To squeeze open-world action game Saints Row 3 into a category is a bit difficult, as there is really no other game on the market that produces so much time-consuming fun, while being utterly pointless. The best that the title can be describes as, is a combination of Crackdown and Grand Theft Auto – and that will give gamers a pretty good idea on what to expect (which means heaps of fun).
Right from the start, players are thrust into the action, the characters and the sense of humour that will carry throughout the rest of the game. After going through the initial short mission (which also serves as a tutorial), players are required to craft their own character using the building blocks from the game.
A character of any shape, form or size can be created (male or female), and the possibilities are almost endless on what they will look like and what facial features they will have. Clothing, although slightly limited, is also provided and some weird combinations are no doubt going to make their way onto the streets of Steelport.
After a tragic incident, the player will become the leader of the Third Street Saints, and from this perspective, gamer will have to lead their crew into a full-on assault of the city, as they fight to regain their former control.
The plot is naturally a bit more complex than that, and while it’s not as intense as the previous games, it’s engaging none the less. Along the way new characters will also make their appearance, who sides with the Saints to fight for the territory.
The graphics haven’t changed much since Saints Row 2, but that is really not a big issues. Although they could have been a bit better, it’s consistent with the franchise and fans shouldn’t mind too much. It’s very much in line with GTA San Andreas, and it fulfils its purpose.
One aspect that is absolutely great about the title is the soundtrack. Just as in the previous games, all vehicles play a selection of radio station through which the player can swap. The stations all play original music from real-life artists and cover a huge selection of genres, such as metal, dubstep, classical, hip-hop and 80’s and alternative rock.
But while the music will be playing in the cars, gamers will be able to blissfully burn the rubber down the main straight in the middle of the city, all while driving over pedestrians, crashing in other cars and knocking over dustbins and telephone poles.
The Saints Row franchise has always been a bit over the top, and nothing has changed for the third game. There is almost a total disregard for any law, and carnage is completely up to the player’s imagination. On the odd occasion a policeman will try to stop the lawlessness, but they are quickly taken care of by a speedy getaway.
But there is a bit of a downside to all the shooting and driving – other than the main missions, there isn’t much else to do. The game does have a couple of mini games that will provide the player with various bonuses, but once they have been completed a couple of times, it does become a bit boring after a while.
But the main missions are where all the action is and they will take the player on a whirlwind ride through the city, doing anything from taking on huge brutes, to racing a speed boat.
The title also has a couple of multiplayer modes, which is equally as fun. While in Whored Mode, players will have to take on waves of different enemies with different weapons in a predetermined amount of time, which can also be done in co-op.
Saints Row 3 is a lot of fun, and it’s by no means a serious game. Gamers familiar with the franchise will find all their favourites tucked into the latest iteration, while new players will be able to spend hours wandering the streets.
Although the graphics could have been updated a bit (they are slightly better than SR2), the controls are as easy as ever, the action is non-stop, the music is fantastic and the humour is over the top. As a game to kill a couple of hours with, Saints Row 3 is perfect.
Our rating: 8/10
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor