Saints Row: The Third

Saints Row: The Third Review for PS3

On: PS3Xbox 360PC

The Saints are kings of Stilwater, but their celebrity status has not gone unnoticed. The Syndicate, a legendary criminal fraternity with pawns in play all over the globe, has turned its eye on the Saints and demands tribute.

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8Out of 10
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Saints Row: The Third screenshot
Saints Row: The Third screenshot

Three games in, and Saints Row is now much more than a Grand Theft Auto tribute act, growing from a feeble, shameless copycat into the gaudy celebration of wanton debauchery the tabloids believe Rockstar's game to be. Now it's no more like GTA than Mario; indeed, the comparison with Nintendo's series isn't entirely unwarranted, as Volition's game shares the same generosity of ideas, and avoids being hamstrung by the need to conform to the rules of a pseudo-realistic gameworld. This is a game that constantly prioritises the needs of the player. It's very smart at being stupid.

That said, the first hour or so creates a false impression. Sure, it begins with a bang: a crazy gunfight inside (and out of) a cargo plane flying over the city of Steelport, involving two daring airborne rescues and a moment where your protagonist skydives through the cockpit of the falling craft to beat up a single enemy at the back. But the early game settles into a very familiar rhythm as you attempt to rebuild the Saints' empire in a new city, taking on a series of tasks that amount to little more than driving to a place and shooting a lot of people on arrival.

It's not helped by a stream of lowbrow gags. Though there's nothing to compare with Saints Row 2's scatological high/lowlight (the sewage-spraying sequence), it's all very puerile, with giant dildo bats, BDSM Clubs, testicle punches, a chain of mechanics called Rim Jobs, and other sniggering schoolboy humour. Elsewhere one penthouse raid set to Kanye West's 'Power' falls slightly flat thanks to said song being used in just about every other bit of video game trailer footage in the past six months.

Yet it's not long before Volition finds its feet, with a series of smart design decisions that underpin the mayhem that follows. While side missions are clumsily integrated into the story, these asides add variety to the early game, and they're over in a matter of minutes, so even if you're not a fan it's not long before you can move on. The GPS system is terrific – set a waypoint, and huge floating neon markers pop up along the route to tell you where to turn, like an old-school arcade racer.

Saints Row: The Third screenshot

A neat smartphone menu system allows easy access to everything you'll need, from a world map to selecting your next mission to upgrading your abilities and calling your homies for backup. You can even input cheat codes or activate a camera to take screenshots at any time by tapping down on the d-pad. Meanwhile, car handling is tight and responsive, and the new melee combat system is satisfyingly chunky, even if the game seems to do the occasional quick time event prompts for you half the time.

There's a constant feeling of progression. Buying buildings not only expands your property empire and the associated cash boost you'll receive per hour, but eats into the territorial percentage of that area's gang. It also provides a place to instantly reduce your notoriety. If and when the action escalates to unmanageable levels, you can simply drive or run to your nearest owned building and nip inside to get out of harm's way.

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User Comments

Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk

Ooh! Ghost5 showed me that the Genki gun can be exploded in a spectacular firework-like fashion! :D The one thing I hoped would be added, was already there!

This game just encourages bite-sized snippets of gaming... which then leads to that sense of 'just one more thing...'.
Posted 23:57 on 09 December 2011
Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk@ squidman

D'oh.
Posted 18:36 on 08 December 2011
squidman's Avatar

squidman@ Clockpunk

I'm on PS3 :(
Posted 16:27 on 08 December 2011
Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk@ squidman

Co-op sometime? Makes it so much more fun!
Posted 16:18 on 08 December 2011
squidman's Avatar

squidman

Playing this at the moment and it's brilliant. BRILLIANT.
Posted 16:11 on 08 December 2011
Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk

Just a heads up, chaps - the trophies/achievements for the first big DLC pack have been found - Genki Bowl VII. It seems that the pack, the first also made available through the Season Pass will add several new events scattered throughout the map.

The list is as follows:

Cooked To Perfection
Roast 50 peds with the car's flamethrower (in a single instance of Super Ethical PR Opportunity).

Get Off My Back
Destroy 5 chase vehicles (in a single instance of Super Ethical PR Opportunity).

Stick the Landing
Land on Magarac Island (in Sad Panda Skyblazing).

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Kill all of hte rooftop mascots (in a single instance of Sad Panda Skyblazing).

Flame On
Fly through all of the rings (in a single instance of Sad Panda Skyblazing).

Feeding Time
Throw 5 mascots into the water (in a single instance of Apocalypse Genki),

Murder in the Jungle
Finish both instances of Apocalypse Genki.

Storm the Yarn
Destroy a mouse ATV during Sexy Kitten Yarngasm.

C-C-C-Combo Breaker
Cause $150,000 worth of damage in a single Sexy Kitten Yarngasm combo.

As a fan of the in-game Genki focus, I'm glad too see more of the mini-events added. That said, I do hope more customisation options will come with it, and I don't think there'll be anything story-based... but hell, the random insanity is what makes SR3 such a blast to play!
Posted 15:34 on 08 December 2011
clangod's Avatar

clangod

I need to try and re-install this tonight.

Tried it again briefly yesterday and I'm a bit deflated by the audio glitches and the driving controls.

I have an opportunity to swap it for Arkham City tomorrow. Tonight is the decider.

I wanted SR3 to be everything it seems. There's definitely fun to be had but after my initial 45 minutes of introductory madness I'm just not sure anymore.
Posted 07:09 on 20 November 2011
Wido's Avatar

Wido

Saints Row 3 excels in the fun department by miles. Tops Saints Row 2 by miles, as the game is completely what a game should be all about. Get rid of reality, and the boundaries. It's all about having fun with way over the top carnage for your pleasure.

I'll admit at first I wasn't going to be picking this up straight away. I got this game on the merits of how ludicrously Saints The Third offers you. I traded in MW3, as I did somewhat feel disappointed by the Veteran run. Sadly MW3 did not give me the challenge that I was looking for in the previous games, and with the multiplayer being dated, yes, dated! BF3 multiplayer is what all shooters should look at, but that's a complete different subject to be had or was had...

Put it this way. Once I have finished Zelda Skyward Sword, Skyrim will walk back into my life, and Saints The Third will be gathering dust but... Saints The Third is proving itself it can be unique from the rest of the crowd. Just watch the trailers/gameplay footage of the game and you will see why Saints The Third is actually a pretty good game for those rainy days, put any game in the console and play.

Once I get some MSP I will be getting the season pass as Saints Row 2 being pretty bad. Saints 3 is what Saints 2 should have been!
Posted 23:49 on 19 November 2011
pblive's Avatar

pblive

Still not committed to getting this, but tempted.
Posted 20:54 on 19 November 2011
Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk

Well, Wido convinced me to pick up a copy earlier today (got the Genki
Edition at no extra cost! :D), and - although the world is very small and the theme not the sort of thing I would usually play, it does seem like a lot of fun!

I would have liked to see more shops, be able to purchase energy drinks from vending machines, that sort of thing, however...

Splurged and tried the 160msp dlc pack that unlocks (a key - I'm assuming the other 39 planned weekly packs are also included on the disc...) the Shark Gun, which is very unexpected, but a blast! Very tempted to pick up the Season Pass...
Posted 20:22 on 18 November 2011
chrissch's Avatar

chrissch

It's not nearly as buggy as 2. A few glitches, yes, but nothing game-breaking (or at least not during my playthrough of every one of the game's 47 missions, anyway).
Posted 16:00 on 16 November 2011
dav2612's Avatar

dav2612

I have a slight curiosity about this one but Saints Row 2 was one of the most bug riddled games I've ever played. I also found some of the humour not really to my tastes.
Posted 09:29 on 16 November 2011
clangod's Avatar

clangod

Bought this on release, and it is definitely as OTT from the opening sequence as the previews show. Absolutely ridiculous. Ballistic even. Out there man....

No doubt there is much fun to be had. I can see a lot of "Oh sh*t did you see that!" moments. And it is definitely a nice break from the more serious titles.

Still not sure about the audio though. Half of the effects (the essential half) are inaudible when I play. Not sure if it's a setup thing on my side or if a patch is very necessary. Other games work fine.
Posted 01:20 on 16 November 2011
pblive's Avatar

pblive@ 87Sarah

Sorted for you.
Posted 23:18 on 15 November 2011
87Sarah's Avatar

87Sarah

Oh dear, apologies
Posted 22:54 on 15 November 2011

Game Stats

Saints Row: The Third
8
Out of 10
Saints Row: The Third
  • Riotous fun in co-op mode
  • Decent soundtrack and good voice acting
  • Constant silliness with solid design to back it up
  • A few technical kinks that should have been ironed out
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 18/11/2011
Platforms: PS3 , Xbox 360 , PC
Developer: Volition
Publisher: THQ
Genre: Action
Rating: BBFC 18
Site Rank: 1,513
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