Gaming Review #3 – Saints Row the Third
My third review is for the game, Saints Row the Third. Published by THQ and released late 2011, this version is for the Xbox 360 and rated 18 bbfc certificate.
Saints Row the Third is an action/3rd person shooter, based in the gangland city of Steelport. The Saints are a gang famed for their success and notoriety, so much so that they have their own merchandising, TV shows and fan base. You play as the leader of the saints and after the first introduction mission you get to customise the look of this character. You start the game off being kidnapped by Le Ren, leader of the crime Syndicate, and held prisoner on a plane where Le Ren tries to convince the Saints to join his syndicate. Naturally the Saints refuse and during their escape attempt Saints member – Johnny Gat – is killed. From then on the Saints want to get revenge for their fallen comrade while stopping the Syndicate from forcing them out of the city ofSteelport.
To start off with…I absolutely loved this game. Every so often a game comes along that you don’t want to put down and that you want to complete every bit of if as it is such a delight to play. SR3 (Saints Row the Third abbreviation) is one of those games.
I have never been one to be interested in games based on gang activities. However, upon seeing the madcap mayhem advertised on TV with people dressed up in blue, fury outfits, or hitting each other with oversized fists, the game undoubtedly looked fun. I was further encouraged to buy the game when friends informed me that they would be purchasing the game and taking advantage of the crazy co-op gameplay. To say the least, I bought the game and haven’t looked back since.
As I said in the second paragraph, you play as the leader of the saints, a character you get to customise to very fine detail. However, you unfortunately only have the choice of three styles of voices, which can be somewhat disappointing as you struggle to choose one that fits your customised character. Regardless of this little niggling fact, your customised character appears in the cut scenes in all his or hers customised glory, and as a fully functioning character instead of just a phantom presence in the background.
The graphics are nicely done to, perhaps not the most polished that I have seen, but good none the less. However the soundtrack truly stands out and is quite simply put as ‘kick ass!’ When jumping into a vehicle the radio will come on with a selection of radio stations that have some pretty awesome tunes. You even have the option of creating a mix tape and picking your favourite tunes to play – and believe me, there are some brilliant songs available.
Getting down to the gameplay however, this is where the game excels. The main missions are engaging and fun, with controls that are responsive and easy to grasp. It was easy to jump into this game if you were a first time player, yet still challenging enough for more experienced players to get something out of the game.
As you play throughout the game you earn respect points, allowing you to level up your abilities, acquire new skills and improve the stats of your fellow gang members. When you reach level fifty you no doubt will have immunity to bullets, fire, falls and vehicle damage, as well as having infinite amount of ammunition; you’re basically indestructible. This may seem quite boring, taking away any risk or challenge of dying, but surprisingly enough it is not; you are basically unstoppable as you wreak havoc in the city (insert evil laugh here!). You can also upgrade your weapons by buying upgrades in weapon stores; one such top upgrade allows your gun to fire bullets that ignite your enemies and nearby vehicles.
Another great thing about this game is the side quests…there’s loads of them! You have over 30 assassination missions to complete, as well as over 30 vehicle theft missions to complete. There are also numerous hidden objects to find; 20 drug packages, 20 photo opportunities, 20 money packages and 20 sex dolls – yes…sex dolls. As well as numerous gang operations to find throughout the city, where you have to wipe out the collection of opposing gang members in the area. Then you have to buy up all the businesses and buildings available to buy if you want to take over the city. Not forgetting, 30 survival modes – where you will receive a phone call telling you to drive to a certain location and survive wave after wave of enemies until complete. On top of all that, there is also the Saints book, a list of 60 tasks to complete, such as: you need to kill a set amount of enemies, or, travel a specific distance in certain way. Finally, there are the mini games; there is a wide variety to choose from all ranging in three levels, easy, medium and hard – some were quite challenging and had me in fits of rage…until I eventually completed them.
One thing is for certain, with the main gameplay and all these side quests you certainly have plenty to do. This game is definitely value for money; I spent over 60+hrs completing every little detail of the game.
The real great thing about SR3, and what it has down to a T, is the fun factor. It’s very rare that a game comes along where you can have just as much fun doing nothing, as you can when trying to complete the game. I spent many fun filled hours just driving about and listening to my favourite tunes on my mix tape, riling up the opposing gangs into gang warfare, pissing the police force off or just terrorising the public. The fun is then doubled, when you can join a mate’s game or have them join your game in co-op play; either to help out with missions or just muck about. Whatever you choose to do, it’s fun, and I don’t think I’ve laughed as much as I did when playing any other game compared to this one.
However, as much fun was had, there were a few little issues that stopped the game from being perfect. Once such issue was customisation.
As I said before, you are able to customise the main Character to very fine detail and you have a wide variety of clothing and accessories you can purchase for your character – you could even dabble in a spot of cross dressing if you like *wink wink, nudge nudge* – unfortunately, despite being able to do all that you only have a choice of three voices for your character. I touched on this earlier, and it really was a disappointing fact that you could do all this customising but were limited to 3 set voices – unless of course you included opposite gender voices for your character, then you had 6 to choose from. You did not even have the opportunity to tweak the set voices like you did everything else.
Another disappointment with the customisation options was with the vehicles. In SR3 you have a wide variety of vehicles available for your use; cars, motorbikes, jets, helicopters and watercraft. What was even better about this is that you can customise your vehicles…yippee! Unfortunately, this option is only available to cars and motorbikes. If you wanted to make a gold helicopter, forget it.
Aside from the customisation disappointments, there were only a couple of snags in the gameplay. The first is activating the nitros.
NItros is an option you can put onto your motor vehicles, allowing you to travel really fast for a short duration of time, a very handy feature. You accessed this feature by pressing down on the left analog stick for the 360 version of this game. Unfortunately, this feature was easy to accidentally activate when trying to reverse. There were many times when I was speeding away from danger that I would accidentally crash on an unmoving object and the only way to get off of it was to reverse off. However, in doing so, I would accidentally activate my nitros, making reversing impossible as my car would want speed off uncontrollably in a direction I didn’t want to go, or, I would be stuck on said unmoving object until my nitros deactivated. It was no doubt an irksome situation made all the more worse because I was trying to escape a brute that wanted to smash my head in.
The second snag this game had is that it does occasionally glitch; thankfully, not very often but it did happen from time to time. Sometimes a mini game would not load properly, or more commonly, when crashing your car into a building you would be propelled through the window and into said building. This of course would be a building you should not have been able to enter, but the game had glitched and you would be inside, with no way out as your were stuck in some sort of white space. Luckily, these weren’t permanent glitches and you could reset the game back to normal by quitting and reloading, however, you will lose any unsaved data in doing so.
The good news is this game has an auto save feature, activating whenever you complete a mission or side quest, but this doesn’t activate on everything. If you were trying to complete the tasks on the Saints Book and spent the last 40 minutes complimenting 50 different people and you hadn’t manually saved when achieving this, you would lose that data if the game glitched and you needed to reset it.
Regardless, this game is still fun, and the story line is insane along with all the crazy action. There is even a few pleasant surprises along the way, including funny costume getups, super vehicles, mad weapons and some surprise guest voices/cameos which I won’t say too much about as I don’t want to ruin the surprise. There’s even a zombie mission in this game, yes…Zombies, it’s that insane – though a small part of me does feel like the zombies were added in just because that’s the popular thing to do in games these day.
Game breakdown –
- Great sound track.
- Easy and responsive controls.
- Good graphics.
- Co-op play available.
- Good gameplay with an insane story.
- Customisation available.
- Plenty to do.
- Value for money.
- Fun, fun, fun, and…FUN!
- Some areas are limited in the customisation.
- Nitros can trigger when unwanted.
- Glitches every now and then.
Overall, this game is excellent, and though there are a few bad points, unfortunately, they are nothing more than a niggling annoyance. This game is fun down to its core, and with the vast quantity of things to do in this game it is also value for money. Don’t let this one pass you by. So grab your giant, purple dildos and beat a police officer with it – oh, I guess I should have mentioned you can do that also in the game (insert wicked smile here).