Saints Row: The Third Review

Saints Row: The Third is a 2011 open world action-adventure video game developed by Volition and published by THQ, released for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Linux, and Microsoft Windows.  It is the third title in the Saints Row series and follows the 3rd Street Saints who are in a city turf war with three rival gangs in the city of Steelport.


Positives:

  • Fun gameplay
  • Great humor
  • Good graphics
  • Good score
  • Memorable characters
  • Vast open world
  • Character customization
  • Tons of collectibles
  • Tons of minigames
  • Great voice performances

Negatives:

  • Incompetent AI
  • Lackluster story
  • Steelport doesn’t feel active
  • Limited customization

Campaign:  The campaign is pretty lengthy and though the ability to explore outside of the main story keeps it from being linear.  It can be played either single player or online co-op.  The co-op is your standard free roam where two players can do missions together.  The main story is pretty short, clocking in at about eight hours.  The game follows the Third Streets Saints who are engaged with a turf war against the Syndicate, a group of three rival gangs, the Luchadores, Deckers, Morningstar, in the city of Steelport.  The story is pretty forgettable compared to what the previous games have had.  For as much as I love this game, I can admit that there are no really memorable moments to the overall story.  There are no interesting twists, no really shocking moments.  Now, there are a crap ton of memorable characters, some good, some bad, and some completely awesome. (3 out of 5)

Gameplay: Gameplay largely remains similar to the predecessors.  Players are free to explore their environment while completing main and side missions at their leisure.  Players level up after accumulating enough respect which they gain from completing challenges and the many side quest including assassinations, car thefts, insurance fraud, trailblazing missions.  They can also utilize the respect as currency to purchase upgrades such as proficiency of weapons as well as physical capabilities (stamina, damage resistance, strength, etc.).   Didn’t like how easy the game gets when players get all the perks which strips the game of any challenge.  Players can call up their “homies” or recruit others to help with missions.  Thumbs up to the character customization which provides players with a large array of customization options although it does pale in comparison to what Saints Row 2 offered. (4 out of 5)

Graphics: The graphics are pretty good.  The open world is well constructed with a high level of detail.  The world does feels active and the NPC designs keep it diverse.  The cinematics are pretty sweet, especially when they incorporate the custom features of the Boss character.  Steelport is a pretty well designed and highly diverse city. There’s a lot to explore.  However despite how big the map is, it does less diverse than Stilwater.  There are some resolution issues when it comes flying.  Cars and characters will disappear at a certain height, sometimes as high as a ten story building.  The city even feels bland, there’s really nothing going on in the city outside of gang violence. (3 out of 5)

Score: Great soundtrack both in-game, the radio, and the cinematics.  Great voice performances by the cast. The sound effects are on point and make the world feel lively with the various conversations between NPCs. (5 out of 5)

Replay Value:  Like in previous installments there is a lot of replayability.  Outside the main story there is a ton of content to be found, various challenges, minigames, and side missions, and a ton of exploration.  Sex dolls make a return and are hidden over the city.  The co-op makes replayability pretty high, especially when replaying missions with a friend. Even with the character customization, I spent hours coming up with new character designs.  One point that should’ve been considered to make the replay value a little higher is possibly working with or joining one of the three gangs.  What if players could join one of the gangs?  Players could potentially have access to a new set of perks, weapons, clothes, and vehicles based on that group.  (4 out of 5)


The Verdict:  In the end, Saints Row: The Third is a great game though it does have its share of problems.  Most of the game’s problems fall with the incompetent AI, lackluster story, bland setting, and limited customization options.  However, the game excels in nearly every other way.  Great graphics, great voice performances, great score, fun gameplay, great characters, tons of exploration, tons of collectibles, tons of minigames, and great humor.  Saints Row: The Third gets 4 out of 5.

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