Saints Row: The Third

Saints Row: The Third
Saints Row: The Third Cover
Platforms PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Windows
Genre Even more of everything
MtAMinutes to Action 8
Keep Playing? Yes
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Saints Row 2 was already over the top. After an epic prison bust you then shoot up a courthouse and spray poop on rich people’s homes. It was crazy and pretty fun, and seemed worth playing beyond the first hour just to see what the developers could cook up.

Volition wanted to go bigger though, so they made Saints Row: The Third. Within days of release, the game was already famous for one of its weapons: The Penetrator, a giant purple dildo with realistic... dildo physics. But from my time with the game, I can promise you they really went to town with an adrenaline-pumping, action set-piece heavy first hour that simply blows the offerings Saints Row 2 put up.

So let’s take a look at the first hour of Saints Row: The Third, with this hour’s minute by minute section being sponsored by the absurdity of Volition, highlighting the crazy levels the game goes beyond even its predecessor.

Bigger and Better

00 - If you want to go big, you start with a Star Wars text crawl and the music Also Sprach Zarathustra made famous in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. The Third Street Saints are now a media empire, having conquered the street they now own your wallet. They even have their own drink!

03 - Big-headed masks of yourself are also a good way to go big! Johnny Gat from Saints Row 2 and some other gang members are all robbing a bank wearing this outrageous get-up.

08 - We blow some walls up exposing a safe but need to wait for a helicopter.

“How long until the chopper gets here?”

“I dunno, probably two waves of SWAT guys.”

What follows is an extended shooting sequence where I ride the vault out of the bank being carried by the helicopter. I’m basically invincible and lots of thing go boom: fun!

15 - I can now customize my character, similar options to Saints Row 2 with taunts, compliments, and the whole look. I leave most of the defaults.

17 - We’ve been captured by some Belgian who wants to own our media empire. Johnny Gat does not like his negotiation tactics and a firefight breaks out on his airplane. Sounds safe. We dash through the cargo bay and parachute out, but it sounds like from an intercom chat that Johnny sacrificed himself for us.

Saints row the Third Johnny gat big Head Bank Heist

24 - We’re skydiving now, shooting down bad guys, and then to illustrate how crazy this game is, I dive through a plane that was trying to ram us, travel all the way through it kicking ass on the way, and fly out the other size. All right, that part was in a cutscene, but it looked cool. After another descent full of shooting, I catch the girl for a second time.

30 - Driving around town now, our bank accounts have been wiped, so it’s back to square one, of course.

45 - We break into a huge weapons cache, kill a ton of soldiers, take over a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) and shoot tanks in the middle of the city from 10,000 feet Modern Warfare style. Then we hop on some helicopters and shoot a ton more down.

50 - Out on the street now checking out properties. I call up Pierce and initiate a mission, just need to get there. End up taking the car into a lake and I can warp to shore.

55 - Driving around town with Pierce creates some hilarious conversations and radio sing-alongs. “Love... is what I got.” I decide to just sit in the car and listen to them sing.

Saints row the Third Skydiving Explosions

First Hour Summary

Minutes to Action: 8

Well, that was a blast. Volition certainly knows how to start a game. Saints Row 3 features some great comedic writing and pretty well crafted shooting sequences. Most games would be happy with just one of the big moments The Third features, but we get all three with bank bust, freefalling, and raining hell from the UAV. No complaints here in lack of content or entertainment.

While the game feels remarkably similar to Saints Row 2, I feel like the controls are more standard third-person shooter now, which is nice. The second game had some quirks, it wasn’t a big deal on their own, but just seemed a bit off in ways you couldn’t say unless you looked at how all the buttons were mapped out. Thankfully, The Third fixes what was “broken” and we can move on without glancing down at our controller.

Bias: Much like with Saints Row 2, I don’t have strong opinions about the series, but the sandbox genre hasn’t really perfectly triggered with me since Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. I’ve played plenty of good and great games like The Saboteur and Infamous, but those never really elevated themselves above the genre in major ways like the final PS2 GTA game did. Honestly, I’m not sure if I’m even looking for another San Andreas, so what am I complaining about?

Would I Keep Playing? Yes, this was a great start to what promises to be an insane game. Almost seems to make my “yes” to continuing Saints Row 2 a moot point when Saints Row: The Third exists.