Saints Row: The Third
Saints Row: The ThirdSaints Row: The Third is a comedic action-adventure video game set in an open world environment. It is developed by Volition, Inc. and published by THQ. It was released on November 15, 2011 in Australia and North America, and was released on November 18, 2011 in Europe for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It is the third title in the Saints Row series, after the release of Saints Row 2 in 2008. As in Saints Row 2, the player controls the leader of the Third Street Saints. The game world is the fictional city of Steelport, and the story focuses on the urban gang war between the Saints and the three gangs. As the gang war intensifies, STAG , an elite paramilitary police force led by Commander Cyrus Temple is deployed to Steelport in an attempt to disrupt the violence.
Saints Row: The Third PlotA while after the Ultor Corporation fall, the 3rd Street Saints have turned their street gang into a media empire, becoming icons and household names across the world, with their own energy drink, Japanese commercials, toys, a large fanbase, and a movie deal in the works. But when they attempt to rob a bank with actor Josh Birk, who is to play a Saint's member, their everyday routine takes an unlikely turn when the bank tellers unexpectedly start an all out gun war on the saints. The Saints attempt to airlift the vault out of the building, but when Birk foolishly sets off the alarm, it alerts the Stilwater P.D. and, after a large-scale firefight with police and S.W.A.T, the Saints are incarcerated.
In jail, Saints second-in-command Johnny Gat laments what the Saints have become, expressing disappointment at having strayed from their roots. At that point, an international criminal organization, called The Syndicate, bribes the police to release the Boss, Gat, and Shaundi. The three are forcibly taken to the Syndicate's leader Phillipe Loren, to try and negotiate a business plan with them aboard Loren's private jet. While in-flight, Loren tells them they will be allowed to live if they turn over 2/3 of the Saints' business in Stilwater. The Boss and Gat immediately reject this offer, and are able to fight their way out, with Gat commanding the plane back to Stilwater. The Boss and Shaundi use a parachute to escape the plane, but Gat is believed to be killed in the process.
Upon landing, the Boss and Shaundi find themselves in Steelport, the dystopian criminal city controlled by the Syndicate, a group of three gangs: The Morning Star, a gang with advanced technology equipment, controlled by Loren himself, the Luchadores, a Mexican gang lead by the killer wrestler Killbane, and the Deckers, a hacker-based gang led by Matt Miller. After calling Pierce Washington, the Boss's second-in-command, to Steelport, the Saints seize a Morning Star penthouse for their new headquarters, hijack a UAV from a military base, and begin attacking Morning Star's businesses, culminating with an attack on Syndicate Tower, Loren's headquarters, in which the Saints rescue Oleg Kirlov, an apparent superhuman and template for the Syndicate's Brute clones, and Loren is killed. When the Saints try to transport Gat's body to Stilwater for his funeral, Killbane, now leader of the Syndicate, leads an attack on them. The fight destroys Stilwater's Hughes Memorial Bridge in the process.
To retaliate, the player seeks out anti-Syndicate talent, recruiting Oleg as an enforcer, ex-FBI hacker Kinzie Kensington as an informant; Zimos, the oldest pimp in Steelport; and Angel de la Muerte, Killbane's vengeful former tag-team partner. They are later joined by Viola DeWynter after Killbane kills her twin sister Kiki out of rage due to a failed assassination attempt on the Boss. Her defection, however, coincides with the arrival of the paramilitary S.T.A.G. (Special Tactical Anti-Gang) forces in Steelport, created by Senator Monica Hughes after the destruction of the bridge to end gang violence once and for all. The Saints take on STAG regardless, resulting in Steelport going under martial law, whilst also dealing with the Syndicate.
After providing Kinzie with the appropriate technology, the player enters the Deckers mainframe, defeating Deckers leader Matt Miller's avatar in a virtual reality fight and driving him and most of the Deckers out of town. At Angel's insistence, the player opts to take on Killbane by killing the other contestants in his Murderbrawl XXXI pay-per-view to gain entrance, and then, with Angel's help, defeating Killbane in Murderbrawl with the option to unmask or spare him. Following his humiliating defeat, an enraged Killbane responds by instigating several attacks on the Saints and STAG throughout Steelport to cause chaos.
Whilst quelling the fighting between the Luchadores and STAG, the Boss is simultaneously informed that Killbane is escaping the city while STAG second-in-command Kia is holding Shaundi, Viola, and Mayor Burt Reynolds hostage at a Steelport monument rigged to blow to frame the Saints. The Boss kills Kia and saves Shaundi and the others, the Saints are hailed as heroes for saving the monument and STAG pulls out of Steelport with the threat that they will be back. The Boss tracks Killbane down to Mars and kill him in what is ultimately revealed to be a scene from the Saints sci-fi film Gangstas in Space, which the Boss and several members are acting in.
An alternate, non-canonical ending plays out should the player opt to eliminate Killbane. In which the destruction of the monument is used as a pretext by STAG to attack Steelport with the airborne aircraft carrier Daedalus. The Boss destroys the Daedalus, killing STAG leader Cyrus Temple in the process, and declares Steelport an independent city-state under the Saints' control, with Pierce taking charge as mayor, and the Boss as the ultimate leader.
Saints Row: The Third GameplaySaints Row: The Third retains the blend of an open world adventure game and an urban warfare format that is traditional in the Saints Row series. The player, as the leader of the Third Street Saints, can explore the new city of Steelport, performing main missions that progress the game's story, and side missions. These side missions include Activities, minigames, Strongholds, rival gang bases that can be taken over to control a section of Steelport, and Flashpoints, on-the-spot gang warfare. Successful completion of missions can earn the player in-game money, weapons, cars, and gang respect. The Third uses respect as experience points which grant levels, the highest level being 50, which in turn enables the player to spend money on improving specific attributes of their character, such as melee combat or firearms skills. The levelling system allows the player to purchase these attributes, or 'upgrades', each time the player character is leveled-up, with the various attributes requiring a certain level before purchase is possible. Money can also be used to purchase clothing items, weapons and cars, or may be used to upgrade weapons and cars, such as adding scopes or extra barrels to a weapon, which are then stored in the player's arsenal. Finally, money can be used to upgrade the Saints gang, customizing their appearance, outfits, and headquarters.
The "Initiation Station" system allows players to upload their character creations to The Third's online community, and download other players' creations to use with their save game. Within The Third, the player can set up to four different appearances for their gang. Finally, money is also used to purchase shops and other properties within Steelport, which will provide a steady stream of hourly income, in game, for the gang over time.
In previous Saints Row games, players were able to approach each of the three rival gangs along separate story lines that ultimately culminated into a final conclusion for each gang. In The Third, the story lines between the three gangs are interconnected, and are instead played sequentially. In addition, some missions allow the player to make decisions which affect the availability of weapons and ally characters that can be called to assist the player in combat.
While completing some missions, the player may be given a choice of options to finalize the mission. For example, the player has the option of using a gigantic bomb to demolish one of the enemy skyscrapers in the city; though they will gain a great deal of respect for the action, it will alter the city's skyline for the rest of the game and cause non-player characters to react differently to the player, while leaving the building standing allows it to be used as a headquarters for the Saints. New Activities have been introduced alongside many from previous Saints Row games, while others, such as Fight Club, are absent.
The player's arsenal is presented as a pop-up compass through which weapons are equipped with the analog stick. Novelty weapons are introduced alongside the traditional arsenal of handguns and automatic weapons. Players will gain the ability to call down airstrikes on encamped enemies, or to use a remote control electric bug to control vehicles remotely. Unlike the first two games, there are no health recovery items in favor of improving the grenade throwing system; in exchange, the player's health will regenerate at a faster rate as long as they stay out of the line of fire. Nearly all actions in the game can be sped up by holding down a second controller button, dubbed by Volition as the "awesome button"; for example, when carjacking, holding down this button will cause the player character to missile-kick (known in the game as the Bo-Duke-En, a joint reference to the The Dukes of Hazzard and Street Fighter) the driver out of the seat in short order.
In addition to the single-player mode, the game can be played co-operatively with another player. As in Saints Row 2, the second player can participate in all missions and activities, earning credit for their completion. Certain activities provide different rules when a second player is present; for example, in the Tiger Escort activity, the second player will have to control the tiger in the backseat while the first player drives. Because of their focus on this, Volition has removed the unpopular competitive multiplayer from the title. Co-op features require an online pass.
Saints Row: The Third received mostly positive reviews. Reviewers praised the Receptiongame's action, over-the-top gameplay, and quirky humor. According to review aggregator Metacritic, Saints Row: The Third has been better received than either of its predecessors.
The first review was published by Official Xbox Magazine for the Xbox 360 version, which gave The Third a 9.5 out of 10. They praised the game for its open world action, over the top action moments, self-aware sense of humor, and fun cooperative multiplayer. Their biggest complaint was that the story missions themselves do not allow for much creativity or improvisation the way that the open world does.
The second review and the first for the PlayStation 3 version was published by magazine Play, which awarded the game 88%, and stated "It has its issues, it has its drawbacks, but Saints Row: The Third is an utterly wanton, totally ridiculous bag of laughs. It's difficult to dislike anyway, and even harder to dislike with such an enjoyable, escalatory campaign. Great stuff."
The first review for the PC version of the game was published by PC Gamer, which gave it 83%, and stated that "It's mad. In fact, it barely makes any sense at all. But for all its wonky bits, there's an odd charm to Volition's decision to leave nothing on the drawing board. It's not the largest sandbox, but it is packed full of brilliant toys. Saints Row: The Third's commitment to unrestricted, ridiculous fun is unflinching, and the product is a city full of glorious slapstick debauchery."
1UP.com gave the game a B+, and stated that "Lackluster side-content notwithstanding, Saints Row: The Third is so crazy and over-the-top that you can't go wrong with this game -- provided that you're the sort that would appreciate the game's knowingly juvenile sense of humor."
IGN gave the game 8.5 and stated that "Saints Row: The Third gives the people what they want and drops us into an open world hilarious theme park. It doesn't take itself too seriously and only asks that you don't, either."
G4TV awarded the game a 5/5, praising it for its over-the-top self-aware sense of humor, surprisingly likeable characters, and enjoyable gameplay. The only complaints made were that the humor fell occasionally flat and some people might be too easily offended. Regardless of the drawbacks, they stated, "The humor is ridiculously, deliciously over-the-top, perhaps borderline offensive at times, but the best creative works always are. The gameplay is as tight as it's always been but even more fun than ever thanks to the varied set of tasks placed in front of you. This series is a knockoff no more; Saints Row: The Third is, in a word, brilliant."
Game Informer gave Saints Row: The Third a 9 out of 10, saying "Steelport will offer equal parts entertainment and absurdity". They also praised the game's deep and hilarious character customization, stating that "it will allow you to play as Ric Flair, Pantsless Collouss, and even 'S own Joe Juba". The main complaint of the game was for its glitches and absence of certain activities, such as Septic Avenger, from Saints Row 2.
UK magazine Edge was more critical of the game, giving it a score of 6/10. The game's over-the-top style was particularly criticized: "Saints Row's weakest parts are hand-me-downs from its GTA source text, uncomfortably echoing the squalid business of pimpin' and hustlin' in the form of a lame cartoon, a whooping fratboyish endorsement of crime and female degradation, devoid of any conscience or commentary."
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