There’s no doubt that Saints Row: The Third offers up some of the craziest, over the top action this holiday season, but there is one thing that can make the action even crazier: Another person. Saints Row: The Third includes the same excellent co-op system from Saints Row 2, albeit with some minor changes, allowing every satchel charge explosion, garbage truck super jump and sex toy beat down to be experienced with another person laughing alongside of you.
Saints Row: The Third utilizes an online pass system, so before jumping into co-op, redeem the code that comes with all new copies and download the online pass. The online pass is required for all types of co-op, including system link, so make sure whatever box is going to be joining in on the fun has the pass downloaded and installed.
Once you start your game, you’ll see two different campaign options: Campaign and co-op campaign. Your save files are interchangeable between the two, so if you want the drop-in/drop-out experience from Saints Row 2, fire up the co-op campaign, set your joining preferences to be as strict or as open as you want, and get started. If your co-op partner isn’t online just yet, you can merrily raise a ruckus until they show up and get the party started properly.
When setting your privacy options for co-op you also have the option to turn friendly fire on or off. One of the best parts of the game is how crazy the battles can get, so if you want the most bang for your buck, keep friendly fire off and sling rockets and mind controlling mollusks with impunity.
The same co-op diversions from Saints Row 2 return allowing you to take shots at your co-op partner and jump into a couple of adversarial modes including a cat-and-mouse game played between a sports car and an assault chopper. Once you’ve had your fill of killing each other, simply jump back into the story and focus that rage where it belongs, on the Syndicate.
Share Your Toys
Even if you join your friend’s game, the Steelport you play in reflects your last save point, right down to the activities you’ve completed and the vehicles in your garage. This means that if you’re farther along in the story than your partner, and have access to things like tanks and VTOL jets, you can retrieve them from your garage and use them in your friend’s game. Your friend can’t take any of your vehicles and store them in their garage, but they can still use them. Having a tough time clearing out that gang stronghold? Why not call in a tank? If you’re finding it too difficult to drive that stolen garbage truck to the chop shop all of the way across town, have your partner provide air support with an assault helicopter. Having another person with you means you can bring more hardware to bear on all of Steelport’s problems, big and small.
Compliment Each Other
Saints Row: The Third offers up a pretty extensive set of abilities and weapon upgrades that bestow minor things like more money and more respect, all of the way up to godly powers of invulnerability to fire and falling damage. It’s going to take a lot of time before you can get everything, so why not spend a little time conferring with your partner about what abilities to take? Make your partner invulnerable to explosive damage and then festoon them with satchel charges so that they can take out that gang stronghold while you wade in and clean up, shrugging off bullets like mosquito bites. Upgrade your shotgun for close up work while your partner brings their fully upgraded, dual wielded .45s to the party. You don’t both need completely jacked up rocket launchers do you? On second though, you totally do.
One thing you should pick once it becomes available is the ability to call more than one homie into battle with you. Your co-op partner counts as a homie, so if you only have the ability to bring one person with you, your friend is all you’re going to get. Having Shaundi or Zimos or Pearce along for the ride not only provides extra firepower, but the character interactions can be pretty funny.
Know Your Limits
While in co-op, completing story missions, activities and gang strongholds together is enough to get them considered complete back in your own game. Other things, like assassination missions and car thefts are not. That’s not to say that you can’t do them while in a friend’s game, and have them count, however in order for you to get credit for the deed, it has to be actively selected from the Saints Book section of your phone, and you have to be the one that completes the deed. In other words, if your friend delivers a vehicle to a chop-shop, and you didn’t have that car theft active, it won’t count for you. Similarly, you have to be the one that delivers the car, not riding shotgun when it gets dropped off.
There are 41 different challenges listed in the Saints Book section of your phone, ranging from driving in the opposite lane for 100,000 feet or running over 500 people. Many of these are easily done by yourself, others are more easily done with a partner. Base jumping to a set target is infinitely easier when you have a buddy waiting nearby in a VTOL jet to ferry you back up into the skies. If you already finished the story missions but haven’t killed enough brutes or specialists, you could antagonize the other gangs into sending advanced troops your way, or you could play the story over in a friend’s game and rack up even more kills.
For the Whored!
If you tire of the gang clearing antics in the campaign proper, why not take your buddy and jump into Whored Mode, Saints Row: The Third’s version of horde mode? Every wave consists of a strange combination of Saints Flow mascots, miniaturized zombies, sniper rifle wielding angels and other odd variations all looking to meet their demise at the hand of whatever crazy weapon you’re outfitted with. There are no rewards aside from the fun of seeing what the next wave will bring, but there’s enough of that fun to make it worth a visit from time to time.
Brandon Cackowski-Schnell resides in Atlanta, GA where he writes about games, hosts a podcast and tries to amass as many achievement points as humanly possible. He can be found on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/#!/MisterBinky.