Saints Row the Third Game Review

By Muhammad Faisal 0 comments
Saints Row: The Third
Release/Out Now

You really know you've make it in the underworld when you find yourself partying in a penthouse with an army of pink ninja's worth saying right now that this is the stupidest game I've ever played. I man that in a good way.

 If you find yourself demanding reasonable answers to questions like: "Why does the tiger in my car calm down when I do power slides?" or: "Why am I being chased by carts pulled by gimps, and why did they explode?" then you should steer clear of this ramshackle madness. If everything described so far sounds like the best game ever made, then Saints Row: The Third (SR3) was built just for you.

The world's most media savvy crime syndicate - the titular Saints - is back. But it has fled its home town of Stilwater to find even more fame and fortune in the city of Steelport: a neon metropolis studded with warped versions of American architectural landmarks.

Your mobile phone is the hub by which you accept new missions, check your
bank balance, set waypoint locations and buy new upgrades for you and your gang. Important gang members will appear in your mission list when they have a ludicrous new task for you to perform. Completing these will unlock new safehouses and put you in contact with new gang members based in different parts of the city, and further you quest to win over Steelport. Three gangs make up the organised crime syndicate that stands in your way, the slick European gunrunners known as the Morning Star, a lime green gang of Mexican wrestlers, The Luchadores, and the cyberpunk hackers that call themselves The Deckers.

Mayhem and madness
Missions can be separated into activities and story missions. Activities are short, sharp tasks, and vary in quality immensely. Tank Mayhem throws you into a tank and asks you to roam Steelport's streets, doing hundreds of thousands of dollars of gleeful damage within five minutes. A less stimulating task has you dangling from a helicopter with a sniper rifle, shooting enemies off the tail of a fellow gang member half a mile away. Even if they're wading through the corpses of their nearest and dearest, enemy gang members will be completely unaware that they're being sniped, and the perfect accuracy of the rifle make this a dull turkey shoot.

But then there's Insurance Fraud. You drive out to a given crossroad, and must charge into oncoming traffic. Left-clicking at the right moment to have you character ragdoll face-first into the oncoming car. The more damage you take, the more money you get. Take enough punishment and you enter adrenaline mode, which lets you steer your flailing corpse in midair, letting you swerve into the path of more cars, racking up more and more insurance money. Brilliant.

Completing each mission unlocks it as a repeatable challenge on the city map. You can drive back to each location to kick off ever harder versions of the original mission for extra money. For me, only a handful survived the novelty of the first play through. The mad, mascot-slaying gauntlet that is Professor Genki's Super Ethical Reality Climax was one of the highlights.

For every few you complete, you'll get access to a hefty story mission in which the Saints fend off a major attack from one of the three rival gangs, or strike out to take some territory for themselves. These missions contain some of The Third's finest moments. Diving out of a helicopter into a penthouse swimming pool in the middle
of a rival gang party, and then wading out with a rocket launcher to the sound of Power by Kanye West was one such moment. Taking cover behind an angry, naked Russian ogre man to do battle with an army of clones was another.

Shock and awe
Story missions also put you in touch with Saints Row's surprisingly funny cast of characters. Some are just jerks. Fine, they're all jerks - but you'll separate the ones you can't stand and the ones you'll choose to drive around with you based on how much their schtick you can handle. The pimp who speaks entirely in auto-tune is amusing for the first two missions, then I endeavored never to meet him again. On a more socially acceptable level, the vengeful Shaundi make a welcome return from the second game, and the seven foot tall, turtle neck wearing Oleg is a lovable addition. The humour blends a shock and awe assault of nudity and narcotics jokes with some knowing, clever one-liners. Generally, I teetered on the bring of genuine offense, but stayed on the happy side of disgusted.

Considered in isolation, the game's mechanics are solid at best. The driving is easy and fast, even if the cars feel a little weightless. Choppers are powerful but sluggish and the shooting is almost laughably easy at points. My most powerful weapon for the first third of the game was the pistol. You'll be able to wipe out room by chaining together head-shots. The game gets around this later by throwing huge hordes of stupid opponents your way, and as you progress you gain access to ever more powerful weaponry, like UAV drones and a gloriously destructive shock hammer. The combat in SR3 is rarely challenging, but it does get pretty spectacular.

This over the top combat forms the basis of SR3's co-op survival Whored Mode (aping the Gears of Wars Horde Mode). It's a good way to get into a fast fight, as you can start huge, escalating fights with any of the three gangs by wading into their territory and shooting them, but it's made redundant by the fact that a friend can jump into your campaign at any time to play.

SR3 is mad. In fact, it barely makes any sense at all. But for all its wonky bits, there's an odd charm to Volition's decision to leave nothing on the drawing board. It's not the largest sandbox, but it is packed full of brilliant toys. Saints Row: The Third's commitment to unrestricted, ridiculous fun is unflinching, and the product is a city full of glorious slapstick debauchery.

Vital Statistics
Price $45
Developer Volition
Publisher THQ
Multiplayer 2-player co-op
DRM Stream

Needs 2 GHz dual core, 2GB RAM, 320MB DX9 card
Wants Quad core CPU, 4GB RAM, 1GB DX11 card

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