Jan 2, 2012

Saints Row the Third #GameofTheYear

Pros: Fun Game, Doesn't Take Itself Too Seriously, Customizing Cars, Clothes, Looks Etc. is excellent, Shooting mechanics are great, Missions are fun, Level Design is nice, Funny Game,  Plenty of Side Missions and Activities to do, & Professor Genki's Mini Game's are Excellent.

Cons: No Jewelry Stores or Customize Crib Options, Not as much depth with customizing as seen in Saints Row 2, Parts of the Story never get explained, & Glitches.

I've been a fan of Saints Row since the first one. Witnessing the growth of the only game that survived the "Grand Theft Auto Clone" era has been a pleasure. Saints Row has truly evolved into it's own series. If Saints Row 2 left any thoughts of a "GTA Clone" in my mind those thoughts are now gone thanks to Saints Row The Third.

The first things I want to point out is the improvements Saints Row The Third has over Saints Row 2. The shooting mechanics are a lot better in Saints Row the Third. You now press L1 to aim and R1 to shoot. This allows for more strategies to use during shoot outs. In Saints Row 2 you had to tap the Right Stick to aim. This lead to me using a mostly run and gun approach in Saints Row 2. I would tap the right stick to aim at times, but I seemed to do a great job at running and gunning. I still found myself running & gunning in Saints Row the Third, but I'd switch it up and aim my gun more often.

I also love the new quick dive ability added to Saints Row The Third. If you're running and you press jump, your player leaps forward and dives. This move has gotten me out of plenty of sticky situations. If you find yourself in the center of a gunfight, you have a chance of surviving by leaping your way out of it. It also makes getting over obstacles, and going from the 2nd floor to the 1st floor much more convenient. One leap and you're there.

When it comes to customizing things in a videogame, no series does it better than Saints Row. I spent hours inside of clothing stores in Saints Row 2 customizing outfits. In Saints Row The Third I found myself customizing more than just my outfits. I'd customize every car I brought to my Garage. No more having to go to Rim Jobs to customize my cars. I still had to go to Rim Jobs, but I'll explain why later.

One store I frequently visited was Image As Designed. I became obsessed with customizing my characters looks. First he looked too old, then he looked too basic, then he looked too plastic. I eventually worked it out and was satisfied with the final outcome of my player. I love Saints Row because it really allows me to play as the character I want to play as. Ever since the first Saints Row I've played as a Caucasian Male with white hair. I initially chose him to defy the stereotype of being an African American male gangster, which evolved into me loving my older British character. I tried to play as an African American Female for my second playthrough of Saints Row the Third, but I felt the that none of the voices matched the person I was playing as. I also imagine my player in Saints Row 3 to be a guy who acts before he thinks. The older male whose both handsome and clueless fits my view of the leader of the Saints perfectly.

Customizing outfits in Saints Row The Third is fun, but I feel like it's limited when compared to Saints Row 2. In Saints Row 2 you had plenty more options about how you wanted your character to wear something. Let's take a baseball jersey for example. In Saints Row 2 you could choose the logo on the jersey, whether you wanted the jersey buttoned, tucked, and you got to choose number. In Saints Row The Third you can only choose the color of the baseball jersey. I found myself spending less time customizing outfits because there weren't enough options with what to do with my clothes. Sure I could change the color, but why not be able to change the design like before? Maybe I want leopard print on my jersey.

The Story to Saints Row 3 could use some work. It took me a second playthrough to realize there are some serious gaps that don't get explained in the plot. One thing the game doesn't explain is what happened to Johnny Gat. One minute Johnny's on a plane talking smack through the intercom. Then you hear him get caught by a rival gang over the intercom. Next thing you know you're at a safehouse with Shaundi talking about funeral arrangements for Johnny. When and how did Johnny die? I would've thought a character that's been a staple to the franchise would at least die on screen. I expected it to be a dramatic cut scene that would make me go "that's messed up," but no. We just hear that Johnny died on the last mission and move on.

Another thing I feel the game never really gets explained is why the Saints are in Steelport. I kept getting the feeling that I either missed something, or the game would explain it later. It says in the Saints Row Wiki that it's from the Saints getting bored of Stillwater at the end of Saints Row 2. I don't remember that part, so a little refresher would have helped in Saints Row the Third.

Speaking of things missing in Saints Row The Third, where are the Jewelry stores? Being able to buy necklaces and rings at a clothes store isn't the same. It sucked seeing random characters wearing gold and silver jewelery while I'm stuck choosing choosing cheesy colors for my choker necklace. I was really looking forward to seeing how the gold or silver on my belt buckle would match my other jewelry, but sadly that wasn't the case. I couldn't even buy belts in this game. I like the idea of buying jewelry and clothes at the same place, but please bring back gold and platinum jewelry in the next Saints Row.

It was also a bit of a letdown that I couldn't customize any of the houses I bought or received throughout the game. Some of the places you stay in Saints Row the Third are flat out crappy. The only good they serve are to get rid of cops and gang notoriety when I enter. In Saints Row 2, I enjoyed walking around a crappy apartment that I transformed into a luxury pad with a few upgrades. Not being able to customize cribs in Saints Row The Third is a missed opportunity.

One thing that makes a return to Saints Row is side missions and activities. The difference now is the activities only have 3 levels (Easy, Medium, Hard,) and they're not required to advance the story.  One side mission I enjoyed was Gang Operations. Instead of advancing the story to take out Gang Operations like before, all you gotta do is explore the city. Gang operations pop up on your map as you explore. Once you get to the location of the fist you must kill all of the gang members there. Once they're all dead you own the territory. Simple and fun.

I can't mention activities without mentioning Professor Genki's Super Ethical Reality Climax. Professor Genki's activity is a game show based around the idea of killing enemies. You must fight your way through rooms full of enemies and traps. You gain points by killing enemies and once you have enough points you must escape before the timer runs out. This new mini game easily is my favorite Saints Row activity I've ever played. Fight Club in Saints Row 2 was great, but Professor Genki is better. Everything from the commentary to the search for health made me enjoy the game immensely. I hope Professor Genki, as well as Fight Club, makes a return in return in future Saint's Row games.

One thing I have to point out is the small glitches that occurred as I was playing the game. I'm not going to lower the score due to any of them, a patch could easily fix most of them, but I will point them out. One glitch I noticed was during the Vehicle Theft side missions in the Saints Book. There were many instances where I would steal the car I needed, but the game wouldn't acknowledge it. It got frustrating driving all the way to the chop shop for the car to not be accepted. I found the glitch would occur if I managed to steal a car with no notoriety. The boat that's north of that Restricted island comes to mind. Instead of driving through the island I would simply swim to the boat. The game wouldn't acknowledge that I'd stole the boat until I walked on land and received 5 star notoriety.

Another glitch would occur when I wanted a vehicle delivered to me. Sometimes the car wouldn't show up. When I call back I get a busy signal forcing me to have to steal some car that doesn't have nitrous. Places such as alleys and parking lots were notorious for this glitch to happen. My solution was to walk to the street that and call for my vehicle then. 9 times out of 10 my car would show up when I called on a street. It got frustrating when my car wouldn't show up. All of the cars I owned were so fast I really didn't want to steal a slow car from the street. This resulted in me going to Rim Jobs a lot to pick up cars that weren't delivered. If it weren't for the vehicle delivery glitch, I'd hardly ever have gone to Rim Jobs.

The soundtrack to this game is pretty good. My favorite radio station would have to be K12. There was this one song that had no words that was great to me. Every time it came I'd find myself nodding my head. One thing I noticed was there were a lot of Odd Future songs on various playlists. It cool that whoever was in charge of music was a fan of Odd Future, but it's a bit much. I don't really listen to Odd Future. I find their music to be too random for my taste, but it's all good.

Saints Row the Third is my official 2011 Game of the Year. It gets this award for reminding me why I love console games. For most of 2011 I would only play my 3DS with thoughts that console games have gone to hell. Saints Row the Third is mindless fun. I haven't been able to zone out and just play. Thank you Volition for making a great game, and I look forward to the next one.


  1. to me there is too many gliches because every time i start a gengi's s.e.r.k. it covers my screen with red and all i can see is my radar

  2. @Gamer101 I had the same problem but I have also found a solution. It is mainly because you have installed the game and all you need to do is to delete the install. Don't worry it won't delete your saves, achievements, etc, just the installed game.

    Hope this helped

  3. @Gamer101

    I'm glad there's a fix for that. Professor Genki's minigames are awesome. I'm saving up to buy the DLC on the 17th because it had Genki's name in it.