Saints Row: The Third.
PS3/Xbox 360/PC; £39.99; cert 18+.
From the affectionate nods to both Star Wars and 2001: A Space Odyssey during the opening sequences of this game to the witty banter between the characters you know that it does not take itself too seriously.
The story picks up years after the Third Street Saints took Stilwater for their own and have evolved from street gang into a household brandname - they even have their own brand energy drinks, sneakers, and Johnny Gat bobblehead dolls.
They are the kings of Stilwater but their celebrity status has not gone unnoticed. The Syndicate, a legendary criminal fraternity which operates globall, has turned its eye on the Saints and demands tribute. refusing to kneel to the Syndicateyou must take the fight to a new city, Steelport, by playing the most outlandish gameplay scenarios ever seen.
The action begins when the gang decides to rob a bank, which happens to be owned by the Syndicate, and unfortunately Johnny is killed. You become the new boss and set out to seek revenge on the Syndicate and at the same time take over Steelport.
This is not for the faint hearted and you should be prepared for a script peppered with colourful language not to mention mindless violence by the truckload.
I have to admit I found the third installment of Saints Row unbelieveably entertaining and it is a long time since I have laughed out loud while playing a game. The action is so far fetched that you cannot take it too seriously.
One feature is the ability to fully customise your character and the multitude of choices range from the sublime to the ridiculous. The choices even include a zombie voice and the campest dance moves or catchphrases.
However I did find the controls unfamiliar and took some getting used to. I particularly found the weapon aim button difficult to control. And like most third person shooter games the scenery, or even your teammates, tended to get in the way at the most inopportune moments.
On the whole Saints Row is fun to play and is more than just another Grand Theft Auto tribute.