Well I have beat Saints Row: The Third. By which I mean I have played through the main mission line and got to (one of) the ending(s). You can check the choices I made for the main ending and one or two other choices during the main storyline if you really want to by checking my Steam profile and looking at which achievements I got. I won’t go into details here in case someone is thinking of getting the game, and doesn’t want spoilers. My Saints Row 3 initial thoughts blog post still stands, so check that if you want.
I did get a little tired of the game – as I stated in my previous post to this one (Catch Up) I lost most of my progress and had to repeat a lot (in fact, most) of the game. More specifically in my previous lost save I had done a lot of grinding and had got a high income, high respect level, lots of upgrades etc. and the thought of doing all that again really didn’t appeal. So after a while of doing activities and so on, I found myself starting to get bored with the game which is really not what I wanted. So I dropped the difficulty down to casual and just played through the main missions.
Things I didn’t like
I will start with some things that I didn’t get on with in the game. I will emphasize here that I really like the game, and had a thoroughly good time playing it. These niggles in this section are just that, niggles. A lot of them are just my personal preferences, and indeed my own lack of ability. I want to save the ‘things I did like’ section for afterwards, because it really is overall, an excellent game.
The main problem I had with the game, that wasn’t down to my own lack of ability with some aspects of it, was that the AI tended to have some really dumb moments, and had pathing problems. Also the AI controlling, for instance, other cars on the road or pedestrians was either really stupid or deliberately coded to be annoying and obstructive. I guess this is sort of amusing at first but it gets old fast, and when you are trying to complete a mission and a car just randomly rams you off the road and thus you fail the mission it is just plain irritating. Especially when it happens more than once in a row, and you get multiple failures due to sheer trolling by the game.
Often I would have followers – just general Saints help or mission specific homies – and I would get into a vehicle and they would just ‘run on the spot’ or orbit around the car (or whatever). This sometimes happening when I was trying to leave a combat area to get to an objective, so of course the car and the PC, and the NPCs are all taking fire and damage as the dumb AI NPC buggered about failing to find the car door. Also my player character would do this too – I would want to get in the car and leave a ‘hot’ area fast. So would run up to the car and press E. Sometimes this resulted in my jumping in rapidly, but sometimes the rapid get-in-the-car thing didn’t work. And my character would sloooowly walk gently around the car before getting in. Or not get in and just walk on the spot or orbit the damn thing. Of course enemies would be firing at me/us and enemy vehicles would be driving up fast and crashing into the car I wanted to get in to. Sometimes ending up with death or the car being trapped.
My ‘favourite’ dumb NPC moment was during a helicopter mission, where the main PC (i.e. me) was flying the thing to get to various points (radio towers to plant bugging devices for Kinzie I think) and Shaundi was sitting in the side door shooting things. Right up until her AI decided it would be good to jump out of the helicopter. So there was the little purple/blue pointer saying I should go revive my homie, some 400 odd metres away on the ground somewhere!
Talking of helicopter missions, often you are sitting in that same side door and shooting (often shooting rockets) at enemies on the ground who are pursuing an ally in a vehicle who is going from place to place to do things. So the dumb AI comes in again where that allied driver gets stuck sometimes – but that isn’t the main problem. Your range of aim is a limited arc out of the one side of the helicopter. You can’t swap sides (someone please tell me if you can, because I couldn’t work out how to do it if it was possible!) and often the enemies that you had to target were literally not targetable. You could see the little red markers, behind you or too far to one side or the other (which is forwards and backwards to the helicopter since you are sitting in a side door). And sometimes those enemies would catch up to and kill or damage the ally you were meant to be protecting.
I really did never get fully used to the vehicle controls. With a longish gaming session I kind of got not impossibly terrible at them, but I would only have to take a break for a couple of hours, let alone a day, and I would be back to almost not being able to control anything. This makes a fair bit of the game much more frustrating than it should be. There is no fast travel system (again if there is and I missed it tell me how dumb I am and let me know how to access it!) so getting to mission starts, or even just activities and so on involves driving about a lot. Or even worse flying (I had even more difficulty with air vehicles than ground ones). And a lot of the activities involve vehicles and driving them fairly fast without crashing a lot. I have no idea why I had so much trouble. I guess it is partially the digital nature of WASD vs analogue sticks, but I am a PC gamer so should be used to that. I also had a similar problem with GTA. This one is definitely down to me! On the other hand I definitely don’t have trouble controlling vehicles in other games.
I really dislike QTEs, and the game has some. There are other games with lots more, and I would hate to play those. Limited save slots? I guess that is just the console port with checkpoint system nature of the game. Not a problem as there are a lot of save slots, and I only just ran into the limit towards the end of the game. Also the DLC I bought probably wasn’t worth it. I never did use the weapons, vehicles and cosmetic items I ended up with – and I discovered that a fair few of them unlock as you progress through the game anyway. The extra homies were just skins not extra homies, so that wasn’t worth it. I did get them for very little in Steam sales though, so no biggie. There are ‘proper’ DLC mission packs though, so that might be worth a look.
I reiterate though none of the above complaints are anything other than minor, and other gamers and reviewers don’t have those problems. So this is very much a personal view.
Things I did like
The rest of the game. Seriously, it is a great deal of ridiculous fun. Very violent but so silly it ends up like cartoon violence most of the time (e.g. like Tom and Jerry or Looney Tunes). You can also steer the game along silly lines somewhat. The fact that the game is gloriously ludicrous means you end up playing it with a silly grin on your face. The combat is fun, the guns feel good and you can upgrade them nicely for some serious firepower. Approach fights with some thought and things go a lot better than just charging in. I had to relearn that once or twice, but using cover and taking down enemies at a distance works really well. W-mouse1 will often get you killed even on casual.
The missions and activities had a lot of variety, although some activities got a bit repetitive (that was mainly because some of them I didn’t get on with though I suspect). After the main game is done you end up in the open world of Steelport, where you can just carry on to try and finish city takeover tasks, upgrade things as you get more money and respect (which is sort of the XP of the game). I won’t be removing it from my PC, but will leave it there. I am sure I will be revisiting the game now and again, after a while perhaps as I have played it a lot very recently (over 20 hours in the last less than a week according to Steam). A bit like Borderlands 1 – I have it on my disk and will revisit it, having reinstalled it in fact just to play again from time to time.
You can get Saints Row: The Third very cheaply when it is on sale, I mean extremely cheaply. The Steam sale has just had it at 75% off and other places have it on sale too fairly often. Well worth a look if you haven’t played it. Bearing in mind I don’t like driving based games, or even just driving sections in games, I still loved playing this game even though it has a lot of driving in it. The characters are really good and well written. They have personalities which goes with the fun and interesting storyline (which steadily gets more over the top as the game progresses) to make it fun to play through for the story. It isn’t an RPG though, so don’t expect Mass Effect levels of epicness. Just a lot of silly fun. It won’t make you feel like a superhero, but you can dress as one:
I managed to not play any City of Steam after all, they had server problems so the game was down for the days when I wanted to play it. Oh well, hopefully the game will do well in the next beta (I might play it then) and eventually get to full release. Feel free to check out my City of Steam blog post with my thoughts on the game (or rather on the first part of the tutorial for the game, as I found out later!). The City of Steam website is here and it is also on Steam Greenlight.
I still have a week to go before I go back to work – although there is some stuff other than playing games I want to at least get started. Not sure exactly what to play next, possibly Tomb Raider Legend as I said in the last post, and some more Borderlands 1 second playthrough I expect. The YouTube stuff is still on the backburner although I have tested recording and it went better than I thought it would. I wouldn’t mind playing XCOM as detailed in my post XCOM – Enemy Unknown and an update since that is my Christmas present.
Or something else might catch my eye in my Steam library (ooh shiny!) and I will go off on a tangent and play something I forgot I owned. And why not.