It’s ironic because the game is addicting, and it has to do with drugs and stuff, which are also addicting… Nevermind. Saints Row the Third is such a step up from Saints Row 2. Is this even possible? Sequels are supposed to suck after the first/second installment, but this game disproves that completely. Here’s what they did right:
- Focus more on content than plot. So much to do! So much to find!
- Everything looks good! Characters are attractive, cars are shiny.
- Difficulty is toned down for the more frustrating missions.
- Snatch/heli assault missions aren’t god-awful anymore!
- Pop culture references. They’re subtle, but there. And hilarious.
- Whored Mode. I… I don’t know. It’s so wrong, yet it feels so right.
- Did anyone ask for laser guns? Because we brought laser guns.
- Expansion of planes, boats, and helicopters. Faster than a moped!
- Also, they added tanks. Did they need to? Yes. Over-the-top is good.
- The escort missions are annoying as hell. The paparazzi cars have two times the mass yours does, so they can trap you. Then you lose.
- As I said, less plot. Do mission, item get, so forth.
- Hard to play in small doses. Very hard. No sleep. Ever.
Right, so. Plotwise, a global organization called the Syndicate is trying to take down the Saints because both groups have their eyes on the city of Steelport. People die, get betrayed, a senator gets angry and calls in the national laser beam hoverjet guard, the Saints pull through and take the city, yadda yadda. That’s about it.
Content! That’s the good stuff. Rather than lock abilities and upgrades into activities, they are locked via a level-up system that’s progressed by earning respect. As the player gains levels, they are given the option to purchase beneficial perks with in-game cash. Due to the focus on online play, I thought the leveling system would be slow, but on the contrary. It scales perfectly to gameplay. The more you do, the more you unlock. Fun begets fun! How do you like that, you boring grindy RPGs? Huh? Yeah! That’ll teach you to make me kill slimes for ten years.
The player can purchase property for reasonable prices (unlike Fable 3) and use them to gain an hourly income, which they can transfer to their person via their phone. That’s an hour in game-time, by the way. Some of the later upgrades are very pricey, such as the 100% sprint durability bonus, which costs around $50,000. Normally, that would take around eight playthroughs of a hard mode activity, but with the hourly income feature, upgrades are made all the more accessible! How marvelous.
The main thing to take away from this review is that Saints Row: The Third is that it’s a mega-expansion of the end of Saints Row 2. It goes over-the-top, not because they’re desperate for sales, but because the comedic and at times disturbing tone suits the game perfectly. People in fursuits roam the streets, gangsters in hoverjets shoot lasers at military tanks, and if you’ve seen the commercials, yes, you can beat people to death with giant dildo baseball bats. You’re not a bad person if you like this game. You’re not twisted if you find Saints Row the Third really, really funny. So go ahead, snap up a copy and get ready to laugh your ass off while calling in airstrikes on outhouses. You wouldn’t want to miss out. I didn’t.