Eurogamey Writey: Saints Row The Third

By Kieron Gillen on December 31st, 2011 at 1:32 pm.

I moved house this year, away from a similar neighbourhood to this.

I’m just pulling together some rambly thoughts about my year in games for the site. Which reminds me that I wrote about one of my faves for Tom “Tom Bramwell” Bramwell over at EG towers, and makes me think I could link to it as an aperitif or something. And I totally can. Lots on Saints Row: The Third and yours truly. I didn’t even get into my apostrophe confusion, which could be another couple of thousand words, but would be less sex obsessed.

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40 Comments »

  1. Navagon says:

    Despite being a pretty damn tremendous year for gaming, this could well be my game of the year. A game which revels in being a game. Everything about the game was about having fun playing it. What more can you ask for than that?

    • povu says:

      And the PC port wasn’t terrible this time. :)

      I still have some performance issues with my ATI card though…

    • Drake Sigar says:

      I couldn’t tell you exactly why I’m hating my experience thus far. Thinking of scrapping the whole thing and moving onto Deus Ex instead.

    • Caleb367 says:

      I’m loving it to embarassing levels. As for me, this is by far Game of the Year material as it beats stuff like Skyrim and Batman Arkham City silly. With a gigantic purple dildo.

      (Also, @Drake Sigar: it may be ’cause you have a dead and shriveled soul. Not sayin’, it’s just a possibility)

    • Navagon says:

      I wonder if, in light of Kieron’s comments, we’ll get a double barrelled dildo DLC?

      @ povu

      If you try and run it DX11 then it fares no better on Nvidia cards either. GPU drivers seem to be getting steadily worse if anything. Neither can even get the basics right anymore.

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      kregg says:

      This is definitely my game of the year. I bought it as a birthday present to myself and I’ve been glued to the game ever since.

      @Drake Sigar are you just playing the storyline? If so, then I can understand why you probably don’t enjoy it, as my best moments were times doing stuff outside the main storyline. If you’ve given everything a go and you still don’t like it, you don’t like it and there’s nothing wrong with that :)

    • Kadayi says:

      GoTY for me as well. Earlier on I’d have said DX:HR was a dead cert (shitty boss battles and press a button ending aside), however I was intrigued by all the positive word coming from sites like Giantbomb about SR3 and decided to take a gamble and albeit the game doesn’t quite have the polish, budget or complexity of many others, it is extremely FUN once you surrender to its absurdity and roll with it. Recommended.

  2. Caleb367 says:

    Hell yeah, Kieron Does Steelport.

  3. MuscleHorse says:

    I bought this on the THQ deal last week and am bitterly dissapointed with the performance on ATI cards. Despite being well over the recomended specs, the thing is barely playable, even with everything turned to low or off. Not happy.

    • Caleb367 says:

      You sure you have everything in order? ’cause my PC isn’t what you would call “insanely powerful gaming rig”, Phenom X3 + Geforce 9500 + 2g of RAM, but SR3 runs like a dream on high quality. You tried uninstalling video drivers completely and reinstalling them fresh?

    • Dominic White says:

      As with a lot of games released in recent years, good performance is HIGHLY dependent on having a quad-core processor. Even a bottom-rung one like a Q6600 is vastly better than even a high-end and expensive dual-core. GPU power is almost unimportant.

  4. Theoban says:

    I just wanted to say, I’m adoring this game so far, only played five hours so far but it’s been great. No performance problems with my ATI card.

  5. coldvvvave says:

    After FOV got fixed SR3 pretty much won GOTY award at least from me.

  6. Cinnamon says:

    I find those three links to the same article to be very confusing. I thought you had three different articles there. Did Plato make you do that? That Plato boy is a bad influence.

    Saints Row the Third sort of disappointed me a little. With all the talk of how outrageous it is and how the gameplay is so amazing it ended up being a bit middle of the road. Quite a conservative copy of middle era GTA. Controls are tight in some places but loaded with poor quality QTE sequences or falling back on mediocre third person shooter staples. It’s sort of likeable and silly but doesn’t really go full bore in that direction like the No More Heroes games.

  7. HexagonalBolts says:

    By god, I love how action-packed and silly it is. It is infinitely better played in co-op though so you have someone to laugh at it with (who watches comedy on their own?). I have an overclocked q6600 (a bit outdated) and an overclocked AMD6950 (fairly good) and I had to turn the graphics settings quite a bit lower than I normally do and still experience a bit of lag going in the faster cars – still a good port though and no major issues.

    My only qualm with the world is that I’ve not seen a great deal of variation so far. A bit of forest or desert (replete with farmer and/or hillbilly gangs) would spruce things up a bit and stop the mindlessness getting to you.

  8. LionsPhil says:

    I’m curious as to the lack of comment on escalation of challenge and progress, which was a concern about this during previews that apparently at Yahtzee feels was a reality in the released product.

    Is it fun for more than half-an-hour?

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      kregg says:

      According to Steam, I’ve clocked in at 47 hours.

      I’ve actually spent more time on this game than I have on a single week at work. And I loved every second of it.

    • elnalter says:

      This is GOTY for me. I am cherishing the amount of good times and laughs this game continues to give. I’m on my third COOP playthrough on the highest difficulty with 65 hours played..

    • Aemony says:

      I personally can’t take much more than five to ten minutes of the game, unless I’m playing the story missions. Everything is so OTT that it falls flat and just numbs your brain until you fall asleep.

    • Nalano says:

      55 hours here. Loved every minute of it.

    • Caleb367 says:

      Dude, I’m on 35 hours and on my third consecutive playthrough. And still I’m finding hilarious stuff to see, hear or do behind every corner. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to wreck some rival gang operations. IN A DAMN MI-24 GUNSHIP.

  9. Eynonz says:

    I was going to pick up SR3, but after reading some of the comments above about how it runs on ATI cards I may give it a miss. If a 6950 experiences problems then my 6870 will struggle :/. Oh well guess I’ll pick up San Andreas in the steam sale instead.

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      Vandelay says:

      If it makes you feel better, it seems to run fine on my 6950, without any overclocking jiggery pokery going on.

      To demonstrate what this game gets right, just look at the (I think) fourth mission. Here you are hanging out of a helicopter shooting cars with a rocket launcher. This is followed by rappling off the edge of a building to snipe enemies. In comparison to GTA, you would still be driving your irritating cousin from a strip club.

      Speaking of which, with all this crazy zaniness going on and the over the top gangsta theme, the game still finds the time to have a female character that calls out the protagonist on suggesting she should wear a maid’s outfit. He even apologises!

    • alundra says:

      Literally no problems with SR3 running it with DX11 on a radeon 6850.

  10. Mark says:

    It runs okay on my GTX 460 but crashes frequently. It’s a shame because the game is hilarious fun. When I do a Steam cache verification it tells me that a file is broken and needs redownloading, but redownloading doesn’t work as the same error crops up again.

  11. Aemony says:

    Personally, I think Saints Row: The Third has lost a lot of the charm from the second game. Gone is slow but steady progress towards new customization options (in SRTT you have access to everything from the start, in a total of three different clothing stores), and gone is the cool, but serious, tone in the story and minigames.

    I didn’t expect much from SRTT, but I’m sad to say that the game doesn’t have much to go on. The story itself is good, occasionally funny, but outside of that everything disappoints, from how cars just suddenly appears in front of you even on the highest settings, to just how boring and bland driving around in the city feels. There’s only about a single type of minigame that is actually fun, most others are just painfully boring, or horrendous difficult.

    Even before I had finished the main story I couldn’t take much of the game during a single session. I found myself playing the game for five to ten minutes before I slowly, but steadily, fell asleep in front of it. Yes, I actually feel asleep because of the game a few times, even during the middle of the day. That was how boring and unimaginative it felt.

    When I’m playing a game I want to feel that I personally achieve something every now and then. Unlocking more content or just customization options goes a long way to ensure that I feel satisfied and are having fun. When the only thing you can unlock is stuff that makes you more overpowered than before, or merely more of the same boring minigames, I for one don’t feel satisfied at all, nor am I having fun.

    In SR2 I explored every single store in the game because they all had a slight variation in their inventory from others of the same chain/brand. It was extremely fun when I found a new piece of clothing that allowed me to customize my character in a new way, if only to change the clothes. Since SRTT hands everything to you on a silver platter from the very start, this was completely eliminated and when I had customized my character for the first time I saw practically zero reason to change the appearance again since I had already decided on that one from having all the clothes available in the whole game.

    An extreme miss, for me, SRTT is.

    • whydidyoumakemeregister says:

      I couldn’t agree with you more! I really don’t enjoy the hip hop aesthetic or sociopathic storyline, but I had a blast for the majority of Saints Row 2. Saints Row 3 just feels pointless and tedious and overwhelmingly unfun. I too find myself agonizing to finish every boring mission so I can quit and play a different game.

    • MD says:

      Man, we play games for different reasons. The “[handing] everything to you on a silver platter from the very start” is a massive plus for me, and I would suggest that the reason you feel like you’re not achieving anything is because you’re not achieving anything — you’re playing a silly video game for a laugh and some fun!

      Most games that give you the sense of achievement you refer to are no different, they just happen to be hijacking some pathways in your brain to trick you into feeling good about yourself. For a sense of gaming achievement that is a bit less manipulative and hollow, play a deep multiplayer game, or a tough single-player strategy game — sure, your achievements will still be ultimately useless, but at least you’ll genuinely be developing a non-trivial skill and/or using your brain in an energetic way.

      I loathe games that rely for their hooks on rewarding you in clever ways for thoughtless busywork. There may be a place for that sort of thing, but if it’s the reason you’re playing (or if its absence is the reason you’re not playing) I think that’s a sign that you should be demanding better, and spending your time elsewhere.

  12. Nick says:

    Its good fun, but not as good as SR2, which annoys me as the port is so much better =/

  13. Shooop says:

    Only issue I have is the brightness will not adjust AT ALL.

    I have to turn the controls on my monitor up.

  14. bikkebakke says:

    A surprisingly VERY good game. My expectations where so so when I started playing but… damn, this is one really good game, the ending, superb in my eyes (haven’t played sr2 so can’t compare).

    Of course it has the trouble with tedious repetitive missions, but those are actually not mandatory, but the main storyline is quite good (humoristic) and quite amusing to do.

  15. MD says:

    I like SR3 because it’s on my side. It just wants me to have fun, and sees no need to dole out the fun in small doses after I ‘earn’ it by trudging through something tedious.

    I don’t think it’s significantly more stupid than 90% of action games, but unlike most of them, it knows the depth of its own stupidity, and revels in it.

    It’s extremely amoral/immoral, but takes its awfulness so cartoonishly far that it’s almost impossible to take seriously enough to take offense. I have to admit to squirming occasionally, but overall I find it far less offensive than games that are half as horrible but far more serious.

  16. MD says:

    I like SR3 because it’s on my side. It just wants me to have fun, and sees no need to dole out the fun in small doses after I ‘earn’ it by trudging through something tedious.

    I don’t think it’s significantly more stupid than 90% of action games, but unlike most of them, it knows the depth of its own stupidity, and revels in it.

    It’s extremely amoral/immoral, but takes its awfulness so cartoonishly far that it’s almost impossible to take seriously enough to take offense. I’ve squirmed once or twice, but overall I find it less offensive than games that are half as horrible and much more serious.

  17. Calabi says:

    Its stopped me from playing Skryim for over a week. I cant get enough of this. Its GTA done right. The simple things are fun to do.

    The cars are fun to drive, you can actually get into good chases, you dont have to slow down to a crawl on every corner.

    The guns and combat is excellent, headshots, nutshots.

    You can choose the way to engage and to what extant, if your fed up with being chased by the police and gangs, and want to do something else its simple to get out of it.

    It doesnt disallow stuff, or have contrived reasons because it must be realistic.

    Its a damn good fun game.

  18. grundus says:

    Well I’d love to be able to share my feelings on the game but I, like quite a large number of people on the Steam and Saints Row forums, can’t even get the game to run. I’ve played it for a total of 4 minutes, each of those minutes were spent skipping the two intro videos, watching the ‘this is what autosaving looks like’ screen and then revisiting my desktop… I’m going to try formatting, if that doesn’t work then I don’t know what will.

    For what it’s worth, though, I loved: Just Cause 2, Red Faction: Guerilla, GTAs Vice City, San Andreas and IV, so I have good reason to believe I’ll love SR3 as well, if I ever get it working.

  19. Dorako says:

    I have to say, this game is fantastic. Unfortunately I’m having some trouble playing as each time I play it, anywhere from a minute to an hour in the game freezes, and I cannot get into the task manager or anything, so I have to shut down the computer. I have an ATI card so I’m wondering if that might be the issue. Gameplay wise, the only thing I’d change is that I wish the controls handled a little bit more like Just Cause 2, namely, the parachute, as it feels like it would fit the game really well.

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    El_MUERkO says:

    I am not one to be blinded by graphical prettiness or put off by the lack of it, I’m currently knee deep in Jagged Alliance 2 (1.13) and loving it, however Saints Row The Third’s horrendous draw distance had me shutting it down within an hour of arriving in Steelport. If I ran that developer I would fire anyone who thought it was acceptable to release it in such a state, I would then repeatedly run them over as they left the building.

  21. Penthar says:

    Does anyone have a link to the Arkham Asylum article he mentioned, saying “The last game that made my writing instincts twitch was Arkham Asylum, which reminded me of the sheer physicality of the Batman in a way I’d previously forgotten.” It sounds like an interesting read but I can’t seem to track it down.

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    Wisq says:

    I found this extremely difficult to play in light of having played Saints Row 2. Aside from the shoddy PC port and the massively improved character appearance options (i.e. “not fugly by default”), I felt very strongly that Saints Row 2 had done pretty much everything better.

    It’s like getting a (long, fun) taste of perfection and then having to settle for spending the rest of your time with the second best. You spend all your time thinking about how, if they had just kept that perfect formula and expanded on it, things would be so much better.

    I could go off on a huge list of things, but I’ve already done that in other RPS comments. Bottom line is, IMO SR2 had better characters, storyline, missions, scripting, non-character customisation options (e.g. cribs), income system, city takeover system, notoriety system, activities, character upgrade system, … The list goes on. (And no, before you ask, this isn’t a knee jerk response to change. I could give (and have given) so many reasons why each of the above is better in SR2.)

    That’s not to say that some areas of SR3 haven’t improved, but watching them take two steps forward and two dozen steps backwards is just so incredibly frustrating. And seeing them get endless praise for that is disheartening, as it just means they’ll continue in that direction for the inevitable sequel.