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Saints Row: The Third Review

The 3rd Street Saints are back, richer and more famous than ever! But they've been taken from their native gangland of Stilwater, where they lived their glamorous lives and are now placed into the new world of Steelport with no money and no friends. Claim what should already be yours and let the Saints go marching in.

The game starts you off as the number one gang and brand leader in Stillwater and as you casually do a bank heist, police are already on your tail and have brought an army to stop you. Next thing you know you are in a plane trying to deal with the Syndicate; a unique group of gangs who collectively run Steelport. Your discussions with them are going down south pretty quickly and one event after the other has leaded you into a city that's outside you're comfort zone. Now you take it upon yourself who has been left with nothing once again to conquer Steelport and obliterate the gangs running the place.
Just another regular day for these guys!
The returning cast of gang generals from Stilwater Pierce and Shaundi are joined with new unique looking generals from Steelport that makes sure that long time fans are pleased along with newcomers to the Saints Row series. Cutscenes in-game always try to have a comedic element to keep players laughing, which is nice but it feels like it's trying too hard with the wittiness; most bits work but some are a bit out of place.

The story has been improved compared to previous entries in the Saints Row series but has a similar formula when it comes to storyline; start with nothing, round some troops, eliminate all gangs and competition until you've reached the top. The story isn't supposed to be taken too seriously so if you want a realistic game, then you'll have to keep looking. Saints Row: The Third makes sure that whatever you're set out to do is fun, crazy and unexpected; from recruiting pimps and intelligent 10 foot brutes, to entering the cyber-world and even becoming a zombie disposal unit. this would always keep me playing as I wanted to see what other crazy things they would get into.

The new 'Awesome button' pretty much does what it says; taking an enemy down? Then instead of punching them, why not fly kick them down and surf on their back? This mechanic really makes the game fun when you're just running around on foot. Along with the 'Awesome button', Volition have added an upgrade system where you can buy upgrades for you or your gang depending on your level of respect, and respect can be earned from anything; story missions to surfing on the bonnet of cars and streaking. in addition to this, a big request fans wanted in the game was the ability to upgrade your weapons and Saints Row: The Third have delivered the goods on this; the majority of weapons are now capable of being levelled up.
Furthermore story missions have been improved a lot since Saints Row 2 by having more of a Hollywood style to it; one of the first missions you will play sees you already freefalling from a plane, taking off your parachute only to kick through the plane's (you've just escaped from) cockpit window, whizz through the plane and eliminate two more enemies before grabbing another parachute on the way out. And that's only the beginning of the game! Saints Row: The Third tries to keeps this high pace going throughout the game and it does not disappoint. And as you go through the over-the-top story missions, you will unlock more weapons and vehicles that will be at your disposal anytime. Also certain missions will give you choices and how it affects you in the long run like if you want to receive more income or get more respect.
I wonder if they would consider making this an actual sport? With Paint Ball guns of course...
Side missions are back as well such as: Insurance fraud, Mayhem and the all new ones like Guardian Angel and Professor Genki's Super Ethical Reality Climax so if you want to take a break from the main plot, then you can have fun completing them while earning money and respect. Moreover as you complete side missions, buy stores and buildings, you gain territory and in turn increases the income you receive.

Player customisation was always big in Saints Row and it hasn't stopped here; you can constantly modify your body thanks to plastic surgery shops across the city that can alter: body shape, gender, voice, and sex appeal. There are also various clothing shops so you can always change what you wear depending if you want to wear anything at all.
I may cause mayhem, but at least I look sharp while doing it!
The sound in Saints Row: The Third emphasises most actions you perform; explosive punches with every take down, the thunderous crash of a window when using the 'Awesome button' to get into vehicles and even the sound of spilling your guts after base-jumping face first into the pavement, and I couldn't imagine the game any other way. Along with these sounds Saints Row: The third has an extensive and wide variety of tracks from the likes of Kanye West to Mozart so it has something everyone could enjoy while cruising the streets of Steelport.

If you don't feel like playing Saints Row: The Third alone, co-op campaign makes sure you can always bring a buddy to join in the mayhem. Co-op campaign allows you and a friend to wreak havoc and help you to conquer Steelport any time. But if you're both getting bored of exploring Steelport, there's always the new 'Whored mode' to play; their take on the wave defence that has thirty waves of madness on a number of maps.

Although the gameplay is over-the-top fun, there are things that bring the game down. The 'Awesome button' feels like it doesn't do too much in the game overall as it only makes taking down random civilians and getting into cars look cool, it could've had so much more use in the game like transforming cars into other things. Also the side missions are good but other than Professor Genki's Super Ethical Reality Climax, they have either been taken from previous Saints Row games or are variations of them. This made me feel that Volition have been a bit lazy when putting these side missions in. Furthermore the 'Whored mode' doesn't really fit into the whole game as most players would rather have fun jumping off any building in the city than to survive in a closed environment.

From the get-go, Saints Row: The Third's visuals are great. Character models are well detailed; every character you need to know about has their own unique style to them as well as full detail customisation on your own character. Also character animations are fluid especially when it comes to using the 'Awesome button' where it also has a cinematic feel when using, which makes the game flow nicely. Steelport's environment is great; buildings that need to stand out do so by making them look like national landmarks.
Dog fights in the city? Now we're talking!!
There are the usual drawbacks to this type of game and Saints Row suffers from them; frame rate will go down when there's loads of things happening on screen at once, lack of detail on some areas of the Steelport and a few things will go amiss e.g. there's no train going around on the track near the Saints main headquarters.

Final Verdict
New game mechanics like the upgrade system, Hollywood-style storytelling and gameplay have made Saints Row: The Third the best game in the series. However the 'Awesome button' isn't an amazing mechanic that it wants to be and lack of variation from the plot along with overused side-missions unfortunately bring it down. But overall the game is amazing fun to play and I won't stop playing it anytime soon.

Story = 8/10
Gameplay = 8.7/10
Graphics = 9/10

Final We Know Gamers Score = 8.6/10
Had a chance to play the game? Tell us what you thought in the comments section below!
Saint's Row: The Third Review

Reviewed by Rheyval
on Jan 20 2012

Rating: 8.6/10

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