Graphics, sound, consolitis
”That’s just downright ethical!”
Saints Row 2 was a labor of love. It was fun, hilarious, and exploding in content, but became undermined every step of the way by consolitis. I am pleased to report that The Third treats the PC as if it were its main platform. It’s a Steamworks title and ties Steam into the game very well. SR3 features DirectX 10/11 optimizations, excellent controls, refreshing responsiveness, and perfect performance. Early on there were a few hideous bugs, including some error with multicore processors that would freeze the game, but most of it was quickly fixed by patches. This is good because SR3 only saves content if you finish a mission; I spent over 8 hours sandboxing at first, the game crashed, and I was back to the start like none of those 8 hours mattered. Remember to always save!
The driving in SR3 is only marginally better than previous titles. Almost everything you can get behind the wheel of responds either like a sports car or a golf cart, with nothing in between. The second you let off the accelerator you immediately stop, turns are way too sharp, you can go from 0 – 60 immediately, or the complete opposite of all the aforementioned. At least flying and boating is a lot better; it’s still pretty sluggish, but it won’t cause you to pull your hair out like in SR2.
’s sound effects are pretty standard, nothing too interesting to hear there. The voice actors, on the other hand, are excellent. Many prominent Hollywood actors will play themselves or one of the characters you fight with. I won’t name any names because they make for hilarious surprises. Like in SR2, you can change the voice of your character. You have seven choices including a standard Caucasian male/female, a standard African-American male/female, a British male, a Russian female, and lastly a zombie. If you pick the zombie, your character will speak in incoherent gurgles and will do so for the entire game and in every cutscene. This makes for some of the most unintentionally hilarious moments I’ve ever experienced with a game, and I had to pause frequently to wipe tears from my eye.
For the story’s sake, I played as the baritone Brit and, like in SR2, I found him to be incredibly annoying… at least at first. It seems it took the voice actors a little while to get comfortable in their roles, so there is a discernible quality difference from when you first play the game to the later missions. In contrast to SR2, your voice selection also changes your personality and dialogue. Rather than the exact same dialogue spoken by different actors, each is tailored to create a much more unique take on the world and what’s happening.
Speaking of personality, the level of customization in Saints Row: The Third
is insane. You can change every aspect of your character and make him/her look the way you want (they released this aspect as a free demo a few weeks before the game came out). You can personalize clothing and vehicles in the same way, or even your entire gang. Unfortunately, you cannot really customize your cribs like in SR2. Instead, you can only upgrade them, which merely changes the exterior and adds a few bonuses. There’s no interior designing or ability to manage bought properties other than you own the deed and get some cash flow and a discount.