Saint’s Row: The Third – Review

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Wanton destruction and hostile gang takeovers… to the MAX!

I initially avoided this series due to some rumors and the personal idea that it was trying to be GTA. With how much I enjoyed the Grand Theft Auto series, I felt that there was no way this could compare to them. Even looking at the back of the cases made them seem less serious about the game since you could make your entire gang look like pimps, hookers, ninjas, and the like. Little did I realize that this game had some features that I would find even more enjoyable than GTA itself.

The Third follows the same feel of Saints Row 2 with an over the top gang feel interspersed with horrible comedy that goes beyond what Grand Theft Auto ever would. GTA tries to make a larger than life world but keeps their environment rooted, more or less, in reality. They take their missions to the extreme with explosions, crazy jumps, and the like, but technically they are still doable. In Saint’s Row, however, they take out the brakes and rules and implant pure insanity instead.

For example, one of my favorite side activities you can do for money and a little respect in the game is known as “Insurance Fraud”. It’s a cross between Burnout‘s Crash Mode and Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX‘s Wipout game. You find yourself a nice busy street or other injury prone area and proceed to jump in front of traffic. The more you get injured, the more money you rack up in medical expenses that you sue for. In Burnout “aftertouch” fashion you get to manipulate the direction of your body after being hit by a vehicle. So you can get combos for tons of money by deflecting from one car to another while getting thrown down the highway. Not realistic at all, but oh so very fun.

Many of the other things about the game follow this same concept such as futuristic VTOL jets that look like they come from a galaxy far far away, and another personal favorite, Professor Genki’s Super Ethical Reality Climax. It’s a crazy Japanese style gameshow that’s just… well… it’s best you just watch it.

The gameplay is good and allows tons of customization from your looks, your cars, your weapons, even to your crew in your gang. Mine look like hookers. The customization really gives you something to put your money into unlike how in GTA where you really can only use it for guns and ammo. I’ve played a number of driving games and I really like cars that drive too realistically and therefore can be hard to control, but the cars in this game can be a little bothersome. Specifically I have issues with driving in reverse. They don’t seem to handle properly. I think a factor for this is that there is no handbrake button. Instead they have replaced it with a “drift” button. It makes it easier to slide around corners, but I’ve gotten so used to doing so in the realistic fashion from more realistic games that I find myself having issues using this method.

The radio stations are nice and varied and have plenty of songs to make you feel like a proper thug. I prefer to enjoy the whimsical notes of the classical station whilst “popping a cap” in some unscrupulous dolt or depraved brigand. They have a few other fun things on the radio such as Pat Benetar, The Black Keys, and even a whole station devoted to Adult Swim on Cartoon Network.

The story is a little flimsy, but you really don’t need much when the concept is rise and domination of your gang.

Of the three games, I would definitely say this is my favorite so far.

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