Review: Saints Row: The Third

Review: Saints Row: The Third

Posted by on Feb 8, 2012 in Commentary, Reviews |

saintsrowthethird_dx11 2012-02-08 11-14-59-53

Saints Row: The Third is the first Saints Row game I’ve played. I was actually unaware of the series until I saw a screenshot of Saints Row 2 last year. I don’t remember what was actually shown, but unlike most in-game images, it wasn’t the graphics that caught my attention. It was the absurdity of it all. The picture was silly enough to make it memorable. So when Saints Row: The Third came out I picked it up.

If GTA is the serious older brother of urban sandbox games, then Saints Row 3 is the lovable, vulgar sibling that you hang out with but won’t invite to formal events because he’d probably drop his pants. And let me tell you, Saints Row 3 is proud of dropping its pants. It’s not going to do so at every opportunity but it’s not going to shy away from it either. The game embraces its absurdity and runs with it, creating a unique and definitive experience.

As for the game itself, all you need to know about it is in the intro. It’s one of the best opening sequences I’ve seen in any game. Aside from teaching gameplay mechanics, it does an excellent job of showing you what Saints Row is all about. If you’re undecided on picking up the game or not, I suggest you play the intro level when you can.

You play as the Protagonist AKA the Boss, leader of the 3rd Street Saints. The Saints have become a global brand, one that carries a clothing line and an energy drink. An ordinary bank robbery turns into a nightmare when it attracts the attention of the Syndicate, a rival criminal organization. It’s up to you to fight them and claim the city of Steelport.

Gameplay in Saints Row has everything that you can expect from an urban sandbox game. There’s driving, running and shooting. The driving mechanics are easier (or less realistic, if you prefer that) than GTAIV. There’s a wide variety of vehicles available from the start and, if you bought DLC, some powerful ones will be in your garage. The entire city is open, making nearly everything that can be driven accessible. You just need to get to them.

The shooting mechanics, which have always been my biggest problem with the GTA series, are excellent in Saints Row. You won’t be fighting with the controls as you aim and shoot. There’s even a cruise control option when you’re driving, allowing you to focus more on your target than trying to stay on the road.

What really makes Saints Row: The Third distinctive is that its proud for what it is. It’s ridiculous, absurd, exaggerated and unashamed. All of these traits are present in the vast array of choices you can make in the game. As you take control of Steelport you’ll run into gangs, clothing stores, airports, military bases and other notable people and places, most of which have some side quest or optional activity tied to them. You’ll blow up buildings, mailboxes, cars and people just so you can rack up the damage and beat the high score. You can throw yourself in front of trucks, cars and bikes as you try to scam insurance money. Your crew will need occasional protection. You will provide the said protection onboard a chopper. And all this can be done while you’re wearing a red bathrobe and a pair of bunny slippers.

Overall, Saints Row: The Third is a lot of fun. And when you bring things back to basics that’s really the most important thing for any game to be. If you’re into action games you should definitely give this one a spin.