Game Review: Saints Row: The Third
Release: November 15, 2011
Genre: Open World Third Person Shooter / RPG
Developer: Volition Games / THQ
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Players: 1 – 2 Online Co-op
MSRP: $59.99 US
ESRB Rating: M for Mature
This review is for anyone who is unfamiliar with the Saints Row franchise. Myself. I have never played a Saints Row game prior to “The Third” so there will be no comparing this to previous titles. Instead, I am seeing this game with virgin eyes that will never be quite the same. If you are not old enough to play this game, then you are probably not old enough to read this review, but for the rest of you, prepare for an over the top journey to the dark side.
You are Johnny Gat, leader of The Saints, a street gang that originated on Saints Row in Stilwater. In the events of the preceding games, The Saints have “merged” with the former rulers of Stilwater, Ultor Corporation (Saints Row 2). Now called the Saints-Ultor Media Group, the gang has produced Saints-branded merchandise to cash in on their worldwide fame. The Saints have become celebrities and are expanding into the city of Steelport.
“The gang spends their days signing autographs (in the middle of bank heists) and partying at the most exclusive clubs. They are kings of the world, but everyone wants a piece of their crown. The Saints have attracted the attention of a ruthless group known only as The Syndicate.”
The main question is not what you CAN do in this game, it’s what CAN’T you do. Here’s just a taste of the activities waiting in Steelport: Sky Diving, Automobile Combat, Wave Tower Defense Combat, Car Theft and Delivery, Base Jumping, Helicopter Combat, Boat Chases, Tank Assaults, Protection Missions, Collectable Blowup Sex Dolls and Pallets of Cash; and that doesn’t really touch on the missions which start out in the vicinity of WTF and traverse a wide spectrum of “you have got to be kidding me.” Each is so over the top that it makes you wonder just how seriously twisted the folks at Volition are. I, for one, am really glad that the good folks at Volition have created a place where the criminally inclined can put their creativity to good use.
The main object of “The Third” is to rescue Steelport from The Syndicate and the various gangs under their control. The geography is spread over a set of islands that you can gradually take control of by purchasing property there and killing off rival gang members. The more property you own, the more income you make per hour. You will need this cash to buy weapons, ammo, upgrades, car mods, boat mods, clothes, etc. The RPG elements of the game are cleverly combined into the economy so that you never feel like you have to “level up” to make the game fun or playable.
What’s really great about the game is the complete lack of seriousness combined with balls-to-the-wall violence. The one liners are spread out so they don’t wear thin, and you never know exactly what might be involved in your next mission. With all of the big titles on the shelves right now, do not overlook Saints, as it delivers in excess in the fun category.
On the flip side, there are always bugs in any game on release day, and Saints Row The Third is no exception. The graphics are not world class – they are pretty average. There are the occasional clipping problems and even a lockup here and there. The integration with the Saints Row website, where in game screenshots and characters can be shared, is a bit sketchy, but Volition is on top of it and has corrected many of the problems this past weekend. None of this is enough of a buzz-kill to avoid this game, and many of the in-game issues I had early on are already fixed.
As long as you aren’t easily offended by violence, colorful language, more violence, prostitutes, pimps, strippers, bondage, excessive violence, gang warfare or using huge purple dildos as weapons – then you will thoroughly enjoy this game. If any of this rubs you raw, then you better grow a pair, strap it on and get over it, because The Saints just simply don’t give a ****!
- Open World, Do Anything, Wanderfest
- Everything Is Over The Top
- Always Fun / Never Too Cheesy
- Unique Campaign With Lots Of Twists And Turns
- Some Bugs But No Buzz-Kill
Final Score: 8 out of 10