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Saint’s Row: The Third is chaos in perpetual motion. If you’re not doing another crazed mission, you’re running through pedestrians and rush hour traffic just to see what kind of trouble you can get in to. Whether this makes for a good game is up to debate. What’s our take? Read on.
For myself, I can get behind the philosophy of fun over realism. There’s really little to limit your anarchic ambitions, save for your health meter. SRTT’s driving controls are comfortably slippery after prolonged play, allowing for easily weaving in and out of traffic with sharp looking cars at high speed. If you’re driving a clunker you’ll notice a difference, which is nice, but thankfully there are loads of nicer cars to pilfer off the street.
Action on foot is equally smooth and responsive. Hand to hand fighting is really flashy and with just a few clicks you’re executing crazy attacks. Gunplay is almost too easy on PC with the mouse allowing for headshots to rain in with aplomb. That doesn’t mean it’s not fun, though. Combat in general just feels really good.
The story isn’t in any way serious, so that’s a matter of taste. It also tends to be five shades of offensive so the politically correct crowd need not apply. The characters are either stereotypes or crazy lunatics so your patience for them will vary; personally most of them didn’t bother me overmuch and were just there to get me to the next nutty set piece. Visually the game looks solid with an over the top caricaturist style and lots of bright colors. It’s not technically impressive and doesn’t use allot of your PC’s high-end bells and whistles but that does keep the game available to a wider audience.
There are some things here that I’m not pleased with. One being the swarming nature of enemies. Rather then include an intelligent AI, the game attempts to overwhelm you with shear numbers instead. This can make the game frustrating rather then hard at times. Another hiccup would be the sound effects. They don’t stand out and the gunfire and explosions sound weak. My biggest caveat though is not in the game, but the DLC: the developers are selling cheat codes.
I’m all for cheat codes in single player games. If you want to get unlimited lives, or health, or ammo, or bouncy castles, or whatever, you do that. Games are about fun, after all, and if that’s fun for you then that’s cool. However, instead of building their god mode, infinite ammo and other similar codes into the passworded cheat system that the game already has, they’re selling them as DLC for $2.99. You now what? I bought them. Partly because I wanted to screw around between missions without worrying about losing progress but also because I had to see this for myself. You buy the DLC, install it, and the cheat codes appear in the game. It’s insane and extends a terrible precedent that’s all to prevalent lately: why give gamers for free what you can charge extra for as DLC? This ballsy move has me very upset with Volition and THQ, and I hope this doesn’t continue. Good DLC is a positive thing, but selling traditionally gratis content ticks me off.
Even so, that’s not something that detracts from the game itself. The AI and sound effect issues stand but not nearly tall enough to hurt this otherwise fine game. I’ll be playing this for a long time to come.
|Quality graphics; Good action; Crazy as hell||Decent sound; Lacking AI|