Friday, February 24, 2012

Ragdoll (Experience 9)

First up on my endeavor was the completion of the "hard difficulty" Insurance Fraud task . This definitely was not easy and required three attempts to get enough points. The key to my success was just jumping at nearly stopped cars and then bouncing off those behind them and then between any other cars around. This mini-game, task, whatever it is... is not really that fun. Flatout and other games have a more enjoyable approach to making a body physics demo fun. Saints Row 3 just has you rack up a number of points within a time limit. I would much rather have some kind of situation setup with a ridiculous cinematic feel to it where you have to earn a certain number of points from wrecking a car, falling from a building, flying through space, surviving a nuke... whatever... just anything but "earn some points in 6 minutes otherwise you will have to waste another 6 minutes falling into cars."

The most entertaining thing I saw while completing Insurance Fraud.
After a half hour of playing human pinball I called up my homies and we drove around taking out gang operations. It was fun to see my old friends as it has been a number of days. We chatted and gunned down some enemies like old times. One woman complained while I was shopping so I had to take her out. What is wrong with a little patience between friends?

Car doors only impede your aim.
More catpack antics.
While taking out gang operations I also stopped by every building I could buy and purchased it. Racing around the city with lots of heat from gangs and copies is quite fun really. I remember in GTA always trying to avoid that kind thing because there was little backup. With 3 homies to help out it is actually more fun if there is a constant tornado of anger chasing you throughout the city.

Nice driving... way to take out the traffic sign as per usual.
I ran out of money on my spending spree so I did the unethical barnstorming-helicopter-18k-per-minute-thing... along the way I found a collectible but had left my helicopter below. I figured I would just jump back down on top of the helicopter... 

The "mission" I played through was strung out over a number of non-mission cutscenes. I think I am way too far in the game outside of the missions because they are still teaching me about things I did about 8 play sessions ago. I am a terrible judge of these things so I always go out of my way to complete all possible side quests in games before I even start playing the main storyline.

Perfect nonsense outfit and accessories.
New outfit, very classy. Too shiny.

I paid for a laminated jacket.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Catpack (Experience 8)

Each morning I leap from the roof of my mammoth downtown skyscraper/apartment (just like in my real life). I also bring along a few buddies but sometimes they run into issues with the jump. Other times they just warp to where I am located. Reality is definitely not a factor for gang members and other non-player characters. They warp all over the place randomly as the game pleases. It seems as though the AI detects the likelihood of a player's frustration and responds accordingly by warping people around.

Ninja-Homie was hit by a car! I never let the ninja-homie die. NEVER.
The mission I played through was a protection mission and mostly bland. I had already played through the Heli-Assault missions so this was old news. The sniping component of the mission was also mostly boring. This was a glorified side mission unfortunately. Explosions are cool.

The Rescorts new tactic: self-immolation.

"Unlimited rockets and unlimited Rescorts" - alternate Mission title
Short entry this time with a fan service oriented conclusion:

I have no clue what the theme is... but there's a catpack... so that's cool.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Ninja: Yes -- Pirate: No!?!? (Experience 7)

A gang customization feature unlocked after I completed the last story mission (the one where I learned I sucked at controlling a parachute). This allowed me to change the default set of cars and types of Saints would appear when I called (or otherwise?). The customization is reasonably limited thankfully. There are three car slots and four character slots. I could have spent hours on the characters if they were not already predefined. There are a number of archetypes to select from. I had to include a ninja as he stood out blatantly (much like my character's outfits).

One foolish choice I always make is to trigger every photo opportunity in the game. If I am mid-battle or mid-mission I have no choice but to run over and pose. The snapshot below was captured mid battle with the Luchadores. My modeling skills are quite good I might add. Just like in real life I will not flinch if shot.

Probably the wrong thing to do with armed gunmen/wrestlers after you.
After the photo opportunity the battle raged on. You can see the aftermath thanks to my handy explosive ammunition loaded pistols.

I decided to complete all of the tank mayhem tasks as they seemed fairly easy. As you can see below the HUD/UI elements eat up a lot of the screen. I imagine some people would look at this and find this game too complex (non-humans, ie. Gamers, completely understand this stuff).

What's not to understand?
Of all the activities I am finding insurance fraud the most difficult to finish. I will need to find a better strategy than just randomly falling in front of cars and hoping I will bounce about various cars before landing (to earn the most cash). The other activities were a lot easier to complete. The Genki television show runs are a bit difficult but it is reasonably easy to run away if things get too nasty (like when they have you brawl with two heavy enemies).

Minor glitch = big laughs.
I figured the trafficking task might let me sneak in a Saint to help improve my chances against the horde of enemies. I was correct and was able to drag the ninja along on the mission. The last thing you want to do on trafficking runs is inflict a lot of damage. Instead you want to minimize enemy casualties to avoid increasing the enemy gang's level of agitation. This may seem backwards but the brutes come out often and are relentless to the guy you are supposed to defend.

Ninja and I helping to keep the streets safe! (safe for our dealer)
Here are some explosions for your maximum enjoyment.

I enjoy explosions that push the car up into the air. They are most optimal for entertainment.
Visual masterpiece ala too much zoom effect.
No new outfit change until I finish the next mission...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Para(over)chute (Experience 6)

One of the Saintsbook tasks is car theft. This involves going to an area; stealing a specific type of car; delivering the given car to a target location. While this sounds easy it is not necessarily. The moment you steal the car the police are immediately on you. As the car becomes damaged your overall theft value drops off. I attempted to combat this by stopping by a repair shop but something went awry. The first repair attempt worked out fine. But when I tried to stop a second time the game decided to reset the mission so I had to return to the original location to steal a car. This was shockingly less fun. Driving across the entire city takes time and is likely the least interesting part of the game.

The Copies were still around after I dropped the goods off so I did the most logical thing. Fought back and made things worse!

Angering the Copies is a bad idea (generally).
Things calmed down shortly thereafter. I called the Saints who promptly delivered a sweet ride and four fresh lambs for the slaughter. Two of the Saints jumped out and refused to return to the car. They must have known what they were going to be doing under my caring wing (the actual reason is that I only have two gang member slots, just like in my real life). Right around the corner we hit a glitch. This must be one of those sink holes I hear cities have. This one was invisible and somehow a phantom tree grew through the engine of the car. I may have been speeding around a corner but that's no reason for the physics of the universe to break down.

Not to worry, everyone survived this cross dimensional accident.
I dragged my lambs into a number of fights with the Luchadores, Rescorts, and Tronnies clearing out all known gang operations (there are still plenty undiscovered on my map). The gang fights resulted in many dead Saints and attempts on my life. With a lot of time and agitation the various gangs become a lot more vicious. Meanwhile I performed a mad dash across the city buying locations and taking out gang operations. Things were really strange when the gang attacks overlapped. I blasted some Tronnies while Rescort helicopters flew overhead sniping.

Brave Saint I shall revive you shortly if I am not on fire or driving away to buy a CRACKHOUSE.

This chopper went boom shortly after this image was captured.

Why waste your time taking out the shooter in the chopper, just blast the thing out the sky!

Stylin' with my very flexible arms while battling the agitated Rescorts.
Then I played through another actual game mission. This one required me to take over a high rise. My previous experience with parachutes in this kind of game (Just Cause 2 specifically) set my expectations for what the parachute capabilities should be like. Unfortunately the parachutes in Saints Row The Third are a bit limited. Unlike Just Cause 2, the adjustments are definitely slight. I actually overshot the building entirely. 

This was too small a target for my parachute skills -- the entirety of a large building roof.
I was able to land on the building on the second mission attempt ... quite the lewd party! Oh the humanity!
This mission also was given a soundtrack. A specific and reasonably appropriate song played throughout. It definitely put a cinematic vibe to the entire experience. This mission was fairly basic involving clearing out the building, slowly chasing a helicopter and clearing out another building. Nothing quite as exciting as the initial missions of the game.

Post mission wrap up with the Luchadores telling the Tronnies to "not worry about the Saints."
 New outfit for the next playthrough --- a bit of bling, Abe Lincoln, and a whole lotta steam punk.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Saintsbook (Experience 5)

A supposedly quick (and intentionally designed) way to earn money is to look in the Saintsbook for tasks to accomplish. This includes a number of types of tasks. I opted for two assassination missions. Facebook should really investigate creating a criminal activity based social network. Advertising revenue could be huge because SAINTS ROW THE THIRD IS NOT A PARODY OF REALITY IT IS A MIRROR IMAGE. There I said it. Let it soak in. I earned 18k by flying a stolen helicopter by some smoke stacks IN REAL LIFE. Paypal me some cash and you too can join my pyramid scheme! I am not from Nigeria so this is on the up and up.

I have yet to meet Mr. Roller. The real shocker is the implication that Wrestling is fixed. Shame on you Volition. SHAME.
Karl was a joke. He drove around in a cart from the airport and put up nearly no resistance. He was a quick job, with the exception of having to drive to the airport only to find him on the opposite side of the airport. Along the way I angered some Rescorts so they just had to tail and annoy me. I was very easy to catch as I was driving an airport cart as well...

Light up the night! Apparently Karl was an alien with napalm based blood.

SA'int Barbie helping keep the Rescorts at bay.
SA'int Barbie stayed with me for both missions. While useful she also seemed to end up “near-dead” requiring me to revive her often.The revive system is welcome in this game. Any extra distraction for your enemies to shoot at (as in extra allies) improves your chances of survival. There might be some risk depending on the type of opponent present when you revive your "homie." It is a bit like Left 4 Dead. Can you really risk the hoard of gang members attacking you to help an ally? In general yes, depending on how many of the really nasty gang members are after your hide. You also have plenty of time to help them up. By default it is 30 seconds (I believe) and it can be upgraded to give you a little extra time.

SA'int Barbie is too critical to the operation to let die!
Things definitely heated up while fighting the Luchadores (this is the gang's actual name so that ought to cut down on any confusion). One of their more mean punks uses some kind of multi-grenade launcher. This made things a bit more difficult than battles with the Rescorts (arguably the easiest of the groups until their Team Fortress 2 heavy shows up).

The fallen traffic light is a common theme in these messy scenes.
With a bit more firepower and help from the SA'ints I opted to take on the Copies in a battle by the airport. Things definitely went better but the helicopters are quite obnoxious. Snipers blast lead from afar while you try to dodge drunk-driving SWAT members and HMVs with mounted machine guns. A few well placed grenades can definitely help in this kind of situation.As for the helicopters, a number of shots from my exploding ammunition based pistols restored balance to the universe.
UNETHICAL and DISHONORABLE shot from behind. NOTE: It is easy to die in this game.
Survival celebration jump after surviving three of seven waves! Note the Cop flying upside down off in the distance.
By the third (of seven) wave things were already nasty. It definitely became a matter of purely survival. Some of these wave battles are timer based requiring survival or are body count based (the easier of the two). Instead of worrying about taking out Copies I would generally run for a big armored vehicle. After climbing aboard I slammed my way through cars and attempted to recover any fallen SA'ints.

After my seven wave victory I decided that my gang of purple clad lambs were finally ready to be called Saints. I drove over to Planet Saints to check out the new clothing options and went for a agent/detective look.

This is private detective "Big Hands."

Sunday, February 5, 2012

UNETHICAL - Money Exploit (Experience 4.5)


While trying an activity called Helicopter Assault I came across a few locations where flying through resulted in a "Barnstorming" meter appearing and some cash flowing my way. Strangely the cash kept flowing my way every time I barnstormed a single location. I figured I should explore the city a bit as the length of the barnstorm resulted in more money!

This exploit is outright handed to the player. There really is nothing complex or cheating-like about it. Basically barnstorming should earn A) no money or B) very little money.

1) You need a helicopter -- See the images below for where:

2) See the video below for location and example 18k/minute run.

How could I pass up buying exploding bullets for my dual pistols?


Saturday, February 4, 2012

UNETHICAL (Experience 4)

This play session included capturing a screenshot every 25 seconds. This did not exactly work out as I had hoped. 25 seconds is a long time in an action game. It still caught some unique moments but I may try for 20 seconds or fewer next time.

Shortly after starting the game a call came in that the Tronnies were attacking a clothing store. While I was not the owner of the store I somehow felt the weight of responsibility to clean things up. I am clearly the savior of Steelport with my renovated crackhouses (now featuring less crack... if you count the those in the walls only). I am dressed as a super hero I might as well play the part. This time I had some extra help from a mostly useful SA'int.

Checkout the air that Tronnie is catching in the background!

With the Tronnies knocked out I explored some of the tasks floating around that city that I had yet to sample. I went onto the Genki Game Show and was warned to watch out for Pandas in my crossfire with this wonderful image:

The cell phone does not stop ringing with the needs of my pathetic gang of SA'ints. Apparently the Rescorts were "allowed downtown" or some such thing. I called up my SA'int buddy from before and we took out the four waves of Rescorts. It was mostly uneventful... except that it rolled into my next activity.

Another activity on the map I had not yet tried was trafficking. Pierce picked me up and instead of driving I had to play the role of the passenger protecting the dealer from harm. My previous encounter with the Rescorts still had them wanting my death. They chased us around and in classic super hero style I randomly shot backwards from a moving car in hopes of causing some kind of engine explosion. The dealings went off without much trouble. One buyer tried to run but my super hero running capability and a few bullets settled the issue.

While exploring the airport area I ran into some trouble that no super hero generally does. A school bus jumped out in front of me. I may have been driving in the alternate (not wrong, just alternate) lane. The only thing apparently damaged was the Rescort's car I borrowed. The bus was in perfect condition. (again just like in reality) I proceeded to show true courage and ran away from the wreck and stole someone else's car to finish my career as a super hero.

Saints Row features a blurring effect across everything but your car (and apparently some other elements as seen below). While I think it was a decent decision to give the player a sense of quick movement it is admittedly a bit harder on the eyes than it needs to be. A little less could still give the same feeling.

For my next playthrough I purchased a new outfit from a store called Leather & Lace.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Face Your Fear: Mascots (Experience 3)

I was true to my word from the previous entry. I pummeled a SA'int. Unfortunately it did not encourage the other members to be any more effective.

I opted to go on an actual game mission and picked up Pierce. He changed the radio station so that Sublime's "What I Got" was playing. In a moment of actual pure entertainment my character and Pierce sang along with the song while driving to a clothing store. I recalled seeing a video previously with a zombie voice singing along and it did not even occur to me that this was intentionally built into the game.

The GPS addition in recent sandbox+vehicle games is definitely appreciated. But I am not a fan of the presentation in SR3. Instead of just a visual guide somewhere outside of "reality" they blatantly have it in the middle of the road obscuring things. My suspension of disbelief is not in question, just my vision of oncoming traffic.

My clothing shopping did not end well. I died twice clothing shopping. (again just like in reality) This massive brute showed up with some Rescorts and proceeded to pummel me into a corner in the store until my third attempt at survival kicked my instinct into action: RUN! The brute was entertaining as he flipped over cars and proceeded to beat the living hell out of me. They definitely made the sequence interesting. The brute also was not all that easy to take down requiring a fair share of ammunition.

Then I:

Ran over some Tronnies to clean things up.

Angered some Rescorts (they chased me for about 30 minutes).

Remembered to take screenshots to make this blog more interesting.

A frantic call came in requesting I defend a store from the mascots. I figured I would show up and have to survive a couple waves of mascots. Nope. When I arrived there were already ten plus mascots laying gunfire into my car. Things were a bit messy for a while as you can see below.

After 4 waves I was told to clean up the remaining mascots. A couple of mostly worthless SA'ints arrived and proceeded to accomplish very little. I cleaned things up and as you can see below it was not a very pretty result.

I felt the need to purchase stuff. I bought a crackhouse. I am not sure what one does with a crackhouse but I am now a proud owner. I bought other forgettable properties as well but I felt the need to mention the crackhouse. CRACK HOUSE.

After roaming about exploring unknown question marks on the map I came upon the gem below.

I intentionally rag-dolled my way around an intersection. Nothing beats throwing yourself into traffic. I am not sure how this qualifies as fraud exactly. After this many deaths I figure I probably do not even qualify as a human let alone a citizen that an insurance company would pay out to.

For the ??th time a call came in to do something with the Copies. This time it was to have the Copies attack me, survive, and send a video to them as ... wait what? This complex plot is stupid, just tell me to go die and the result will be the same. Anyway I went and proceeded to die when a HMV with a mounted machine gun tore me down.

Randomly exploring I came across another gem of a task: Tank Mayhem.

Tank Mayhem is exactly like it sounds. Roll your tank through town doing tons of damage and dealing with none of the consequences! They are just pixel people anyway! As in other games of this nature the tank is a lot of fun though the control was a bit weird. The treads and the turret seemed loosely related (they should be completely independent) resulting in turning when I did not want to. Oh well. I did my damage and moved on to some clothing shopping.

Here is my Super Hero outfit for next playthrough:

Casino detective below...

"Any crimes in need of a super hero in the slots area?"

Next time I will be trying something different. I am going to have FRAPS take images every 25 seconds while I play. This will help my memory as well as hopefully result in fewer staged screenshots for the playthrough report. (hitting random hotkeys while running people over is tough!)