During the summer sales on Steam, I got lucky and won a free copy of Saint’s Row: The Third on reddit. Well, technically, I won a free game for $10 or less, so I picked Saint’s Row as the game for me. Suffice to say, I did not regret my choice.
I always liked the idea of GTA, but I also found it a bit too constricting and dull. What’s worse, while the sandbox is still passable, even with those flaws, it affects the actual storyline gameplay badly, making it shallow and clunky. GTA IV improved on this with better controls and more complex actions you could do with your character (cover shooting, proper targeting, etc.), but for me, it was to series and thus less fun in the sandbox department.
Saint’s Row does not take itself seriously even for a moment. It’s just mindless fun and nothing else. You can do whatever you want, however you want, whenever you want, and even if you die, nothing really happens. Most of the activities are fun and unique (driving around with a tiger in the back seat, for instance) and the controls are simple and responsive, while not being so simple they would cause you annoyances.
It took me around 20 hours to go through the main story, while doing plenty of optional activities on the side, and I enjoyed most of it. Sure, a couple of missions weren’t as good as the rest, but overall, I feel it’s a much more fun game on average than any of the GTA series. Now, I haven’t played the two previous games because I did not own a good enough system, so I don’t know if it’s a good sequel, but it’s definitely a great game on its own.
To take you through the story, the Saints are a gang who got so big they entered the mainstream public and started getting movie, music and various other contracts. The story starts with the core gang taking a movie star for a bank robbery, so he could do some research for his role. They get ambushed by another gang called the Syndicate. The Syndicate is big, and they want to get bigger, so the saints are in the way. One of the big guys of the Saints gets killed in the encounter, and the Saints get all their assets taken away from them.
Basically, you have to rebuild the Saints’ empire and take down the Syndicate along the way. You do this by buying of their properties, killing their gang members every time you see them and completing completely ridiculous missions in order to shut down their operations. Eventually, you take down most of their bosses (and recruit a few) and finally run them out of the city. While all this is happening, you also have to defeat them on the Internet, take down a high-tech military group and deal with a zombie infestation. In the end, you chase the final boss to mars and kill him there. Well, that’s what happens in the movie.
Anyway, I managed to complete the main story and capture all the districts over the last week or so. I still have the alternative ending to see, and there are still a whole lot of achievements to unlock, so the game will remain on my hard drive for now. I’m sure I’ll return to it occasionally, but for now, I still have some other games to play, including the several I’ve bought and won during the sale.