There are some games that take themselves very seriously, paying painstakingly levels of attention to creating as realistic, true to life experiences as possible. Then there are games which flex their middle finger at realism in favour of being as outlandish - and humorous - as possible. Saints Row: The Third (video posted below) is one such title.
This rebelliousness though is in keeping with what you would expect from a street gang, even one that has merged with the Ultor Corporation to form the influential and powerful Saints-Ultor Media Group.
In a shameless display of self-promotion that Kim Kardashian can be proud of, we find that the former street gang has transformed into a household brand name, which sells Saints-branded merchandise ranging from bobblehead dolls through to fragrances and clothing. As a result they have become worldwide celebrities, but this new found economical power and global notoriety has come at a cost.
Getting the lowdown on the story
The Syndicate, a legendary criminal fraternity, which has its sticky fingers in criminal pies all over the globe, has focused its attention on the Saints. They now crave a huge slice of the Saints’ operations and if they don’t get it, they will settle for their heads. Johnny Gat and the rest of the Saints crew will obviously not stand for this and take the fight to The Syndicate within the vast city of Steelport.
Speaking of the Steelport, Saint Row: The Third is pretty competent on the graphical front, when it comes to recreating a huge world to explore. Although very good, the graphics is definitely not such a big drawcard as the title’s spectacular action sequences, ridiculously over the top humour and antics, as well as enough swearing to rival Mafia II. There are also a couple of occasional glitches in this department, for instance, blowing up bad guys at times resulted in them being stuck in a nearby wall or a vehicle travelling above the road rather than on it.
The title’s graphics might not win the developers any awards, but the engrossing exploration of the vast city of Steelport should definitely net them some top fun ratings. You go about Steelport with the aim of seizing control of the town, one section at a time, just as you would in other titles such as GTA.
In order to accomplish this you need to complete a series of challenges, ranging from what can be considered normal for a criminal gang - such as stealing vehicles for clients, bank robberies and performing assassinations - to the ridiculous - like going on a reality TV show to dodge booby traps and slaughter zany mascots. One of the more laughable is a man in a dog suit very reminiscent of Woofles from Pumpkin Patch.
Besides the side missions, you can also use your smartphone to phone other members of the Saints crew to partake in the game’s main challenges. These include the likes of taking over a penthouse belonging to The Syndicate by skydiving from a chopper, to gate-crashing a party and providing your guys with access to the elevator so that you can eliminate all the current tenants.
Virtually any type of vehicle can be stolen or high-jacked, our favourites being helicopters and jets since these provide you with awesome vistas of Steelport from above. This also gives you the best sense of the scope of the town.
Weapons to match the outrageous missions
Although you start off with the usual weapons including a baseball bat, pistol and shotgun, you quickly get access to more guns, bombs, as well as weapon upgrades as you level-up and earn cash to spend at gun shops. These include the ability to fire rockets and homing missiles from an unpiloted Predator attack drone; an upgrade to the baseball bat which takes the shape of an large, flabby sextoy to bash their brains in; as well as fighter jets.
Our only issue with the weapons was the sluggish and intricate way you select them. You have to press the circle button to call up the weapons menu and switch in between the main guns using the left analogue stick or the secondary fire (grenades and bombs) items with the right analogue stick. This isn’t too much of an issue whilst performing random acts of petty crime around the city, but when the police or rival gangs surround you and you need to quickly change to the next weapon, this convoluted system becomes a problem.
Beyond the story mode
Beside the story mode, there is a multiplayer mode, allowing you to complete the game with a friend. There is also whored mode, which requires you to kill masses of increasingly tougher foes in timed matches, as they quickly decent upon your location with the sole aim of ripping you apart.
Whether you’re bashing pimps to death with the Penetrator (basically a large flexible dildo), cutting down zombie prostitutes with your chainsaw, or capping two ginormous Amazonian woman able to slap the green out of Hulk, you will find this mode increasingly rewarding and entertaining.
Saints Row: The Third doesn’t take itself too seriously, and as a result it boasts some fantastically fun gameplay and overboard action sequences.
The title’s graphics might be on the average side, while the story might as well have come from a straight-to-DVD action movie complete with b-list cast, but those will be the furthest things from your mind as you make old ladies scream whilst running naked through the streets of Steelport, rob gun shops and snap up properties Monopoly style.
If you are grossed out by toilet humour and easily offended by foul language then you should give this game a miss, but if you like your gaming action to be fast paced and without limits then Saints Row: The Third should be on top of your most wanted list.
The PlayStation 3 version goes for a recommended retail price of R599, while the game is available for the Xbox 360 and Windows PC as well.
Over the top and highly entertaining gameplay, vast city to explore with many challenges and enough side missions to keep you busy, whored mode is brilliant.
Graphics are so-so, a few graphical glitches here and there, changing weapons isn’t the most fluid affair, toilet humour could easily offend sensitive gamers.