Saints Row: The Third Review
Welcome to SteelportAs in the previous Saints Row games, The Third sees you play as the leader of the Saints, a purple clad street gang who have grown to become a global phenomenon with legions of fans, tacky merchandise and movie deals. Saints Row 2 ended with the gang taking over of the city of Stillwater by eliminating their rivals, cops and anyone else who stood in their way, and The Third doesn deviate much from this formula.
Looking to expand, the Saints find themselves embroiled in a new war with a criminal group called the Syndicate, with your goal to take control of a metropolis called Steelport. The story may not reinvent the wheel, but the game filled with humorous moments and takes frequently imaginative swipes at contemporary culture.
BonkersSaints Row has managed to carve its place in the open world action genre that has for so long been defined by Grand Theft Auto by effectively becoming the 'anti-GTA'. While the latter has most recently favoured more sophisticated storytelling in realistic game worlds, Saints Row focuses purely on shameless entertainment with few limitations.
In The Third, youl pilot jet planes through urban areas, call in satellite-targeted airstrikes, take the wheel of a hover bike and the Manapault (a car that lets you hoover up and then fire out pedestrians), escape from a bondage club on a rickshaw pulled by a gimp, and defend yourself against a paramilitary force using only a sex toy. The basic driving and shooting gameplay is also the best in the series yet.
The city never sleepsThe main campaign is roughly 13 hours long, while there are loads of side missions and mini-games to keep you busy. Insurance Fraud sees you hurling your character into oncoming traffic and taking out as many other cars as possible, Trail Blazing sees you plough through the city on a flaming quad bike blowing up anything you come in contact with, and Professor Genki's Super Ethical Reality Climax is a Running Man-style Japanese game show where people in mascot costumes try to murder you and you have to kill them for prizes.
While the majority of activities are a blast to play, the fact that there are so many means it unavoidable that some of them aren up to scratch. Escort missions, which can be summed up as rive X to Y, wait while they do Z, drive them back feel a little outdated, and somewhat frustratingly, youe required to complete a few too many of them to advance the story.
The game can also be played with a friend via drop in and out co-op, with some missions adding additional elements exclusively for the second player, while the horedmode is a traditional hoard co-op mode which sees you fending off waves of increasingly strong enemies with (or without) the help of friends.
Gangster Paradise?Steelport itself is a big industrial town with a few residential areas and plenty of neon lights and skyscrapers. The downtown area is impressive enough, but the surrounding suburbs are a little unimaginative at times and overall the game world could be more diverse. That said, Saints Row: The Third sticks two fingers up at reality in favour of ridiculous, overblown madness. If we haven made it clear, this is a game in the purest sense of the word and not an immersive, story-driven or cinematic experience. It lewd, ludicrous and strictly for adults only, but as long as youe not easily offended there a hell of a lot of fun to be had.
+ Pure, unadulterated fun.
+ A massive city full of things to do.
+ Fun driving and shooting.
- Content not to everyone taste.
- Some repetitive side-missions.
- World could be more diverse.
Review by: Tom Ivan
Version Tested: PS3
Review Published: 02.11.11