I have to be honest, the last couple of months, I’ve been in a bit of a gaming funk. Although I’ve played some decent games, I’ve not really felt in a gaming mood and instead of coming home and firing up a game, I’ve been tending to switch on the AppleTV and get through a few episodes a superhero cartoon. That was until the #FloppyFeb challenge started at the beginning on February and we decided to tackle Saints Row the Third as part of the Year of Shame Challenge.
Before starting the #FloppyFeb challenge, one of my fellow co-hosts on the Year of Shame Challenge Podcasts (@JayceStokes) described Saints Row the Third to me as “Grand Theft Auto…with a sense of humour”, and now that I’ve completed the game, I think he totally hit the nail on the head, and what an amazing way to get yourself out of a gaming funk.
This is the first Saints Row game I’ve played, and although my OCD wants me to go back and play the other two games, I’m not sure I’d get much benefit from it, and definitely don’t think there were any points in the story that required background knowledge.
So the story, it was simply cracking. I guess the best way I can describe it, is an over the top, eighteen rated version of a tongue in cheek Arnie or Stalone film from back in the eighties. Basically, over the top action, snappy cheesy dialogue, with some rather adult themed subject matters, which appealed to my inner child and found myself laughing out loud on many occasions. There were also a few very random missions, taking you into a TRON themed environment of which you start the game as a toilet…yes a toilet, which becomes an outfit you can wear later in the game if you see fit. I won’t go into spoilers, but there are a number of game changing incidents, some of them unavoidable do to being story based, and some based on story based morality decision. For example, handing in person A, to gang B or C will then either get gang B on you side and you reap the benefits, however this will annoy gang C and you take that punishment, or vice versa. Again, not going into spoilers, but there is a character you meet about half way through the game, and he’s playing himself…I have to admit, I had a little nerdgasm as this guy was one of my Hollywood heroes in my when I was growing up!. Finally, the game is worth playing to conclusion, quite simply for the cheesy music being played when you start the final mission, I honestly burst out laughing, put the controller down and applauded as the music kicked in, they couldn’t have found any better fitting music if they’d have tried.
As well as the story, there are a number of side missions you can as ways of levelling up your character to unlock further perks. Some of the side missions are a showcase of how ‘wacky’ the game is, and here’s a couple of example.
Build up courage by driving as smooth as you can with a tiger in the back seat, if you crash he will maul you and you’ll have to do handbrake turns to chill it out, another example is to be set on fire and ride a quad bike through a number of checkpoints running into other vehicles, or over pedestrians to add time to the decreasing timer. There are a number of other including vehicle thefts, assassinations, providing areal support in a chopper for your homie doing the rounds, picking up ‘working girls’ for one of your homies, or taking part in a reality TV show. All of which are great fun, and once you’ve done the initial ‘let’s just make you aware this exists’ mission, you don’t have to do any more if you don’t want.
Outside of these side missions, there are also a number of challenges that you’ll do a lot of naturally through playing the game, these range from simple tasks like ‘Carjacking’, ‘Hostage Taking’, ‘Big Air’ and maybe even ‘Destroying Emus’, however some of the more obscure challenges may take a little work, like ‘Stoppies’ (Front wheel wheelies on a bike), or ‘Streaking’ (Running naked through crowds of people) or ‘BaseJumps Nail’ (Parachuting, setting a Base Jump target, and landing in it). One of my regrets what that I spent a while just doing story missions, then cleaning up at the end, I found that the clean up took nearly as long as the main story itself, and to be honest got a little tedious doing 50 Base Jumps in a row, just to complete the challenge. I would suggest that if you are planning on fully completing the game, start early on the cleanup, as I found that one of the vehicle delivery missions was impossible once I’d completed the game, and had to jump into a co-op game so the vehicles was available.
This leads me nicely onto the co-op, I play a lot of co-op game with the good lady, and have to say this was probably the best co-op experience we’ve ever had. Essentially, the world is wide open to you, you join a co-op game with any save you like, meaning you can take all your weapons, perks, money, vehicles in with you. You can then either co-op through some challenges, missions, side missions…or simply just free roam. We spent about 80% of the main campaign in co-op and it worked really well, we didn’t find it at all restrictive, as it’s using the drop in/drop out co-op play mechanic.
Outside of all the other thing you could do in the game, there was a feature that really made me smile…the car customisation. I remember spending literally days customising cars in Need For Speed Underground one and two, and this brings a similar experience to an already very full game. You could drive pretty much any vehicle into your garage and customise it. There were a handful of performance mods, the ability to add NOS, and a strengthened shell, but the fun part was the visuals. You could change the paint colour, type of paint, interior colour, window tints, body kit, had a large selection of wheel options, and could even fit different coloured neon lights underneath. Granted the experience wasn’t as in depth as the Need For Speed games, however it made the co-op a lot more fun, as the first five minute of our joint sessions would start off as a car showcase.
I think last but not least is the weapons, yeah it has your usual pistol, SMG, Shotgun, Rifle, Rocket Launcher, Melee weapon, and Grenades all which can be upgraded through four stages, but Saints Row throwing the ‘fun’ spin on it, also include ‘Fart in a Jar’, a ‘Large Purple Dildo’, and an Airstrike, all of which when fully upgraded can make you quite invincible.
Ok, before I finish up, here’s a tip. If You see Professor Genki roaming the streets, kill him! It won’t be an easy fight, but if you manage it, you get upto $300,000 . I was extremely lucky to find two within the space of thirty seconds, which as you can imagine was a massive game changer, as at that point, my hourly income was sub $20,000, and getting an extra $600,000 dropped into my account really helped out a lot.
While playing Saint Row the Third, I captured a LOT of video, some of which I’ve uploaded to my YouTube channel , some of which I still need to go though and find some interesting footage, but there are a few already uploaded, and the playlist will increase over the next couple of weeks. Finally, if you like online stats and leaderboards, feel free to compare yourself to my profile
As you can probably tell from the above, I absolutely loved this game, and as it stands I’ve 1k’d the game (all achievements achieved), and rarely does a game get under my skin like this. As it stands, my desktop wallpaper is Saints Row themed, and I even forked out the 99p for the Saints Row ringtone (the one used as the ringtone in the game). If you are feeling a little gaming funk, I can’t think of a better game to get you out of it.
Approx Time taken to beat – 68 hours
Difficulty setting – Normal
Score – [Rating:5/5]
Games TrailerTags: Appletv, Arnie, Background Knowledge, Cheek, Cheesy Dialogue, Coming Home, Decent Games, Definatly, Eighties, Grand Theft Auto, Inner Child, Morality, OCD, Saints Row, Saints Row Game, Scence, Sense Of Humour, Shame, Subject Matters, Superhero Cartoon, Tongue In Cheek, Toungue, Tron, Two Games