Shiny, wacky, fun, but is it all that different?
When I finished my review of Saints Row 2 my editor immediately asked me to review Saints Row the Third, fortunately it was on sale and I’ve played around with it before. So I knew I was making a decent purchase. After conning my best friend into nabbing it and joining me in jolly cooperation.
So began a tale of weaponized dildos, confusion, arguments over whether or not my driving was as amazing as I believe it to be, arguments over who got to drive the tank, arguments over who got to pilot the jet. You get the general idea. But nonetheless it was one of the most enjoyable co-op titles I’ve played in awhile. Usually when we’re playing together it’s something like Rainbow Six Siege or Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide. Saints Row was a breath of fresh air to our usual stressful style of defending bathtubs and slaughtering rat men.
Now if you’re reading this as someone who sadly has no friends, well just have an imaginary friend and have these arguments with them because in terms of gameplay there’s little difference between co-op and single player. Yes of course co-op is easier, as if Saints Row needed to be easier, because there’s two of you and no real effort made to up the difficulty.
Having said that the changes the game does make are interesting, for instance normally you can just stroll into any business you own and boom, you no longer exist to law enforcement/whatever gang you shot at. Now in co-op both of you have to be in the same place, if you’re on the other side of the map from your ne’er-do-well companion and suddenly your pleasant shopping trip is interrupted by a small army of gangsters well it can be just a little unpleasant.
Saints Row is the ultimate parody of everything it represents. It takes the piss out of video games, consumerism, society (specifically American), films, TV, comics, media, and pretty much anything else it can think of. The entire thing is the video game equivalent of a shitpost and it’s frankly as glorious as it is cringe-worthy. The absurdity of it all is what really attracts me to Saints Row and keeps me coming back to the series, I can forget established conventions and put aside more serious titles in favor of building an army of purple hos.
Yes the plot is barely fabricated and it’s really just an amalgamation of every gangster films plot ever. Yes most of the radio stations are rubbish. Yes there’s not even the slightest attempt at realism. But ultimately Saints Row the Third is fun. The gun play is tight and while easy there’s a definite emphasis on going for head shots, the driving is excellent and sure some cars handle like cows but others are an absolute dream.
Do you want any of the following?
- Absurd nonsense
- Boobs, butts and giant naked guys
- Lots and lots of explosions
- Lovely driving
- Lovely gun fights
- A game that throws of the shackles of seriousness and embraces madness.
- NPCs that dance to the music from your car’s radio
Well then play Saints Row the Third. Honestly this review could be “It’s fun.” because that’s all Saints Row tries to be, it doesn’t aim to be innovative, or make you question something about yourself or the wider world. There’s no underlying message here or emotional journey to embark on. Just a theme park of a city, a fleet of purple clad NPCs to guide you and guns, lots of guns.
Did you like Saints Row 3? Make sure to look at what we thought of Saints Row 2 here as well: