Home | 5 Reasons Why I HATE Saints Row: The Third

5 Reasons Why I HATE Saints Row: The Third

Posted by: Cooper | Filed Under Lists, Opinions, Weekly Articles | No comments 
2012
Aug 24

Some of you may have noticed that I gave Saints Row 3 an absolutely respectable score of 8/10. I can’t even explain to you how far away from the truth that score really is. I suppose when I reviewed the game I was still blinded by the “OMGITSANEWGAMEANDITSPERFECT!!!” feeling you get when you play through something for the first time. But then you settle down. Weeks later, you realize that the game you loved only a few weeks ago is now on your shelf collecting dust. That is what happened with Saints Row 3, and I am going to explain why. These are the 5 reasons why I HATE Saints Row: The Third.

#1: They butchered the story.

Lets face it, Volition threw out their love for their fanbase when they killed Johnny Gat within the first five minutes of the game. I’m sorry if you didn’t know (it’s hardly a spoiler) but Johnny Gat dies in the least glamorous, least gangster way. It goes against his character entirely. On top of that, the only character that truly seems to care is Shaundi. The main protag (or Boss) doesn’t even flinch and barely even brings it up again later in the story. Throughout, I was hoping, PRAYING, that Johnny would make some badass re-entrance into the story, saying he survived in some awesome way. Maybe they would even let the player play the flashback of how Johnny escaped. But no. Nothing. All we got was a zombified “homie” after the end credits. I felt hurt. Its stupid, I know. But after falling in love with all of the characters in the second game (and falling in love with Johnny in the first one), now all I’m left with is shells of their former selves. Shaundi is no longer a slutty stoner, but instead just a slut. Pierce is no longer a bitchy but hilarious side-kick. Hell, even the Boss is toned down and lifeless in this game. This would all be a little OK if the story progressed in a sensible fashion, but they didn’t even do that right. The main antagonist dies within the first few missions, without any climax at all. Then he is replaced by the lamest villains possible. They had an opportunity to make the deckers in particular really cool. And in the one virtual reality mission, it really was. But other than that, they were just push-overs. All of them were. In the previous Saints games, every gang had a different feel. The asian gang fought with swords and drove motorcycles. The redneck gang drove big truck and were really aggressive in combat. But the enemies in this game are all just carbon copies of each other.

Johnny Gat, one of the most beloved characters in the series, is killed in the first couple of missions…

All of this is ignoring the fact that Volition went TOO over-the-top in this game. Don’t get me wrong, I love killing people with giant purple dildos as much as the next guy, but sometimes its just a little too obvious that they were TRYING to go over-the-top. The greatest thing about Saints Row 2 is that is had the perfect balance between over-the-top craziness, and down to earth seriousness. That’s what made me fall in love with the characters, that’s what made me care. Saints Row 3 has NO serious moments. Even Johnny Gat’s death is handled with no care. The game tries too hard to fit into the “crazy” niche that it forgets why gamers fell in love before.

All in all, the story was a huge letdown. The game gives you choices throughout, which is nice, but they never really amount to any big changes. Hell, the game even lets you go back and change the main ending without making you grind through another playthrough just to see it. None of the endings you get are memorable.The entire story just feels thrown together. Almost like they sat around saying, “You know what? WE NEED MORE ZOMBIES! Find a way to put them in. How about a zombie island, that’s BADASS!”

NO! It’s annoying when I’m trying to complete a side mission, and there are zombies everywhere. They just threw things into the story because they sounded cool, and that, my friends, leads to poor storytelling.

And for the hardcore Saints Row fans out there, what ever happened to the separate Dex and Julius storyline? This was one of my favorite secrets in Saints Row 2 and they just threw it to the side in Saints Row 3. What the hell?! You can’t just leave huge gaping plot holes in your games Volition!

The Story overall just SUCKS.

#2: How many gangs am I fighting exactly?

Volition stated that they got rid of the “3 gangs” mechanic to better focus the story. At first I thought this was a great idea, but they bombed it. Now all we have is a cluttered mess where none of the characters are fleshed out. In Saints Row 2, you knew all of the gang leaders and their lieutenants, and you knew them WELL. In this, all you know is the gang leaders, but nothing about them. Not where they like to hang out, who their girlfriends are. Nothing. At one point, I almost forgot that there even was a third gang.

Remember this guy? Probably not.

#3: Steelport is BOOOOOORING!

Seriously, there’s nothing to do, no secret easter eggs to find. There is no character in this place, most of the areas look the same, and driving around is just boring. Where’s all the cribs I could buy? Where are the shopping malls that you can actually enter and wreak havoc in? Where are the distinguishable parts of town, like Chinatown or beach areas? And why is it always seemingly night time in-game when I play (Probably a personal problem)? I remember being able to wander around Stillwater in Saints Row 2, and actually find new things in the world after 100 hours of play. You get none of that here. The point of creating a new city to explore is actually giving us things to look for! Volition obviously doesn’t understand that.

Where are all the fun hidden things like this in Steelport? Practically nowhere.

Another thing that is so boring about Steelport is the fact that all of the citizens are lifeless. Sure, they spout the occasional funny line or two, but that’s nothing compared to Saints Row 2. In Saints Row 2, you could go hours in one playthrough and still hear new things called out from the citizens. They would react to you, saying you either looked nice or smelled terrible. If you shot towards them, they would scream in a hilarious way, particularly the old people (lol). If you shot at their car while they were driving, they would veer to the left or the right, even if it meant driving off of the cliff. It’s their over-reaction to every situation that made it hilarious to just wander around and cause mayhem.

In Saints Row: The Third, the citizens are just obstacles that occasionally run in the way of your bullets. They are just background characters. Where as in Saints Row 2, they were actual characters all in themselves.

Another thing that stands out for me is playing Saints Row 2 nine times out of ten seems more appealing that playing Saints Row: The Third. I would pick Saints Row 2 over SR3 any day, and considering SR3 is a newer, “better” game, that’s kinda sad.

 

#4: The DLC didn’t make anything better.

All of the problems above could have been fixed. Through updates and DLC, Volition had the opportunity to liven up the experience in Steelport. With three major DLC’s promised, I had high hopes that the story would be fleshed out and they would pay more attention to the characters. But no, they actually managed to make everything worse. Since Saints Row 3’s release, 3 DLC’s have launched: Genkibowl VII, Gangstas In Space, and The Trouble with Clones. Genkibowl VII is exactly what it sounds like and is actually one of the better DLC’s mostly because it actually fleshes out Professor Genki, who isn’t even a main character. The DLC was fun to play and well written, and I honestly felt like I was playing a lost mission from Saints Row 2. I loved Genkibowl while it lasted. Then Gangstas in Space came out. To make a long story short, this DLC was just awful. The premise is lame, it’s short, and not even that fun. There is nothing new that really happens in GiS, and the whole mission plays like a filler mission in the main story. Not memorable at all. I was mostly disappointed because I thought this was another opportunity to bring Johnny Gat back. In the main story, “Gangstas in Space” was the name of the movie the protagonist and Johnny Gat were supposed to star in together. But all we got instead were pointless characters, no laughs, and a few new vehicles.

I give you, the most uninteresting and annoying character in Saints Row history.

Lastly, Trouble with Clones is probably the most disappointing of all. Mostly because it is a complete insult to fans like me hoping for Johnny Gat’s return. Volition basically spat in our faces, saying that if Johnny comes back, he’s going to come back as a huge, retarded monster. That is basically the premise of the whole DLC, along with being a reason to bring some new weapons into the fray.

 

#5: It’s only going to get worse.

The only thing that speaks louder than words is money. And let me tell you, Volition and THQ got PLENTY from Saints Row: The Third. This game outsold its predecessors by miles, which means that Volition has no reason to go back to old ways. It’s sad really. Fans like me who miss Johnny and the old serious/crazy formula of the series will NEVER get that treatment again. We will probably never get to play anything like that again.

A screenshot from “Enter the Dominatrix”, the DLC that will never be.

Volition has already come out and stated that they are working on Saints Row 4. They were actually working on a fourth DLC for Saints Row 3 called “Enter the Dominatrix” which has now transformed into Saints Row 4. I would like to say I’m excited for it, but I can already sense my buyers remorse. The same feeling I have now for Saints Row: The Third. But, to be honest, I am in the minority. There are a few people out there like me who are trying to speak out against it, but the fight is pointless. The damage has been done. Saints Row didn’t have the biggest audience before SR3, but now the fanbase has grown exponentially. So I may be alone in this, but, I am NOT looking forward to the future of the series.

I am going to continue playing through Saints Row 2 over and over, and pretending Saints Row 3 never happened.

 

My honest opinion now.

If I had to re-score Saints Row: The Third now, I would give it a 6/10. Much like Rage, the game was fun to play overall, but it put way too many key elements on the back-burner to make the game one coherent experience. I know as a game reviewer, it is very hard for me to go back on my opinion, but most of what I said about this game is still true. The game is extremely fun to play, especially fun to play. But at what cost? I would much rather get to play the same Saints Row 2 experience if it meant I got to play with my favorite characters again. It truly is bittersweet, and if by some odd chance that someone from Volition is reading this, just try and make it the way it used to be.

– Cooper

 


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