First, Steelport was invaded by a vengeful gang bent on doing anything it could to climb back up to the top. Next, zombies and celluloid space aliens took up arms within its confines. Now, a new threat has emerged: Johnny Tag, a cloned version of Johnny Gat, the former leader of the Third Street Saints. Although he was seemingly murdered at the beginning of Saints Row: The Third, that didn’t spell the end of the enigmatic showman. His return with a new form and less brain power could spell disaster for the city’s inhabitants; that is, if something isn’t done about his clone-based re-emergence. All of this is added proof that it’s never a good idea to count on anything being final in this quirky universe.
In The Trouble With Clones, the sandbox game’s third and potentially final piece of major story-related downloadable content, an intelligent comic book fan has decided to resurrect his fallen idol. Things go wrong, but isn’t that always the case whenever this scenario plays itself out on film or in video games? Instead of returning a gun-loving gangster back to his crew, Mr. Toothbrush ends up creating a monster. Almost immediately, the chaos hits the fan and our favourite anti-heroes are called in to clean up the resulting mess. It’s up to them to calm down an angry brute; one that is on a mission and just so happens to be bent on destroying everything in his path, with an unlucky strip club being the first target on that hit list.
Where this series excels is in its development team’s ability to think outside of the proverbial Grand Theft Auto box. While the two series share similar mechanics and structural designs, each one takes its own path and runs with it. That may never have been as true as it is now, with Saints Row: The Third turning everything up to eleven, including its downloadable content episodes. Commendation should be delivered based on how creative the game’s three DLC packs’ premises are. Its latest, The Trouble With Clones, has a quirky and unique premise, which is aided by solid writing and some not safe for work humor. Its comic book inspiration is easy to note, melding well with a brief mission arc.
One of the major complaints we levied upon Volition‘s last two add-on packs regarded their length. Neither one was overly long, providing just less than an hour’s worth of new mission and activity content. Unfortunately, we may not see a lengthy expansion to what I decree as being one of 2011’s best video games, because that trend has been carried on with Johnny Gat’s hulking rampage. Three missions combine to tell this tale, which has more than a hint of comic book flavor. From start to finish, the sum of their parts will mean approximately sixty minutes of open world chaos and hilarity, if not a bit less. Fans who don’t own the game’s Season Pass will end up facing what is an aggressive price tag.
From a gameplay perspective, this week’s content drop is probably the best of the bunch, but its missions could have benefited from the inclusion of a new element or two. Similar mission designs can be found in the title’s core campaign, but that doesn’t mean these ones are bad. However, with that being said, those who hoped for an new and unforgettable experience will not find that here. The vehicle, target and stage protection objectives are fun; as is taking on the military through explosive and bullet-based means. Just don’t go in expecting anything revolutionary.
When dealing with a rampaging clone, finding a gun that can shoot bee swarms is apparently vital. It can be helpful in getting rid of throngs of fans at an event, in order to prevent the brute from getting spooked. Going further, the same weapon can also be utilized to calm the target down. Who would’ve thought? Let’s hope that none of the digital inhabitants are allergic to the flying bug’s stings, because this new organic weapon plays a large role in this seven dollar download. Of course, traditional weapons like pistols and rocket launchers also contribute. Those all combine with an eradicated can of Saints Flow, which can bestow its host with the ability to shoot fireballs and the chance to hit enemies so hard that comic book declarations pop up.
When all is said and done, most of the newly available spoils are yours for the taking, which is a definite plus for mayhem-loving Saints. Two new brute homies are also made available for assistance during tough times, but they pale in comparison to the hilarious bee gun. Using it to clear out a large group of foes bestows a notable advantage to the player, although there are a couple of hit detection issues, meaning that two shots are sometimes needed to take out one bad guy. Unfortunately, the aforementioned energy drink awarding super powers do not carry over.
The Trouble With Clones is meant to be an homage to classic science fiction films and comic books. Hit enemies to the sweet showing of Biff! Bang! Pow! then sit back and watch as a comic book geek narrates a tale involving his hometown and its incredibly popular criminal inhabitants. Purple super power accents also complement this motif, while the rest of the experience is created using the full game’s core engine. All of its downloadable content packs launch as available missions that can be accessed through the player’s mobile phone. There aren’t any noticeable enhancements, but what’s presented looks and sounds quite good. Sometimes the music would overshadow the narrator’s lines, however.
Let’s face it; Steelport is a city in chaos and its residents are at the forefront of one outrageous event after another. A great canvas has been painted and it’s fun to be able to explore its many shades. The Trouble With Clones is yet another addition of colour to this great game, and it delivers a half-decent experience. Added length could have fleshed things out more and would have also made its price tag easier to digest. However, what’s there is relatively fun. If you’re looking for an over-the-top way to spend an hour, then Volition‘s latest piece of brief downloadable content is a competent fit.
This review is based on a copy of the game that was provided to us for review purposes.
If you're looking for an over-the-top way to spend an hour, then Volition's latest piece of brief downloadable content is a competent fit.