Saints Row: The Third Review

  • Posted November 15th, 2011 at 04:27 EDT by Adam Dolge

Review Score

Saints Row: The Third

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An interesting story, varied and over-the-top gameplay, and entertaining weapons helps drive the sandbox genre to new heights.

We like

  • Tons of variety and entertainment in gameplay
  • Deep customization
  • Solid presentation and good soundtrack

We dislike

  • A.I. is occasionally rough
  • Enemy models a bit repetitive
  • Finicky weapon wheel

See PSU's review on Metacritic & GameRankings

In a season of very serious, very deep games comes a title from Volition that brings out the inner 13-year-old in all of us. Saints Row: The Third, from publisher THQ, is crass, offensive, derogatory, and violent in the best possible way. For everything the studio sought to accomplish, including an engaging story, extremely varied gameplay, and down-right old-fashioned fun, there are moments of true bliss. But, that's not without a thin coating of predictability and a sense of been-there, done-that feeling as the game progresses. Still, this is quite possibly the most dumb-fun we've had in a long time, and we all need a chance to beat up police officers with giant purple dildos once in a while. Just remember, this is definitely a mature rated game.

From the opening set of action sequences to the great assortment of activities scattered throughout the game, Saints Row: The Third strikes a near perfect balance of exciting story missions, insane customization, and sheer enjoyment. As is the case with just about any third installment in a series, the game picks up after the events of Saints Row 2 and sees the Saints now in Steelport. There are new gangs to fight, new weapons to use, and a worthy assortment of vehicles to keep you thoroughly inundated with a desire to see more and get more in this new city. The enemy, the Syndicate, is a threat to the Saints gang, but all it takes is some firepower and flame to keep up the gang's reputation. There is variety in how you approach the story, and best of all, it's compelling enough to give you that one-more-mission addiction.

This is one of the few games you'll laugh with, not at. The dialogue is sharp, although occasionally weans as some characters (looking at you voice-box pimp) get a bit stale. But above all, the game will make you laugh, and not just for the absurd missions, like driving in a convertible with a tiger or riding a Tron-inspired bike. Yes, the Saints know how to have a good time, they know how to throw a good party, they know how to keep you on your toes, and they know how to make you laugh.

Steelport is an absolute playground for mayhem. We're not talking about just mowing down a few pedestrians or going postal in a bank heist - we're talking airstrikes, blowing up bridges and buildings, and looking damn good in the process. Saints Row: The Third is character customization on crack, where you can create a topless sexy school girl, or a giant blue dude who speaks like a zombie. Personalize your taunts and celebrations, your wardrobe and your gangs gear, trick-out your ride, and feel free to go for extremes because there's nothing holding you back.

The game's customization extends into almost RPG-like elements. As you build reputation and earn money, you can purchase and customize weapons, your crib, and clothing. For example, you can give your grenades a pretty massive boost, which we found quite useful as missions typically involve massive waves of enemies. All of this customization looks surprisingly natural in the game. While that topless cheerleader may look out of place as the gang leader, she acts the part like a true protagonist. Creating your character is a big part of the fun, and the level of detail is truly inspiring for a Western release.

The overall presentation is held together by a strong soundtrack that will suit just about any tastes. There's a great classical music channel that makes the violence even more enjoyable. As a whole, the presentation is simply a joy.

Now that you've created your character and made it through that exciting intro mission that welcomes you to the new city, it's time embark on some fun. If you've never played a Saints game, it's easy to call it a Grand Theft Auto clone, because, quite frankly, it looks and plays just like that classic Rockstar series. But the good news is that Saints Row: The Third has truly found its own identity. Most of the early missions simply introduce you to the game's many activities, and some of the best have you toss your body into oncoming traffic to collect insurance money, or huff grenades through the city to cause as much damage ... (continued on next page)

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