STAFF REVIEW of Saints Row: The Third (Xbox 360)

Friday, November 18, 2011.
by Ken Laffrenier

Saints Row: The Third  Box art The dictionary defines a game as being 'an amusement or pastime', and video is defined as 'moving images stored as a series of static images' while the term video game (first coined in 1973) is defined as 'any of various games played using a microcomputer '. While all of this, very educational, information is invaluable there is no doubt that the term video game needs to be updated and in my opinion. Video game can be likened to the idiom for playing games 'to act in an evasive, deceitful, manipulative, or trifling manner in dealing with others' (over a virtually anonymous network, of course). And if we were to even consider using the playing games idiom then surely, beside the definition, there would be a photo of the Saints Row: The Third logo.

Saints Row: The Third maintains the collaborative efforts of Volition Inc. and THQ while moving way beyond the foundation of the first two Saints Row titles. Although Volition Inc. saw early success working with Interplay Entertainment on its Decent and Freespace titles, THQ acquired the development team in early 2000. This team up has resulted in 2 of THQ's ongoing titles; the Armageddon series and of course, the Saints Row series among other individual titles.

The Saints Row series has come a long way since the days of being considered a GTA clone. And although some of the initial styling was similar to that other open world title, those that have embraced the Saints Row game play have come to understand that the main difference is that of its outlandish story lines. While most video games today struggle to base themselves in real world situations, the Saints Row series offers up true escapism and entertainment through over the top scenarios.

Saints Row: The Third takes the sense of over the top and outlandish to a whole other level. Finally, the game embraces its own nonsense and throws the player into the role of 'master of mayhem'. There are some out there that may question such a strong claim but this is an open world title where you start the game at near the top of your success. All indications are that the Saints have mastered the sleepy little burg of Stilwater and are, rightly, recognized as the immortal/immoral superstars that they are. Along with the notoriety comes the sponsorships: an Energy Drink, Clothing Line and even Bobble-head dolls. But success is only a personal measure, just because the general population worships you doesn't mean that life is going to be all bank robberies and beaches.

Obviously, I don't want to give away the entire plot or create undue spoilers but, suffice it to say, the Saints run into a type of adversity and before long, find themselves settling into the City of Steelport. But here is where the game signifies the first of many interesting opportunities; you hold onto much of your reputation, you are well armed, you have access to any vehicle you can get your hands on, you have followers and you can buy virtually anything (as long as you have the cash flow), but the current gangs that run Steelport aren't happy about your decision to assert yourself into the local economy.

This isn't to say that you maintain the same level of power during your entire run at dominating the city, but rather it speaks volumes to the amount of mayhem and confusion you can unleash from the very moment you start the main gameplay story. Usually, we are limited in not only our abilities but also our opportunities, to really sink our teeth into these types of games. Gamers are used to facing a type of graduating monitor that keeps us within the core story and limits how far we can take the 'open world' aspect of play.

Now you might expect that the core story would then suffer, if you're allowed to run around doing almost anything. But the story itself helps to direct some of your aggressions in game but also allows the game to achieve the absolute levels of absurdity that is the heart of this title. I'm not saying that having access to remote guided missiles isn't great, I'm just saying that when I was introduced to the SA-3 Airstrike (a laser targeting missile delivery system), I wasn't prepared for the ingenious ways I would use this remarkable tool.

Through your efforts in Steelport, going up against the Syndicate, the Morningstar, the Luchadores, the Deckers, and STAG, you will be given all sorts of stylized and increasingly creative means of interacting with the population and your environment. Helicopters and planes ? great, but the hybrid mode VTOL or the Jet Bike are really great. Fists ? great, but having a giant purple dildo attached to a baseball bat is crazy. Shoulder mounted missile launcher ? great, but having a launcher that delivers an octopus looking mind control amoeba is wacky. Motorcycles ? great, but using a Tron inspired bike to invade a virtual stronghold is insane. Clothing stores ? great, but owning a fetish gallery story full of various wearable (and some unwearable) unmentionables is the epitome of insanity. I think you can see what I'm getting at here. Saints Row: The Third should not be taken seriously, unless your looking for serious fun.

The game does have some interesting game mechanics as well. Your character is 'fully' customizable, from the clothes, to the hair, right down to the shape of your chin. This may not be something new to gaming but the shear scope of the customization is hard to nail down. As you acquire clothing and tattoo stores, your inventory rises dramatically and when you start purchasing the plastic surgery stores, it opens up another dimension all together. With the plastic surgery stores you can change your entire look, your voice, your size, and even your gender can switch back and forth almost at will (not for me, but I'm sure there's a demographic that has been looking for this option for years). As you refine your character, you don't want to throw away the efforts you've put into finding just the right ear shape and THQ has you covered; you can simply upload your character to the Saints Row site for a sort of cloud storage. When you're tired of running the streets as a naked woman, you can upload her and download your old furry outfit, or pimp outfit, or steampunk outfit, and get right back to the zany antics.

Customization doesn't end with body parts either. Using your cell phone you can access the Third Street Gang and outfit them as well. All the outlandish costumes, male or female, what cars they drive, you can even decide what types of taunts they will offer your foes. Buying up outlets of 'Rim Jobs', a mechanics dream (put that together however you wish) allows almost endless changes to any of the automobiles you end up owning. Paint, tires, body work, graphics, underbody lights, its all at your disposal.

The story based game will take a casual gamer well over 16 hours to complete. With the numerous, and equally outlandish, task based missions there are at least 25 hours of game play here. But whats more, is that the developers have structured different parts of the story to play out in different ways, so that when you're done going through, you can go back through the campaign and make other choices to add a few more hours of unique game play.

There are a number of improvements over past Saints Row titles including more cohesive driving and controls, a streamlined story, and the graphics but something that hasn't changed is the dedication to the sound of the game. Once again we see some great voice acting coming through the extensive lineup of characters and the soundtrack is truly incredible. All of your vehicles have access to a series of radio stations, each with their own unique lineup. It seems however that the developers went to great lengths to ensure that the songs are not just fillers or background noise but rather as a part of the game as a whole. Everything from Beethoven to Mozart, Marc Durst to ILS, ABBA to Winger and even Kanye to Alec Baldwin is included to make sure that regardless of the situation you find yourself in there will always be a little music to help set the mood.

In addition to the full campaign mode the developers have include ?Whored Mode?; an obvious play on horde mode but the intention is the same. You stand alone armed with any number of various weaponry while being attacked by any number of various foes for a specific amount of time. Of course, in true Saints Row style the weapons could be a pistol or it could be a massive chain gun or the ever popular giant dildo. And the foes, well they could be rival gang members or they could be a group of zombies, a gang of furries, or even a bunch of 18 foot tall prostitutes. Needless to say, the additional mode presents a great addition to the game.

Although there isn't a specific multiplayer mode, the game includes a great co-op mode. The co-op allows a jump in and jump out feature that works surprisingly well, even when your friend hasn't reached your level in the campaign, the game still allows you to share in the story based gameplay, side missions and even the Whored Mode.

The game isn't without fault. The improved graphics are nice but there were some glitches; people where they simply don't belong, a helicopter wedged through a road, and other wire based graphic errors. Perhaps most frustrating were the times when I would be sent to run down, or hunt down a target, they would show on the map but somehow be within a building that I can't enter or even under a road. As well, I am surprised that with a game so vastly geographic, comparatively there were very few buildings I could actually enter. Obviously these weren't big issues for me but rather minor frustrations.

The game however, never seemed to lose my interest and I was eager to see what else I could discover. At every turn I was surprised and often shocked at how much bigger and bolder everything became as the game progressed. I have no doubt that we will see the return of the Third Street Saints in another title but I have to wonder how far they can still push the envelope. I knew I had hit the limits when I could run around as a well-endowed female wearing a thong and nipple tape, but when I streaked through the streets naked everything was heavily pixalated.

Overall: 8.9 / 10
Gameplay: 9.1 / 10
Visuals: 8.8 / 10
Sound: 8.9 / 10


Site Statistics

Registered Members: 43,983
Forum Posts: 725,139
Xbox One Titles: 655
Xbox 360 Titles: 1,084
Xbox 360 Kinect Titles: 95
Xbox 360 Arcade Titles: 583
Xbox Titles: 847
Staff Reviews: 1,447
Member Reviews: 10,339
News Articles: 13,077
Screenshots: 28,839
Xbox 360 Achievements: 45,112
Xbox 360 Faceplates: 2,016
Cheat Codes: 1,706

Latest News

See News Archives

Community Forum Activity

GOW 4 Horde Credit and XP Earn Rate Updates
Post by Nato King
1 Replies, 20 Views

Post by Nato King
1 Replies, 40 Views

Red Dead Redemption 2 releasing Fall 2017
Post by Nato King
5 Replies, 94 Views

Xbox One S Protoype Zebra
Post by oryanphine
3 Replies, 126 Views

Xbox One South Korea Edition Limitee Mother Pearl
Post by oryanphine
1 Replies, 75 Views

Xbox One Official China Edition limitee Lunar New Year Monkey 2016
Post by oryanphine
2 Replies, 85 Views

Xbox Play Anywhere Set up.
Post by Nato King
6 Replies, 157 Views

CONTEST! Win a copy of Worms W.M.D.!
Post by Variation-XBA
9 Replies, 304 Views

The Gears of War 4 Live Broadcast Airs Today
Post by Nato King
7 Replies, 202 Views

Post by Nato King
9 Replies, 250 Views

Spoiler: First 12mintues of Battlefield 1
Post by Nato King
9 Replies, 228 Views

Custom Xbox Addict Controller!
Post by Variation-XBA
8 Replies, 313 Views

Post by BananaMan
5 Replies, 262 Views

Post by Nato King
7 Replies, 258 Views

Club for Forza Horizon 3
Post by TheOutcast-XBA
9 Replies, 1132 Views

© 2000-2016 - All rights reserved. All trademarks are properties of their respective owners.
Xbox is a registered trademark of Microsoft. is not affiliated with Microsoft.

Made in Canada
Site Design by Cameron Graphics