October 17, 2012

Saints Row: The Third (Part 1)

Between the illegal smuggling in Russia to bio-weapon tests in New York City, I was beginning to get overwhelmed with the intense, apocalyptic situation that I always seemed to get dragged into. What’s wrong with the occasional vacation where the only danger to your physical health is tripping over a stubborn rock during your stroll on the beach? I suppose I’m not one to complain. A ten-hour game where your only ability is to press a button to begin tanning is enough to make me wish for that inevitable zombie invasion. But there’s only so much angst I can take before the game turns into a pile of depressing gray mush with only the occasional bullets and appealing color to keep things interesting.

So, without further comment, we have Saints Row The Third, a game that can’t take itself seriously despite everything that happens – which is good! There is nothing wrong with over the top, silly circumstances if that is what a certain game was meant to do. Regardless of whether the missions are random, serious, insane, or just flat out silly, Saints Row The Third makes everything hilarious in a nonsensically crude sort of slapstick humor kind of way.

Anyway, Saints Row The Third is a third person, action adventure, open world game developed by Volition Inc. and published by THQ. It is the third installment in the Saints Row series and continues the ongoing exploits of the notorious Saints gang. You play as the unnamed leader of the Saints who is respectfully referred to only as “Boss”.  In Saints Row The Third, the idea of criminally active gangs has worked its way into the hearts of the general public and is now socially appealing and acceptable on some level. After a series of inopportune events with little to no connectivity with each other, you find yourself in the city of Steelport with no money, dead “homies” (members of your gang), and several rival gangs ready to curb stomp your sorry little skull into the harsh streets of the colorful city. Despite your less than adequate predicament however, Steelport City is indeed your personal oyster and boy does it have some pretty pearls to offer.

Saints Row The Third is a sandbox game, and so a player’s adventures are not limited to linear settings and missions. If you feel like it, you can run across the city, electrocuting civilians and enemies alike with your handy stun gun along the way, then hijack a helicopter and skydive onto your gang’s top-notch penthouse helipad. Sometimes, with sandbox games comes the option to choose how one would go about their adventures. For example, one could attempt to stealthily infiltrate an area and pick off enemies individually, or instead just strap rocket launchers to each of their limbs and proceed to redecorate said area with the help of explosions. However, Saints Row The Third doesn’t give this kind of freedom since you are usually expected to take the latter option for eliminating enemies. What surprised me is that regardless of my arguably unhealthy obsession over stealthy gameplay, not once during my time playing this game did I miss the ability to sneak behind foes and effortlessly snap the necks of the blatantly ignorant.

Combat in this game, while fairly simple and basic, is ridiculously creative and fun. It’s hard not to have fun taking out enemies with tons of hilarious wrestling moves. There is a specific button to perform “testicular assault” on enemies too close to aim a gun at, which I think is quite self explanatory and fairly awesome. Weapon types range from pistols, SMGs, rifles, shotguns, melee, fists, rockets, four different types of grenades, and more. There’s no need to spend your precious time on deciding which weapons you want to kill people with since you are able to carry them all at the same time. The amount of weapon choices you can have brings even more variety to the game, and it’s difficult to become bored during gunfights due to the ability to switch to a sonic bazooka whenever dual wielding laser SMGs gets to be too tame.

Image Credit: THQ

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