Saints Row: The Third Review

 

Saints Row: The Third is the third title in the series of the same name featuring the Third Street Saints.
Following the events of Saints Row 2, the Third Street Saints have become rich and famous with everything from energy drinks in their name to a dedicated fan base eager for their autographs. Rest assured though that this hasn’t stopped The Saints from taking over the city in the only way they know how – with guns.

Saints Row: The Third is crazy. From the moment you start playing you find yourself in an insane mission destroying helicopters and fighting several police at once whilst hanging precariously from your own chopper. As opening missions go it’s pretty big, and it literally is just the beginning. The game ups the scale drastically as the plot thickens throughout, and the city of Steelport itself even changes from time to time as important things happen in the story. At several points in the game you will be forced to make a choice that will affect you greatly in some way later on, e.g. a 10% increase in monetary gain against a 10% increase in respect. The downside with these choices is that due to the lack of a replay mission feature, you can’t go back and obtain the things that you didn’t choose first time around. Another problem that I had with the story is that after the initial couple of breath-taking missions, you will have to overcome a tedious wall of introductory missions before you can get into the serious stuff again. I spent ages getting through different missions which involved no more than me playing all of the different activities that Steelport has to offer (something that I could’ve done on my own if I actually wanted to) before I could get on with the big stuff – just tell me the story! Once the story does start though, it is brilliant. As usual, the latest Saints Row title manages to make the missions humorous, action-packed and fun whilst having an actual interesting story behind it that I wanted to follow. There are less action-packed cutscenes in it when compared to the previous title, but that doesn’t matter too much as you now get to play these moments instead. I will say though, that whilst the story missions were my highlight of the game, they were very easy to complete – I didn’t break a virtual sweat at any point in the game.

Even with all of the different customisation shops and garages in Steelport, I’m disappointed in the removal of the small shops in which you could purchase burgers, drink and drugs. It was hilarious drink driving in Saints Row 2 and it could even add a bit more character to your person if you looked hard enough, whilst burgers were simply brilliant way to restore some health in tough situations. The removal of being able to utilize different fighting styles since Saints Row 2 is also a bit of disappointment when entering Steelport. The melee attacks at the moment look great, but it’s always nice to have a little more variety as an option.

Nonetheless, the customisation in the game is excellent. There are three different clothes shops that you can visit, and you will unlock some items for completing missions too that will help to really make your character your own. I’ve played as everything from an astronaut to a toilet, so you’re bound to find something you like. Likewise, car customisation is also brilliant and it’s genuinely awesome taking a decent looking car off of the street and turning it into a full scale pimp-mobile, complete with kneecappers and neon lights for cruising around in style. It’s not just for looking good though, as customising your car will also increase the amount of damage it can take and this is something which has gotten me out of a lot of sticky situations with the law. In terms of those situations though, gun customisation is by far the most useful. Customising your guns at the local “Friendly Fire” store will see drastic improvements made to your firearms. Armour piercing, incendiary and explosive bullets are invaluable at later levels in the game to name a few.

I’ve yet to become bored of doing even simple repetitive things like running around the streets dropkicking gang members and then fighting for my life afterward. Incase your attention span is shorter than mine though, Steelport offers lot of other things to do too. There are tons of activities that you can do to earn some money, and several different things to search for around the city including blow up dolls, super jump locations enemy gang operations that you will need to complete.

Outside of the main story mode, Whored mode allows for either single player or co-op gameplay and is simply brilliant. Waves of enemies will attack you and your task is to simply kill everything else on the map, the thing is that you don’t ever know what to expect when playing Whored mode. 20ft whores, miniature soda can mascots and question mark people wielding guns are all part of the norm in this insane round based game. You can even spawn drunk or with a random weapon yourself. It’s funny, and the variety keeps it entertaining too as you pass through the various waves to completion. It can also get very challenging which is something that I didn’t experience from the main story.

Speaking of the co-op, it handles in exactly the same way it did in previous titles. Another player will join you in the city, and you can go about completing missions and doing activities together, or simply just cruising around causing mayhem in Steelport. Notoriety is shared in co-op, so if your partner decides to get into trouble with the army, you better forget about going to Planet Saints to buy that new pair of shoes. The game is even easier to play with a partner as well, because if your life bar reaches zero, your partner can revive you to full health within 30 seconds by approaching your body. Friendly fire isn’t on, but friendly fists is. By this I mean that it’s possible to punch your partner to death in co-op which is always fun, and if you do this, they’ll have the option to revive in cat & mouse mode which is an activity that sees you face off against your partner as they try to reach checkpoints with you gunning them down and vice-versa. The inclusion of co-op to Saints Row 3 simply makes an already fun game even more entertaining, and as all of the same things are open to you in single player and co-op, why not play with a friend?

One of the improvements that I noticed the most in Saints Row 3 is the lack of glitches and freezes I encountered. In Saints Row 2 I could scarcely go a single hour without encountering one or the other. The guys at Volition have 

clearly worked on this since then, because during my whole playthrough of several hours I only encountered a single glitch.

Saints Row: The Third is definitely one of the more fun titles I’ve played this year. The story is entertaining, the missions are fun and the things to do when free roaming seem endless. The thing that I love about Saints Row: The Third the most though is that it does stuff for the sake of it being fun. Cyberspace tanks, super speed ninjas and random zombie virus outbreaks have no place in most modern day cities, but you will see all of these things in Steelport and have a great time fighting with or against them. With the mentality of not caring how unrealistic something is, Volition have ensured that you will always have fun and keep laughing when playing Saints Row: The Third.

Saints Row The Third is available now in all good retailers on PS3, X360 and PC courtesy of THQ and Volition. 

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