I’ve been critical of Saints Row in the past, rather unfairly, and almost entirely because I could never see it as anything other than a GTA knockoff. Even if that may’ve been true in the beginning, the series has found a way to distinguish itself by diving face first into territory even Rockstar won’t attempt. While the Grand Theft Auto series has taken a more serious, plot driven route with its gameplay and characters, Saints Row has cranked up the absurdity to levels most games wouldn’t dare to tread. And God love ‘em for it!
It’s true for the series now more than ever with The Third, the closest thing to a spiritual successor to GTA: San Andreas this medium has to offer. Saints Row has always epitomized what the (disappearing) genre of sandbox games should strive to do: Go anywhere, do anything, by any means the player can think of. Not only does it have fundamentally solid gamplay to build off of, Volition, Inc’s tossed all restraint out the fucking window. Nothing is too crass, offensive, illogical, or ridiculous to be included, and the game’s all the better for it. Here are my five faves:
GTA may’ve abandoned its famous weapon of phallic purple pain back in 2005, but Saints Row is more than willing to pick up where CJ left off. Besides, the one in San Andreas was more like a little rubber blackjack. Volition’s fed it a fistful of Enzite and turned it into a six foot Neanderthal club of lethal humiliation. I wish I could be more mature about inclusion of a Dildo Bat, but every time I see it I think of Bigfoot eating it like a popsicle and I laugh my ass off.
Why should you have to constantly pick between a 4-door sedan that handles poorly and an SUV that handles even worse? Surely, there’s a better vehicle out there that comes standard with projectile weaponry that moves a tad faster than a Sherman tank, right? You have your answer with the Genki Mobile! As you drive around Steelport, this classy ride gives you the ability to suck up undeserving pedestrians and then fire them at will. Cruel, yes… but we’re talking unlimited ammo here, people. And just like everything else in Saints Row, it’s always funnier with nuns.
I don’t know about you guys, but I’m sick of games playing coy with their aerial vehciles. Maybe I don’t want to jump through a bunch of hoops for hours on end just to take flight in a weak ass helicopter? This here’s a government issue jet, heavily fortified with long range missiles to boot. Not only can you hover gracefully above the streets terrorizing innocent citizens, you can go supersonic and send the craft screaming cross the entire city at Mach… something. Doesn’t matter – fly how ya want. Just have a parachute handy.
That first Saints Row: The Third gameplay tease wasn’t fucking around. Saints Row truly prides itself in unnecessary roughness. I didn’t think anything could top the ability to piledrive a women on the street for no reason whatsoever, but then I spent some time with the crotches of Steelport. It’s not just that every weapon in the game has a melee function… every weapon has a unique nutshot. Just because…
Go balls out. No really, let ‘em swing! Saints Row might be the first console game I can think to finally realize that the greatest clothing option in a game all about personalized customization, is no clothes at all.
Above: This, I cannot explain… yet
And we’re just scratching the surface, people. Obviously, Saints Row has much more filth and depravity to deliver, and I couldn’t be more excited. Honestly, I had no idea I’d like the game so much, and you can see in the video below that I was sincerely moved - flustered even - by all the glorious juvenile behavior on display. Keep an eye on this one, opportunistic politicians.
Jun 17, 2011