One hundred and twenty-five hours. That’s how much Saints Row the Third I’ve played. I haven’t stuck with a single game like this since Skyrim. In fact, I turned up the difficulty. I can’t remember the last time I liked a game enough to play it on the higher difficulty levels.
Let’s wrap up the series with a few random observations about the game.
British Guy Voice
As in the previous game, you can choose from three female voices and three male ones for your avatar, in addition to the goofy but amusing zombie voice they added this time around. I’m pretty sure all the old voice performers reprise the role. Jennifer Hale is still the standout among the females. I think the default white guy voice is the least interesting of the bunch, but he’s not bad. Some of his one-liners are pretty good. (Interesting that each voice gets their own set of taunts and jokes.)
A minor disappointment for me was that the quasi-British guy sounds wrong. It’s the same actor. According to this the actor is Robin Atkin Downes, a guy with an unbelievable list of characters: The TF2 medic, Travis Touchdown, Deputy Beagle from New Vegas, Rico Rodriguez from Just Cause, The Warrior Within Prince of Persia, and about a hundred other roles.
For some reason, his take on the role has shifted a bit from Saints Row 2 to Saints Row 3. He seems to have turned the accent down and gone for an older, more gravel-voiced performance like he's an old dude in a Guy Ritchie film.
I wonder if this was the director’s decision, or the actor’s. Given the huge list of roles he’s done, I wouldn’t be surprised if he couldn’t recall the exact details of his earlier performance. In any case, this kind of ruined the fun of subverting the setting by playing a bloodthirsty, megalomaniacal upper-class English gentleman. It was like playing as a gangster version of Alfred Pennyworth. In Saints Row 3, the voice now fits the part, which nudges the player into the role of the straight man.
EDIT: Jennifer Hale was not in Saints Row 2. Neither was Downes. IMDB doesn’t seem to give credit for the British guy voice in SR2. In any case, I still preferred the SR2 take on the character. Or sub-character. Or whatever.
There are a lot of very basic, obvious clothing items omitted from Saints Row 3. Very few hats. Most dress shoes come without socks, which looks absurd. There’s a lot of 70’s kitsch clothing worn by pimps and prostitutes in the game, but you can’t obtain any of it.
It’s strange, because there’s a large selection, but not a lot of variety. There are tons of different sunglasses in the game. They’re all unique, but they differ so slightly that you could be forgiven for thinking you’ve seen them before. There are “aviator” sunglasses, and “5.0” sunglasses, which are basically the same thing with slight differences to the rim shape.
|I want these glasses, but for some reason they’re only worn by prostitutes. What do you want Volition? Money? DLC something? They’re in the game, just let me wear them!|
I wouldn’t mind this exhaustive selection of sunglasses except for the fact that there is only one pair of eyeglasses!?! Those fat-rimmed “hipster glasses” are the only non-sunglasses I can find. That oversight alone kills about half the character designs I want to do. No John Carmack. No Gabe Newell, Shamus Young, Bill Gates, Buddy Holly, John Lennon, Woody Allen, Harry Potter, or anyone else who would be hilariously inappropriate as the leader of a ruthless crime syndicate.
Another area of lopsided selection is in the area of pants. There are so many jeans that are more or less identical. Same goes for the dozen or so dress slacks in the game. But then we only have two dresses? (One looks like like a wardrobe malfunction, and the other is polka-dot. C’mon Volition. Couldn’t you dump a few of these sets of baggy hip-hop style jeans and give us another dress or two?)
Comparing Saints Row 3 and Saints Row 2 is like comparing the character builders in City of Heroes and DC Universe Online. The older game has a larger, more diverse library of objects and more total ways to combine them. The newer game is focused around pre-designed outfits that are more polished, but less useful for mix-n-match creativity.
Volition made the gameworld even more crazy than ever, yet they somehow managed to leave out the notorious and hilarious game mode where you drive around in a septic truck, hosing the neighborhood down with liquid feces?!? That’s like leaving lightsabers out of a Star Wars movie. Yes, I’m saying the feces cannon is the lightsaber of the Saints Row universe. That truck was practically a character in its own right.
Some of my best laughs with Saints Row 2 came from doing those missions where the transvestite Realtor hires you to ruin property values in upper-class neighborhoods. The role was played by the same voice actor that played Garrus Vakarian in Mass Effect, and here he gives a very similar performance. “Garrus” rides along with you and provides a running commentary on the ensuing unhygienic destruction. It was glorious and absurd.
Why would they leave that out? What madness is this?!?
Saints Row the Third is still a good game. All I’m saying is that it would be better if it had more crap in it.
The Best of 2013
My picks for what was important, awesome, or worth talking about in 2013.
Starcraft 2: Rush Analysis
I write a program to simulate different strategies in Starcraft 2, to see how they compare.
Batman: Arkham City
A look back at one of my favorite games. The gameplay was stellar, but the underlying story was clumsy and oddly constructed.
Are Lootboxes Gambling?
Obviously they are. Right? Actually, is this another one of those sneaky hard-to-define things?
The Middle Ages
Would you have survived in the middle ages?