Saints Row: The Third Review
Playing The Game
In Saints Row: The Third, you’ll acquire allies, win territory and rub out 4 competing gangs. The Luchadors (based on Lucha Libre wrestlers) the Deckers (generic 80s cyberpunk-hackers; and yes, the game acknowledges this) and Morningstar (basically vamped out pimps and madames) are members of The Syndicate. The 4th faction is a federally funded anti-gang task force called STAG. You’ll defeat these factions through a combination of story missions, activities, and diversions, themed depending upon which group you’re trying to take down.
Your character’s cell phone is now one of the most useful tools you’ll have at your disposal. Gone are the days of having to drive to a specific point on the map to start a mission or diversion. Instead, you have apps on your cell phone allowing you to call a number to activate them. You can also manage your character upgrades (see below) and view stats, and best of all, use a mobile banking app to transfer money as earned whenever you feel like it. Yeah, you can also call homies and check the game map, but who cares. Money. Easy to get now. Yay.
Melee combat has been completely transformed. While your fists work exactly as normal (same buttons as weapons), now you have the ‘awesome’ button. In combat, just click to pull off some incredible moves that deliver, sorry, awesome damage. Sometimes, it’s pro-wrestling moves. Other times, a one-hit-kill with a kick to the balls. Really, just run at your enemies and test it out.
As for the weapons? Select Y to access the weapons wheel and choose your poison. There is no auto-aim or lock-on, you just point and shoot. They’re fine and all that, but what you want to do is ignore standard guns and play around with the incredible special weapons. Like a combination dildo/baseball bat called the ‘pentrator’, a device for calling down air strikes, a gun that turns enemy vehicles into RC cars, or the amazing apocafists, giant gloves that pound your enemies into a bloody pulp with one hit.
Finally, vehicles. Saints Row began life as a GTA clone, and that means cars cars cars. And tons of cars from previous games return. But as you play, you get access to crazy, crazy stuff that makes mere ‘cars’ feel like punishment. I don’t want to say too much and spoil the surprise, but think 80s video games and GiJoe. You won’t even miss the fact that you can’t call taxis.
Whenever it counts, SR3 gives you the chance to do something horrible, believe that. The only problem is that the best weapons and vehicles don’t become available until late in the game, or until you level up. It kind of reduces the HOLY F*CK factor and one hopes that THQ and Volition consider tweaking that limitation with DLC.