Welcome back to another month of the TA Playlist! We hope you enjoyed looping through time in ancient Rome, trying not to break the Golden Rule in The Forgotten City, but as August draws to a close, it’s time to leave behind the “city without sin,” and spend September in a city chock full of it.
This month’s poll pays tribute to the Games With Gold program, which has been giving out several games a month to Xbox Live Gold subscribers for over nine years now. Back in July, it was announced that September would be the last month to offer Xbox 360 games as Games With Gold, so we thought this would be a good month to nominate some of the best 360 games featured on the service.
It was a tall order to narrow the list down to just four, but we decided to honour the franchises that had offered the most games on the service. Assassin’s Creed, Gears of War, Saints Row, and Castlevania have each put four or more games into the Games With Gold program, so we chose the highest-rated game from each of those series for this month’s poll. It was a back-and-forth battle between the four nominees, and no game ever pulled ahead by more than a handful of votes. When the dust cleared, the winner — by just eight votes — was Saints Row: The Third.
Saints Row: The Third is, not surprisingly, the third game in the Saint’s Row Series, developed by Volition and published by THQ in 2011. After joining the Third Street Saints and helping them take over Stilwater from their rival gangs in the first game, and then retaking Stilwater as the leader of the Saints in the sequel, Saints Row: The Third sees your character, “The Boss,” setting up shop in a new city, Steelport, where the Saints must go up against an alliance of gangs known as the Syndicate, as well as the Government’s anti-gang task force, S.T.A.G.
While the series was always known for its open-world mayhem, the third instalment really cranked it up to 11, striking a more over-the-top, comedic tone bordering on self-parody, in order to differentiate the Saints Row franchise from other open-world city-based games line Grand Theft Auto. This wild, zany approach was a big hit to some fans, and a big misstep to others, so we’re looking forward to a lively debate about the series (and thoughts on the newly-released reboot) in this month’s Playlist forums.
The 360 version of Saints Row: The Third currently holds a 4.14/5.00 community rating, but you won’t be able to complete this version unless you’ve already unlocked the discontinued achievement for sharing a character online (and same goes for the German stack. Luckily, you can also play along with the Remastered version, which is rated even higher by the TA Community at 4.22/5.00. It’s estimated that it will take you 30-35 hours to unlock all 79 of the game’s achievements.
This was one of the closest polls we’ve seen recently, with the vote split nearly equally among all four candidates, and the lead changing several times throughout the week. SR3 was behind as late as Thursday, but managed to pull ahead over the weekend to clinch the victory.
As always, you can earn credit for participation in this month’s TA Playlist by earning any achievement in any version of the game during September, or by commenting on either the Spoiler or Spoiler-free discussion forum threads, which will be generated at the beginning of the month. Head over to the TA Playlist Hub, and tell us about your quest to become the criminal kingpin of Steelport! And, if you have any ideas for future Playlist games or themes, don’t hesitate to leave your idea in the TA Playlist Game Suggestion Thread.