– Ed Acosta
Our Score: 5 / 5 – Incredible
When we last left our “heroes”, the Third Street Saints had taken over Stilwater and reached the likes of rock stars. People want to be them and fall head over heels for them. We welcome back: Johnny Gat, Shaundi, and “Boss” (your character) back from Saints Row 2. The very first mission? Rob a bank, what else. Oh did I mention while wearing Johnny Gat Bobble Heads? Yeah, let that sink in. This all leads to a crazy bank shootout in which you still have time to sign a few autographs. Hell, a cop even requests you sign and drop then drop your weapons. The whole ordeal eventually ends with you falling out of a cargo plane shooting baddies and dodging debris. You’re literally skydiving to enter the new city of Steelport. The game is filled with crazy moments like these that just beg you to talk to your friend’s about. “Yo man, I just got to the part with the autotuned guy”. “Are you serious? ugh, there’s a guy who sings in Autotune?” “No dude he TALKS in autotune.” “WTF.” or maybe you’re standing around the water cooler at the office and you’re telling Bob about how you spent 15 minutes fighting off a wave of guys dressed as hotdogs and bunny rabbits. Thankfully, these crazy moments aren’t stacked on top of each other so you’ll have something new and crazy to see throughout your game. By the way, you need to play this game.
The character creation is not the greatest but far better than any sandbox style game to date. By using sliders, you can adjust various properties in your character to make them look however you want; round, thin, ugly, sexy, monstrous, zombie-fied, whatever your heart’s content. Yes, you can make a female character’s breasts larger as I know that’s what you’re wondering and yes you can make your guy’s package larger as I also know that’s what you’re all wondering. On a side note, there are some funny taunts to choose from like the obligatory Michael Jackson dance step to the more recent internet sensation sexaphone thrusts. My Asian girl of course pulled some MJ moves when greeting new people, AH HEE HEE.
Thanks to the open world environment, I was never able get bored with the game. You could plow through main story missions then just run off and play some side stuff from the Saints Book. The Saints Book is filled with other things you can do to pass the time. You can steal cars or assassinate targets with the vehicle and assassination lists or try to complete the over 40 different challenges the lists likes to taunt you with; things like taunt 50 gang members or carjack 250 cars. These are things that you’ll probably do throughout the game anyway and once you reach a milestone they bring up a bar and show your progress while playing. So after destroying your 10th EMU a progress bar and amount done will flash onscreen so it can get that “gotta catch them all” hook in you.
During a few story missions they give you the option of an A or B choice. One choice giving you cash or an item while the other giving you respect or a different item. I would recommend saving a new save file after the first time you get this choice so that you can come back later and replay that mission. Choose the other option for an achievement if you’re in to that, or just see how it plays out the other way. I honestly couldn’t tell you how long this game is playing only through the story missions but know that I played over 20 hours before I finished the story and that was with few side activities, a few deaths and mission restarts, and a few plastic surgery operations.
In total, I’ve spent over 67 hours in Steelport, so far. I’ve been upgrading my weapons to the point of MASSIVE DAMAGE and tuning cars in Saint’s Purple, making them damn near indestructible; yet I’m still coming back for more. Here I am gushing over the main single player portion of the game and have even yet to embrace the co-op. The whole Saint’s Row game can be played co-op with a friend over Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, or through the PC. Be warned though, the game will warn you of an imminent character overwrite if you’re not synced up in terms of progression. Simple solution though, create a 2nd crazy character to start in your friend’s game then. It’s so worth it anyway. Each person can earn Trophies or Achievements in each other’s games, and both will record progress through the campaign if they’re on the same mission.
Players can also team up for wave based combat called “Whored Mode,” in which you choose one of a several character models, not your own abomination, against a plethora of different enemy types with different weapon restrictions. Most reviewers at this point get a little uneasy about a few of the waves being nothing but women (whores I presume) you have to kill but honestly, it’s really no different than doing any of the survival missions in the main game. Plus you don’t have to play whored mode at all if you don’t want to. There doesn’t seem to be any achievements or trophies tied to that mode of the game.
My final words on this game are as follows, whatever you must do to play this game, play this game. This is MY Game of The Year for 2011.
Retails for: $59.99, recommended purchase price: $59.99