-Left most item first. The buff potions are all used at once.
  • Holding right click on an empty space in the inventory will no longer make a sound effect as if something was there to be picked up.
  • Defense totals are now shown in your inventory.

World Generation

  • Tweaked the way sand is created during world gen. (Requires new world.)
  • Oceans are now slightly larger and generation layout has been improved. (Requires new world.)
  • Cactus now grow on sand.
  • Coral now grows in the ocean.
  • Chests can now spawn near the surface of the world. They will contain treasure that new players may find useful. (Requires new world.)
  • Chests and pots now contain loot based on the level they spawn in. (Requires new world.)
  • Gold chests will now spawn in some parts of the world. (Requires new world.)
  • Corrupt chasms have less of a chance to spawn on jungles. They also now have a cave connecting most of the chasms. (Requires new world.
  • Traces of demonite are created during world gen. (Requires new world.)
  • Surface jungles have been enlarged, and will override deserts. (Requires new world.)

Miscellaneous

  • Corrected some spelling and grammar mistakes.
  • Lighting code has been optimized to increase performance.
  • Mud and ash now have a chance to fall like sand when struck.
  • World update rate has been reduced slightly.
  • Water now evaporates when it reaches the underworld.
  • Slowed the rate of plant growth.
  • Hardcore is now an option when creating a new player. Hardcore players are gone for good after dying.
  • The Jungle now has its own music track.
  • Vines that refused to grow longer than 1 tile in length while underwater, will now grow correctly.
  • Pot graphic was brightened to make it more visible.
  • Plants growing out of a clay pot can no longer be cut with a weapon. The new alchemy plants can be grown in these pots.
  • Gems, ore, and gold chests now have a sparkle effect.
  • Giant glowing mushrooms will now grow back over time.
  • The player now starts out with a copper shortsword.
  • Dungeon bricks and walls have had their brightness reduced.

Hope onto Steam and check out this awesome update!

Everybody Edits: Super Mario Rollercoaster

It’s 6:30 AM.. I just finished this monstrous rollercoaster room for Everbody Edits. It took SIX HOURS. I’ll write some stuff in here later on. For now check out the pictures of what I made this time.

Update!
It’s 1:30 PM now and I’ve gotten some sleep, so let’s talk about this bad boy. In the Super Mario Rollercoaster, visitors are taken on a guided ride all around the Mario characters/objects that I “sprited” until they are eventually dumped in a free-roaming area to check out the last creation that I made, Bowser as seen in Super Mario World. That one took quite a long time to make, and it took up a heck of a lot of space!

Like with my other Mario room in Everybody Edits, a lot of people dropped by and watched me work. In fact, the Super Mario Rollercoaster received far more visitors. At one point I probably had about two dozen people zipping around the ride as well as watching me add new characters to look at. Tons of people watched me make Bowser. I cannot help but wonder how crazy they thought I was to make something so damn big?

Anyway, a few people in total dropped in to check out Super Mario Rollercoaster. Thanks, guys!

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