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Saints Row: The Third Review

Greg Tito | 11 Nov 2011 18:40
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Dotted on the map are many stores, like the Friendly Fire gun shops, clothing stores, tattoo parlors, plastic surgeons, and - my favorite - the car customization chain called Rim Jobs. Once you do a few story missions, smart gang leaders should start investing in buying these fine establishments. Each place you own increases your hourly income in Saints Row 3 and every twenty minutes or so of playing the game, you can transfer all the funds your network earns to your pocket. I don't know why they call it "hourly" when there's no in-game clock, you just have to keep checking your phone to see if a new transfer is available. The constant promise of money at regular intervals keeps you playing Saints Row 3, stretching your play sessions as you wait for just one more payment. The designers were smart enough (or mean enough) not only to come up with this ingenious mechanic, but also by limiting how much you can transfer per Respect level. Leaving your game paused won't help either. Sorry, cheaters.

Money allows you to customize every car you steal, buy a new wardrobe or cover yourself in tattoos, and also purchase all upgrades. When you start out in Steelport, you will be easily killed if you try to tackle too many gang members at once, or if too many cops answer the summons of your Molotov cocktails. But as you progress and spend more money, you will soon be sprinting for miles and bullets won't cause you as much damage. That is, if you don't invest only in huge purple dildos.

Performing a quick carjack and driving around the city is just enjoyable, especially if you pick a car that handles well like the Zimos and upgrade it all the way. The street layout feels more conducive to playing the game with few restrictions on where you can drive. Having a central highway connecting different regions allows you to go from one end of the map to the other fairly quickly. Later in the game, the map will show which parts of Steelport are under the Saints' control. In between missions and just blowing up stuff, I loved just driving to different locations to find new stores to buy or gang operations to explode with a well-placed grenade. Once those activities are done, that little slice of the city is colored purple - controlled by the Saints.

While the whole game is pretty much non-stop fun, the writers and voice-actors get extra points for making me chuckle like a thirteen-year-old boy. Saints Row 3 walks that fine line between satire and parody, lampooning science-fiction movies, paranoid hackers, and pop stars like T-Pain all while shining a light on the very real issues of sexism and violence in our culture today. Either that, or the guys at Volition are just screwing with us. Honestly, I don't care, I'm just glad they let us along for the ride.

Bottom Line: Steelport is a glorious sandbox with fun around every corner and the well-written story and easy-to-use design make Saints Row 3 a fantastic package.

Recommendation: Buy it before I beat you unmerciful, you little turd.

This review was based on the Xbox 360 version of the game.

Game: Saints Row: The Third
Genre: Shooter
Developer: Volition
Publisher: THQ
Platform(s): PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Available from: Amazon(US), GameStop(US), Amazon(UK), Play.com(UK)

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