Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Shoot Screen (Experience 2)

Saints Row: The Third supports capturing screenshots within the game. Unfortunately this means you need an account on their official game website. This is annoying. They also have support for creating videos of the last few seconds of gameplay as a WMV file. I tried to capture a screenshot from the video and it was way too much trouble. My final solution: buy FRAPS. FRAPS is simple to use and did a perfect job of exactly what I wanted. Maybe there will be a DLC pack that lets people capture screenshots... I wouldn't put it past them.

On to the action! My goal for the evening: buy more stuff. (this aligns with my real life) I immediately hopped into a car and explored the buildings for sale. I bought an Organ Blackmarket (an old dirty warehouse) and a hole in the wall called Snookies Sundries. (way too legitimate sounding for a gang to own) Both earned me a bit more scratch over time but provided little entertainment.

Before running and gunning I had to stop and do some clothes shopping. I bought some sweet new glasses to complete the look. My character's look was finally where it needed to be to strike fear in anyone who dared to approach.

Did you know guns require ammo? Apparently you have to buy it though. I stood in the apartment wondering why the ammo there was glued down to the shelf. I guess it was just a number of boxes of IOU ammo. I had to break down and go to the gun store. The country music deterred me but I figured I had little choice considering my previous experience fighting with the TRON Cosplayers and local law enforcement. I parted with a big chunk of change for a lot of ammunition.

After stepping out of the gun shop I was surprised to see a road crew lazily standing around blocking the road. It was great! They even had signs up blocking the road from car travel. What made it even better was the psychopath driving a black van that tore through traffic and started running over the road crew. Blood stains covered the road and made me reconsider my decision to purchase a meth lab as, undoubtedly, I was the cause of the carnage. The van failed to run me over so I moved onto my first battle of the session.

This time the gang I fought was named... uhm dunno. I just nicknamed them the Red Escorts because the females were dressed like prostitutes and their male counterparts were maniacal Tim-Curry looking pimps. This fight went a bit better than my previous. Six waves of Escorts had no chance against my large collection of ammunition and a convenient wall that kept my enemies at bay. At the conclusion of the fight some Saints showed up to help out. I am guessing this is the same group of punks who called me earlier to whine but didn't lift a finger while I risked my life and precious “unknown” amount of cash if I were to die. Next time I play I am going to have to put down one of the Saints to set an example. After the fight I posed for the locals in the area as seen below.

I felt a bit more confident so I accepted a call to “alleviate a little problem” with law enforcement. My last experience resulted in my death... and eventually did again... but only after victory was achieved. This time I went in guns a blazing. By the time the nasty SWAT vehicle with a mounted minigun showed up I was close to death. I did the most ridiculous thing I could imagine. I walked over and jumped into the SWAT vehicle. Suddenly everything was much easier. Tearing through cars and helicopters with a minigun simplified things a bit. After completing the “challenge” the police were still really angry. I drove the vehicle back to my garage hoping things would calm down. They did not. Instead I stepped outside and hijacked a police car. In the process of trying to drive off the law enforcement's hate for me, they set my car on fire. In a dramatic dive out the door I failed to realized I had waited to long. Boom. My life ended.

But not to worry! Any unknown amount of money was freed from my bank account (hopefully not my real one... I haven't figured out why Volition needed my banking information... I kid) and I was back in action.

The TRON Cosplayers were a bit too close to home, having two indicators on the map of locations they controlled near my only “home.” Clearing these indicators out was a ton easier than the multi-wave battles to the death. Instead I had to take out about eight enemies and move on.

Another multi-wave battle was initiated after a call from a whiny Saint. Again the TRON Cosplayers needed to be dealt with. This time something was even crazier than usual. In most cases the TRON Cosplayers have this crazy high speed female character with submachine guns and a huge mallet zipping around (literally warping around) beating me up (from now on she shall be known as 'anime girl'). This time I somehow ended up with the mallet and proceeded to break some Tronnies down. That was definitely a nice break from blasting them or hitting them with cars.

My official nicknames for the three known gangs are:
Copies (law enforcement – they seem to come after me as much as gangs so they are now a gang in my book)

Maybe after playing the game more I will learn their actual names. For now the gang I represent will be known as the SA'ints because we clearly suck. If I beat up enough of my crew maybe things will turn around.

Before I was done playing I had to do a bit more shopping to show my fiancee the crazy outfits. I opted for the Matrix look as you can see below. (now the title image for the blog)


Monday, January 30, 2012

Saints Go (Experience 1)

I started Saints Row: The Third and forgot my PS2 controller was attached. Whoops! All the menu items indicated buttons from an XBOX 360 controller prompting me to assume that the UI for the game was simply never ported. In “controller mode” the menu is fairly broken visually and functionality wise if you don't actually pick up and use the controller.

So after my little mistake was resolved everything worked like a charm. I pushed the graphics settings up a bit (resolution specifically to 1920 x 1200) and everything worked fine. I guess my GTX260 won't be going into the dumpster just yet.

The introduction crawl to the game (ala Star Wars) left me wondering what I had jumped into. I do not know who Peirce is so at least one, of a likely thousands, joke was lost on me. There was also a nice sprinkling of swearing for good measure. As I am not a twelve year old trapped in the body of a thirty-something it was only slightly entertaining.

The first mission is a great over-the-top introduction to the action and simplicity of the game. The characters are reasonably voice acted and the tongue-in-cheek humor about the never-ending SWAT team members was fitting of the insanity of breaking a vault out of a bank by helicopter. The characters wore huge "masks" (more like helmets) with big versions of their own face on it. It was like robbing a bank in NBA Jam's big-head mode.

I spent an extensive amount of time creating my character. In any game where I create a character I always create a female character for some reason. Unfortunately the lighting in the character creator did not reveal how nearly powder white I had made my character. Oh well. My scarred green-eye reddish haired female will just have to look a bit like the living dead. … and on that topic I opted to not give my character the voice of the zombie... however tempting. I noticed that a lot of the physical motions for gloating were stolen directly from wrestling. Definite nods to Ric Flair, Undertaker, Randy Orton, Hulk Hogan, and others for their inspiration in creating the animations...

Then I ended up in jail only to be bailed out (?) by some rich guy. He indicated blah blah blah and how blah would need to blah. As I was not punching anything, shooting anything, or being bombarded with swearing it was a welcome reprieve and a zen moment. (just like opening your cell phone mid combat)

The next mission involved learning to fight hand-to-hand and with other weapons. This was another over-the-top mission with very great visual stunts. I was mostly happy with the decision to script of the sequences though a bit less would have been nice. The entire sequence took place on a plane. After a fire fight the plane goes out of control and fall a bit and then actually return to the plane for a Hollywood movie stunt, albeit a scripted one.

The third mission involved an attack on a base and showing off the satellite capable of firing down on the city. This mission was a perfect example of the madness I expect to see. Lots of stuff to take out backed up with powerful weaponry to do so.

After the mission I opted to roam around in a car. I also poked through my in-game cell phone only to find it has more functionality than my current computer.

While driving I saw a cliff and felt the urge to drive over it. I landed in a very bland area above the shore and proceeded to drive around to find a way back to the road. None apparently existed so I got out and jumped into the water. Immediately I was prompted to “press E” to return to shore. I pressed E and warped somewhere on shore near a road. It was a bit peculiar...

Then I bought a meth lab. Not the classiest thing to earn money with but it will do.

A bit later I received a call from my friends asking me to take care of some annoying police. I completely underestimated this as I figure it was the three located where I was told to go. Instead this turned into wave after wave of police which eventually resulted in my death. After being taken out I was told I was charged a small fee. Is it that hard to tell me how much? I need the money to buy more meth labs.

A minute later I received a call indicating that some gang was having a rave and that I should “do something about it.” I responded by driving my car through the rave and angering a good number of TRON cosplayers. This also turned into a set of waves of combat again. Victory would have been mine if a Heavy from Team Fortress 2 had not shown up. I am not kidding. A character from another video game appeared in Saints Row: The Third. (cross promotion is a beautiful thing) Instead the Heavy blasted me to bits even after surviving all of the waves of enemies. I even tried to hit him with my car resulting in the humorous (well not to me at the time) recreation of the game Flatout where my character went flying through the windshield. Hitting the Heavy with my car had no impact.

With my death I quit the game. I again lost an unknown amount of money. Money I need to buy more meth labs with...