I know, I know, I know. Saints Row: The Third has been out for over a month and a half, but with the holidays and whatnot it has been nearly impossible to sit down and write a decent review for this game. But now that I have a moment, I wanted to discuss the third game in what is one of my favorite game franchises of the modern era. Saints Row: The Third is an extremely entertaining game that mixes gang violence with hilarious comedy to form a game that can truly give everyone’s favorite free roaming gangster franchise Grand Theft Auto a run for it’s money.
The story of Saints Row: The Third obviously puts you back in the shoes of the “boss” of the fictional gane the “Third Street Saints,” although this time the Saints have moved their operation from Stillwater to a new fictional sister city named “Steelport.” The main cast of Saints Row returns with Pierce, Shaundi and “Johnny Gat” all assisting you as you tear the city of Steelport a new one. There are also quite a few new characters introduced in Saints Row: The Third with a whole new rival gang named “The Syndicate.” The Syndicate is made up of three separate factions, The Rey Mysterio inspired “Luchadores,” The Tron-esque styled “Deckers,” and the classic thugissh “Morning Star,” all of which have their own members and leaders with whom you must battle for city supremacy. The story is the strongest of the franchise so far with a pretty involved campaign that has you really wanting to defend your turf from the rival Syndicate. I really enjoyed the new characters that were introduced(minus Zimos for obvious reasons), they all bring something new to the franchise and give it a really well rounded out cast that suit the game perfectly. Volition also did us all a favor by adding quite a few new vehicles and weapons, including the now infamous “Apoca-Fists,” which are essentially oversized Hulk Hands that vaporize your enemy into a cloud of bloody guts upon impact. Items like the “Apoca-Fists” are what I love about the Saints Row franchise it makes a conscious effort to not take itself too seriously and instead puts an emphasis on fun and comedy. When you compare it to something like GTA, which generally has a more serious tone to it, Saints Row feels like a breath of fresh air.
The gameplay in Saints Row: The Third is where this game truly shines. The assortment of mission types is extremely diverse and provides a nice change of pace in a pretty lengthy campaign. The missions will have you doing a vast array of different activities ranging from facing your fear by driving a tiger around town while he slashes at your face to parachuting into an off limits military base to hijack a special jet to help you in destroying the city. The gameplay feels much tighter in Saints Row: The Third when you compare it to Saints Row 2 with a plethora of new combat animations and much improved driving gameplay. One of the problems that I had with Saints Row 2 was the occasional bug that would either send you falling through the ground into some sort of glitched world or keep you locked inside a burning car unable to be reached by a co op friend who is trying to revive you. But most of that is gone as Volition did a great job of polishing the mechanics of Saints Row: The Third to nearly perfect.
Volition also stepped their game up in the character customization field, Saints Row 2 already had a pretty deep character creator in it, but they took that and multiplied it times ten in Saints Row: The Third. There is a vast facial customization tool that rivals those of the EA sports character creators and a deep wardrobe that will allow you to dress like anything from a Steampunk Doctor to a Luchador Cheerleader.
The visuals are another one of the areas that overhauled in this franchise with a lot more detail being put into the simplest of things such as the skyscrapers in the skyline . For large open-world games like this, the small details make a world of difference. However, even with these overhauls this game is still not on the same level visually as Grand Theft Auto. The cutscenes were also a big step up from Saints 2 with improved motion capture and much more accurate and less corny dialogue.
Like I said before, Saints Row is one of my favorite franchises of the current generation and this game only strengthens my love affair with these games. Saints Row: The Third takes an already great game and improves it with a better storyline, better visuals, new weapons, new vehicles and is simply a better overall experience than Saints Row 2. Of the two big “open-world gangster games” as I call them, I would definitely recommend the Saints Row franchise, especially if you are just looking for a fun light-hearted game that doesn’t take itself too seriously and just allows you to go crazy and cause mayhem in the concrete jungle they call Steelport.Pros :
- Impressive Campaign
- Improved Visuals
- Two Words......Apoca Fists
- Too Much Zimos