Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Saints Row: The Third review

Volition has had a pretty bad year so far, with one of their game series (Red Faction) being shelved after a pretty average game. Now Volition are trying to make it up with Saints Row: the Third. Think the old GTA games such as; Vice City, and San Andreas and take all the weapons, characters and vehicles, then make them crazier... that’s this game in a nutshell. However a crazy game doesn’t necessarily make a good game.

The Story revolves around revenge, taking over and destroying everything! You need to take down a group called “Syndicate” because they killed your friend. It’s a pretty weak set up but it’s just a way to give you the crazy levels. In fact the whole story is just a set up to the madness that is the world. This becomes obvious when curtain characters completely vanish after you’ve complete their missions and are never spoken of again. The characters are well written and are very funny think of them of caricatures of every kind of person; it’s just insane and very funny.

Where the game really excels is with the gameplay. In Saints Row anything is possible... well if anything for you is drop kicking an old lady off a tall building, then flying off in a jet and crashing it into a group of people and surviving with a parachute, then yes anything is possible. I don’t mean you can do that ten hours in the game, oh no, almost everything in the game is unlocked from the word go. Being weapons, vehicles and most activities from when you boot up the game, you can do what you what.  

Most levels in the game are fantastic, the designer really wanted to make this larger than life game and they’ve done just that. For example there’s a level where you are attacking zombies... that’s right, zombies. There’s also a mission where you steal a hover plane and go around destroying everything! I would like to tell you more but I don’t want to spoil it, let’s just say that it’s crazy.
There is a levelling  system in Saints Row where completing levels or curtain objectives will give you respect, which is XP, and when you get enough respect you go up a level which give you the ability to upgrade your character (your health, ammo upgrade and so on).These upgrades cost money. The way you make money is by doing missions, which gives you money up front, and/ or buy buildings (Weapon shops and so on), which will give you a chunk of money hourly. The way I made money was by putting most of my money from missions into buildings, then saving up for curtain upgrades. When you get down to it, you’ll only use a certain set of upgrades.    

Activities are side missions, where you can make money, after you’ve played on or two of the same type of activities, you find that they are basically recycled by making them harder or tweaking them slightly, this doesn’t make them bad just a little repetitive, while some of them are fun, especially “Professor Genki’s Super Ethical Reality Climax”, think a third person Smash TV. Other activities you’ll just ignore after playing them once in the main campaign.

Customisation is a big thing in Saints Row: the Third. You can customize almost everything about yourself and most of your car/plane.  However it’s the things that you can’t customize that sticks out, sort of like the uncanny valley.  For example why can’t I customise most planes? Also why can’t I add custom decals to my car? However all these gripes are completely removed, when you can turn your character into Dr Manhattan and walk around the city nude.  

While most weapons are pretty average, there is a few that are insane, The 5 foot dildo bat, the remote controlled missile and many others, there just very fun to use, weirdly. The radio stations are pretty average, I listened to the 80s and 90s radio and there wasn’t really any big hits (maybe one or two by some people’s perspective), they where all what I like to call “forgettable hits” toughs songs that you hear and recognise, but can’t name the tile for the life of you.

All in all, the game is great. In some ways it falls flat, for example the activities. However the game’s all about just playing to just go crazy. Some people might might not like this but for others just turn on cheats and go mad.

Liam Hackett

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