Grizzly Gaming

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Saints Row 3 mini-review: Stimulation overdose

(And yeah, I know it’s technically “Saints Row: The Third,” but I’m not calling it that)

A game like “Saints Row 3” is hard to quantify. While it offers tons of content that amounts to hundreds of hours of gameplay, a majority of that content will seem like exceedingly familiar territory. Though the gameplay is incredibly fluid, the characters and environment colorful and vibrant and features a ridiculous array of high-tech weaponry and vehicles with which to cause mayhem, the framework of the game beneath that luxuriant coat is really no different from any “Grand Theft Auto” or previous “Saints Row” title.

I had purposefully avoided “SR3” for some time now. I had already played “GTA4” along with both its DLC pack - “Lost and Damned” and “Ballad of Gay Tony” - and from everything I saw, “SR3” would offer really nothing more than a re-hashing of those games. Obviously not an exact recreation, but with both series being so close in content and execution I was worried that playing “SR3” would quickly become boring, bordering on tedium. After playing a good bit of “SR3” I can safely say that even though it goes out of its way to throw realism out the window, if you’ve played the typical sandbox criminal-sim (like “GTA” or the previous “SR” games), you’ve played “SR3.”

That’s not to say that “SR3” isn’t fun because if you like mindless carnage and destruction, you could do a lot worse than this title. It seems like almost every aspect of “SR3” was designed to let you become a walking, smack-talking one-man army as quickly as possible and let you loose on an unsuspecting world. When a game opens with a bank heist that results in a massive shootout, hundreds of casualties and numerous aircraft (helicopters and an airplane) being destroyed, you quickly realize that subtlety will not be on the menu. However, once the spectacle of these over-the-top heists and destruction wears off, you’re not left with much as the story of “SR3” is as insane as it is forgettable.

The leader of the Saints (left) takes on numerous Luchadores

You once again resume your role as the leader of the Saints, a criminal enterprise that has grown so large that they’re now basically celebrities in the eyes of the media and ordinary citizens. Along with familiar faces like Johnny Gat, Pierce and Shaundi, you aim to take over the city of Steelport. In order to do that, you’ll need to knock off the three top gangs that currently run the city, the Luchadores, Deckers and Morningstar. Along with story missions, there are also a wealth of other activities to be found around the city like the series standard Insurance Fraud or the activity “Professor Genki’s Super Ethical Reality Climax,” a reality TV game show where you’re tasked with navigating a maze of treacherous obstacles, dispatching minions dressed like mascots and collecting power-ups for more points, weapons or health. You’ll also have plenty of Saints Book missions where you’ll find the standard assassination missions, car collection missions and other random challenges to keep you occupied.

Along with earning reputation points (XP) to unlock new abilities, you can buy property that will earn money as you play which can be spent on unlocking said abilities, new weapons or new clothes for your character. And with numerous different clothing stores to choose from, you can make your character look as ordinary or as outlandish as you wish.

Still, at the end of the day, all the outrageous antics, ridiculously weaponry and vulgarity that “SR3” possesses still isn’t enough to top the “GTA” series. Though, with “SR3,” THQ has done an excellent job to finally infuse enough originality and absurdity to distance itself from Rockstar’s king of the sandbox series. There is also tons of DLC packs out for “SR3,” though I haven’t checked any out (and doubt I will) but offer plenty of new content to keep fans coming back for more.


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An avid gamer and long-time pro wrestling fan, stay tuned to Grizzly Gaming and the Delco Elbow Drop for game reviews and pro wrestling news.

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