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Video Game Review: Saints Row the Third

In a game series known for its sex, drugs and violence, it’s hardly surprising that Saints Row the Third follows tradition. However the crime game genre is pretty shallow; so in a world filled with serious games, there was a game series which decided to stop being so serious. They decided that they had gone through their serious era and were now ready to enter the realm of the bizarre. Welcome to the strange city of Steelport.

Saints Row the Third Logo

Overview

Developer Deep Silver Volition
Platforms Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Linux
Worldwide Release
November 2011
Genre Crime, Sandbox
Price
£6.99 (Steam)

Review

Story

Captured by The Syndicate

Captured by The Syndicate

After the events of Saints Row 2, the Third Street Saints are back and have merged with Ultor Corporation, to create a massive media conglomerate. During a promotion event for the upcoming Saints Row: The Movie, the boss, Johnny Gat and Shaundi go to rob a bank. Considering the Saints own so much, normally this would be a routine thing. However, this time, the staff weren’t going to play ball. With a powerful security team behind them, the Saints are locked up and taken to the leader of The Syndicate, Phillipe Loren. Let’s just say, things get messy from here and it’d spoil the game to tell you too much more! After an initial confrontation, you land in Steelport, a city controlled by the Syndicate, led by three gangs: The Deckers, who are a bunch of cyber goth hackers, The Luchadores who are a bunch of… Luchadores and the sexy Morning Star. Since The Syndicate messed with the Saints, the Saints were going to take Steelport from The Syndicate.

Gameplay

The game can get graphic - But it is an 18+

The game can get graphic – But it is an 18+

In Saints Row the Third, the goal is simply to take over the whole of Steelport. The main story of the game can be accessed via a mobile phone, allowing you to speak to your contacts. You can jump into the story of the game from anywhere, as the game will tell you where to go to begin the next mission for the main story via GPS. Once you arrive at the destination, typically a cutscene will begin and you will then go off to do the main story. In the game, you need to take out all of the gangs that inhabit Steelport and to take the city in the name of the Third Street Saints. By fighting off the different gangs, you will gain notoriety with them, until you hide from them. As a final point, there’s a fourth group to watch out for: The police (and later the STAG).

The phone I mentioned is actually pivotal to the game. You’re able to access city-funds from there, where you will get a passive income, raising as you gain control of different buildings and areas of the game. You can also access the map, allowing you to find the different mini-games, allowing you to increase your control further, as well as helping you find your cribs, which are sort of like a safe haven for the protagonist. You can also use the phone to call upon your Homies, who are basically different members of the Third Street Saints. They have different uses; such as a Homie who specialises in wiping all gang notoriety and one who brings a car from your garage to you.

The mobile phone

The mobile phone

Speaking of the garage, you can go out, grab a car and bring it to one of your cribs garages. This allows you to get many different cars, improve them, customise them and then take them out for a spin afterwards. You are best off taking a car to a mechanic, as if you’ve purchased that mechanic, you get a discount, however it’s worth noting that you can customise cars at your crib as well for convenience. Considering how easy it is to obtain money in this game, it’s sometimes not really that much of an inconvenience to spend more. Nevertheless, the garage isn’t the only thing in the crib: Some cribs have helipads and all cribs allow you to access your wardrobe and your weapons stash. With so many different cosmetic items in the game and so many different weapons, you’ll be switching it up often enough.

The mini-games are great fun – Some of them are simple tasks where you have to drive around with a tiger in your passenger seat. Other tasks are a bit more involved, such as defending your homie from an oncoming onslaught by taking the enemies out from your attack helicopter. The best task of all though is Professor Genki’s Super Ethical Reality Climax, which is a strange gameshow styled event, allowing you to kill mascots for prize money. The mini-games are fun and come in three difficulties, with different areas of the game having access to a few different mini-games as well. By completing the mini-games and buying the buildings, you gain more control of the map and thus Steelport becomes yours.

Graphics

We believe in sharing graphics with people, as really that’s a subjective choice. For a game from 2011, I will admit, the game has aged pretty well, even though it’s not been too long since its release. Technology today has come a long way; but the game still looks good. Don’t believe me? Here’s our simple gallery:

Audio

Finally, let’s talk about the audio of Saints Row the Third – And it’s okay. Actually, that’s a lie – The soundtrack of the game is fantastic. From Kanye West’s Power, through to lesser known songs such as The Do’s Queen Dot Kong, you get to listen to a great range in music. There’s classical, country, rap, pop, soul, metal – You name it, there’s likely a song for you in the soundtrack. To make it better, occasionally, if you’re in the car with your homies, they might start their own little in-car singalongs. The best sing along imaginable comes at the expense of A-Ha’s Take On Me, where they just have a great time and it sounds like a great time. It gives you a general sense of elation, a simple joy you experience when you share great music with friends.

The only thing that I find is slightly lacking is the sheer number of voices in the game. There’s not actually all that many that you can choose from for your character at the customisation screen. This is really the biggest nitpick I could find for it, as typically the voices never suit the character I’m trying to make, but that’s not exactly a bad thing. For instance, my current guy who is absolutely obsessed with Japanese culture, would have needed a voice-bank featuring words such as “Kawaii”, “Sugoi” and so on. Something tells me, that might be a tad too much customisation.

Overall

Professor Genki's Super Ethical Reality Climax

I have had a whale of a time reliving my experiences on Saints Row the Third. It’s not exactly the most detailed of games out there and sure, there is also Saints Row IV out as well. Even though this game came out in 2011, it’s still a game I enjoy. I remembered just how silly and zany the game was; how it allows you to seriously believe you and your crew of criminal homies are actually an infamous group. Media moguls; celebrities; fashion icons, you name it – You’re it. This is the side of Hollywood they wouldn’t want you to see – Mostly because it doesn’t exist, but if it did, man, what a terrifying world we’d live in. The game is pure fantasy and it knows it… And that’s why it’s such a great crime game. Now, it’s over to you and your opinions – What do think of Saints Row the Third? Let us know in the comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.

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