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Games Review: Saint's Row: The Third

Over-the-top action right at your fingertips
by Gelo Gonzales | Nov 17, 2011
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Some games make it a point to imitate reality. Some games draw you into epic fantasy worlds littered with dungeons and dragons. Some games make you want to break your controller. And some games just suck.

Saint’s Row: The Third isn’t just "some games." It’s not at all realistic, unless you consider mind-control octopuses to be real. It’s not going to lure you in with ambitious storylines ending in huge battles between good or evil. And it’s not one of those games that test your gaming manhood with challenges that make you want to pull your hair.

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So, what is it? Saint’s Row: The Third is crazy, insane fun. It’s mindless and chaotic, almost like a cartoon-y videogame tribute to why videogames matter in the first place: it lets us escape reality’s chokehold.

Along with that, The Third lets you do a lot of other things. It lets you jump off buildings and helicopters for a little sky diving. It lets you pilot jet planes, hover cycles, and tanks. It lets you reduce people to bits with the hateful Apoca-fist. A lot of outrageous things. The game’s like an outrageous theme park for any gamer who wants awesome, absurd weapons, and vehicles (most of which can be upgraded) and an entire city populated with rival gangs, and civilians that you can “test” your toys out on.

Haters will probably dismiss the game as nothing more than a Grand Theft Auto clone, which the series essentially was when it first started. But in this third game, we can say that the series has evolved enough to give it a personality all its own. It’s a Grand Theft Auto clone insofar as it’s an open-world game where you get to do whatever you like. The difference in tone, however, couldn’t have been any more pronounced. In GTA, you’re getting absorbed in its rags-to-riches plot. Here, you simply want to get your hands on a new toy to wreak havoc with, majority of the time.

The Third does have a story too, about your gang trying to establish a foothold in the city of Steelport, but like the rest of the game, the story doesn’t really take things all that seriously. With a nudge and a wink, the game always reminds you that it’s just a game, and encourages you to just have fun with the wanton violence, the imagined battle for territory, and the game’s overtly sexual themes. This isn’t a game for your kid brother.

As it stands, The Third is currently the brashest, most interesting game out there for all you office drones and frustrated anarchists who want to let out a little steam by going crazy in a make-believe world where you can do things without repercussions. Let the mayhem begin!

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