Let's see how the Google search bots handle the words “giant purple dildo” in the first paragraph of this Saints Row 3 preview. If you have come to us via a rather unexpected search string, welcome, sit yourself down and put off your self-pleasuring device purchase for just long to find out more about this upcoming romp.
It's going to be in your face, off the wall, rude and crude, all that sort of thing to the max. You can walk along the pavement minding your own business and then launch yourself at a bystander, crushing their skulls with a brutal DDT to the tarmac. You might want to steal a jet fighter and go on a cruise over the city, or perhaps just shoot innocent people out of a cannon, splattering them against the scenery while circus music tinkles away in the background.
So yeah, Saints Row 3 is probably the ultimate Daily Mail baiter, pushing all their buttons and being quite happy to do so. As we've only been given a hands-off, eyes-on look at the game at this early stage, there's not going to be any comment about how it plays or how it feels, but as for the PC version (which will get released at the same time) we're promised Volition are going to make it 'feel' good to play this time, after the rather horrible port of the second game.
With that out of the way, let's look at what's new. First of all, it's got a new engine that makes it look a lot more like Grand Theft Auto IV, although Volition would probably sulk if anyone made that comparison. But it's definitely the vibe you get when you first see it, so it's unavoidable.
But it is a new engine nonetheless, so that means new things are possible. Like new ways to mangle your car up into interesting shapes with the new deformation system. The act of driving is different too, with a tweaked driving model designed to make racing about more exciting. There'll also be the usual raft of customisation options for your car.
Your character will be pimpable too, with a ridiculous array of normal, not so normal and downright crazy outfits to kit yourself out in, including a space suit. There's also bound to be some kind of bondage gear in there somewhere.
The storyline goes that your character is a method actor who is trying to learn more about the Saints, who've become world famous since the second game and are all into merchandising and selling out. A movie is being produced and you're along for the ride on a bank job (although in the first mission, you'll actually control the leader of the Saints).
Things go wrong, you find out the bank's actually a front for the Syndicate, who become the third game's big enemy faction. While trying to tear the vault out of the building and drag it away with a helicopter (yes, this happens) things go wrong and you find yourself as the actor trying to sort things out.
That's all we know plot-wise at the moment, but naturally this means going around the city, performing tasks, completing missions and causing chaos, plus completing side quests (or Activities as they'll be called) and getting involved with all sorts of irrelevant-but-fun tomfoolery.
The game world will be smaller in terms of general area, but Volition say it'll be much denser in terms of 'things to do-per-square metre'. And you'll be able to go through it all in the drop-in drop-out co-op mode, details of which won't be revealed for a while (or until E3, whichever).
There's also something called Whored mode in the main menu that we spotted, which will probably be a multiplayer Horde mode (it's like a pun, you know) if you'll permit us to go with an educated guess for a second.
There's no news yet on whether any big name celebrities (or even z-list ones, for that matter) will be involved, but chances are there'll be some. Whether the likes of Tera Patrick will reprising roles is unknown, although it's not out of the question that Volition will get someone equally as likely to grab the attention of the young male audience they're aiming for.
It's going to be juvenile and it'd be a disappointment if it wasn't, to be fair. While there's perhaps a bit too much focus on crushing the genitals of innocent civilians with the patented 'nut shot', there's nothing wrong with strapping a satchel charge to someone or annihilating a pedestrian with the ApocaFists.
So expect a huge number of over the top 'comedy' weapons, vehicles and melee attacks to be referenced or demonstrated in video trailers over the coming weeks and months. One thing's for sure about Saints Row 3 – it'll be a riot to play. It's just a question of whether the actual gameplay can back up the whackiness, and that's something we can't answer yet.