Saints Row: The Third Review

Saints Row: The Third - Action Unleashed

The Saints Row series is like Grand Theft Auto on steroids. While the protagonists of Rockstar’s games made serious faces and tried to grasp the harsh truth of criminal life, the characters in SR engage in insane clownery. Where GTA gangsters started flying with jetpacks and waving rubber self-gratifiers, our guys completely lose it and do something absolutely outrageous. The brakes of the game are not just released – they are completely ripped out.

In the phantasmagorical world of SR, the bandits are very cool pop stars who combine real bank robberies and fights with television advertising and the release of designer clothing bearing their gang’s name. Ordinary people who are constantly run over by our ambiguous idols genuinely love it when twenty to thirty people with guns gather in the middle of a busy street in broad daylight and create a bloody massacre with explosions and random victims.

The path to success

By the beginning of the third episode of this madness, the criminal gang “The Saints” had already achieved success – along with the main villains, actors who were going to star in an upcoming blockbuster based on their criminal exploits were joining in, and the police had long been bought off, so even if the next heist failed, our tough guys would come out unscathed. The main thing in the chaos was not to catch an extra bullet and not to stumble from somewhere high onto something paved. And everything would have been fine for them if the Saints were the only smart ones on Earth. In terms of soul, money, and real estate, the tough guys came to the Saints, who overnight turned the balance of power upside down. After a failed operation, the main characters lost everything positive – authority, comrades, connections, solid ground beneath their feet. But, as you can easily guess, they plan to get it all back.

Wild Ride in Saints Row


Why, first of all, would they arrange a shootout on the plane and perform such aerial stunts that your head would explode from an overdose of madness and the overall atmosphere of hilarious trash. You can fall in love with the game just from the prologue. It’s a bit of a shame that character generation precedes it. It sets the tone for the upcoming action: right from the start, the hero’s speech can be replaced with incoherent zombie babbling, as a mockery of enemies, you can perform an actress’ study called “Hadouken,” and as a victorious gesture, you can choose a fragment from the concert choreography of the immortal Michael Jackson. Meanwhile, the resulting zombie Ryu Jackson will fit much better into the schizophrenic reality of SR than the standard boring cool guy (although, by the way, you can easily assemble him in the game constructor).

After the introductory act, the gamer is thrown into a not very visually expressive, but immediately large sandbox city, where you have to take control of all the little things. The methods are standard – buying real estate and businesses, fighting rival gangs and the police, smashing everything in tanks, collecting boxes with rubber sex dolls, taking photos with fans… While the saints were showing off their aerial acrobatics, three gang factions – clown militarists, emo hipsters, and the actual Main Villains – seized power in the city. These guys patrol their territories no worse than the notorious police and do their best to protect their assets – although cooperation between representatives of different gangs is poorly established, each separate group has a considerable personal staff ready to block half the city just to eliminate a competitor who has gotten out of hand.

One of the characters in the prologue didn’t lie about the “ultrapostmodern.” The whole game is filled with bright and not-so-bright references to mass culture, as you may have guessed from the paragraphs above. Movies, music, cultural and political events, games, fashion, personalities – everything is mixed, shaken, and poured onto a hellish frying pan. Of course, to fully appreciate the scattered Easter eggs, parodies, and references throughout the streets of Saints Row the Third, you need to be deeply immersed in Western (and mostly American) cultural and informational context. If everyone can recognize the parodied introduction from “Star Wars” for the umpteenth time, not everyone will appreciate the wrestling moves of the main character (or heroine, depending on which avatar the gamer creates) as much. By the way, how many years have passed since Nikolay Fomenko’s commentary performances?

Urban Chaos in Saints Row

At first, it will not be easy to resist the foreign hooligans – let the hero’s health regenerate fairly quickly (by the way, the working 90% regeneration in games is very appropriate in Saints Row), in order to feel confident in any shootout, you need to first spend a lot of money on leveling up, and these very money still need to be earned in one way or another. But it is worth buying a dozen or so income-generating places, cash will start to flow into your account on its own, and resources will immediately appear for buying ammunition, leveling up, and new investments in business. In general, the hardest part of SR3 is to start rocking the boat of events, and then you can rush without brakes on the roller coasters prepared for us by the developers.

In the first hours of being in the city of “Saints”, the same trap is hidden as in Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Despite the incomparable scale of the “sandbox”, it is easy to get lost at the start in both games. Moreover, getting lost even before completing a very important introductory part. “Saints” without a penthouse, collectors of rubber dolls, and property worth $100 is Skyrim without FUS-RO-DAH. Therefore, do not deviate from the already barely noticeable main path for at least the first three hours.

High-Octane Action in Saints Row

I’m lovin’ it

In Saints Row the Third, we will be racing through the same sandbox streets that were essentially raced in GTA 3, shooting everyone in sight with the same weapons, completing the same missions, and running over the same pedestrian-statistics; under the purple moon of criminal cities, nothing is truly new. The undeniable merit of the game is the overall high level of execution of “basic” things, such as the traditional big city, driving and flying in various vehicles, shootouts, and more. Roughly speaking, for city exploration as such, the game can confidently be given a “six” – we know this gameplay and we love it, why be ashamed, this gameplay doesn’t need to be changed, the main thing is to decorate the facade correctly (see Red Dead Redemption). All the clowning of the “Saints” falls into this category, and it is essentially worth installing the game client on your computer for it.

Special thanks should be given to the developers for the sound design and soundtrack, traditionally transmitted from stolen cars through the radio. Again, it has historically been the case that music in GTA-like games has always been great, but with such maneuvering space! Of course, you can’t buy all the greatest pop hits of all time for every first game, but the development team approached the selection of suitable tracks from the definitely right side – if it’s metal, then it’s really heavy, with constant bass drum passages and beastly growls (and they even included Strapping Young Lad themselves in the game, it’s insane!), and if it’s rap, then it’s about the tough street life. The acting work is also pleasing: obviously, the less pathos and the more clowning, the easier it is for the voice acting team to work. The main character alone is worth it (his “Do you know who you’re fucking with?” is a masterpiece)! The other characters also hold their own, occasionally making you want to applaud them.

Street Chaos in Saints Row

Gotta shoot 'em all!

Of course, there were some bugs and flaws in the interface, but nothing really annoying was noticed. And, I hope no one needs to explain what is happening in the game with physics?

Saints Row the Third doesn’t stray from the buoys just because it never left the initially turbulent tabooed waters. On the other side of the gamer’s moon, a simple joke is no different from a vulgar joke, and postmodern sketches are not just a sharp seasoning, but almost the main dish. With this approach, it is easy to get tired, but fortunately, the game ends after the gamer has fully enjoyed the crazy gameplay, but before they start feeling sick on the local carousel. The main problem with SR 3 is that it was released in the same month as Skyrim, Batman: Arkham City, and Battlefield 3. But we have good news – nothing will be released in December, so as soon as you finish with the main hits of the past month, be sure to get into SR3 – the game is worth it.

Saints Row: The Third
PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Action, Adventure, Co-op
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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