Saints Row The Third: Part 1

By Shamus Posted Thursday Jun 7, 2012

Filed under: Game Reviews 84 comments


Like I said, Saints Row The Third is really great, but not perfect. So let’s talk about the bad parts, the odd parts, and the stuff that was left out. I had originally titled this series “Saints Row Nitpicks”, but as I wrote it grew from an enumeration of shortcomings to a more general discussion of the game and the genre it inhabits.

For the record, I didn’t play the first Saints Row game. I know nothing about it, except that it was notoriously buggy. For me the series began at Saints Row 2. I’ve played through the third installment once now, and I’m currently working on a semi-completionist second run.

You may notice that the player character is different in some of these screenshots. I tend to re-invent my character every couple of hours, changing my gender, race, voice, outfit, etc. (You can change all of this at any time. The character builder is just another store in the game. Going from a tiny female waif to a burly bearded muscleman is no different than buying a new shirt.) It’s a bit schizophrenic, but I like hearing all the different versions of the main character’s voice. And if you promise not to tell anyone, I’ll admit that I enjoy playing dress-up with my avatar.

A final warning: Spoilers ahead. I mean, this game is really, really obvious and I sort of balk at the notion that any of this could spoil the game for you, but I understand it’s considered rude not to give fair warning.

The Plot


I really think the story is better in Saints Row 3. In the previous thread on this game The Hokey Pokey explained why:

The most important thing, in mind, is that the story missions aren't insulting in SR3. In SR2 you are be captured by two unarmed men, even though you have seven guns with infinite ammo. You give speeches all game about “owning this city” and being a super hard gangster type, but suddenly you care about fair fights and honor long enough to be forced into a terrible sword fighting mini game. After you win said fight without taking damage, the following cutscene shows that you actually lost and were foolish to think you could succeed. One mission forces you to drive your ultra fast, incredibly tough sports car in the opposite direction of your destination so you can take a slow and fragile jet ski around the long way. SR3 is a lot less idiotic. The one time you get captured, it is by overwhelming force. You never kill anyone only for them to get up an run away in a cutscene. It is just better.

There is a really, really annoying exception to this. At one point in the game you’re obliged to spare an enemy you should obviously kill, and that comes back to bite you right away. It’s really annoying. But aside from that moment, the game does a lot less cheating this time around. The bank heist in the tutorial should be required viewing for any game designer who wants to make a story mission that ends in failure. It didn’t feel cheap. It didn’t feel like the writer stole my victory by fiat. It felt like Things Went Very Wrong on our mission, and we had to make the best of a bad situation.

However, the story here is not perfect and it really stumbles at a few key points.


The Zimos missions are just stupid. Their stupidity is never lampshaded, which means the writer was either asleep at the keyboard or they thought the audience wouldn’t notice. Zimos says that before he can help you against the syndicate, he needs help rebuilding his pimping empire, even though he seems to have a lot of girls already. Then after several missions where you do all the work and he does all the nothing, he asks for a favor. When you object he says, “Hey, haven’t I been helping you out?” And your character inexplicably agrees.

Uhbuh what?

Your final Zimos mission is the only one that even remotely advances your goals. You steal a bunch of sex slaves from the Syndicate’s cargo ship and bring them back so that they can be hos for Zimos. In return, he will give you a cut of the proceeds from the prostitution franchise you just got done building. Aside from the uncomfortable implication that I might be enslaving women (the game doesn’t really discuss the mechanics of how Zimos runs his operation, although it does seem like his girls are with him of their own free will) it’s not at all clear why I needed Zimos at all. He had nothing to offer the Saints.


(And yes, I realize it’s goofy for me to be uncomfortable with the idea of slavery after I just murdered twenty people and blew up eight cars in a pique of road rage. These games are like that for me sometimes.)

Then at the end of the mission you can actually sell the girls back to the Syndicate for a lump sum of money. I never took that option, but it seems like it would screw Zimos at the expense of rendering his entire questline pointless.

The second act of the game suffers from a lot of this, where you seem to be doing missions for no reason. You’ve gotten your revenge, you own a lot of the city, and the things you’re doing don’t seem to be advancing your goals against the Syndicate. It makes the middle of the game sort of muddled and I often found myself rampaging across the city blowing things up at random, because if I’m going to engage in pointless unproductive violence it might as well be on my own terms.



I don’t think any of these urban playground games have really gotten it right on tone. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Saints Row 2 have come the closest, but these more recent games seem to be missing the point.

What the player wants:

For the sake of illustration, let’s say that players want a mission to vandalize a poster of the mayor. Ideally, the mayor should be the personification of the kind of smug arrogance and cheap platitudes that drives people crazy. The player wants to be able to go in and draw a little Hitler mustache on his campaign poster. Maybe blacken out some of his teeth.

Yes, it’s a little bit childish, but humor me. Here is that same hypothetical mission as it would appear in the last couple of urban sandbox games…

What Grand Theft Auto IV gives you:

Niko meets Trixie, one of the women in the mayor’s harem of battered junkie prostitutes. She’s got a fat lip and is wearing sunglasses to hide the black eye he gave her last night. But that’s not why she wants Niko’s help. No. You see, last week the mayor slipped her some date rape drug at a party, and while she was passed out she missed the season finale of her favorite reality TV show. She wants Niko to get revenge for her.

Of course, she doesn’t want Niko to hurt her meal ticket, so she asks him to go downtown, find the volunteers putting up campaign posters for the mayor, and gun them down in the street. Niko accepts because Niko always does what people ask him to do in cutscenes. After the murders, Niko sits down with Roman and talks about how the American Dream is a lie and only fools believe in it.

And then everyone praises the game for its incisive social commentary.

What Saints Row The Third gives you:

Pierce calls you up and says the mayor doesn’t want the job anymore, but the people keep re-electing him anyway. The mayor is a circus clown named Mr. Bongo. Desperate to get out of being mayor, he’s willing to pay you $500 for every poster of his that you can find and deface. And if you can find them all he’ll give you the Bongo Boots, a pair of big floppy clown shoes that can punt cars into the air and explode your foes in a single kick.

The point is…

Yes, I’m exaggerating a bit here, but this is how the two games drift away from the ideal I have in mind. See, I want to be the crazy person while the entire gameworld plays the part of the straight man. I want a world of over-serious self-important jerks to blow up, set on fire, deface, rob, and suplex. I don’t want to make fun of the clown. I want to be the clown.


I don’t want to be Tony Soprano, running amok in Gotham City. I want to be the Joker, invading Tony Soprano’s New Jersey.

By design, the world of GTA IV is too vile for this sort of subversive mischief. Saints Row The Third gets it backwards by making the world zany and encouraging the player to be the straight man.


Having said that, I still prefer the Saints Row way of doing things. At least those boots would be good for a few laughs.


From The Archives:

84 thoughts on “Saints Row The Third: Part 1

  1. X2Eliah says:

    Yeah, SR3’s mind-game points.. When you “start to strike out against the enemy factions” is a wee bit of a mess – quite possibly because those parts are used to introduce the repeateable “activity” missions through a mainquest lineup.

    And, yes, again, Zimos is a weird character – and I’d say very underused, he comes across as just a comic-relief pimp in this game.

    Returning back to the Tone point, it is interesting how almost every mission in GTA4, in retrospect, was “shoot X / Kill Y numbers of Z”. Or “chase and then shoot X”. Other types of objectives, such as, as you suggested, defacing a poster, were really rather scarce. That’s unfortunately, one of the (imo) things that push GTA4 into the more repetitive, unfunny side of missiondesign.
    SR3 also suffers from this a wee bit – notably far less, ofc, and another major saving grace is that the actual act of enacting said killings (oh dear, this does sound rather morbid, doesn’t it?) is way more engaging and fun due to slapstick, over-the-topness, much more diverse methods of achieving said goals, and way less restrictions of resources & abilities (health, ammo, gun types).

    Also, if you ebrace the SR3 premise of a somewhat reasonable guy in a completely zany world, then it really works beautifully. It just meshes with actual gameplay so much better than the GTA4 story/game dichotomy.

    As for making the player be the zany one in a serious world.. Hm. Well, aren’t most players pretty chaotic and random in any game? That’s part of what creates a gameplay/world inconsistency, making the player do insane stuff – or letting him/her be completely wacky – and yet having the world be straight-up serious.
    That, and, well, playing a game set entirely in a mundane world thats neither SR3 funny nor GTA4 supersrsbzns would.. well, wouldn’t it just be boring?

    Oh, Also: What did you think about the Decker end-line missions, Shamus?

    1. Eric says:

      GTA IV really was kind of strange that way. San Andreas had a ton of gameplay variety, and every mission felt kind of different. GTA IV had a lot of side content and detail in every corner, but it feels like the main missions suffered significantly as a result. Obviously they were going for a more serious tone with the story, but surely that doesn’t rule out more interesting objectives.

      That’s why missions like the bank heist stand out so much – they’re a huge change from the monotony, have an interesting mini-narrative, etc. But the rest of the game, it felt like they had maybe 2-3 stock mission types and just copy-pasted them around the world at random, writing dialogue to prop them up and distract you from the fact that “oh, this is just another follow X car mission, or shoot Y dude through waves of dudes level.”

      My guess is the sheer size of GTA IV caught up with it. With over 1000 people who worked on it and $100 million spent, it’s not really surprising that it kind of turned into a big, bloated unfocused mess.

  2. Zagzag says:

    I’ve been playing through the game myself recently, and kind of ran out of steam at the point where the game starts giving you all the repeatable missions to do. I know that the game doesn’t want me to miss any of them, but I’d have had more fun if I could just do all of them whenever I wanted, instead of being forced to do one of each before I can get on with the plot, and not having them be available until that point in the game.

    1. Johan says:

      This was exactly me also. Worse was that I personally was disappointed with the side missions, since most of my favorites were removed to make room for new ones I really didn’t like

      The one saving grace of the ridiculous “respect” system of SR2 was that you were allowed to raise your respect by doing all and only the side missions that interested you. In SR3, you’re forced to do a level in just about EVERY mission. You always start on the Easy difficulty, so it isn’t really hard or a pain, but if the side-mission to you is boring than it’s just a time-waster, because unlike the core gameplay, a lot of the side-missions are hit and miss.

      I personally preferred Fight Club and Fuzz in SR2, but sadly they’re not in SR3

      1. Alphadrop says:

        Heh, those were my two favourite side missions. Straight up bare knuckle fighting was quite rare outside of the Fight Club so it felt very different from the rest of the game and Fuzz… well I get to legally run around “arresting” people with a chainsaw.

  3. swimon1 says:

    I have two problems with most sr3 quests.
    1) Very rarely do I get why I’m doing something. The motivation is always sort of muddled, as you said this gets extra bad in the second act but it was a problem from the very beginning for me. Most quests just feel like filler and the justification for doing them are slim at best.

    2)Most quests lack a denouement. If a quest is: rob this security deposit box from your enemies. Then the quest just ends after you get away, without actually opening the box. This makes most of the quests rather frustratingly paced, you rarely feel like you achieve something because the last step is missing and there’s no reflecting on what we did. This also aggravates the motivation problem, since you often don’t do the main quests in a linear way it’s easy to forget what happened. This is how the above mentioned deposit box quest played out for me:

    guy (pierce I think): we’re robbing a security deposit box, protect me!
    *stuff blowing up*
    guy: We got away
    *smash cut to mission accomplished screen, money! respect! woo!!*
    me: Wait so what was in the box? Whatever let’s start a car chase.
    *hours later*
    me: Lets do another quest.
    guy: Protect me again we’re destroying some syndicate stuff.
    player avatar: How do we know about this?
    guy: It was in the box.
    me: What box? Oh right that one, so that’s what was in there? Some info on the syndicate I guess? Mystery solved I suppose.

    See I don’t get why we didn’t open the box at the end of the first quest. That way we would have:
    1) answered the question posed by the first quest in a dramatically interesting way, answering them in a “oh by the way” in the beginning of the next quest is very unsatisfying.
    2)Given the quest a much needed denouement. Without it it doesn’t feel like the quest finished as much as it just ended.
    3)Setting up a clear motivation for the next quest. “Why are we doing this?” “because the papers we got last time told us to” is not clear motivation. We’ve already started doing stuff before understanding why, it feels more like we’re being dragged around by the nose rather than being the leader of a criminal organisation. If the last quest had ended with “oh it’s a bunch of papers telling us where the syndicate has their bases” “I guess we know where to hit them now” then motivation is clear before we start doing stuff and we have a motivation to start the next quest beyond “I can’t really finish the game otherwise”.

    I took this quest as an example because it’s especially egregious but I think most of SR3 has these problems. The quests end too early and they’re often confusing despite not being very complex.

    1. Fnord says:

      The cause of this seems to be the whole “introducing minigames as story missions”.

      If they were just minigames, like in SR2, you don’t worry about those sorts of things (at least I don’t); the point of the minigames is the minigame, and their connection to the story is just an excuse for them to exist. But cast them as story missions (and mandatory to advance), it feels like they ought to matter. Which they mostly don’t because they’re minigames. IMO, Zimos’s missions suffer from this the most, while Kinsey’s do the best job of justifying themselves as part of the story.

      The difficulty is giving people the prod to start the minigames, without breaking the story. Maybe it’s not necessary, but if people skip the minigames, they’re missing a big part of the game. The SR2 respect system had the potential to REALLY break the flow of the main story.

      I think it would also help a bit if the mission rewards were a little less cookie-cutter. Why am I making money by driving around with a tiger? Even if you just reduced the cash award and boosted the respect award for some missions.

      1. swimon1 says:

        That’s a good point. If they were openly just time-wasting sidequests they would just be fun (like the ones that don’t have a narrative purpose like the rampage ones or professor genki’s super ethical reality climax) but when plot gets involved I get this unreasonable expectation that that plot should be good ^^.

        I guess I can sympathise with the designers viewpoint of “well we made all this side-stuff we can’t have the players simply skipping it”. I haven’t played SR2 but my understanding is that you have to do a certain amount of side-quests or other nonsense to continue the main story. Both of these approaches kinda misses the point on how side-quests are supposed to work. Side-quests are fun because you don’t have to do them, when you incorporate them into the main game you only get a slightly longer and less focused main game. Say what you will about Bethesda’s hand holding and sometimes awful writing at least they understand that when you’ve made a game that is mostly side-quest you leave it up to the players to choose if they want to do them. If they don’t and finish your enormous game in an afternoon that’s their prerogative.

    2. GTRichey says:

      The difficulty with the safety deposit box example you mentioned is that it doesn’t work well either way because of the open world nature of the game. If you’re told at the end of one mission “Hey we’ve got a bunch of deeds telling us where the Syndicate is.” then decide to spend the next few hours just blowing stuff up for kicks, when you come back to the storyline you’ll be told you’re going to go blow up some stuff without knowing why since you spent the last few hours ignoring it. You could throw a line about it at the end of one quest and the beginning of the next but this will seem strange if you are doing them straight after each other. There’s no real solution that works for everyone because of the openness of the game (which I’m sure all consider essential)… I think they chose the best solution though, you’re given your motivation for a quest upon starting it rather than at a time where you could ignore, then forget it. It may mean some quests don’t have a satisfying conclusion, but it seems better than the alternatives to me.

      1. swimon1 says:

        I don’t see why they can’t do both. If the next quest starts with “ok the papers say this is where their base is” that wouldn’t feel weird coming in from the last quest and it’s enough to remind you (and if it isn’t you have your motivation: because the paper said so, that’s about par in SR3).

        But if they had to choose between a good ending or a good beginning I think a good ending is more important here. If the quests have a good beginning and a poor ending you understand why your doing things at first and you start interested in the quest but at the end you don’t really get anything out of the quest and the pacing leaves you a bit frustrated (not a lot but there is certainly a light nagging sensation at the end of every quest). A quest that starts poorly but ends good on the other hand is at first less interesting (up until the quest kicks into gear) and the motivation isn’t as clear but at the end you feel like you accomplished something and the quest ends satisfyingly. You might not have understood why you did things in the beginning but at the end you understand what you did. Personal taste perhaps but I prefer the second.

        That said I still think you could’ve had both, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to me especially since a few main-main-quests do have a good ending and a good beginning (it’s rare tho).

        1. GTRichey says:

          Yeah it’s definitely all down to personal taste and what individual players personally find more immersive. There really is just no great way to do it in an open world game, which is likely why it fails so spectacularly when the story takes itself too seriously. I’ll stick with being happy they made the choice I happen to prefer (putting the motivation for the next question in a cutscene at the end of the previous quest would drive someone like me to either have to immediately do the next quest or walk away from the game and not return).

          Doing both would be completely immersion breaking to me:

          Quest final cutscene
          NPC: We’ve got this information that will help us do this thing.
          PC: Well now we know to do that thing.
          End cutscene and go into player controlled mode
          PC approaches NPC beginning cutscene
          NPC: We’ve got this information that will help us do this thing.
          PC: Well now we know to do that thing.
          End cutscene and go into player controlled mode having begun quest

          1. False Prophecy says:

            What if the dialogue was just rewritten a bit? Would that help? E.g.:

            NPC: We've got this information that will help us do this thing. Whenever you’re ready, boss, just let me know.
            PC: Well now we know to do that thing.
            End cutscene and go into player controlled mode
            PC approaches NPC beginning cutscene
            NPC: Ready to do that thing, boss?
            1) PC: No End cutscene and go into player controlled mode
            2) PC: Let’s roll End cutscene and go into player controlled mode having begun quest

            If it’s implied that the mission is available, but not really urgent, would that help your immersion?

            1. GTRichey says:

              For it to be like this they’d need to give you the option before kicking you out of the first cutscene IMO. If you’re talking to an NPC and the cutscene ends, it’s a bit strange to immediately start another conversation about the same thing (unless the PC has a disease like Alzheimer’s). I mentioned below that one way to have it on both ends without being weird would be to have the player need to acquire some tools or get some other NPC involved. This gives reason to kick you out of the cutscene and it makes sense that they’d be asking if you’ve done whatever was required. The downside is that unless the task is trivial and can be done quickly it may slow down the story too much for some players.

              I’ll just say again I think this is always going to be a difficulty with open world games and why more often than not there’s very few missions/quests that lead directly into another. There’s not a right/wrong way to do things, just various ways of trying to minimise the issue of player freedom sometimes getting in the way of narrative. That said… narrative is hardly what most people will play SR3 for.

        2. For that matter, you can build a ‘pause’ into something like that. I mean, you get the safety-deposit box, right, and open it, and the guy’s all “Jackpot! These are the papers that have X information. I’ll need to spend some time going through them to find what we need, so check back in a while and we can take the next step.”

          So it could give you the affirmation at the end and still leave you room to go blow stuff up.

          On the other hand, swimon1’s original comment didn’t require that the finale lead somewhere else at all. The point was that the miniquests finished kind of limply because at the end there’s no “Lookit what we got/Lookit what we accomplished” outro making you feel like you did something.

          1. A hairless monkey says:

            and the guy's all “Jackpot! These are the papers that have X information. I'll need to spend some time going through them to find what we need, so check back in a while and we can take the next step.”

            I seem to recall that there are a bunch of quests that end just like that. So sometimes they got it right.

      2. Peter H. Coffin says:

        NPC opens box
        NPC: Hey, it’s a list of Syndicate stuff! You wanna we should go wreck this stuff sometime?
        Player Avatar: Yes
        NPC: Sweet! I’ll take this, make some calls to set this up, and we will *rock* *and* *roll* all over them!

        — later —

        if player finished prior mission

        NPC: That safe-deposit box of stuff we were going to take care of? We’re all set. You ready?

        PLAYER: Yes/No


        NPC: We went back to try for that box again, and got it this time. It was a list of Syndicate assets. You wanna go blow stuff up? I’ve got it all set up!

        PLAYER: Yes/No


        There’s usually ways to integrate things if the designers want to spend the time sitting down with a plotting flow chart and a pencil. Sure it’s an extra line of dialog, but that’s cheap if you have it planned ahead.

        1. GTRichey says:

          It would take an excellent writer to pull this off without breaking immersion. If the end of one quest gives the motivation for the next, it’s immersion breaking to me to then allow me to ignore it for any length of time…

          I suppose the best way to not break immersion in this example would be to create a list of things the player needs to obtain that are necessary for the next mission. This would give a reason for setting the PC loose in the world again… this would need to be a very simple task that can be accomplished quickly though to not frustrate those that find the story compelling (a small group to be sure, but no less important).

          1. Peter H. Coffin says:

            Right. You can keep a list of missions/quests/events. Some of them have prerequisites, some of those have other requirements, and you can pretty easily set the requirements to be any of

            1) things the player has experienced
            2) things the player possesses
            3) places the player is

            Now, events CAN BE as simple as “hear a bit of dialog” or “add McGuffin to inventory” that sets up a real mission, or acts as a trigger to enable other things. As long as you script carefully enough to prevent loops and MOSTLY prevent more than one thing from being able to happen at the same time, so you don’t get unrelated things following one after another cascading to enable other stuff.

  4. MadTinkerer says:

    One of these days I want someone to do a superhero open city game. The Spiderman franchise seems ideal for this, although Arkham City isn’t too far off as a more practical example.

    I haven’t played any of the superhero MMOs yet, though I suspect they’re not quite what I want either. By virtue of being Everquest/WoW style MMOs, they’re static so you can’t go around and beat up thugs in an area until you’ve driven them out of a particular neighborhood for good (for example).

    There are a few ways to handle a carjacking mechanic in a superhero game:

    1) The Simpsons Hit & Run solution, which is that you’re either asking for a ride, borrowing the vehicle, or your current character already owns the car. Not a bad solution in the short term, but over the course of a whole game that’s not Simpsons-themed, it could get old.

    2) The MMO solution which is to have travel powers so you don’t need a car. This is a possibility, but makes it more like the MMOs, and we’re trying to make this not like the MMOs.

    3) Summonable vehicle(s). An option to make a customized car for your hero is a good idea, but you should also be able to drive the other vehicles somehow because that’s the main point of a GTA clone.

    4) The goofy mad science solution, which is to have a Car Duplication Ray so you can make copies of vehicles without hijacking them. Works just like hijacking, but more thematic and definitely not villainous.

    Anyway, that’s just some of my thoughts on the subject.

    1. Fnord says:

      Or, as Yahtzee semi-jokingly suggested in his SR2 review, a super-VILLAIN open world game. Or at least a dark anti-hero vigilante game. That solves the car-jacking problem. And also the running over pedestrians problem.

      1. MadTinkerer says:

        “That solves the car-jacking problem. And also the running over pedestrians problem.”

        Ah, but no: that’s the beauty of going super hero. “almost” running over pedestrians, ripping out lamp posts to use as clubs, accidentally demolishing buildings, etc. And the more you do it, the more the cranky newspaper editors come after you.

        That’d be the “morality” system of the game: how much of a Public Menace, or otherwise, you are. A high Menace rating means the anti-heroes and criminal fringe are much more likely to help you, but the more high-profile goody-two-shoes heroes are less likely to help you.

        But even with a super low Menace rating and the other heroes helping you, that doesn’t mean there won’t be mayhem. The safer the city is, the more the villains will try to take it back, leading up to an all out Avengers Movie style battle over the whole city.

        Oh and if possible, the whole city should be ProcGen. I thought Introversion would have published Subversion and there would be more city generators by now, but evidently not…

    2. CrushU says:

      Go check out Crackdown, then.

    3. Adam Fuller says:

      Spidey doesn’t need a car! He can just web everywhere. And if you want faster long distance travel he could take the subway I guess (incognito). The problem with “carjacking” is really that I just can’t see a superhero driving around anything but their own personalized vehicle, assuming they drive at all instead of flying or whatever. I mean, batman in a pickup truck?

    4. You have the superhero ability “Summon bus”. Buses appear instantly and always are going exactly where you intend them to–except for the small percentage of times when you get on and someone takes the people riding it hostage as part of their nefarious plan . . .

  5. psivamp says:

    One thing that I would like to see implemented in games where you amass followers (Mass Effect 2, Saint’s Row the Third) to help against a greater evil, is the option to take on that massive evil without backup or without ALL of your potential friends. Show me why I need Zimos by letting me ignore him, take on STAG and have the character go, ‘Oh, hey, didn’t that Zimos cat say he could get me into this stronghold without a gun-fight? That might be easier than this frontal assault.’

    It requires more writing, but depending on how it’s handled it could offer a wider range of challenge. Achievement unlocked: Lone Wolf — you took down the massive evil without hiring any allies.

    1. GTRichey says:

      While this could be interesting… it seems more to me like speed runs that rely on hacks to essentially skip the entire game. It doesn’t make sense to me to want to skip over the vast majority of a game’s storyline. I suppose if you didn’t find the storyline interesting enough, but in that case it can be ignored in the case of SR3 and ME2… well the central plot wasn’t compelling so skipping over characters would seriously diminish any value the game has.

      There’s no harm in what you’re suggesting, but it really strikes me like warp whistles in SMB3… yeah it seems like a cool idea, but you’re cheating yourself out of the majority of the game you purchased.

    2. False Prophecy says:

      One thing I think Dragon Age 2 did right, was to allow your companions to speak up in conversations that directly concerned them. In one quest there’s a corrupt city guardsman who told me to mind my own business, and the companion conversation option led Hawke to ask, “What do you think, Guard-Captain?” Whereupon Avelline ripped the guy a new asshole. Not circumventing or avoiding gameplay, but allowing another option to resolve a questline. I’d like to see that mechanic fleshed out in future games.

      1. GTRichey says:

        This makes a lot of sense. If party members don’t have anything to do after their recruited then it’s not surprising players might wonder what the point was. Loyalty missions helped a bit in ME2, but it was still very much a case of all of the party members being there solely for combat with the exception of their mission… which is crazy. Fully fleshed out characters would have an opinion about almost everything. DA2 is the only game I can recall where it acknowledged this outside of the home/camp/spaceship (discounting the more linear JRPGs)

  6. Johan says:

    Every one of The Hokey Pokey’s points are valid about some of the worst failings of the SR2 story. But I still preferred it to SR3 because I always felt like I was accomplishing something. You mentioned the Zimos missions, yeah I hated him. His missions were the stuff of nonesense, they didn’t advance my goal and he had an annoying voice. It was around this long stretch between Loren and Matt that I sort of lost interest in the story. The only thing I could claim to be accomplishing was killing another boatload of random mooks.

    1. Yar Kramer says:

      That was the problem for me. In SR2, every story-mission resulted in gaining a chunk of the city, and beating all a gang’s story-missions meant that you never saw that gang again (outside minigames which specifically involved them) because you had completely and utterly obliterated them. In SR3, not only is Steelport one-third the size of Stilwater, taking over the city is a sidequest which is unconnected to the main storyline. Beating Matt Miller does not mean you’ve taken over the city from the Deckers or permanently gotten rid of them once and for all; taking over the city from the Deckers has no effect on whatsoever and also doesn’t permanently get rid of them once and for all. This is technically justified by the premise of “international crime syndicate” (as opposed to street thugs), but that still means I haven’t gotten rid of the Deckers.

      Add that to every criticism everyone has about “you are forced to do ALL the minigames”, and the fact that the spectacle (“Yes, that did just happen”) basically only works once because you’re expecting it on your second playthrough … well, I still liked it in general, but it really could have been better.

      1. MintSkittle says:

        Not only does beating the factions not remove them from the streets, but you almost never see any Saints walking the streets. In SR2, whenever you took control of a district, the previous faction didn’t spawn there any more, and Saints would. If you had a high wanted level with cops or gangs, you could always count on backup if you got to Saints territory. Not so in SR3. There, you have to go to one of your safehouses to pick up followers, or have unlocked the summon backup option on the phone.

        The only time I can recall Saints appearing in force was during survival, where 2-3 carloads would show up on the final wave. Where were you guys when I needed you!?!

        1. Johan says:

          Also the lack of Saints on the streets was part of (for me) why some of the conceits of the story stopped making sense.

          In SR2 everything was tied to the gang. When you buy property 2 Saints appear outside the doors-actually if I may tangent a moment, WHY DID THEY REMOVE THIS WHEN IT MADE EVEN MORE SENSE IN SR3? You can remove your wanted level by entering property you own, which Pierce explains as “we own it, so we have people protecting it,” yet it was in Saint’s Row TWO where you actually had people visibly “protecting” the store

          Anyway, you buy property and Saints appear there. You take part of the city and Saints are walking around. It made it feel like we were actually running something, instead of being in the situation of every FPS hero every, “everyone is off eating pies while you do everything yourself” (ok the people with voices are ostensibly doing things, but it would have been nice to see gang members around, especially since Kinzie apparently needed a lot of heavy lifting done, in every other way it seems like we’re running a multimedia/gangster operation of about 7 people)

          It also would have helped to give the Saints a visible presence to help me mentally accept some of the later “what?” moments. I can’t remember how I ever got a Helicopter Gunship out of the first mission, I didn’t ride a gunship to catch the guy, I didn’t see one anywhere, but I received one for completing the mission. At one point Pierce shows up on one of the missions with a thing that lets us use airstrikes (what, this is Mercenaries 2 now?) with no explanation that I could find of how he got it and who was flying the planes. Both of these I could have more readily accepted with “a Saint did it.”

          1. James Pony says:

            Saints appear at my owned stores and patrol owned territory.

          2. Shamus says:

            In my completionist game I control over 75% of some districts, and Saints do spawn there. So the mechanic exists, it’s just that the bar is set so high that a lot of people never hit it.

            1. acronix says:

              I’ve noticed that saints tend to spawn more around the cribs and around the Saint’s clothe store.
              As a side note: if you control most of the neighborhoods you’ll eventually be unable to find enemy gangs, except of survival missions. This can screw you up for some achievements.

              1. Amnestic says:

                That happened to me and I HATED it. If they hadn’t removed the Replay Mission thing from SR2 then it wouldn’t be an issue.

                I loved SR3 but that bugged the hell out of me.

                1. Fnord says:

                  Yeah, the removal of the replay mission option was really annoying.

            2. Johan says:

              So that’s it

              Well it’s good that it DOES exist still

              I just wish I could see it

              I don’t think I’ve ever seen them around, except when I call them. There’s always one hanging out in my crib when I load a save, but otherwise nothing

        2. James Pony says:

          I do not have this problem. In fact, on my second playthrough I specifically avoided eating all territory just so I’d have the option of driving over, shooting or pro-wrestling Syndicate faces into the pavement without separately starting some specific activity. Otherwise the Saints are everywhere, which is also great in its own way. And Saints that aren’t your followers don’t have very long lifespans.

          And (and and) when doing stuff like survival, it’s always a good idea to call homies before you start.
          Unless you like using explosives and have infinite ammo and health. Then you’ll just end up pissing them off with your “friendly” fire.

          Also, steal the SWAT APC with the machinegun on top and you can grind ristecpa technically indefinitely if you have a spare enemy gang operation in a location with limited approaches, if you REALLY need some upgrades or just want to game the game.

        3. The Hokey Pokey says:

          Gang presence is determined by city takeover progress, not mission progress. If you have 100% control in an area, enemy gangs will not spawn in that area unless you already have a high gang notoriety from somewhere else. If you have 100% control of the whole city then the enemy gangs disappear entirely (unless you count S.T.A.G.). Saints patrol any area you control, as well. In fact about one third to half of the people that spawn in my 100% run are Saints.

          1. MintSkittle says:

            I’ll admit to not getting anywhere near 100% control in any district, as I found most of the side missions to be rather dull. That probably stunted the Saints spawn rate.

          2. Dude says:

            Rival gangs occasionally spawn in my 100% save sometimes. Not as often as I’d like, but they do. I have to make do with killing cops and mascots. Where’s the fun in that?

            1. James Pony says:

              Killing mascots isn’t a right or a privilege. It is your DUTY as a Saint to keep the streets of Steelport clean of the MASCOT SCOURGE.

  7. MichaelG says:

    When I’ve played the GTA games, I can’t get into the missions at all. I just use them as 20 minute time wasters, and spend all my time either doing taxi runs, or finding ways to destroy things.

    Other than the silly radio stations, the humor just escapes me most of the time, and some of the missions (kill all the people in Chinatown) gross me out.

    1. swimon1 says:

      I’m not entirely sure that GTA 3 was ever supposed to be funny. Sure sometimes it’s a little silly and the radio stations are obviously supposed to be funny (and to the games credit it consistently is) but I’m not sure they want that to be the tone or if that’s just comic-relief. I get the feeling they wanted to make a scarface homage that was tongue in cheek but mostly serious it’s just so poorly made that everyone took it as satire. I mean if it’s satirical why is the game so obsessed with being “cinematic” that it binds your arms behind your back in every quest. Also if you compare it to GTA4 which is clearly not supposed to be funny (or it’s the first war criminal comedy I’ve seen with long scenes contemplating loss of innocence) that game still has all the jokey stuff outside the quests and even some of the quests are comic-relief. I get the feeling that they pulled a “the room”, everyone started laughing and they went “yeah it’s a dark comedy”.

      1. Dude says:

        I think Vice City was the game that Rockstar was consciously working towards, and everything after that–even San Andreas–has been a little like Charlize Theron’s career post-Monster. A few good knocks, but mostly not up to the mark Vice City set for its time.

  8. dovius says:

    Zimos always came across to me as the guy who brought in a decently steady income for the Saints next to the profitable Blow-Crap-Up occasions, although that got underplayed by the whole ‘Oh look at the auto-tuned Pimp! Isn’t he FUNNY!’ that it felt like it had turned into after the halfway point of his plot line.

    1. krellen says:

      Was I the only one that realised that Zimos had a tracheostomy (from too much smoking) and the auto-tuning microphone was his voice box?

      But anyway, what Zimos brought to the team was financial know-how and managerial skill, not muscle and brute force. He didn’t give the Saints a cut – he was the Saint’s pimp, running their prostitution ring for them (being the member of the Saints with the most experience thereof.)

      1. Michael says:

        No, I noticed that too. Still he does crack me up at times.

      2. dovius says:

        I think the tracheotomy bit was one of the first things that were known about his character before release.
        Although I’ll admit it’s funny at times (Like the time he comes helping you after you’ve freed him, then promptly screams for help, auto-tune included, when a Brute charges him), his voice got kinda annoying after a certain point. Probably why I never took him on missions.
        Well that, and Burt Reynolds and Oleg > anyone.

      3. MintSkittle says:

        I didn’t get it at first. I only realized it when was smoking a cig through the hole in his throat in a cutscene.

      4. Sumanai says:

        Hearing his voice my mind quickly jumped to “what’s with the voice?” and then “sounds like he is using one of those things you have to use after surgery for too much smoking or something”. However something about the graphics made it difficult to see if he was holding the mic in front of his mouth or at his throat. I finally got my confirmation when he was smoking.

  9. Mari says:

    Have you considered about what it says about you, personally, that you want to blow up self-important jerks in a video game?

    I haven’t played the GTA or SR games but I’ve watched my husband play them and egged him on into insane rampages which is almost the same thing except I don’t have to personally deal with the nonsensical plot elements like being forced to cruise around the city four times in a counter-clockwise motion before chasing down my enemy when he was standing next to me after the cut scene and I could have shot him in the face then but when I tried it I got a “Mission: Failed” screen and had to reload the game.

    That disclaimer out of the way, I do find SR abuses nonsensical plot points to drag out the game slightly less than GTA and is also slightly more fun. I don’t really enjoy the bat-poop crazy jokes, though. Like everyone thought hosing down the city with poo sludge from a sewer truck was one of the best missions ever in SR2 and I was left feeling like maybe it would have been if I had done it for kicks but when someone made me (and by “me” here I mean the hubs) do it, it kind of took the fun out of it. Which, I think, is pretty much what you’re saying about the difference between the game approaches and how you want something in the middle. Apparently I do, too. But I’d rather shoot down personality-deprived NPC bystanders than the pimp mayor or the clown mayor. Possibly because a secret part of me envies those dudes that open fire in crowded public places or possibly because, ok, no I have nothing else. I just wanna shoot the tar out of the customers at the local KFC (which, for the record is closed now and I wouldn’t have done it anyway because it’s called MORALS people and there’s nothing wrong with a little healthy fantasy).

    1. James Pony says:

      That damn Officer Moralez at it again, eh holmes. Always gettin’ in the way of a good rampage. Tell you wat, me an’ the boys gonna shank that cholo so you can freely gun down some gringos, eh.

      1. Scott (Duneyrr) says:

        When you posted the word ‘holmes’ in the first sentence of your comment, I was sure you were referring to Sherlock Holmes and I immediately began re-reading your comment as if it were being spoken by Dr. Watson (The one played by David Burke in the old British TV show). It got pretty zany near the end.

        1. Michael says:

          I somehow misread what you wrote, and thought you were referring to Mari’s post in Burke’s voice. I got to the phrase “my husband,” and completely lost it with laughter.

          1. James Pony says:

            My mission here is complete.

    2. anaphysik says:

      “bat-poop crazy”

      I think you mean ‘chiroptofà¦cally non compos mentis.’
      Common mistake.

  10. Peter H. Coffin says:

    I don't want to be Tony Soprano, running amok in Gotham City. I want to be the Joker, invading Tony Soprano's New Jersey.

    YES! PERFECT! And if we can run around during exposition cut scenes shooting people in the temple with the gun that has the “BANG” flag on it so their models flinch and push us away, so much the better.

    1. cadrys says:

      Ladies and gentlemen (!), we have our game idea. Let’s organize the backlog and get crackin’ on this puppy!

      …I’m only half-joking. :)

  11. Sucal says:

    I think one of the biggest problems with SR3 is the way the storyline was set up.

    Namely, all three gangs being on the same side, rather then at each others throats. Sure, it made sense when the syndicate was whole and everything (luchadores got to be the dumb muscle, the deckers got to look cool and Morningstar got to make the actual money) but I would have loved for the entire thing to get lampshaded a bit more, or have a couple of missions that show them splitting off and becoming more chaotic.

    Or at least that show you ‘absorbing’ the various groups into the saints. I mean personally, I would have LOVED to been able to solve some of the missions another take. Take the final mission. Rather then racinh off to the airport, and leaving the other objective behind, I would have loved to have been able to have my character place a rather large bounty on a certain dudes head, and offer whichever of the remaining gangs that collected it a place in the saints.

    Then again I admit I loved the Decker specialists, and thought it was a crime we couldn’t have them called in as backup for us.

  12. rayen says:

    “(And yes, I realize it's goofy for me to be uncomfortable with the idea of slavery after I just murdered twenty people and blew up eight cars in a pique of road rage. These games are like that for me sometimes.)”

    Not really, would you rather grant people living miserable lives a few moments of intense pain then the gratifying release of death? Or ship the same hypothetical people into a business where they will be beaten, starved, drugged, and raped in captivity for a few years (maybe alot of years) until finding that sweet death?

    Haven’t played the third yet, probably not going to for awhile since my comp can’t run it. interesting reading though.

    1. Trix2000 says:

      I think part of it is also that its easier for us to pass over random killing and blowing things up because we’re used to doing so in many games. It’s easier for us to recognize that we aren’t actually killing people but playing a game, since we have other different experiences to draw from. It’s easier to view them as the computerized constructs that they are.

      Slavery on the other hand is, as far as I’m aware, not a common thing in games…and it certainly isn’t something you are directly involved with often. We don’t have that past game experience with it, so I think we naturally connect with the real life cases instead which draw out the aversion.

      There’s probably more complex reasons than that – I’m just musing a little – but I think about people I’ve known who haven’t spent time on the more violent video games and often ARE a bit repulsed by the idea of killing in them at first. It’s a similar case – they don’t have the past experience that lets them think “I’m shooting digital things in a game” in the back of their minds rather than “I’m killing people”.

    2. Dev Null says:

      I don’t think many people are ok with mass-murder in video games because its better than slavery. At least I hope not. I think they’re mostly ok with it because they know, viscerally, that its not real, from years of exposure to similar games. We don’t have years of exposure to simulated slavery to likewise innoculate us. (Also, shooting guns is fun. I’m having trouble imagining slavery-related gameplay that would be very entertaining, and make it worthwhile overcoming the “ick” factor. If anyone has brilliant ideas along this line… please, don’t tell me about it.)

      (Gah! Now I can’t get the pitch for SimPimp out of my head!)

  13. Brandon says:

    I thought it was funny to come read your first post on Saints Row 3 because I just bought it on Steam and your original post pretty much highlighted exactly what I felt about the game.

    I can see where you’re coming from with these minor nitpicks too, although they haven’t bothered me nearly as much. I haven’t beaten the game yet though, so we’ll see! There’s no question that Saints Row 3 did a lot of things right though, I wish we’d see more games that nail their genre with this level of precision.

  14. MelTorefas says:

    Well, the whole ‘sex slave’ thing immediately convinced me not to buy this. Which is good, since I was teetering on the brink after the post praising the game.

    1. SlowShootinPete says:

      You’re really missing out if you decide not to play the game just because of that. If you rationalize that it’s a ridiculous cartoon world that you don’t have to feel bad about messing with, it’s really, really fun. And the game does not make it difficult to think about the world that way.

    2. Dude says:

      Honestly, the sexual slavery part is no more pervasive in the game than, say, the car-shakey-streetgirl bits of the GTA games, which left a bigger dead-rat taste in my mouth than SR3.

  15. Kalil says:

    The ending to Saints Row 3 really bothered me, especially in light of the recent (at the time) blowups over misogyny in Arkham City and some other games. I wrote this about it way back when I first played through the game:

    The character of Shaundi is a strong female personality, of a type that is typically missing from games. I was disappointed that she was used as a ‘damsel in distress’ not once, but twice. In the final mission, you’re given a choice between pursuing one of the Big Bads, or rescuing Shaundi, who was kidnapped and left tied up on a Libertyesque statue with a large quantity of explosives.

    This really wasn’t a choice. Killblaine was a Big Bad, yes, but he wasn’t the Biggest Bad – that honor had to go to the STAG general, who you don’t actually get to kill (yay, DLC?), or possibly to the head of the Syndicate, who you kill in the first act. In fact, that killing ‘avenges’ Jonny Gat, and should really pretty much settle Shaundi’s major grudge (as evidenced by her willingness to work with Viola later in the game).

    Killblaine’s nemesis was Angel Dela Muerte (yah, cute name), who goes to the airport to pursue him in the final mission. If I had he opportunity to rewrite the end mission, I’d leave Angel tied up on the statue, and have Shaundi go to the airport. First, this would get rid of the silly spectacle of having her effortlessly captured by the STAG commandos /twice/. Second, it’d give a much solider moral dilemna: Angel pretty much lives for his vengeance against Killblaine. There’s little doubt he’d rather you hunt the bastard down then come to his rescue. It would come down to what Angel thinks is right versus what you think is right. Rescue your friend, or fulfill his mission? They tried to get at that with the Shaundi bit – one of the characters comments “if you don’t chase after Killblaine, you’ll lose everything she worked for.” But really, that’s not at all supported by the plot.

    One other note about Killblaine: at that point in the game, you’ve beaten and publicly humiliated him, dethroned him from his position of power, and either killed, run off, or recruited all of his lieutenants He’s completely defanged, and has totally fallen from grace. You’ve won. Why bother killing him? It seemed completely pointless.

    1. James Pony says:

      Well ACTUALLY you get to kill the STAG general if you chase after Killbaby.

      1. SlowShootinPete says:

        You also get to turn Steelport into its own sovereign nation run by the Saints, with Pierce acting as the new mayor.

        That is an excellent point about having Angel be captured instead of Shaundi, and while it irritated me as well I just figured that since they managed to capture Mayor Burt Reynolds as well, that sort of excused it a bit.

      2. Kalil says:

        Heh, I never tried the other ending, obviously, since it seemed like such a stupid friggin’ decision…

        EDIT: Also, if “you get to kill general jack***” was hinted at prior to making the choice, it’d have been a far more tempting option.

  16. PhoenixUltima says:

    My main problem with GTA IV’s tone wasn’t the grimdark seriousness of it all (though it is a problem), but rather that the humorous bits were simply trying too hard. I think a comparison is the best way to get my point across: in GTA III the funny side bits were actually somewhat subtle, and they played at being actual conversations, which made the outlandish bits stand out and be reasonably funny. In GTA IV they’re constantly mugging for the camera (or microphone, whatev), and the ridiculousness all melds together in one big lump. Republican Space Rangers was the worst example of this. Every single line in that dreck was an over-the-top joke, and without any seriousness to juxtapose against it all it just became obnoxious and juvenile. You need at least some bits of seriousness, however mild or brief, in order for the humor to have something to play off of. Even circuses understand this, that’s why they have tightrope walkers and lions jumping through hoops in between the clowns coming out and pieing each other in the face.

  17. Ateius says:

    “I don't want to be Tony Soprano, running amok in Gotham City. I want to be the Joker, invading Tony Soprano's New Jersey. ”

    That’s exactly the issue for me. I never really get into the SR games like others seem to, because I find it more viscerally rewarding to murderfuntime my way across a virtual world that takes itself seriously than one that’s basically a big themepark littered with “Murder-Fun Zone Here! Big $$$!” signs every two blocks.

    GTA doesn’t do it that well either, because it lacks the insane amount of murder variety the SR games give.

  18. Dev Null says:

    And yes, I realize it's goofy for me to be uncomfortable with the idea of slavery after I just murdered twenty people and blew up eight cars in a pique of road rage.

    Its not goofy, but it is intriguing. There’s a bit in one of the WoW expansions where you steal wolf puppies from their mother for some inexplicable reason; my characters – to a one, cold-blooded murderers of tens if not hundreds of thousands of sentient beings for no better reason than to go through their pockets for change – never do that mission. I just… don’t like it. There’s a mission early on in DDO where some uppity priest hires you to trash a perfectly legal gambling casino because he doesn’t like gambling. I don’t even like gambling, but I always hate doing that job. And as you mention in SR3, slavery is a push-button issue with me. I know its just a game; not even then. Not ever. It just makes me go “ick.”

    My guess is that suspending your disbelief over the moral issue of murder in order to play the fun shooty game in no way impacts the impact of other moral questions, even if they should by many standards be “less” than murder.

    1. Sagretti says:

      With the sheer amount of quests in World of Warcraft, this phenomenon happens a lot in that game. In the Lich King expansion, there was a quest where you had to torture one of the enemy’s flunkies to get information. The quest outlined that the torture was simply inducing the psychological sensation of pain and would not harm the recipient in any real way.

      Many people ended up complaining that they felt unsettled by being forced to torture an enemy to continue the story, even though they had just slaughtered dozens of nearly identical npcs. Overall, it’s an interesting phenomenon that near genocide of your foes is far less troubling than other reprehensible actions. Definitely something that’s ripe for study, and I mean real study, not another attempt to prove the psychomurder inducing effects of video games.

      Side Note: Blizzard actually took the criticism to heart, and made most “roughing up” for information optional in new quests. The aforementioned kidnapping of semi-sentient children is still in game, though.

    2. Amnestic says:

      While the Wolvar kidnapping quest was pretty bad, it did have a reason behind it. Whether it’s a good reason remains to be seen. Ostensibly you were kidnapping the Wolvar pups because the Tuskarr were going to wipe out that Wolvar tribe (they were at war), but the Tuskarr recognised that all races have a right to exist. Your act of kidnapping was a method of continuing their species and allowing that tribe to escape from the sins of their fathers.

      If you want an example of a nasty quest in WoW though, there’s one in Borean Tundra where you have to electroshock torture a mage you’ve captured. Why do you have to torture it? Because the guys you’re working for, they have a code which says they’re not allowed to torture. So they hire you to do the torturing for them.

      And the ‘best’ part? Any time you want you can go back, obtain a free electroshock torture rod and give the captured mage a few zaps just for kicks and giggles.

      1. Boobah says:

        Ostensibly you were kidnapping the Wolvar pups because the Tuskarr were going to wipe out that Wolvar tribe (they were at war), but the Tuskarr recognised that all races have a right to exist.

        Key word there, “ostensibly.” There’s also the mundane option that baby wolvar are easier to deal with than adults, so get ’em while they’re young. Or the nastier version where the Tuskarr (humanoid walruses) find baby Wolvar good eatin’ and it turns out the Wolvar are murderous to strangers because of their baby eating neighbors.

    3. Dev Null says:

      Heh; thats right – they were sentient hyena creatures, weren’t they. Been so long I remembered it as actual wolf puppies, and it still brought a bad taste to my mouth thinking about it. And this is after you essentially murder half the tribe _of the same creatures_.

  19. LintMan says:

    The problem with making the game world the straight man is that requires the world to react to your “clowning around” (read: violence, killing and destruction) in a straight reaction sort of way.

    The insane world of SR3 shrugs off your foul deeds and its citizens cheer for you even as you’re running them over. You are able to do all sorts of terrible things and still laugh about it, without feeling like you’re an amoral psychopath. It’s all cartoon violence we can laugh off like Elmer shooting Daffy Duck with his shotgun.

    In a straight world, you’re inflicting tragedy with the expectation that they react appropriately. It’s hard to reconcile that tonally with driving around the streets in a truck that sucks up pedestrians and fires them out a cannon. Or while running around smacking people with a large purple rubber dildobat. Now, in terms of poster moustaches, there’s some wiggle room for seriousness within the silliness, but that’s a lot harder to balance and can be quite jarring and off-putting if you get it wrong.

    Just Cause 2’s world actually plays the straight man pretty well. And in fact it even allows you to gain points by defacing the dictator’s billboards with moustaches. It works there because there’s far less overt silliness, and generally most of your evil deeds are focused on enemy soldiers.

    1. Shamus says:

      Those are fair points. I’ll amend my initial take on it: The world can be silly, but it shouldn’t try to out-clown the player.

      1. LintMan says:


  20. “GTA IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony” is probably the best part of GTA IV, the storytelling reminded me a lot of GTA III: San Andreas
    So I’m very curious as to how GTA V (San Andreas) turns out.

    And Shamus I really agree on the illogicality of tasks, or rather the illogicality within the games own world (ruleset).

    If the player character fights someone really well, then suddenly get a cutscene where they failed, that’s just crappy storytelling.
    If loosing is such a important plotpoint then drop the interactive part and instead do the whole thing as a cutscene and either:
    A. Display overwhelming force (as you mentioned SR3 did) or
    B. Threaten to destroy (or kill) something the player character protects/cares for/need/wants.

    I prefer logical games, it’s gotten to the point (maybe I’m just old and grumpy these days, or I’ve always been like this but more tolerant before)
    that I loose the immersion each time I find energy/ammo/health/whatever/datalogs in the most silly places,
    or that NPC enemies seemingly have unlimited ammo (is it a wonder I always cheat/use trainers in games?)
    If I can run out of ammo, so should they.
    If an enemy is killed I expect to find their weapon(s), ammo, other misc supplied they might have, maybe a datapad, either on or near their person, and maybe some armor (though a swizz cheese armor is pretty useless I guess)
    Why why do I not find a communication device on enemy bodies? This always happens in movies. And in games there is always radio chatter.

    I’m not saying I want super realism, I just want enough logicality withing the world of the story so I can easily sustain my suspension of disbelief.

  21. zob says:

    I recently played SR3 and saw the “Gangstas in Space”. That hilarious part made me realize something. I hate it when game designers put scripted events inside gameplay sections. This is not a criticism about SR3 mind you. This is why I liked playing SR3 because first time in ages I really felt like I was playing a game instead of watching a movie with quicktime events and/or peek-a-boo shooting.

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