While most games today strive for utmost realism and seriousness, once a while a game comes along to remind us that games can also be just fun while relentlessly beating story, character development and realism in the face one after the other in a never ending cycle of madness as they lay in its basement handcuffed to a radiator.
Saints Row has been considered a GTA rip-off by some, very wrongly so if I may add. GTA has always been somewhat grounded, even San Andreas, if compared to this game. The comparison of the two is unavoidable, just like comparing MK and SF – happens often and only idiots would have few enough brain cells to find them comparable. Yes they are in the same genre, yes they are both open-world gangster games, or fighting games, respectively, but they set out to accomplish very different things. The former are silly, over the top GAME-games that exist for the sole purpose to entertain, while the latter take themselves more seriously and deliver a serious and grounded experience.
Saints Row The Third was the parachute that saved me as my game-o-philic side was dragged down to earth by the boringly ‘badass’, ‘gritty’ and ‘realistic’ games. As summer started I promised myself to play all they games I’ve been missing out on during the school year, and some well-received stuff from the none-too-far past. A couple of games in I started enjoying them less and less as they were all almost the same, thematically, serious and grounded as if by 1000 pound chains.
THEN FUCKIN’ KABLAM – I’M FALLING THROUGH THE SKY OUT OF AN AIRPLANE WITH DUDES FALLING BEHIND ME, ATTEMPTING TO SHOOT MY FACE OFF AS I ATTEMPT TO DESCEND FURTHER TO CATCH MY LADY FRIEND, WHILE AVOIDING FALLING DEBRIS, AS I HAVE THE SOLE PARACHUTE!!!
It took my breath away and I was grinning giddily throughout the first grand missions… I knew that I found something to rekindle my love for videogames. This game didn’t give a crap about fitting into any mould, it had no self-imposed restrictions and it went full-throttle with the freedom it had. Throwing people 10 meters to watch them crash into an ongoing car or try to knock down as many people as you can with the ragdoll body of your projectile buddy, beating cops with meter-long, floppy, purple dildos, shooting mascots in the face on a Japanese game-show styled reality murder-game while they run at you with bats, dildos and guns… THAT is what this game’s about and it doesn’t try to explain why that’s okay in that universe, because it just doesn’t give a damn – it’s fun and that’s all that matters. A mini-game where you drive around with a tiger, trying to avoiding crashes as they make the kitty nervous and it mauls you – yeah, that’s a thing, and you just try to not fucking love it, I dare you.
All the missions are over the top, forcing the players into the most ridiculous circumstances that can still be comprehended without heavy drug use and the mini-games are not tiresome, in fact they’re infinitely replayable and awesome, a height most mini-games barely ever even manage to come close to. I don’t want to get into all the mini-game types that are in this game as not to spoil the sense of discovery of these fun mines, but rest assured, there’s not a single crap one, all of them are purely great.
This game doesn’t take itself seriously at all and delivers what it sets out to deliver 120% – fun, and pure unfiltered fun. If you’re feeling that games are kinda boring you, perhaps, or maybe you think that all modern games are far up their own asses with how seriously they take themselves give Saints Row The Third a try and it’ll blow those feelings and assumptions right out of the water with a kiloton explosion. Also did I mention that you can streak and it is in itself a mini-game? Yes, absolutely.