E3 2008: THQ

Going to E3 to meet with THQ and not seeing Saints Row 2 would probably be a crime, so we went behind closed doors for a demo and on the way out checked what Lock's Quest was all about.


Saints Row 2 (X360)

If you haven't played the first Saints Row all the way to the end, then stop reading right now and go play it, because Saints Row 2 picks up where the first one left off. The main character was presumed dead, but as it turns out, he/she survived and is now waking up in prison.

Although you can't import your character's looks from the previous game, you can create a new one and customize it to your heart's content: gender, voice (regardless of gender, you can have a male character with female voice), clothing, hairstyle, hair color, facial expressions. So yes, you can walk around wearing a firefighter suit, face paint and the biggest smile on your face, if you feel so inclined.

The main feature in Saints Row 2 is the co-op multiplayer mode, but only online via XBL or PSN. A friend can join your game or leave whenever, and the game will still be tracking each player's progress independently.

Combat has been tweaked to include dual weilding, use people as human shields and even the ability of throwing or execute them. In some cases, you will have an AI partner that can be revived within 30 seconds if shot down (same for co-op players).

The city of Stillwater has new areas such as a University, Hospital, underground caves and mall. There are twice as more activities to keep busy with, old favorites such as insurance fraud, hooker escorts, property destruction value and hit lists. But there are some new added activities like the fight club, where you can use a number of fighting styles (i.e. brawl, martial arts) and ev en finishing moves. There are also races, bodyguard missions, trail blazing and police brutality missions where you can dress up as a cop, go to a reality show setting and do it all on camera. Basically, everything you could do before is available, and then some.

Customization is a big feature as well, since you can customize your gang's clothing, graffiti tag and the cars they drive. There are hundreds of clothing items to buy, and little details such as wearing a shirt open or buttoned, wear the jeans normally or down. There are some crazy outfit choices too, like ninja or hot dog, and you are actually awarded style points for changing clothes often.

Returning characters from the first game will have the original voices, and a few new ones are voiced by Hollywood stars, although no names were released. The soundtrack has been vastly improved, with radio stations including everything from pop to 80's, reggae, emo music, rock and more.

The Xbox 360 version will have achievements, but the PS3 version will not include trophies. Aside from achievements, there is also a badge system for multiplayer mode. Saints Row 2 will be out and about on October 14.


Lock's Quest (DS)

What do you get when you mix Rampart and an action RPG? Something very fun, actually.

An action/adventure by the creator of Drawn to Life, Lock's Quest uses touch-based controls to move and attack. You defend your fort from the incoming enemies by attacking, placing traps and repairing buildings. The purpose is to survive the attacks and keep your fort up. To attack, you simply tap an enemy and do the mini-game that appears on the screen: press the numbers in the right order, from lower to highest. The more you attack the same enemy, the longer the list of numbers is. You don't have do to it, but you will do more damage if you do.

Your character also has a lighting AE spell. As you deal damage, your lighting power charges up. Once it's full, you tap it and then do the mini-game at the bottom of the touch screen (tap repeatedly for extra damage).

After each round, you get to rebuild your fort by purchasing pieces with the blue crystals left by the enemies. This is very similar to Rampart, where you place the pieces around to build the walls, but you don't have to enclose the area. You can rotate pieces, place turrets and purchase traps around the walls and near the enemy entry places to defend your fort.

Lock's Quest is scheduled for a September release.