Saints Row The Third: Part 3

By Shamus
on Jun 14, 2012
Filed under:
Game Reviews

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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

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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.

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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.

Customization

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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 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.

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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.

Septic Avenger

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.

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From the Archives:

  1. Sucal says:

    Surprised you still haven’t talked about deckers.die yet.

    Also I’m fairly sure they were different actors in both games. The second game had Maxwell sheffield from the Nanny, not whoever they have doing it now.

    And I noticed the rather annoying lack of dresses rather quickly when I was outfitting my russian character (my favourite voice for sure.) Somehow I have a feeling we will be seeing a nickel and dime ‘dress release’ sometime soon.

    • Shamus says:

      Deckers.die was sort of amusing but I didn’t have much to say about it. A goofy Matrix / Tron mashup with toilets and blow-up dolls.

      • Sucal says:

        Was curious, and I just confirmed. The British Boss was voiced by Charles Shaughnessy, rather then Robin Atkin Downes in SR2. I kind of prefer him, but thats because I can imagine Maxwell getting annoyed by Fran one too many times and deciding to take to the streets with a Penetrator.

        Still, glad to see you were enjoying the game.

      • Naota says:

        It did feature a text adventure, simulated lag as a deliberate control screw, and a fakeout full system crash. The later two were pretty novel and elicited some laughter from me, but thinking back I actually wonder how many players got the joke when it came to the text adventure. Those things are a mouldering relic out of a bygone time before a bygone time. I’m 22, have used a computer since I was 5 (in DOS no less), and have never seen one except as an obscure parody.

  2. sab says:

    I was also kinda disappointed in the choice in the final mission; save your friends or get revenge.
    I felt like I was trying to get revenge on behalf of Angel, whom I didn’t care for all that much at any rate. Worse yet, the revenge path is supposed to be canon.
    Grumble grumble.
    However I _did_ like the fact that during that mission, Bonnie Tyler – Holding out for a Hero was playing. Dooo doo dooo DOOOOO!

  3. Robert Maguire says:

    I don’t know if it was pointed out in the comments to your previous posts, but Gentlemen of Steelport adds in a ton of the stuff that should have been in the game (like replaying missions and letting you customize everything you own). It also fixes the “in-game clothing not available in the shops” issue you mentioned.

    The same page also has a similar mod for Saints Row 2 that fixes pretty much every problem the bad PC port had (though getting your CPU speed throttled correctly is kind of a pain, requiring you to time in real life how long a certain race took and compare it to the time the in-game clock says, then plug the number into an ini file somewhere).

  4. zob says:

    I’m pretty sure the female voice you’re referring to is Laura Bailey.

    • RedClyde says:

      Yeah, Female Voice 1 is Laura Bailey in SR3, and was Katie Semine in SR2. I wonder where he got Jennifer Hale from. Is she like the female Nolan North, where you just assume she’s in everything? :P

  5. Alex says:

    That last line made it worth reading all three articles for a game I don’t care about.

  6. X2Eliah says:

    … A mission spraying brown goop (“shit”) onto buildings was fun? How? It was a chore in terms of gameplay, taking into account the loathsome vehicle physics and the mundane turret-control part of it, and in terms of what it actually portrays.. Well, ok, idk, maybe spraying shit is something you find amusing. I certainly don’t, and I don’t really believe you do either.

    So why did they leave it out? Here, let me answer that:

    you drive around in a septic truck, hosing the neighborhood down with liquid feces

    – that’s not hilarous, witty, funny, or satirical. It’s just plain idiotic.

    Edit – Btw, about the british guy voice. As you said before, SR3 in it’s setting is about a straight (as in serious) player in a completely twisted world. In that aspect, I’d say the british guy voice actually fits extremely well (also, making the character look aged, wearing a suit, and having that voice = pure awesome).

    • Jokerman says:

      Yea, even thought the mini games were forced on to you in saints row 2, i never touched this one after the first go, the gameplay was pretty average, I miss Hot Fuzz more honestly :(

      • X2Eliah says:

        Hm, which one was hot fuzz? Was that where you had to protect some npcs from a crowd of photographers/fans by throwing said fans around?

        • James Pony says:

          Fuzz was about dressing up as a police and responding “wrong” to actual police calls, for the purposes of getting the fictional reality-show “Fuzz” more XXXTREME content, because reality isn’t good enough for “reality”-TV (you get the request from the makers of the show).

          Bodyguard was the “throw people around” thing.

    • StranaMente says:

      If I wanted to be needlessly sarcastic I’d say: “Not everybody is a sad grumpypants” but that surely is borderline trolling and unproductive.

      So I’m going to say that I liked that kind of mission because the whole game was full of over the top silliness and goofiness. Even though it had some really sparse serious moments, the whole game was childish fun.
      You could say the same thing of almost all the side missions in SR2, a game that rewards you for running around naked and show your intimate parts to old people on the streets.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      “– that’s not hilarous, witty, funny, or satirical. It’s just plain idiotic.”

      As opposed to beating people to death with a half meter long purple dildo?

      • X2Eliah says:

        Have I ever said that that particular thing was funny? Because it isn’t either. And I’ve often spoken about how mronic that particular thing was – especially in pre-release advertising, that sold the game as a far lower-brow humour than it mostly had.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          I didnt say you have.I just said that its in the game.So thats not the reason why the scat play was removed.

        • StranaMente says:

          Have you ever thought that this may not be the game for you?

          • X2Eliah says:

            Funny you say that, given that I’ve also repeatedly said that SR3 is (mostly) a really good game with clever homour and fantastically fun gameplay & story balance.
            I certainly did enjoy it while I was playing it.
            SR2, however, I completely admit, it’s not a game for me, seeing as I cannot actually run it without crashes, gamespeed & graphics glitching.

    • Cain says:

      The mechanics of Septic Avenger were kind of dull, but I loved the running commentary from the drivers in the two instances.

  7. Jokerman says:

    Im surprised you enjoyed this game so much, i thought it was ok…finished it and havent really gone back.

  8. Dude says:

    Shamus, are you guys considering doing a Saints Row The Third Spoiler Warning sometime after Mass Effect 3? I know Josh did a livestream a few months ago, but I think, it would be be a fun, short season to do. Josh could host the game, and every week or so one of you could do a co-op stint with him and take turns driving him mad with shopping.

  9. Naota says:

    It was a challenge that required three sex changes and surgery that would put John Travolta to shame, but I finally managed to bring some much-needed class to the uncivilized rabble that is the 3rd Street Saints.

    One thing that annoyed me about the selection of hats was that not only were they scarce, but just like the pants and glasses, so many of them were exact same fedora with an almost insignificant change. I don’t understand this at all. Even just among fedoras there are far more visible differences in style (brim size, brim shape, amount of indent in the crown, slant of the hat, pinned or rolled up sides – anything!) than were available from the 5-6 nearly identical options provided.

    Would it be too hard to move a dozen verticies around into the shape a trilby? A bowler hat? A straw boating hat? One of those 30’s paper boy caps? These are not complicated models!

  10. Simon says:

    I preferred the British guy voice in SR3 solely for the fact that it sounded more like Jason Statham, meaning I could RP as his character from the Crank movies. Or in fact Statham himself, who is just plain awesome.

  11. Alphadrop says:

    The Gentlemen of Steelport/Stilwater main modder explained why the clothing was so limited compared to 2 in terms of NPC clothing.
    In 3 the NPCs are a complete model including their outfit whereas in 2 they were similar to the player and wore clothes instead.

    • Torsten says:

      Wouldn’t that still have made it possible to model the clothing items separately for the player character to wear?

      Volition is probably planning on making the game a bit of a cash cow with DLC packs. However, they have been handling the DLC business “right” so far, so it is not that big of an issue.

      • Adam says:

        They’ve been selling CHEATS as DLC. I’m not sure what your definition of “right” is, but it’s got very little to do with mine.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          And whats wrong with that?Its extra content that has no impact on the main story,so why not sell it?

        • Torsten says:

          As Daemian Lucifer puts it, it’s extra content that has no impact on the main story and has no need in the core game. You’re free to buy them if you want to change your experience. Also, they are not advertised in the game itself.

          As for the cheats, the core game gives a possibility to make your character immune to almost every kind of damage, give infinite ammunition and sprinting ability, and have nitrous on any car. Most of the DLCs are just fancy suits and crazy weapons.

        • Dude says:

          So you’d rather they sold “extra content” that people would then bitch about not having until later like Back To Karkhand and so on? (SR3 also did this. No one seems to be complaining about that. Gamers.)

          The cheats are all unlockable in game via level upgrades and you don’t need to buy them if you’re willing to spend time playing the game to, you know, level up.

          • Adam says:

            But that defeats the PURPOSE of cheat codes! They’re SUPPOSED TO BE FREE AND EASY PATHS TO POWER!!! More importantly, almost all of the cheats they’re selling were in SR2 for free, and there’s literally NO reason why they couldn’t have been available from the get-go in SR3.

    • Mr. Guy says:

      Maybe someone who understands the concept of character animation better than me could explain this (cue Shamus?) but this sounds odd to me.

      In order to build the player character, you need to build all the character customization concepts and animate them all. You need the ability for clothing to exist, fit, and move. That seems to give you for free all your NPC’s – just procedurally pick random character attributes and randomly select clothing that you’ve already animated and away you go – all the NPcs you could eer want

      Where’s the time/effort saving for having NPC’S be a separate system that so clothing differently? I.e. why would you NOT use the model they used in SR2? It seems like building a separate system for NPc’s is more work,not less…

      • Caffiene says:

        Its more work for the modellers and artists in that they have to create the underlying person and then the clothes over the top, and make sure they dont intersect in funny ways when they animate, etc. When done badly you might see, for example, an elbow stick out through the clothes when an NPC bends their arm. If they dont have an elbow underneath, it cant stick through and you dont have to worry about it.

        But the other part, which Id suspect is the main factor for the decision, is not in development time but in game processing time. Animation, rendering, etc, of complex characters like NPCs take a fair amount of CPU time compared to other aspects… and doing all that for a complex body and then a complex set of clothes over the top is twice as much work as doing it for a single object that combines body and clothes.

        • Gilf says:

          So what you’re saying is that the NPCs in Saints Row the Third are likely some kind of horrific pseudo-body composed of torso, hands, feet, and head stitched into a sort of half-assed Frankenstein’s Monster with clothing in place of the body parts they couldn’t find?

          Man, this game is suddenly a lot darker than I remember it being.

  12. Cain says:

    I was annoyed with the reduction in customization. In SR2 I made my guy look like Raoul Duke, I wasn’t able to reproduce that look in SR3. I did manage to make an unmasked Rorschach though, which was kind of neat.

  13. Anon says:

    I miss the celebrity bodyguard minigame and the police brutality one.

    • Mr. Guy says:

      Argh! No! Not the bodyguard game!

      Maybe it was just me (or the PC port) but that game was keyboard-shatteringly broken when I played it. The big issue was I’d never pick up the right person. Somehow I’d ignore the crazed fan right in front of me and assault a random passer-by. Almost every time. No thanks, I’ll play the fun mini games instead.

      Now Fuzz was made of awesome. “Cops use chainsaws, right?” It was the perfect SR mini game. Fun, used the game mechanics well, completely and unapologetically over the top. One of the few mini games that was so much fun I was actively seeking them out and sad when I’d done them all.

      • Anon says:

        I played the PC port. To each his own I guess. I hated Septic Avenger. I also found the celeb guarding hilarious, what with fans using baseball bats and eventually guns. And I really liked throwing people for some reason, so maybe that’s why I liked this mini-game so much.

        But, I also miss the ability to pick up signposts.

  14. Mephane says:

    I have recently bought Saints Row 3 precisely because of Shamus’ articles (and agree that they are mostly spot on, I think it is definitely better than both SR2 and GTA4), I recently came across the ingame radio commercial for some kind “Genki World” theme park, and at certain points in that speech I really thought this part must have been spoken by Shamus. Particularly the way the word “murder” (which appears several times throughout the commercial, heh) sound exactly the way he pronounces it.

    Admit it, Shamus, Professor Genki is your secret evil* identity!

    *Or is Shamus Young the evil identity, and Genki the good one? Who knows!

  15. guy says:

    Note to self: Get Saint’s Row 2 at some point. Preferably soon.

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