Five years ago, Volition and THQ published the then-Xbox 360 exclusive title Saints Row. It was one of many GTA clones, however it felt different and was one of the better ones. Saints Row 2 had a hard life competing against GTA IV in 2008. Now we are testing the third part which has the battlefield for itself as GTA V will arrive next year.
Having played Saints Row 1 and 2, you know where the Saints are. Started as little fish, we’re now ruling Stilwater. This actually didn’t change; in fact, we’ve expanded our empire. People are treating us like rock stars and you can buy our stuff everywhere, like clothing and soft drinks (Saints Flow). But we need a story and therefore we’ve got some competition. The Syndicate is a competing gangster organization and want to buy themselves into our empire. We of course refuse this followed by an epic fight in the airplane. Back on the ground, we got to Steelport where people do know us, but we’re no rock stars… yet.
Well, let me tell you the truth. Don’t even think of taking SR3 seriously. Not even the developers do. Everything is so much exaggerated, much more like in the predecessors. We are stealing a bank safe with a helicopter while shooting at cops. We are supposed to drive a tiger through the town. We use people as human shields. We have to destroy as much as possible in given time using a tank. You’ll never be bored during this around 50 main missions and countless side quests. Unfortunately, you have to shoot a lot and against tons of enemies. We miss a cover system real hard here. So it’s sometimes hard to be victorious – although our health regenerates automatically. We also think that Steelport sells itself below value. There are some very nice buildings, however most of the rest is pretty much standard and not very eye-catching.
Besides the single player mode you can play the horde mode. Here you have to kill enemies, like 36 zombies using a chainsaw or sluts which giant dildos. This mode can be played in single player or with friends using local area network or the Internet. Speaking of the Internet: Volition included a coop mode where you can accomplish (or fail) your missions in Steelport with friends. This is only available via the Internet, i.e. not in split screen. You are going to play the next mission from that player who is the farthest behind in the story.
The graphics engine was improved a little bit over SR2. Saints Row: The Third isn’t as beautiful as Uncharted 3 is or as GTA IV. From its style it borrowed a lot from its model, however it’s not as polished as GTA IV, it tends more to a comic-like style. But nonetheless we like this, fits the setting well. Unfortunately, the PS3 has got major problems keeping the frame rate above 30 fps. We saw annoying slowdowns over and over again, pity.
We cannot complain about the sound. We have lots of great radio stations playing all sorts of music. In our smartphone, we can disable stations if we really don’t like their style. Voice actors do a phenomenal job – we can even select one of three voices for each gender when creating our own character. Each one has a little different attitude to highlight the differences.
Saints Row: The Third is a cool action adventure in GTA-style, however not that serious about itself; we like this. And we love how over the top everything is. If you need a sandbox game to bridge the time to GTA V, go get this game.