November seems to be the most popular month for computer game ‘threequels’ – first Battlefield 3, then Modern Warfare 3 and now Saints Row: The Third – but while the other two heavyweights take themselves extremely seriously, Saints Row is all about behaving completely irresponsibly, causing maximum amounts of chaos and laughing your ass off while you’re doing it.
Saints Row: The Third is the mad, bad brother in the GTA/Mafia 2 family – the most unpredictable, crazy sonofabitch that takes total joy out of wanton death and destruction. In this latest madcap adventure, the Third Street Saints are at the pinnacle of their mob success in Stilwater, reaping the benefits of both money and celebrity status – but after a disastrous bank heist they flee to the urban jungle of Steelport where they must build up their reputation from scratch again.
Standing between the Saints and glory is the Syndicate, an alliance of three criminal clans – slick European types the Morning Star, a bunch of Mexican wrestlers called the Luchadores and a group of young cyberpunks known as the Deckers.
The gameplay is divided between the main story missions and a broad spectrum of activities that could include anything from providing cover sniper fire, surfing on cars, Tank Mayhem, Insurance Fraud (smashing into cars head on), or the murderous gameshow that is Professor Genki’s Super Ethical Reality Climax.
Assassinations and car thefts have their own mission sub-sections and as a change from the predecessors, respect can now be earned as XP for almost anything you do and can be used for upgrades. Money can also be earned by buying stores as well as completing missions and there are huge customisable possibilities for your character and your vehicles.
Co-op play has been introduced and there’s a new Whored Mode in the style of MW3′s, where up to 30 waves of hookers, gimps, et al will try to take you out. The humour is often crude (using a giant dildo as a baseball bat), the tasks bizarre (keeping your speed up to prevent a tiger in your passenger seat feeling peckish) and the weapons outrageous (a gun that fires exploding, mind-controlling squid) but it’s that very insanity that makes Saints Row: The Third a welcome relief from squad-based shooters.
- Crazy weaponry
- Too many firefights
It's not subtle, it's not pretty, the graphics are hardly cutting edge and there are bugs and too many gunfights but for all its faults, Saints Row: The Third provides a welcome jolt of over-the-top destructive lunacy into an increasingly stale genre.