Saints Row 1 and 2 were good games; they were basically the cheeky younger brothers to the Grand Theft Auto series. But, after two games sitting in the shadow of their big brother, it felt as though THQ had to really shake things up to warrant another Saints Row title. Well, with Saints Row: The Third, THQ have done just that. They looked at the things that made their games different to Rockstar’s , their fun nature, tongue in cheek humour and outrageous characters, and stretched it all to its very limits. In Grand Theft Auto gamers have found a realistic, if a little fun, look into a gangsters life. In Saints Row: The Third, gamers see a world of mayhem, extravagance, hilarity and all out nonsense – make believe at its best. But, somehow THQ make it work. They know what they’re good at, they’ve finally found their niche.
What? That’s not enough of a reason to try the game, you say. Well, there’s a lot to love about this title. All you need to do is accept what the game is at heart – it is fun. That’s all it is, THQ know it and the second you accept it, you’ll love this game. You can’t pick it up and expect it to be GTA or Sleeping Dogs, that’s not what the game is about. Imagine GTA and Sleeping Dogs got drunk together one night and, after an evening of booze, dancing and poor judgment, they make an illegitimate love child. Saints Row: The Third would be that love child … if that love child was on LSD.
The story itself is a little eccentric The Saints have become the leading superpower in Stillwater and with it, a global brand. Their gang’s focused more on making money and their public image than they are with controlling their territory and their complacency had left them open to attack – cue the mysterious Syndicate. After a failed bank robbery, a kidnapping and then an all action, high-octane sky dive / parachute / freefalling gunfight, the Saints land on hard ground and have to regain their riches and re-conquer the city. Here lies the basic story, it’s a rag to riches back to rags and then again to riches archetype. A lot of the fun in this title can be found in the characters. It is quite obvious that nobody in Stillwater is taking anything seriously, even the freshly decimated Saints are finding the funny side of their situation. The voice acting is spot on, combining comedy with just enough of a serious tinge to make everything seem plausible, if a little crazy.
The gameplay is second to none. After a few hours of play you will have thousands of dollars at your fingertips. You’ll own everything from sky rise pads to airplane hangers, jetting off in fighter jets or hovering around in attack helicopters – Stillwater will literally be at your feet. The enemies can be tough at times, but if you prepare correctly and utilise your long list of ass kicking contacts, they shouldn’t pose too much of a challenge. Stillwater will literally be your play area, full of exploding cars, rocket launchers, sniper rifles, and inappropriately phallic shaped rubber batons – as well as an unwilling population to terrorize with all of the above. Cars and motorbikes are fully customizable, as is your character, and weapons are upgradable, as is your character. There is a lot to do around Stillwater, but ignoring the missions and rampaging around the city is just as much fun as attempting to complete the game – you can play this game however you like, it’s completely up to you.
Saints Row: The Third has been about for a little while now, but it’s kept its longevity. It’s well worth a play and, what’s more, it’s relatively cheap. You can pick this game up pre-owned for around £13 from some retailers and that’s why Saints Row: The Third is June’s Pay Day Play!