Format reviewed: PS3
Other formats available: Xbox 360, PC.
In an age when too many games take themselves far too seriously comes Saints Row the Third. It is bizarre, stupid, violent, rude and a lot of fun, which is what games should always be.
SR3 is an 18 certificate game and so is designed for an adult audience and this is clear right from the start. As with many, many games you can create your own character and give them the attributes you desire. Being Saints Row this means that you can make your character 'sexy' in ways that mean your character is quite pneumatic if you slide the scale up 100. You can make them normal, but where's the fun with that? Then, once you've got the basics sorted, the next thing is to dress them, again you can go down the normal route or dress them up in weird and wonderful combinations.
This is all window dressing of course, the main aim of the game is to be part of the Third Street Saints gang who have been kicked out of their home city and have now taken up residence in the city of Steelport. The Saints are now ordinary gang, in fact they are celebrities with product endorsement contracts and some pretty impressive hardware at their disposal. Not many games give you access to satellite guided ordinance at the start, SR3 does.
SR3 is in the genre of open-world sandbox games with all manner of things to do. There are the missions, where you gradually expand the gang's area of influence, but then there all manner of other things such as the usual collectables, side missions and the constant option to further customise your character, your gang, cars and so on.
The missions though, and the whole game really, are so much lighter and sillier than GTA IV. The opening sequence where you end up jumping out of the same plane twice and have gun battles with others as you freefall is indicative of what comes on later.
The humour won't be to everyone's taste, it is more than a little adolescent throughout with the emphasis on smut. At times you expect the cast of the American Pie movies to do cameo. Having said that there is also a strong vein of social commentary in a great deal of what happens, this is what makes it really funny. If you can see beyond the silly stuff then you will get a lot out of SR3.
Although there is a lot of smut in the game you don't actually see any naked wobbly bits. If you want you can make your character play the whole game completely naked, even then you don't see anything as those bits are always pixelated. Having spoken to one of the producers of the game, even though this is an adult game, they knew that the censors in the US wouldn't pass it if you could see these bits. The censors were more than happy for the protagonists to be able to kill whoever they like, in some quite sick ways though.
The gameplay is slick, although the AI of some of your colleagues does lead you to shout at them. If only there was some kind of voice control in the game then when you shout 'get in the car you stupid idiot' (or words to that effect) they would do instead of standing around like a loon.
All in Saints Row the Third is a great game. The missions although under laid with the usual clichés are still fun and engaging to play. Customising your character is good and a lot more interesting than just buying different suits, boots and clothes for the same person throughout a game. SR3 is also really rather addictive too, so make sure you have a comfy seat and plenty to eat and drink.
Review by Tuckski for BCS