Saints Row: The Third
Does the third installment to the Saints Row series keep up to par? Yes. Now, if you don’t have the game yet, go buy it. It has kept the arcade feeling and the over the top action that every fan of the series love.
Didn’t The Saints overtake Stillwater?
When the dust settled in Stillwater, The Saints had to find a way to earn money. They ended up going all in in the name of glam: the movie business, and made it big time. Right up to the moment another gang named The Syndicate appears, demanding a big chunk of the cake in Stillwater. The deal is a joke to The Saints, and they reject the offer which leads to a shootout on board the plane. Flying bullets and lightweight metal isn’t a suitable match, and the plane heads towards the ground.
After bailing out of the free falling plane, shooting Syndicate members and saving Shaundi, you end on the ground safely. You’re in Steelport, and appearantly, The Syndicate has their HeadQuarters here. After finding an ATM with the intentions of getting back to Stillwater, you’re quickly figuring out that The Syndicate has taken all The Saints money and you have to start from scratch – now with the intention of retaliation. With two other gangs in the city you’ll have your hands full.
As fun as ever!
What I was most happy to see was the planes – the first time I ended up in an airport, I ran straight for the nearest plane, with the intention of entering it, and I could. I took it for a whirl instantly and got too courageous, ending up in the water. Well that was fun for the little amount of time used.
One of the most surprisingly funniest moments in the game was driving around the city with a tiger as a passenger. The goal was to keep the tiger’s rage bar low and waiting for your own courage bar to fill. That was one of the truly golden moments for me, not even the epic battles scattered throughout the city could top it. Next time, Volition, please make this an activity.
Edit update January 3rd 2012: It appears that this is in fact an activity. It doesn’t have it’s own logo, it shares it with the whore escort activity.
Most activities are the same; pimp missions, mayhem, trail blazer, you name it. There’s a few new introductions such as riding a lightbike through the virtual world, and it’s a refreshing experience, albeit a little too inspired from TRON. We’ll take this discussion later in the review. Professor Genki’s shootout TV show is quite amusing, as you have to navigate through a number of rooms, avoiding electrical charges and fire, shooting other contestants and signs to gather time or extra money.
Girls go wild for fashion, right?
While it’s cool with so in-depth customisation, it might get a little tiring, especially if you have been looking so much forward to the game that you really just want to get in on the action. It still pays off in a great deal if you take the time to make the character that suits your taste. Other than gender and base look that you can change in all forms, colors and shapes, you also get to choose voice and personality. Personality means you choose one taunt and one cheer.
It’s hard for me talk about clothes, since I don’t even care that much about it on the daily basis, but I still like to find a style for my character in games and mix match something cool. I had two different major styles in my playthrough of this game; the business woman with cool sunglasses, a hot colored lipstick, suit pants and some kind of cardigan. Later on I switched to this cool cowgirl outfit with a tartan shirt that were tied up in the front, revealing the stomach of my hot looking player and of course suitable cowgirl pants and boots – with hot pink on some parts. God, if I had a hot body that could slip into anything and look good, I would spend so much money on clothes…
Now it’s time to earn your money and your respect back. The war is on against 3 other gangs, The Syndicate which is by far the most normal one in my opinion, The Deckers that are inspired by TRON as they wear suits that looks a lot like what we know from the movies and the game, earn their money by hacking into certain valuable systems. Then there’s the Luchadores, and yes you guessed it. They wear masks and the boss is of course the best wrestler in the area – this gang earn their money from the wrestling community and media covering.
Small tidbits from other franchises
From the start to the end of the game there were so massive hints to movies and franchises it made me think if the developers even stopped up for a bit and tried to do something unique to this game. It kind of felt like they discussed and settled a range of different franchises and just smashed them into one big bowl of Steelport. While small hints to other franchises is really fun if they fit in, I think they overdid it in this game; from the Star Wars text in the intro with the appurtenant 2001: A Space Odyssey theme, to Bane (from Batman) inspired henchmen over GlaDoS inspired voice from your friend Zimos (while I was explained this was something DJ’s did I still call the Portal reference!) and last, but not least, the TRON clone that The Deckers cover so fully.
The good stuff has been kept
The game has stayed true to the roots by hanging onto the arcade style feeling, especially of the cars. The visual style is great, not on par with top tier games out today, but still pretty satisfying with great colouring and art. Most of the sights are really great made but with some dull and grey spots, especially behind buildings and in factories scattered around the city, but this aren’t a mood killer, just making the game and experience fluctuate.
I can accept that sandbox games has small errors, but this one had a few that were surprisingly interfering with the gameplay – even so bad that I ended up failing the mission. Oleg, one of the henchmen that helps the player in a few missions, died a few times because he jumped out into a plane in one mission – which were scripted, yet he died and I failed the mission. In another instance, my character jumped out of the helicopter that I was supposed to stay in, and the helicopter left me behind. Flickering characters when a scripted animation runs out of cutscenes, ending the cutscene before the last sentence spoken was finished and heavy clipping occurred as well – none of which made the game unplayable, though I had to replay a little of certain missions.
And the music award goes to:
The radio includes a wide variation of different stations that has themes such as 80’s Hits (my favourite) over Heavy Metal to Classical, each genre on each station, with the name making a vast hint towards the genre. Voice acting is up to par, working as it should, sound effects are as they should in a game like this, but one thing I noticed, that really got on my nerves. I’m not supposed to curse here, but I am really that close to, just because of the engine sounds – the sound loops. You’ll notice it when you have had the speeder floored and have been close to top speed for a while, it sounds like the car keeps speeding up.
Now that I finished the rant about all the errors the game comes with from launch, and all the games skeletons now out in the open I can safely confirm what I said in the beginning of the review: Yes, it’s worth a buy. The game is damn fun, with a glorious story, great characters and over-the-top action, all spiced up with fun powersliding when you’re trying to reach your goal in time, even with glitching and horrifying engine sounds.