Honestly, I never thought I’d write these words, but I’m having a blast with Saints Row: The Third. The duders over at GiantBomb are mostly to blame, as they would not shut up about the game on every podcast or game of the year debate, and so I finally decided to put my trust in word-of-mouth and got a new copy with some Christmas cash (as well as Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Rage, and Marvel VS Capcom 3 during GameStop’s end-of-the-month sale where you could buy two used games and get one for free). I put it into my Xbox 360 without a real idea of what was to come except maybe some driving and shooting in the vein of Grand Theft Auto IV, a game I loathe. I held my breath and went forward…
Well, I’m about 11 hours into Saints Row: The Third, with a completion percentage around 45%, and it’s been zany, crazy fun from the moment go. From creating your character, to jumping out of a plane, to jumping into a plane, to gimps pulling chariots, to said gimps exploding, to driving Miss Tiger around town, to befriending a huge naked man, to–y’know, I think I’ll stop there for now. Literally every mission is absolutely bonkers and pure joy to talk about, but a majority of it needs to be experienced, as Saints Row: The Third is always aiming to surprise and put a smile on your face. And if not a smile, well, maybe just to lower your jaw a couple inches. In short, it’s a videogame. It’s a videogame that loves being a videogame and only wants to be a videogame for you. It streamlines everything to keep momentum going forward; when you are driving to a mission start locale, you don’t have to get out of the car to begin it, you only need to be near it, and while that’s a small detail, it’s enough to keep things going. Unlike GTA IV, failing a mission is not punishing, as there are many checkpoints along the way, and you can simply reload from there. And hey, do you hate chasing down a car to hijack it? Simply run and press the right button to jump through the car’s windshield immediately. It’s that kind of game.
And yeah, that’s my avatar in the screenshot above. He’s modeled somewhat after moi. You can use the in-game’s cell phone to take screenshots and upload them to a separate website, so expect some more National Geographic quality shots to pop up here and there. I like to dress kinda casual though I do put on a zany hat or kooky outfit when showing the game off to observers. And there was this one time I was wearing a wolf mask and a cheerleading outfit, but let’s just move on, okay…
Got some Achievements so far. This game looks like a fairly easy 1,000 Gamerscore, but it’ll take time, which is a-okay by me. For once, I’m having a blast in an open world with little fear of breaking it or losing all my hard-earned work through things getting too crazy and my dude getting shot to pieces, like in The Saboteur or Red Faction: Guerrilla. Here’s a few goodies:
Ow, My Balls! (10G): Did your first nutshot and testicle assault, sack tapping is bad news kids!
Gellin’ Like Magellan (20G): Explored every hood in Steelport, you’ve been around the world.
Gotta Break Em In (25G): Completed ‘The Ho Boat’ and decided the Hos fate, do you feel proud of yourself?
I do feel proud of myself, Volition/THQ. I saved those hoes from a life of hoeing and whoring under a wrestling masked jerk to work for me, the leader of the Saints, who, by all accounts, is a psychopath. Lucky them.
Right now, before I move on to the next story mission, I’m tracking down all the collectibles thanks to an upgrade bonus that highlights them all on my map. Saints Row: The Third doesn’t care about giving you everything right away, such as a map pinpointing all the hidden items or a VTOL jet early on or the ability to call an airstrike at any point; it just wants you to have a good time, and that’s exactly what I’m going to keep on doing.