Archive for saints row

Agents of Mayhem or No Saints No Flow

Posted in Gaming these days ..., Hands On with tags , on May 10, 2018 by Rabidgames

It’s a shame. Agents of Mayhem could be great, but it’s not. It could be fun, but it’s not. It’s just mediocre at times at best. Story missions, gameplay and other activities are way too repetitive, the humour is way worse than in the Saints Row series (the good joke ratio is probably 1:10), and everything you do feels like a chore. And it doesn’t help open-world Seoul is soulless and devoid of anything meaningful. It looks nice but there is no depth.

In a way, Agents of Mayhem can be described as Saints Row with 95% less fun, and it would be accurate. Sure, the gameplay can be engaging at times, but then again, it’s hardly ever truly awesome. The missions, split into sub-missions (some of the ever-boring category of “go there, shoot 5 guys”), are … there. The dialogues are there, the gameplay is there, and sometimes it can be alright, but never great, and after a few hours, mixing and matching the different agents is all that keeps you engaged. The agents are pretty much Overwatch as a single player. They are relatively fleshed out and sometimes have an interesting back story, and they also play differently. They also have some missions of their own. Sadly, 95% of the missions are EXACTLY the same missions with other skins. Imagine Saints Row The Third but even more repetitive.

And then, bugs. Missions in Agents of Mayhem are pointlessly long, involve too much of the same, and if you’re in the last phase of a boss fight but then you’re buttons become unresponsive and you have to quit the game to come back to 20 minutes before, well, that screams fuck you! If you’re lucky, you just have to reload a checkpoint because your task is to kill everyone in a room – but one enemy is in the next room, and the door will only open if everyone in this room is dead. Oh yeah, the game counts the guy in the next room as one who is in this room … Fuck.

And then there are DLC characters – having Johnny Gat as DLC in Agents of Mayhem was a good move – and an asshole move as well at the same time. Why have THE best Saint only as physical version pre-order? Why even as pre-order? Come on! Then there’s Lazarus, who is mildly entertaining with her shooting insects around, and Kinzie, the cool FBI hacker, who is pretty much the same character in this universe. Kinzie is worth getting as her playstyle is pretty cool, but well, what does it say in a mediocre game?

So yeah, Agents of Mayhem is a game that should only be grabbed from the bargain bin, because not only is it repetitive, it is also partially broken. Its only saving grace are some of the Agents that suit your playstyle, and the camouflages from the Saints Row games. The rest is, well, there. But just being there doesn’t get the agents a gaming participation medal. And while they are the best Agents of Mayhem has to offer, the rest is just too bland, lazy and uninspired to justify more time in Seoul. Let’s hope we can book another vacation in Stilwater or Steelport soon.

Rabidgames is sad: Shame. What could have been great is just mediocre. No one asked for this, no one will ask for it ever again. Volition, we want another proper Saints Row, not some cheap bargain bin AAA game that is put to shame by most indie games.

Agents of Mayhem Will Feature Johnny Gat! But …

Posted in News with tags , , on June 10, 2017 by Rabidgames

Remember the soon coming Agents of Mayhem, which looks like an insane mix of Overwatch, Crackdown and a pint of Saints Row? Well, part of the open world slaughter fest in the unusual setting of Seoul will now be the baddest motherfucking badass of video games, Johnny Gat!

Sadly, this has to be taken with a grain of salt: Johnny will only be available for those who pre-order Agents of Mayhem via retail, as online pre-orders will contain a-fucking-nother character … Sigh.

Anyway, if you were not sure about the Agents of Mayhem, Johnny might change your mind. Oh, in case you wonder about the plot, the simplified version goes like this (copied from Wikipedia because let’s face it, writing those names ain’t fun): M.A.Y.H.E.M. (Multinational AgencY Hunting Evil Masterminds), founded by Persephone Brimstone (a character first seen in Gat out of Hell) and funded by the Ultor Corporation (one of the main antagonists of Saints Row 2 and the Red Faction series, later merging with the Saints. Bearing the Saints’ iconic purple logo, M.A.Y.H.E.M’s goal is to stop supervillain organization L.E.G.I.O.N. (the League of Evil Gentlemen Intent on Obliterating Nations) from destroying the world’s nations. And there you know it’s going to be batshit crazy.

Rabidgames wants: Despite this pre-order bullshit, Agents of Mayhem has always looked interesting. With Johnny in the mix, it is a must-have for Saints Row fans.

Saints Row or Fun Trumps All

Posted in Gaming these days ..., Played & Explained with tags , , , on December 2, 2015 by Rabidgames

The throne of “modern times” open world/sandbox gaming is a heavily contested one – while GTA V has the most publicly accepted claim now, there are two more series also asking for the crown – the Just Cause series, hellbent on chaos, explosions and beautiful sceneries (although thematically a bit different), and the Saints Row series, that rose from a humble beginnings to the most outlandish and batshit gaming experience ever.

So, in case you haven’t played any of them, let’s have a look at how it all started, shall we?

Saints Row – Humble beginnings in the shadow of San Andreas

True, the first Saints Row kind of earns the title “GTA clone” – not only do you play the from rags to criminal riches story, Saints Row is also dominated by different gangs fighting for control. Even more enervating for San Andreas veterans, your gang is dressed in purple …

But it is definitely the best San Andreas clone – and the first Saints Row already added a few activities that are now trademarks of the series, e.g. the amazing Insurance Fraud where you have to throw yourself in front of racing cars to ragdoll around in a most hurtful manner to proceed, or Mayhem where you just have to rack up points by killing and/or blowing up everyone and everything – weirdly enough, the best way to get points has always been vandalising fences …

The story deserves some mention as well – in Saints Row (as well as in the next two games), you would battle three different gangs in three different story arcs – and there was always an end game with yet another story to tell!

If you wanted more San Andreas and then some, Saints Row was your game. And yes, some originality was already there, but the game and also the cliffhanger ending with a few decisive twists served mostly as a blueprint for the sandbox revolution:

Saints Row 2 – Fuck your cousin, let’s blow shit up – literally!

Remember this hilarious ad for Saints Row 2, mocking Rockstar for the less fun and mayhem yet more going bowling with your cousin approach in GTA IV:

Actually, this trailer describes Saints Row 2 perfectly – crazy missions and crazier side activities (septic trucks, streaking, being a bodyguard and brutalising people), insane depth of customisation, immature, dark and savage humour … plus, you have a story that ends up connecting all dots in a clever way (big, bad corporate crooks involved) … hell, there are some disturbing and emotional moments in there – Saints Row 2 ticked many boxes, but above all, the game wants you to have fun while playing it. While the first Saints Row copied Rockstar’s formula, part 2 refined it, added bits of insanity and scat. Yep, Saints Row 2 sat comfortably on the urban crime sandbox throne.

Another reason was the honesty of Saints Row 2 – while CJ in San Andreas was still somehow a nice guy, the protagonist was a ruthless son/daughter of a bitch, showing no mercy or regrets akin to Tommy Vercetti in Vice City. And yet despite dealing with drugs, thousands of homicides, the protagonist still was some sort of good guy compared to the corporate nightmare visions of Ultor!

Hands down, Saints Row 2 is at least one of the best games of the last generation, and perhaps the best in combining a convincing story and an urban sandbox. So yes, it is fair to say Saints Row 2 beats GTA IV in the urban crime sandbox competition! As we witnessed a few years later on, combining is the key word here!

Saints Row The Third – A few steps forward, quite a few back

Sadly, the third Saints Row couldn’t live up to its predecessor’s fame and glory. Customisation got severely crippled (no more layers, no more customisable cribs), the serious undertones vanished, the story had absolutely no depth and neither had the characters, old or new.

The missions? Fragmented, sometimes even disconnected, plus the introduction of activities counted as main missions. Yep. The big villain? Dies in the first half! Johnny motherfucking Gat? Dies off-screen in the beginning, and then that’s it. What the fuck, Volition?

Another ugly byproduct of Saints Row The Third was the abundance of shallow to useless to shameless DLC pieces of worthless junk – even advertised as “40 weeks of DLC” – paying money for cheat codes is still a bad fucking joke! Pretty much the only worthwhile minor DLC is the Shark Shotgun!

But Saints Row The Third isn’t a bad game despite all these flaws – gameplay was refined with more fluent controls and the “awesome button”, the action was more explosive, the graphics were overhauled as well, and at least weapons could be customised. And yeah, while the James Bond villain dies early on, the second half of the game develops a completely new dynamic at least, a pretext to the aliens and sci-fi in its successor!

And if you look beyond the flaws and at the fun factor – hell yeah, it is lots of fun to create havoc in this game! You have the tools – from stink bombs to airstrikes and tanks of today and tomorrow, you have the opportunities, pretty much every minute you play the Saints Row The Third is tailor made for our amusement, be it missions or the open world. From a sandbox perspective, THIS is one of the greatest – and even more so in co-op.

So yes, the game is still fun and gained a lot of new fans, but just as GTA IV was a let-down to many fans who enjoyed the size, the crude, immature humour and the general hilarities of San Andreas, the new direction of Saints Row The Third felt a bit shallow – depth was sacrificed for over-the-top action, the humour was just silly at times … But that would change soon …

Saints Row 4 – The best of virtual and virtual² worlds

How can the crazy insanities of Saints Row The Third be even crazier and more insane? By mixing in an alien invasion and the Matrix, of course! This stroke of genius solved the problem of limitations to the over-the-top approach as well as not connected story arcs in next to no time! Two birs with one stone – in Saints Row terms, it’s rather two planets with one death star!

By explaining it all (well, most) happens in virtual Steelport, everything was permitted and the over-the-top attitude culminated in a game full of super powers – including a nuke bomb from high above – the most outlandish weapons ever (black hole launchers, rectifier probes, inflato-ray guns – to name a few and leave them to your imagination), batshit-crazy missions full of easter eggs, nods (from Metal Gear Solid to Mass Effect to They Live) and Keith David as himself aka Vice President! Oh, and Johnny Gat is back  in Saints Row 4 – fuck yeah!

You even get to recruit some of the Saints’ departed antagonists as virtual homies – and they even have a back story to tell! And then there’s the most insane DLC ever – How the Saints saved Christmas is surely one of the craziest experiments in gaming ever. Plus, you can have 3 Shaundies at the same time! Enter the Dominatrix isn’t as great unfortunately, although the ending that is even crazy for Saints Row standard sis something that has to be seen to be believed! Oh, and that throne …

Now, Saints Row 4 certainly is the brawns of the series, while Saints Row 2 is the brains – but it is hard to establish which one is the heart and soul. Probably both, because they are deep yet entirely different.

What does the future hold for the Saints?

Well, no one knows. But since that’s a boring answer, chances are Volition could go for one of these three options:

  1. Time travel: In Saints Row 4, time travel is introduced, and certainly, the fusion of Assassin’s Creed and Saints Row could be mindblowing. After all, what’s left to do without the earth?
  2. A reboot: The easiest option. Let’s return to Stilwater and let’s re-visit the beginning of the Saints saga. While it worked for Tomb Raider, knowing we already know about the betrayals of Julius, Troy and Dex would mean the story would have to be completely rewritten.
  3. Wrestling Stilwater back from the Syndicate: While the Saints battle the Syndicate in Steelport, we could retake Stilwater from the Syndicate – and other gangs. Afterwards, the game could end with us getting honoured by the president …

Whatever will happen, let’s just hope the next Saints Row will live up to its big name and give us some good stories and gameplay antics. Or, as good old Johnny would describe what Saints Row is all about: “Let’s kill some shit!”

Saints Row goes Musical … Featuring Johnny Gat!

Posted in Gaming these days ..., News with tags , , , on December 5, 2014 by Rabidgames

Well, not many words needed here. Just watch!

Saints Row IV or More Insanity, More Fun?

Posted in Hands On with tags , , , on September 2, 2013 by Rabidgames

From the newbie in a small-time gang to the president of the US of Asskickers … Saints Row seems to be the embodiment of the wildest American dreams … After the first hour of Saints Row IV, you’ll have kicked a dozen terrorist butts, witnessed an alien invasion, broke free of the matrix to be cast into another matrix, and you’ve obtained super powers.

Yes, Saints Row IV, is way more insane and over-the-top than Saints Row The Third, but because of the Matrix back story, it works way better. If you have a simulation instead of the real world, there’s no need to raise an eyebrow because of illogical situations (remember attacking the weapons depot, stealing tons of weapons via helicopter and then hiding all of that within a small flat without anybody realising?), which means everything is possible – and will be done! One of the things Saints Row IV does best is making gentle fun of everything – be it The Matrix (the setting, of course), Mass Effect 3 (you have “romance options”, loyalty missions and two ridiculously stupid coloured choices at one point), Men in Black (a nice little weapon), various stealth games … oh, and the Saints Row franchise itself.

Thanks to popular demand, Shaundi is back in Saints Row IV – you know, the fun-loving dreadlock Shaundi, not her fucking yuppie self (although she’s still there, too). Then there’s Keith David, who now stars as himself – and is well aware of the fact he also voiced that traitor Julius and Captain Anderson in Mass Effect. Oh, and there are rumours Johnny Gat might be back from the dead …

So, how about the gameplay fun? Well, after the amazing set of opening missions and arriving in Stilwater, you acquire your first super powers, and Steelport is your sandbox to wreak havoc and mayhem in. Oh, and super means super in Saints Row IV – if you have a night out with three of your homies with super powers (gained via loyalty missions), no one stands a chance against your powers, which can be combined and upgraded. Well, maybe bosses can. Sadly, boss battles are nothing but wars of attrition – you have to repeat the same action over and over again, especially against shielded enemies. Also, the new system is crap: Because a Warden (an alien boss monster) appears as soon as you reach the maximum level, all-out wars are a thing of the past. If you defeat it, everything gets set to zero. Sucks.

Thanks to your super powers, cars, and to lesser degree, flying things, are now a thing of the past. Why use them if you can jump or sprint quicker? That makes car customisation basically useless. Even piloting a flying saucer is not that much quicker anymore …

Main missions are fun and vary a great deal (recruiting your friends in unique ways – wait until you see Asha’s nod to Metal Gear Solid, Deus Ex & Co., while Pierce’s involves a massive load of Saints Flow …), while side missions are confined to loyalty missions and the combination of activities coupled with a nice extra as incentive. While the annoying activities such as Escort or Snatch are thankfully out, there are now way too many platforming acitvities in Saints Row IV – and if you happen to hate platforming, like Rabidgames does, you’re not too happy with it.

To sum it up, is full price for Saints Row IV justified? Well, it’s the same world, same engine, same cars (then again, look at FIFA, the WWE games or the decade-old Call of Duty engine). On the other hand, there are refined super powers, new weapons, nice ideas and two Shaundis! At the end of the day, it’s all about fun, and there’s plenty of that to be had in Zinyak’s Steelport.

Just one thing: Do not expect anything like GTA anymore. Saints Row IV is basically a Prototype/Crackdown/Matrix/Mass Effect (and then some) love child – but no one knows who the father was … In a nutshell, it’s the Naked Gun of video games.

Rabidgames relaxes: After Saints Row The Third’s shallow, lifeless world and at times dull story, Saints Row IV strikes back with a narrative that allows illogical events and outlandish ideas. And it works perfectly fine. The characters seem to be more than the templates in the predecessor, and even the world feels more alive, mostly thanks to the added verticality.

Proof Saints Row IV IS The Better!

Posted in News with tags , , , on August 20, 2013 by Rabidgames

You know, there were people a bit disappointed with Saints Row The Third. You know, the sandbox felt empty, characters were rather dull and one-dimensional, customisation was two steps back … and there was not much to explore in Steelport. And you know, people were worried about Saints Row IV

But calm down, this video proves Saints Row is back – and it packs a punch! On release day (well, at least in NA), gamers have already found an easter egg – a rather tiny one, but hey, does size really matter:

Only time will tell what awaits us in virtual Steelport …

Rabidgames rejoices: It’s stuff like this why we used to love the Saints Row franchise. And even if it has become more outlandish and beyond-the-top, we can hope the fourth game goes back to the roots – at least some steps … But even if it all looks amazing and good, the shadow of GTA V is already looming … will Saints Row IV have the chance to withstand this giant?

Saints Row IV … In The ’50s

Posted in News with tags , , , on August 12, 2013 by Rabidgames

What’s the worst nightmare of the Saints boss? Being trapped in the conservative and clean 1950’s, encaged with trivial chatter and chores – and a boring wife, of course! And oh gosh, no swearing!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Yes, Volition released a video which shows this will happen in Saints Row IV!

One thing’s for sure – Saints Row IV knows neither shame nor boundaries.

Rabidgames shakes his head: There are no words to describe this … situation. No, there ain’t. Or maybe … the game looks like Matrix gone wild!