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Down under Saints Row playtest

Our Aussie friends at My360.com.au got a chance to playtest a near final build of Saints Row. In short, it sounds like great fun.

"Gamers will be pleased to know that Saints Row, from what we saw from the preview code, is far from a GTA-clone. It offers so much more in terms of customization and interaction that it really makes a run for the best GTA-type game out there, considering GTA is pretty much a genre in itself."

Some of the high points:
  • Solid controls
  • Lots of side missions (insurance fraud? Sweet!)
  • Create-a-gangster and ride pimping
  • No loading times
  • Lots of multiplayer modes
The multiplayer modes in particular sound very cool. Big Ass Chains mode has players killing each other and then stealing the bling off of the bodies. Take the bling to a jewelry store, fence it, and get money. The first team to a certain score is the winner. But the best of all modes has to be Protect the Pimp. I'll leave it to you to figure out the objective, but this is the important part: the pimp is controllable and has the "Bitch Slap" ability, which is a one hit kill. That's got to be the best idea ever.

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Reader Comments

(Page 1)

1. I picked up the demo from EB and this game is fun as hell. Good graphics and nice improvements on the GTA style hud. Best part has to be hitting a car at high speed and watching the people from the other car fly through the windshield.

Posted at 10:41AM on Jul 28th 2006 by KillerGreen

2. Go buy the latest OXM (The one with Mortal Kombat on the cover) it has the demo for Saint's Row. So far it's a great game. The controls are solid and the aiming is more like a 3PS so headshots are the key.

The game looks incredible with the details in the character and the cars with the spinning rims....it's going to be a lot of fun.

Posted at 10:45AM on Jul 28th 2006 by KingOfGods

3. Yea I was buying a water at the newsstand yesterday and saw the demo. Would have bought it if I wasn't broke.

Any word when the demo is coming to XBLM?

Posted at 10:54AM on Jul 28th 2006 by BklynKid

4. I hear the demo is hitting marketplace on the 1st-ish. Now if that's true is another story.

Posted at 11:37AM on Jul 28th 2006 by Puh_Fifer

5. and you can swim.

Posted at 11:45AM on Jul 28th 2006 by greg

6. Hahaha! That "bitch slap" sounds funny. It's almost like the Golden Gun from Goldeneye on the N64, except so much more fun to do.

Posted at 11:51AM on Jul 28th 2006 by Big Boi

7. GTA with better targeting, controls, and graphics? sign me up!! i might have to pick up OXM for the demo...NOW!!

is demo single/multiplayer or both?

Posted at 11:55AM on Jul 28th 2006 by murph

8. The demo is up on XBLM and is single player only - around 550Mb in size.

Posted at 12:08PM on Jul 28th 2006 by Ben

9. does anyone know if the framerate issues have been fixed?

Posted at 12:18PM on Jul 28th 2006 by eRock

10. #8, not sure if this helps, but I saw some videos of the game at a playtest and the framerates and graphics looked solid.

Posted at 12:21PM on Jul 28th 2006 by BklynKid

11. "is demo single/multiplayer or both?"

Single player and a small portion of the map

"does anyone know if the framerate issues have been fixed?"

I didn't notice any frame rate issues but then again I never understand why gamers nitpick at the slightest problems...I grew up on the NES where frame rate issues were very common.

Posted at 12:58PM on Jul 28th 2006 by KingOfGods

12. The OXM demo (which I believe will be what hits August 1st) has some serious but minor issues that could be cleaned up in the final version:
1) Car controls are a pain to get used to. Nothing like GTA's physics but it grows on you quickly.
2) Controls are similar to GTA in you have the same basic stuff but A and X are accel and brake/reverse. Left trigger is your e-brake and secondary attack while your primary attack is the right trigger. Donuts can be done by holding A and left trigger while holding right or left on the left stick.
3) Camera changes do not snap back quickly nor is there a "look forward" button like GTA. It's hard to drive forward when you look back and it takes a good 5 seconds to look forward again.
4) No auto-aim which isn't much of a complaint. The aiming system is easier to handle than GTA's in my experience. I can get headshots rather easily and drop people from afar. Auto-aim or a "general aim" feature would be nice. Aim in someone's direction but not be too accurate and let me fine tune the control from there for a headshot. The article mentions false positives like in GTA but they've made aiming so fluid I bet if they put it in it would be nicely done.
5) There's a helicopter shot down by an RPG in the demo but no indication that you'd be able to fly or drive boats. The map doesn't have a lot of water so I'd think boats are pretty moot and gangsta's aren't exactly fighter pilots but some of the best times I had in GTA was in flight.
6) Car explosions are nice but the subsequent fires have nice particle effects but look crappy when up close. Catching a person on fire however is pretty spot on.
7) No rocket launchers or AKs? The intro has em but you are left with 2 unempty slots if you've had every weapon type the demo offers. Gang members have molitovs but you can't buy or get them from a dead member.
8) Your guy speaks in engine but not in cutscenes. Is this Fido from GTA3 or something? If I'm taking the time to customize a mouth that mouth better be moving when people are talking to it.

Cool things to do:
1) Line up 4 cars in a circle. Toss a pipe bomb in between them. I've yet to hit 5 cars 'a splodin' but 4 is pretty f-in sweet.
2) Shot a cop in his car but the body materialized on the hood. Tossed a pipe bomb under the car and watched the body get tossed 30-40 feet in the air.
3) Toss a pipe bomb under a rival gangs car but keep them in it if possible. If they start driving the force shift sends it flying in that direction rather far.
4) Lining up pipe bombs aren't easy as they take their own course the second they hit the ground. Tossing one barely underneath a car will send it flipping. You can toss them in open doors, the back of el camino types, in the windows of vans, etc.
5) Robbing stores by pointing your gun at the clerk. Sometimes it'll hiccup and you can fix it by trying to buy something. Other people also try to rob them. Capping the robbers then robbing the store is priceless.
6) Consume alcohol. You gain a boost in strength. If you kick people on the ground for instance, they tend to fly for a split second. Pistol whips send them a good distance too.
7) Buy 3-4 bong hits and smoke them in succession. Try to do anything. Every couple of seconds you choke and it's incredibly hard to see. Nothing like NARC with it's drug choices or effects but this isn't really that type of game.
8) Killing old people produces lots of change. Yes you can collect coins in this even though nothing is 50 cents for instance.
9) The demo can end quick if you do all the missions but you can sit there before the final mission and have loads of fun in the city. I don't complete the final mission until I've spent my last cent which can be hours if I gun down pedestrians, rob store clerks (the safes only open once), or run the snatch missions again.

This is the most I've played through a demo other than Tiger Woods 2006 (I keep it just to play through). I've played through the demo a total of about 10 times already and continue to go back to it. It took me a while to figure certain things out like robbery but I can entertain myself for hours just exploding cars. I anxiously await the final version and will probably be playing the demo until it drops. I never really liked the gang territory/takeover aspect of GTA but this doesn't feel like a chore in the way GTA does. I hope the Aug 1st demo has multiplayer but if I had to guess it would be the version OXM has. It's not bad by any means (or I wouldn't have played it more than once) but the version the Aussie's played would be ideal of course.

Posted at 1:06PM on Jul 28th 2006 by w0rddriven

13. #8 "The demo is up on XBLM and is single player only - around 550Mb in size."

Is this true?

Todd
http://www.proxbox360.com

Posted at 1:43PM on Jul 28th 2006 by Todd H.

14. I wish someone would answer #13's question...

Nice writeup BTW. Made me laugh.

Posted at 2:45PM on Jul 28th 2006 by KilgoreTrout XL

15. too bad for aussie's that australian government will ban the game once it gets rated M.

Posted at 2:48PM on Jul 28th 2006 by matthew

16. From what I understand about Austrailian rating systems, they actually won't give the game a rating at all.

That will effectively ban the game.

Posted at 3:12PM on Jul 28th 2006 by KilgoreTrout XL

17. #$%^@! my OXM disc is no good. i have to wait for the XBLM Demo. what a waste of $10.

Posted at 5:35PM on Jul 28th 2006 by murph

18. One of the things I have heard that needs to be fixed, and if it were fixed, it would make the game perfect, is the way that there needs to be some sort of Auto-aim or Auto-center feature in the game, similar to Grand Theft Auto. Please make this adjustment while there is time.

Also, please make sure that the Frame-rate is smooth, and that this game uses the V-Sync technology to make sure that there are no Page-Tearing graphic problems. Lets make sure that Anti-aliasing is used properly, too; that way, there will not be jagged lines in the game.

Posted at 8:16PM on Jul 28th 2006 by Michael Zoran

19. Hi Guys.

Gaetano (aka as calabreseboy) here.

As for multiplayer in the demo, I'm not too sure. It was not playable in the preview code, but we were able to create or import our own gansta which was cool.

In regard to classification for the game, it's not an issue in Australia, so any Aussies in here should not worry. It has passed classification and been given the all clear. My estimate is an MA15+ rating (anyone under 15 MUST be with an adult) which is also the highest possible rating for video games down here. It's strange, because our rating system for games is exactly the same as it is for movies, yet there is no R18+ (adults only)for games, meaning that any game that is deemed for adults only will be banned. Reservoir Dogs for PS2 was recently banned down under.

I've seen earlier preview codes, as well as the US demo, and the framerate seems to have improved. They were confident at THQ that the final build will be studder free and with a steady framerate.

No Auto-aim was a bit of a turnoff for me. The preview says why they did not include it, but it seemed a bit strange to me. I'm sure they could have included it as just a secondary control option and not as default. I don't see why they would not include it.

Ahh well. Hope you enjoyed the preview. I know I did :P

Gaetano
http://www.my360.com.au

Posted at 10:44PM on Jul 28th 2006 by Gaetano

20. I have played the demo it is the shit. You can do everything that gta could not do. That is all i have to say about the gameplay. the graphics are really nice. The lighting affects are great when a cop car is near. The pedistrians in the game say a lot of funny stuff. It actually has good A.I. This is one to buy!!

Posted at 2:12AM on Jul 29th 2006 by RentedThomas

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