Saints Row: The Third

I’ve had this game sitting in my Steam library for a while now but never got around to playing it, so this review is a bit late to the party. I had seen reviews of the game in different places, everyone going on about how it is so silly and stupid and just insane, which to be honest just put me off it. GTA was always fun for a bit of a run around, killing random people for the hell of it, but that gets boring quickly. With the reviews that I had read in the past about the Saints Row series, I figured the whole game wa just that. Random running around, no real story driving anything, and people with dildo baseball bats wearing chicken costumes.

I an happy to say that I was wrong. I installed Saints Row: The Third last week on a whim, for something to pass time, and quickly got into it. I was expecting a storyline held together by strings, and random gameplay that was just there to waste time, but what the game has is a proper story, with the entire game revolving around the story.

This is good, in my opinion. Games without stories are just boring after a bit of play. Sure you can muck around for a few hours, but after that you feel like you’ve done everything, and the game just isn’t challenging you. Fortunately Saints Row 3 isn’t like this. Right from the get go it throws you into the story, setting up the rest of the story that the game loosely revolves around. The story progression of the game is good, with every odd mission throwing in a new gameplay element for you to try out. Some of these mini-games are fun, others are tedious, but overall they are good. The best part about them is that they normally have just a single mission on the storyline, then they put them back to mini-games on the world map that you can choose whether or not to do.

The actual story is nicely paced, with good voice acting, and some funny parts that just make you want to keep playing it. The world map slowly gets harder to cruise around as the story progresses, especially after it throws in some harder law enforcement enemies who take control of some parts of the city. I was a bit worried when the game threw in a zombie mission (zombies are seriously overdone nowadays), but it was a single mission followed by no more zombies, which was nice.

I’ll be honest, after playing the initial mission that introduces you to the story and gameplay, I immediately went out on a random murder rampage, and quickly got bored. As in GTA, when you kill people, you get police stars, denoting how much the police want you dead. More stars, more difficulty staying alive. This game also throws in stars for other gangs too, so you can piss off the police, or other gangs, or both at the same time. However the progression of these stages happens in a rather large jump, due the the enemy types in the game.

When you piss off the police, you get more and more cops coming at you, then helicopters and SWAT and finally tanks. Nothing really over the top. However when you piss off the gangs, they start throwing special guys at you. These special guys are either huge and never die, or are small and sprint so fast they are impossible to hit. After a bit these two combined can get a bit annoying. Throw in some useless AI for team mates and things can start to get really annoying.

Although most of these things can be overlooked, since the game gives you weapons that can easily kill these larger enemies (when you still have ammo left). On one of the early missions, not too long after I had picked up the rocket launcher. The mission pulled out a huge guy that never died (a Brute) and stuck him in a small garage space with me. After unloading a few clips into the guy, I had him nearly down to death, but he threw a car at me, which promptly exploded, killing me. After a small rage I had another go, this time remembering I had the rocket launcher. So I pulled that out, aimed at the brute, and fired off 3 quick shots, which quickly downed the guy. It is a nice moment when you figure out quick ways to win during this game, making yourself feel like a total badass, and increasing your irl swagger.

But overall this game is great. As with all games there are a couple of bits that are lame and annoying, but you push through them because the rest of the game is so good. I haven’t managed to play co-op properly yet, but if it is anything like the rest of the game, I expect it is pretty fun.

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