I know there has been an onslaught of new games in this last quarter of the year. I know that there were big blockbusters like Skyrim and Uncharted 3. I know we all only have so much money to spend on games. But if you passed on Saints Row The Third, then you are just like… the dumbest person ever and I don’t think we can be friends. If money is a problem, I hear there are people that will give you money in exchange for your car title. Don’t have a car? Do you have a child or beloved pet? Don’t worry, they’ll totally give it back when you pay your debt at 1400% interest. They just need the collateral. It’ll be worth it.
I really only need to list one reason why you should play this game: it is absolutely crazyballs from start to finish. I’ve jumped out of planes and blown up cars on the way down just to clear out the wooden crates falling along side it. Because hitting wooden crates at terminal velocity fucking hurts. I’ve gone to buy more ammo in a helicopter and parachuted out of that helicopter rather than landing because “fuck it.” Do you know what it’s like to have unlimited helicopters? This game will show you the way. I’ve shamefully beat people to death with a giant dick bat. It’s called “The Penetrator” but that seemed a bit vague. Dick bat will do.
Saints Row The Third isn’t just about the ridiculous stuff you can do for 30+ hours. Underneath is a genuinely solid gameplay experience, including shooting mechanics that every 3D Grand Theft Auto game could take a lesson from. The driving mostly ignores physics and makes driving around the city fun. If you want to go all Tokyo drift in a stretch limo, you absolutely can. It also doesn’t bother trying to make the characters something they are clearly not. Grand Theft Auto IV seemed to have parallel stories going on for the same character. They tried to make you connect with Nikko, tried to make him seem more human and normal. In reality he was a murderer and a thief and a pretty big dick, and you acted all that out in the gameplay. It was like the cutscenes and dialogue had no idea what was going on in the rest of the game. Saints Row knows exactly what’s up at all times. The people you’re playing as are straight up criminals who don’t give a shit about anything but money and power, and they don’t care what they have to do to hold on to both.
There are also plenty of side missions to keep players occupied, but this is where the game starts to be hit or miss. The worst offender is probably the “Snatch” mission type which has players running around stealing “hoes” from rival gangs. On the harder versions of these missions things are insane, with tons of enemies swarming on your location and chasing you. So it doesn’t help when the AI of your followers, in this case the aforementioned hoes, can’t seem to figure out where the door to your vehicle is located. There were several times I failed missions because I was waiting for people I was supposed to protect to get in the car. By the time they figured things out, we were already heavily surrounded and escape wasn’t happening. It was just super frustrating at times. The trafficking and escort missions weren’t near as frustrating, but they weren’t much fun either.
But fear not! Those shitty side mission are just a few of the available tasks. If you’re a flight enthusiast like myself Heli Assault was a heck of a lot of fun. I find flying between buildings while trying to keep guns on enemy vehicles fun. It’s just something I enjoy. The Mayhem missions were still entertaining. There’s something that will always be great about unlimited rockets with the goal of blowing up as much shit as possible before time runs out. There were also Tank Mayhem missions. Take the concept I just described in Mayhem and add a tank. My biggest complaint about Tank Mayhem is that the missions were a little too short. Sure, you can hop in a tank any time you want and go on a destruction spree, but you don’t get to see a score ticker quickly add up combos and multipliers. Score counters on my destruction are something I heavily endorse. It’s a big part of what made Bulletstorm so damn fun.
My favorite side mission was something called Professor Genki’s Super Ethical Reality Climax. I know you’ve all seen the weirdo in an animal costume at a sporting event, and you likely wanted to shoot them in the face. Now you can! For money! The whole thing has a super Japanese feel to it. As you run around taking out mascots in a sort of Smash TV/The Running Man environment, you’ll also have anime-style targets that pop up for you to shoot that award more money. But be careful. If you shoot a panda target you’ll actually lose money. This is the Ethical Reality Climax. Killing pandas is hardly ethical, my friend. I’m told they’re endangered. At the very least, they’re super cute.
So yeah, I like Saints Row The Third a lot. It’s just a super crazy ride from start to finish. It’s good to see that THQ decided what they wanted this game to be and pushed it to the limit. I can’t imagine where Saints Row 4 will go, but I’m excited to find out.