Back in May 2012, y’know, two years ago, I polished off the last of the assassination targets in Saints Row: The Third as I pursued completing that game fully to 100%. And by fully, I mean doing everything there is to do in the main vanilla game–I never ended up buying any of the DLC due to less-than-stellar reviews–and that includes a bunch of small things that, more or less, equate to grinding. Thankfully, fun grinding. Here, let me list what I still had on my saintly to-do list:
- Complete all 30 vehicle theft targets
- Complete all 41 challenges
- Start the game over and complete Act 1 in a different way
Well, I’m happy to report that I finally, y’know, two years later, finished off all of these goals. Now, truthfully, it did not take me two straight years to do this, as I ended up playing Saints Row: The Third again sporadically, but when I did get back into it, it was for a good while.
I first focused on the vehicle theft targets, squeezing one or two in during my lunch hour whenever I did get around to turning on the ol’ Xbox 360. These missions were made much easier thanks to being able to use your avatar’s cell phone to wipe either the cop alertness or the gang alertness after you steal the car. This makes driving it back to the chop shop a breeze as nobody is now chasing you and you can cruise to the location in style, blasting anything but talk radio. But it takes some decent amount of in-game time to respawn the two wipes, so I’d usually just goof around for a bit or go after another goal while waiting. Stealing the army vehicles was probably the toughest, as the helicopters would get shot down before I could make the call, thus me wasting the opportunity.
The 41 challenges…by the time Saints Row: The Third was over, I’d say I had almost half of them completed. Many, like grenade kills, cars destroyed, and hoods found get unlocked easily by just playing the game. Other challenges, like streaking and robbing stores, I didn’t even know you could do, but were easy enough to polish off once I got the hang of it. And then there were the ones that just required grinding, doing them over and over and over: hostages taken, gang members taunted, vehicle surfing time, EMUs destroyed, and survival missions. Thankfully, the game is just fun from top to bottom and, due to all upgrades purchased, it is nearly impossible for the main character to die, so you can just go ape-shit with grenades and rocket launchers. The only damper was having to wait five minutes for your cell phone to ring to start a new survival mission, especially knowing you had like fifteen more to do after it; I guess I shouldn’t have ignored it so much during the main campaign, but, like real life me, I’m hesitant to pick up a phone when I don’t recognize the caller.
Starting the game over and burning through the first main missions of Act 1 again takes around an hour or so, and it’s still a blast. I forgot how many big and goofy moments are there early on, like parachuting into the penthouse. I decided to play as a woman this time around, and I noticed a few lines of dialogue had changed to specifically reference this. Anyways, at the end of Act 1, you get a choice to blow up a tower or save it by driving the bomb away. In my original playthrough, I protected the tower, but this time I let it crumble to dust and ruin, and listen to the sweet sound of the last Achievement popping. Well, the last one I can get without dipping into the unnecessary DLC. If I still had that list in the right sidebar, you’d totally see a green star next to its name.
So, Saints Row: The Third is a very good grieving game. It is a game you can lose yourself in without dedicating too much time or emotion, and it makes for a great slice of distraction. Want to just cause chaos with the cops for minutes on end? Go for it. Want to see how many people you can knee in the nuts in a row? Go for it. Ever try taking out a tank with a chainsaw? I have. Last year, after Ryan Davis passed away, I remember Jeff Gerstmann talking on one of the Bombcasts a little bit about replaying Saints Row: The Third with cheats turned on, just goofing around and not having a care about the consequences. It’s such an easy game to get into and play, and I’m thankful to have it in my collection.
Well, I’ve squeezed every last purple-colored drop out of Saints Row: The Third, deleted my save data, and put the game back on the shelf where it will sit untouched for, likely, the rest of my existence. Honestly, it’s more like a pile near my game shelf. But either way, it’s done, and I’m done with it. Had a fantastic time with it over the last few years, but I’m not moving on to Saints Row IV any time soon as I have plenty of other different games asking for my attention. Not sure what will hit that sweet spot next…