PS3 Reviews: Saints Row: The Third Review

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Saints Row: The Third Review

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Graphics:

 

8.4

Gameplay:

 

9.1

Sound:

 

8.6

Control:

 

8.7

Replay Value:

 

9.0

Online Gameplay:

 

9.0

Overall Rating:       8.8

 

 

Publisher:

THQ

Developer:

Volition

Number Of Players:

1-2

Genre:

Action

Saints Row: The Third is bonkers. There. That should cover it. …no? Am I really forced to explain? Well, okay. Prepare for some comedy, as “GTA’s GTA” grabs you right out of the gate, throttles the hell out of you, and laughs maniacally as it does so. You’ll enjoy being throttled, too, because the premise and gameplay is so twisted and sadistic, you’ll start feeling a little like a hedonist and a masochist at the exact same time. It isn’t perfect but what it does well, it does really well.

The graphics are the low point, as they’re not exquisitely refined and there’s plenty of pop-up as you progress through the sprawling, colorful city of Steelport. There isn’t anything eye-popping or breathtaking about the visual presentation, and I think more could’ve been done with the special effects. However, it has a certain charisma that is distinctly Saints Row and nobody will deny the effectiveness of the atmosphere. The metropolis is appropriately large and diverse, many of the environments in which you wage war with authorities or civilians (just for the fun of it) are engaging, and overall, it’s the perfect setting.

The sound is a little better, thanks to a decent soundtrack, a bevy of resounding effects that accompany your havoc wreaking, and some solid voice performances. Again, nothing is truly outstanding from a technical standpoint, but Volition does enough to keep us involved with the various audio. The effects often override the music – and in this case, there’s nothing wrong with that – and some of the voice actors are just plain hilarious. Not a lot to write home about, but still…it fits.

As I said above, this game is bonkers. In the first few hours of play, you’ll skydive into a rival gang’s HQ, participate in a ridiculous bank heist, and gain access to all sorts of completely wacky hardware. And even though the primary appeal of the game involves freedom and running around doing whatever you want, the main narrative isn’t bad at all. In fact, it has a couple different endings and there’s plenty of replay value, especially due to the size and scope of the map.

The missions get a little repetitive but they’re always fun. The best part is that you continually unlock new weapons, equipment, and even property that you always want to test out. All I could think of whenever I unlocked something new is the famous line from “Batman,” you know? “Where does he get those wonderful toys?” I can imagine my rivals saying exactly that when I call in an airstrike or wander into their domain with the kind of heavy artillery you only see in war documentaries. Yeah, your foes are stupid, but so what? More fun to kill!

Let’s not get caught up in crappy AI, a sort of ho-hum graphical palette, and a few glitches common to open-world sandbox experiences (pop-in, action items not triggering correctly, etc.). Seriously, if you’re going to get all anal about the little stuff, don’t bother. This game isn’t about strategy or depth or a story-driven cinematic adventure. It’s about blowing sh** up. Now, that may sound too simple to receive a lot of attention or critical acclaim, but you’ve never blown stuff up like this.

The game never takes itself seriously, not for one second. And that’s the beauty of it. Some of the missions are a little too absurd in my eyes but really, what’s “too absurd” when it comes to Saints Row? What other game lets you customize your character so you’re almost not human? Want to make a transvestite? Well, you can try. The key to this game’s addictiveness and overall success is actually the same as the key to The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim: no limitations.

Although both games are obviously completely different, both give you complete access to the entire environment right off the bat, and you’re not a weakling. Almost immediately, you’ll have multiple vehicles, plenty of challenges to face, and a small arsenal in The Third. This is perhaps the biggest difference in comparison to past Saints Row entries, because previously, you really had to work at unlocking all the cool stuff. It was, of course, a lot like Grand Theft Auto. But Volition does a fantastic job of separating their franchise from Rockstar’s.

Upgrading your character is enjoyable and you get experience for almost any action. The weapons, vehicles, and items are all fun, effective, and just plain goofy at times. Professor Genki’s Super Ethical Reality Climax is a reality show that makes the Roman Coliseum look like Chuck E Cheese. In one play session of only three or four hours, you’ll gain access to all sorts of deadly equipment. And above all else, there is always something to do and even if it doesn’t involve an actual mission, this world is your oyster.

If you grow tired of running around like a chicken with your head cut off, you can try the co-op feature with a buddy. It’s great; you can both do just about whatever you wish, because the developers maintain most of the same freedom you find when playing by yourself. You can coordinate outrageous attacks or just compete to see who can cause more damage. In this way, it’s actually a fun party game. Even though only two people can play at once, the rest of the room can just eat popcorn and go, “oh, damn!” every two minutes. No, not a movie, chaos.

There’s also Whored Mode (yeah, you read that right), which forces you and your friend to fight off waves of enemies. It sounds pretty straightforward – and it is – but Volition shakes things up by giving you a chainsaw one minute and a purple dildo the next. Maybe they could’ve set up more in the way of defined modes for co-op play, but I think the aimlessness reflects the goal of the entire production. You’re supposed to experiment, you’re supposed to think outside the box, and you’re supposed to be completely amoral.

Unfortunately, no matter how much fun I had, it really is difficult to ignore the obvious flaws, which keep it from entering the realm of the 9+ elite titles. It’s really close, but I can’t in good conscience dismiss the issues I’ve mentioned, including the somewhat disappointing graphics, the totally lamebrain AI, and the story really didn’t pique my interest at all. It made me laugh a lot and I love the style and flair, but it almost started to feel as if the narrative got in the way. I just wanted to go crazy.

Saints Row: The Third is a bona fide blast. It’s shameless, vice-ridden, and insanely violent, but because there’s nothing gritty about the production, it somehow feels almost lighthearted. You just have to take things with a grain of salt. Some of the control isn’t perfect, although I liked the vehicle handling, the AI is dense and the game won’t win any visual awards. But given what you can do, given the inviting environment that just begs you to enjoy every nook and cranny, it’s well worth the price of admission.

Just don’t play it in front of horrified family members. It may not be cartoony enough; they might think your hysterical laughter is grounds for committing you to the nearest sanitarium.

The Good: Big, involving world with tons to do. Good control. Unique style and flair. Fantastic freedom right from the start. Over-the-top missions and weaponry are extreme. Fast upgrading and unlocking. Co-op is awesome fun.

The Bad: Graphics aren’t great. AI is almost nonexistent. Story and characters don’t really matter. A few annoying glitches.

The Ugly: “If what you do isn’t ugly, you’re not playing this game correctly.”

11/12/2011 Ben Dutka

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Comments (28 posts)

WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, November 12, 2011 @ 5:42:42 PM
Reply

Great review, solid score, and of course the game sounds like just what I'm looking for. Gonna have so much fun with this.

Did you try the zombie mode?

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 11/12/2011 5:45:41 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, November 12, 2011 @ 6:36:59 PM

No, I didn't check that out.

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Jed
Saturday, November 12, 2011 @ 6:05:19 PM
Reply

Great to hear you liked it. I wasn't sure if I was going to check this out, but if it's that good I'll have to give it a try.

It's been a long time since I've gone out on a good rampage...

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Killa Tequilla
Saturday, November 12, 2011 @ 6:24:23 PM
Reply

I just want to thank a fellow PSX member (who is banned) for SR3.

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sha4dowknight05
Saturday, November 12, 2011 @ 6:43:07 PM
Reply

I really want this game. It looks so awesome!!

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dkmrules
Saturday, November 12, 2011 @ 6:51:10 PM
Reply

This review was the only thing holding me back from pulling the trigger on an amazon preorder.

Thanks Ben, masterful review as expected

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Alienange
Saturday, November 12, 2011 @ 6:52:55 PM
Reply

Sounds good. They clearly understand their market and have delivered what was wanted. A game to grab in a couple months.

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Deleted User
Saturday, November 12, 2011 @ 6:54:07 PM
Reply

I'll probably buy this at some point. My backlog is pretty long right now.

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LimitedVertigo
Saturday, November 12, 2011 @ 7:03:17 PM
Reply

Wonderful I look forward to playing this in a couple days. Gawd you have a great job.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, November 12, 2011 @ 8:39:17 PM

It's true. I won't deny it.

But don't forget the junk that comes my way. Do YOU want to force yourself to play Knight's Contract or Rogue Warrior...? ;)

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LimitedVertigo
Saturday, November 12, 2011 @ 9:18:48 PM

I'd choose those over MW3 and Skyrim, oh snap!


jk, I agree there may be some icky parts to it but glad you're aware of how cool you've got it.

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chedison
Sunday, November 13, 2011 @ 4:45:47 AM

You wouldn't happen to be getting it for PC would you? :)

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Ninja_WafflesXD
Saturday, November 12, 2011 @ 7:10:44 PM
Reply

Great to see a great score...but I'm torn between this and Skyward Sword, considering they both come out on the same day :(
*sigh* Wish I had more cash....

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poisonedsodapop
Saturday, November 12, 2011 @ 8:49:45 PM
Reply

Been waiting for this for like a year or more. Glad to see it getting favorable reviews. Hope more people get into the series.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, November 12, 2011 @ 10:08:51 PM

Awesome avatar.

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gray_eagle
Saturday, November 12, 2011 @ 8:59:20 PM
Reply

now i know what i'll be playing once i finish U3,

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BikerSaint
Saturday, November 12, 2011 @ 9:38:26 PM
Reply

I want!
Damn, what a time to be broke, all these great games coming out, plus Black Friday weekend sales and my wallet's more thinner than a anorexic sharp edge on a old-fashioned Gillette razor blade.

Last edited by BikerSaint on 11/12/2011 9:39:57 PM

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sha4dowknight05
Sunday, November 13, 2011 @ 9:46:15 AM

You've said it!!! All the great games comes out in the fall to winter time. Holy cow this year is the best in gaming.

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JohnnyKey
Sunday, November 13, 2011 @ 12:49:31 AM
Reply

I've never really had the time to give the first two games a serious try but I think I will be picking this one up. Sounds like a really fun game.

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Oxvial
Sunday, November 13, 2011 @ 1:12:08 AM
Reply

Got the demo and made my character look like Razor Ramon, can't wait to obliterate the streets.

Last edited by Oxvial on 11/13/2011 1:12:32 AM

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___________
Sunday, November 13, 2011 @ 1:18:17 AM
Reply

sooooooooooooooo cant wait for this!
though it will have to wait, no one keeps me away from teaching the templars whos boss!

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Beamboom
Sunday, November 13, 2011 @ 3:29:36 AM
Reply

I usually don't comment on the content of your reviews Ben cause, well, it's what you do. Obviously you are good at it. But this review I just have to make an exception: This was the best review of Saints Row 3 I have read. Seriously.

This review is sober (as opposed to some other reviews out there who I frankly thing are *too* enthusiastic - and I say that as a fan), it seems to strike the perfect balance, the essential weak spots are fairly commented on and above all: You so GET IT. You totally get what the game is about. It shines through the entire review and as a fan I am relieved to see that. I was a bit worried, knowing how you never liked SR2, but my worries were really put to shame here.
Also it is great to see you liked the vehicle handling cause that must mean they have improved it a lot from the horrible handling in SR2, that was my biggest annoyance in that game.

Oh, and a 8.8 is just STELLAR. I am soooo happy on behalf of Volition. So, thank you! :)

Saints Row is waiting for you folks! Grab a friend and stay classy - or not. :)


Last edited by Beamboom on 11/13/2011 4:13:50 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, November 13, 2011 @ 7:53:49 PM

Thank you. I try. :)

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CrusaderForever
Sunday, November 13, 2011 @ 8:51:52 AM
Reply

Great review and I am wanting this game. However, I am almost done with Assassins Creed and I am now hooked. The combat is amazingly fun. The game itself is a little repetitive yet I don't mind doing the repetitive things at all!! Will be picking up Skyrim and AC Revelations this Tuesday. I will get SR3 later on, maybe, has anyone looked ahead? Probably the next game I get will be Kingdoms of Amalur The Reckoning. Did anyone check out the end of January and February???

1/31/12

Final Fantasy XIII-2
Soul Calibur V

February

FarCry 3
Bioshock Infinite
StarHawk
Inversion
Binary Domain
Devil May Cry
Ninja Gaiden 3
Twisted Metal
SSX
Syndicate
Asura's Wrath
Kingdoms of Amalur The Reckoning
Twisted Metal

March

Mass Effect 3

I won't be buying all of these games but there are a ton. I am guessing some will be postponed.

Must Buys

Bioshock Infinite
StarHawk
Kingdoms of Amalur The Reckoning
Twisted Metal
Mass Effect 3

The others will have to wait. 2012 is looking to be just as exciting as 2011 was!! :)




Last edited by CrusaderForever on 11/13/2011 8:54:14 AM

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Beamboom
Sunday, November 13, 2011 @ 10:12:26 AM

Yes it looks like 2012 will pick up right where 2011 ended. But are FarCry 3 and Bioshock Infinite both confirmed for february? Those two are *so* 1st day purchases.
Then come March... And, yeah. Mass Effect is back. Will we see GOTY 2012 already in Q1? I think so!

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CrusaderForever
Sunday, November 13, 2011 @ 10:40:15 AM

Yes, at least that is what Gamestop says. I think the dark horse of 2012 could be Kingdoms of Amalur The Reckoning. This has an outstanding cast of talent working on it. This will be their first game but it shaping up to be so nice. The fact that Todd McFarlane is the Excutive Art Director guarantees that the game will be extremely beautiful. I hope they nail the most important aspects though, story and game play.
But oh yeah, Mass Effect 3 is going to be amazing.

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Beamboom
Sunday, November 13, 2011 @ 11:39:54 AM

I googled The Reckoning and yeah it looked promising indeed! Loved the colorful graphics too.
Very adventureish and beautiful - this may be something even Highlander might find interesting. :)


Last edited by Beamboom on 11/13/2011 11:41:34 AM

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playSTATION
Sunday, November 27, 2011 @ 9:51:20 PM
Reply

on my 2nd playthrough to make the different choices. apocafist came waaay too late :(

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