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Saints Row: The Third: Sandpapering the nowhere man

Friday, 2 December 2011 08:12 GMT By Patrick Garratt

Meaningless and imbecilic, Saints Row: The Third is a benchmark in sociopathy and one of the year’s most essential games. Patrick Garratt’s drunk on anonymity.

Saints Row: The Third is the true epoch of the violence end-game, a beachhead for a new wave of nugatory murder simulation that smooths the plaster against which narration repeatedly sandpapers its face.

I’m fucking unbeatable. I don’t need to listen when Saints Row talks to me. I know the Morning Stars are a gang of clones in suits and stockings, and that I go to parties full of women wearing g-strings. Doesn’t mean much. I’m an old black man with a smashed-in face. There’s all this shit on my phone I could do, but I don’t. I buy extra health on occasion, but it doesn’t make much difference. At least, I don’t die very often. Would I be dying more if I didn’t buy some upgrade to whatever? No idea. I pick a mission and follow the arrows. When I get bored I murder some people.

I like not caring. Saints Row: The Third is, thankfully, GTA Lite. Grand Theft Auto IV is, without question, one of the most boring games I’ve ever played. You can throw me in the fucking sea for saying it, Rockstar: facts are facts. It’s a po-faced tedium simulator, as epic in its vision and achievement as it is in its aversion to entertainment. Three-point turns; paying tolls; sending emails; going fucking bowling: lost on me. I don’t want to live someone else’s life. I have emails of my own.

There’s this bit in Saints Row, right, where there’s a fucking tiger in the car and some clown wants you to conquer fear. I don’t know what the point of any of it was. I didn’t read the instructions at the start of the mission because I didn’t even see them. And I’m ramming around this city in some fucking Rolls Royce, or whatever, with this tiger hitting me on the head, and there are two gauges in the top left of the screen and I have no idea what either of them mean. If I drive around and smash into stuff, my courage goes up. If I hang around and get mauled by the tiger, his rage becomes more intense. I so want to be brave, so I crash a lot and the top meter goes up and the game shouts, through my television, as loud as it can, “I’m fucking unbeatable.”

Me. Killing people.

I’m fucking unbeatable. It drowns out the music. I’m fucking unbeatable and I’m fighting a tiger. I’m not going bowling. I’m fighting a tiger.

GTA IV put me off open-world crime games so strongly I nearly didn’t play Saints Row: The Third. I started the 360 version after I finished Uncharted 3 because I’ve got Skyrim on PC and I wanted something to play in my living room. At first I hated it. Just looked like some rough-assed GTA cash-in. But I went on with it, got into the character customisation, and made my injured man.

A few missions in I parachuted into a penthouse gun battle to Kanye and shotgunned people in the face. Amazing and pointless. I’m shooting friends, windows, enemies, breaking necks and jumping up and down and I’m not dying because I’m fucking unbeatable. I’m only four hours into it, about a third of the way through the campaign, but the blend of uncomplicated idiocy and open access to a suite of ADHD toys easily prised me away from Skyrim’s “depth”. I don’t have to concentrate in Saints Row beyond picking up some hookers and molotoving a tramp. I’m not anyone. I’m some insane prick with a bloody face driving a flaming ATV. I’m king of a world so repugnant it’s irrelevant.

Who’s this? Why does it matter?

Take the dildo bat. It’s got a name but I don’t know what it is. In GTA IV, dildos are in shops, placed on shelves for dramatic effect during scenes with crime clichés and orderly charlie lines. Saints Row: The Third just has this squirly dildo in it. You sort of just get it. I don’t know where it came from. I can whip people with it. It’s a giant, bendy, purple middle finger to GTA’s groping attempts at realism, a joke so stupid it’s can’t fail to work. I got a rocket launcher, too, because I picked one up once. I never run out of money because that would be frustrating if I wanted to buy hand grenades to blow up trucks, and I’ve got a helicopter so I can access all areas of the map within the first few hours of the game. I’ve got a parachute. I’ve got a sniper rifle. I can kill anything and anyone. I can endlessly murder men and women, shooting them in the genitals, grabbing teenagers from roadsters, punching them in the face only to crash five seconds later to return to shoot them in the head. None of it matters.

Saints Row: The Third is the true epoch of the violence end-game, a beachhead for a new wave of nugatory murder simulation that smooths the plaster against which narration repeatedly sandpapers its face.

It has me by the balls. Why sense? Game of my year.

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14 Comments

  1. Freek

    My GOTY aswell, discribing it makes you sound insane. But it works, it’s knowingly stupid. Everything from the designs, to the sound track is just cheesy enough. It references verry specific things and in a very funny and over the top way.
    You’re constanly thinking to yourself “I can’t believe that just happend” and then the game gets even crazier.

    The weapon is called The Penetrator. Yup.

    “Oh look, there’s enemy gang activity in my territory, that’s not cool, I should probably get on my cell phone and have a ninja deliver a tank to deal with them.”

    #1 3 years ago
  2. The_Red

    I can’t wait to get this one. LOVED the hell out of Saints Row 2 and this seems to be even more of that (Didn’t like original SR, felt too much like a GTA and less like uber crazy thing that its sequels became).

    Also, fucking awesome read. This game is “fucking unbeatable”!

    #2 3 years ago
  3. YoungZer0

    I was kind of getting bored with the game to be honest. Gameplay-wise it’s too much like the second entry in the series.

    I’m one of those people who cares about the game when the story is interesting or at least the characters in the story are interested. Nobody in the game cares, so i don’t care as well. I’m doing the main missions only since everything else is kind of boring. The Gameplay is just no fun at all.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Freek

    But the story is the best part! Yeah, there’s one moment in the game early on, where you have 4 missions at the same time, and they’re all side activities, but after that….TOTAL INSANITY!

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Razz

    Nice one! My copy is coming in the post today ^_^

    #5 3 years ago
  6. YoungZer0

    @4: I’m already past that. It also has a lot of freaking annoying characters.

    To think people complained about that Cousin dude …

    #6 3 years ago
  7. Deacon

    Sounds like a good rental, but I can see it getting boring pretty damn fast.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Freek

    It’s the most unboring games i’ve ever played, the article only mentions some of the side stuff rather then the story missions, wich is good because that would spoil the game.
    Took me about 17 hours to finish the main game, there’s more variaty there then you could imagine. Talking about that stuff would spoil it. But you could almost say; think of something cool, and it’s probably in Saints Row The Third. Not an exaduration.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. DiodeX

    Where this game wins is the pure pick up and play aspect of it, what do you need instructions for?
    If I want to kill 30 mins, you can. You don’t have long drawn out missions(atm). Love it really.

    I spend 75% of time not doing the main missions, but when you do they are all epic. From what I have played, every proper mission feels like a game ending mission, they all have that climatic feel to them.

    Shark gun (160M$) is pure genius!, cover a foe in fish guts, 5-4-3-2-1 SHARK ATTACK!

    #9 3 years ago
  10. Prof.Dr.Moertel

    The game is completely awesome, insane and hilarious. I can easily overlook some of the major flaws in the story, since it doesn’t really matter anyway.

    Oh, and parodies. Lots of parodies. The Tron level is probably one of my all-time favorites.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. silkvg247

    It’s my GOTY too. I rarely have a game I can’t put down and this was one of them. I want more…

    #11 3 years ago
  12. DSB

    The GOTY still belongs to Portal 2, but I absolutely agree on this one PatGar.

    I think it had kind of a slow start until you finish the first act, but that’s essentially when the missions get going and you really start getting busy with the upgrades, and the game turns into a full fledged demented chaos simulation.

    The turning point for me was the tiger mission as well. That was fucking hilarious.

    Actually one thing I appreciated about the cutscenes and the way the story was pulled forward, was that it really wasn’t trying to throw any punches. It certainly didn’t matter whether you watched the cutscenes or not, but ultimately watching them didn’t obligate you to buy some grandiose plot at all.

    It was just a tightly knit group of friends killing everybody else for the sake of casual gangland domination and vengeance. Simple, appealing and fun.

    Also, seamless co-op that doesn’t pull a single feature from the core game? Excellent.

    @10 Any game that contains a text adventure gag deserves all the praise in the world.

    @3 I thought that was the smartest part of the game. The writing is actually really good, it just isn’t trying to make anything “epic”, or stuff you with notes on everyone. Instead it tells you a lot about the characters themselves and how they relate to eachother.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. Lahanas

    Saints Row is one of the most overrated series in gaming. I cant stand all this over-the-top shit, really boring.

    #13 3 years ago
  14. shmacko

    MGOTY – Skyrim

    #14 3 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    Hopefully, you pre-ordered the Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain Collector’s Edition in the UK already. If not, you are likely out of luck. According to GAME, the pack which contains the Half Scale Replica of Snake’s Bionic Arm has sold out in the UK. The retailer confirmed the news to Videogamer this morning. […]

  • Far Cry 4 Complete Edition coming June 19 for PC, PS4 to the UK

    A Far Cry 4 Complete Edition has been announced and it includes the full game as well as the Season Pass. This is the sku which popped up on Amazon Germany earlier in the week. The Season Pass provides access to five separate pieces of DLC. Here’s a refresher on the DLC content: The Syringe: […]

  • The Witcher 3: live Q&A stream with CDP, new monster dev diary inside

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is out in just two weeks, and if you want to know more about Geralt’s latest adventure, CD Projekt is hosting a live Q&A now on Twitch. There’s also a new developer diary below which focuses on monster in the game. The Witcher 3 is out on May 19. Huzzah! […]

  • Forza Horizon 2′s Alpinestars Car Pack has five cars and is ready for download

    The Alpinestars Car Pack for Forza Horizon 2 is out now on Xbox One and its the only way you will ever be able to afford a 1992 Bugatti EB110 Super Sport. Unless, of course, you win the lottery or are left in some rich person’s will. In that case, I’ll take the ’53 Corvette, […]

  • Shadow of Mordor – Game of the Year Edition is now available in North America

    Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor – Game of the Year Edition has been released in North America. It will be made available in the Europe on May 7 and in the UK May 8 for £49.99 on consoles and £34.99 on PC. As previously announced, this edition contains all previously released DLC content as well as […]

  • Two GAME exclusive versions of Halo 5: Guardians now available for pre-order

    GAME has announced two exclusive versions of Halo 5: Guardians, and both are now available for pre-order exclusively through one of the retail chain’s 318 stores or online. The £79.99 Limited Edition Halo 5: Guardians, which delivers new digital content wrapped in a steel book. There’s also the £199.99 Halo 5: Guardians Limited Collector’s Edition […]

  • Deals with Gold: Far Cry 4, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Bioshock Infinite, more

    Microsoft has announced its latest Deals with Gold discounts for Xbox Live Gold members. Franchises on sale include Far Cry, Call of Duty, along with individual titles Assassin’s Creed Unity and Bioshock Infinite. The full list is below. Bioshock Infinite discounts are available for both Xbox Live Gold and Silver members. Xbox One Far Cry […]

  • Wolfenstein: The Old Blood has released, watch the launch trailer here

    Wolfenstein: The Old Blood has launched on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. You can watch the launch trailer for it below. Boxed copies in Europe arrive from May 15, and in Australia/New Zealand on May 14. You can grab digital copies from the following online services: Steam, PlayStation Network, Xbox Store.

  • GOG’s online service GOG Galaxy is now in open beta

    GOG Galaxy, the DRM-free online gaming platform from the folks at GOG, has left Alpha and is now in open beta for all to try. As previously announced, the online service, similar to Steam, is option. Players do not need to play online as all games are stored by the service and can be played […]

  • DayZ-inspired Goat Simulator DLC GoatZ is out this week on Steam

    Goat Simulator players can download DayZ-inspired DLC this week called GoatZ. According to Coffee Stain Studios, GoatZ is “the only survival game on Steam that isn’t in Early Access.” Jokingly of course. The DLC features: Mandatory crafting system because everyone else is doing it. Zombies that bug out. There’s a pun here about actual living […]

  • No, Far Cry 4 is not currently free on PSN

    You may have seen a few Tweets from people saying that the PS4 version of Far Cry 4 is available to download from PSN for free. This is not true. A few readers have tipped us off to what looked like a glitch on PSN that allowed players to download the full version of Far […]

  • Metal Gear Solid: The 1984 Collection confirmed to be a clothing line

    Konami is teasing a Metal Gear Solid thing called “The 1984 Collection.” The Metal Gear Solid Facebook page posted this image about an hour ago: The caption reads, “Step back into the 80′s with our new MGS collection coming very soon! Stay tuned!” This is supposedly in reference to the clothing line that was announced […]

  • Portal, The Simpsons, Jurassic World & Scooby Doo packs listed for Lego Dimensions

    Lego Dimensions is likely getting a few unannounced content packs. One of which is themed around Valve’s Portal. A set of unannounced content packs for the upcoming Lego Dimensions have been revealed by US retailer Walmart. The listings include packs for The Simpsons, Scooby Doo and Jurassic World, and most interestingly, Portal. The listings have […]

  • This is the most authentic recreation of GTA 2 in real life ever

    Affordable drones have many uses. Most of them are not nearly as exciting as recreating GTA 2 in real life. I am surprised it took us this long, but someone has finally captured footage using a drone that resembles the protagonist’s experience in the classic GTA 2. These aren’t just shots of cars from a […]

  • PlayStation 4 sales reach 2m in the UK

    Sony has sold 2 million PlayStation 4 consoles in the UK, faster than it did with the PlayStation 2 – the company’s best-selling machine in the country. MCVUK is reporting that as of last weekend, 2 million PlayStation 4s have been sold in the UK. The data is based on GfK Chart-Track estimates. This makes […]

  • H1Z1 gets female characters, skin colour options planned

    In an effort to improve diversity in the game, H1Z1 developer has added female characters. Female survivors can now be found throughout the world of H1Z1. Developer Daybreak added the new feature in a patch released last Friday. You will be able to choose a female avatar in the main game and in Battle Royale. […]

  • Possible teaser site for Castlevania creator Koji “IGA” Igarashi’s new game opens

    Either Castlevania creator Koji “IGA” Igarashi is working on a soon-to-be-launched Kickstarter for his new game, or someone is pulling an elaborate prank. At PAX Prime last year, during Keiji Inafune’s Mighty No. 9 panel, a flyer was handed out to attendees that showed what appeared to be a 2D game of some sort with […]

  • Destiny weekly reset for May 5: Heroic and Nightfall strikes detailed

    Tuesday is here and Destiny’s weekly reset is also here. Bungie announced that your weekly Destiny grind has now begun. The Nightfall and Heroic strikes are now live too. This week’s strike is Winter’s Run. Rainbow burn is back for the Nightfall, which means you do more damage with all elemental weapons, but also receive […]

  • PC version of Project Cars delayed in Australia due to severe weather

    Recent weather conditions in Sydney, Australia are responsible for a slight delay of the PC version of Project Cars in the country. Sydney recently suffered from storms that caused flooding in some areas. One of those is the place where publisher Namco Bandai was storing PC copies of Project Cars. The stock was “severely damaged,” […]

  • Twitch’s new process makes it easier for streamers to appeal flagged content

    Twitch has updated its appeals process concerning videos that have been flagged by the audio ID system. Towards the end of last year, Twitch introduced a new audio recognition system that scans archived streams and automatically mutes the audio whenever copyright music is identified. The system has been in-use ever since and Twitch has today […]

  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has a day one patch, but it’s not a major one

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will indeed have a day one patch, to make the first-time experience as smooth as possible. Like many modern games, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will have its day one patch. According to the developer however, it wasn’t born out of necessity. Miles Tost, level designer at developer CD Projekt […]

  • CoD: Advanced Warfare owners get free pistol today

    Advanced Warfare developer Sledgehammer Games is adding a new pistol to the game, free to all players. The M1 Irons is a new pistol that comes to Advanced Warfare starting today. The weapon is offered as a thank you gift from the developer. Sledgehammer says the Irons is good at range and packs a punch. […]

  • Fall down the Skullgirls Big Band music video rabbit hole with me

    Skullgirls is a pretty amazing fighting game, but did you know it’s also a passable music creation suite? Earlier today I was idly perusing an episode of PlayStation Underground showing off Skullgirls 2nd Encore, a re-release of the indie fighter packing in loads of new features and coming to PS4 – with full cross-play! – […]

  • The many uses of Wolfenstein: The Old Blood’s pipe weapon

    Wolfenstein: The Old Blood adds a sick new weapon to BJ’s arsenal: a pipe. In Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, a pipe is not just a pipe. Not only can you bash nazis with it, you can use it to climb walls, reach hatches, and even break through some walls. Plus? You can dual wield it. […]

  • Mortal Kombat X teaser gives first look at Predator

    Mortal Kombat X’s next celebrity guest was teased during the latest Kast. Today’s Mortal Kombat X Kast was mostly about all about Jason, but also included a very brief nod to Predator. You can watch the full livestream to see the tease in situ if you’re really keen, but IGN shared this convenient edit: There’s […]

  • Rock Band 4 has count-ins, drum fills and vocal harmonies

    Rock Band 4 will more closely emulate the feeling of being a real musician with some neat personalisation touches. For Rock Band 4, Harmonix elected to double down on player ownership of their experience rather than technical precision. To this end, it has implemented a number of cool new features. I am wildly envious of […]

  • Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z, Lost Planet 3 developer shuttered

    Spark Unlimited has gone down with all hands. The Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z and Lost Planet 3 developer has been shuttered and all staff laid off. Chief technical officer John Butrovich confirmed the news in a statement issued to IGN. “Spark Unlimited is closing as a video game developer. The ongoing opportunities for smaller mobile […]

  • PS Now subscription available on PlayStation 3 this month, Vita coming soon

    PlayStation Now’s all you can eat service has finally been dated for PS3. Subscriptions to PS Now, Sony’s cloud-based gaming service, will be available on PS3 from May 12 in the US. The all you can eat package will also be made available on select Bravia TVs and Sony Blu-ray players on the same date. […]

  • GTA 5 is even better with a gravity gun

    GTA 5 modders have made a dream come true, adding a gravity gun to your arsenal of mayhem-causing weaponry. GTA 5 isn’t ready for this. It looks like a heck of a lot of fun, but the poor old Los Santos po po can’t deal with the resulting carnage at all. If Rockstar were ever […]

  • “Mod makers should be able to make money from their creations,” says DOOM creator

    DOOM co-creator John Romero has weighed in on the paid mods debate. Paid mods are a hot issue right now. For years, Valve has been enabling content creators to make money from their work on Counter-strike: Global offensive, Dota 2 and Team Fortress 2, but when it partnered with Bethesda to offer the same for […]

  • Watch WRC driver Kevin Abbring smash through a DIRT Rally challenge

    WRC driver Kevin Abbring has been participating in Dirt Rally’s daily events – and kicking ass. Dirt Rally seems to have ticked one of the most difficult to attain boxes of racing development – creating something professional drivers like to play, and which rewards their years of experience. Codemasters published the video below showing Hyundai […]

  • Mortal Kombat X patch to bring PC version up to console standard

    Mortal Kombat X PC will be fixed tomorrow, NetherRealm has promised. The PC version of Mortal Kombat X has come under fire for poor performance, including stuttering frame rate and bugs as plenty. About 45 minutes into a recent Twitch stream, NetherRealm boss Ed Boon said an update will drop tomorrow to address many of […]

  • Destiny House of Wolves: all new Crucible maps detailed

    Destiny’s House of Wolves DLC will add four new maps to the Crucible, the game’s competitive multiplayer mode. Let’s take a look at all of them. Alex brings you new footage showing all of the four maps that will drop with House of Wolves. He goes over the layout, landmarks, gameplay styles, and other important […]

  • Custom Xbox One Star Wars controllers look very tempting

    Microsoft is celebrating May 4 by showing off concept designs for Star Wars-themed Xbox One controllers. May 4 is of course Star Wars Day and the controller concepts you’re about to see are just that, concepts. Or at least that’s what they said they are. There are four designs and they don’t look very practical. […]

  • Project Cars launch trailer is an anthology of race cars, set to the beats of Deadmau5

    Project Cars comes out this week and there’s just enough time for one last trailer. Project Cars, Slightly Mad Studios’ ambitious racer that has been in development for ages, is finally coming out this week. The racer received plenty of changes throughout its development based on community feedback and the final product will be in […]