Archive for Saints row the Third

Saints Row Franchise

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2013 by caseystorton


-I know I’ve already gotten two-and-a-half reviews out of Saints Row 3 and 4, but I recently sought out the first two and played the entire series from beginning to end (haven’t finished replaying IV yet, but I just really wanted to write something) and I thought it might be fun to do an overview of the entire series to give newcomers an idea of what to expect from it going in, as well as where they need to start. I’ll try to keep this one organized by game, but I may go off topic a few times, so bear with me.



-Ah, the original game where all of this madness began. Things in the original Saints Row start off fairly quickly. After a brief bit of character creation, you’re thrown into a cutscene where your character ends up accidentally witnessing a four-way street fight between the four gangs fighting for control of the city of Stilwater: The Vice Kings, Los Carnales, The Westside Rollers, and the Third Street Saints. At the end, just before a surviving member of the Carnales kills you for witnessing everything, you’re saved by Troy, a Lieutenant for the Saints as well as Saint’s leader Julius, voiced by Keith David. They tell you where to go if you want to join the gang, and your character just nods in agreement. By the way, get used to that, as despite your character being right in the middle of the entire story, you only say four things in the entire game. The next day you meet the Saints at the abandoned church that serves as their base of operations. You’re then thrown into a brief “mission” where you’re canonized by the low level members of the Saints, which serves as a melee combat tutorial. After the Saints finish congratulating you on doing better than everyone else except Johnny Gat (more on him later), we’re introduced to our basic modus operandi for the remainder of the game. Julius decides that he wants the Saints to take control of Stilwater and eliminate the other gangs from the picture entirely, and he assigns a lieutenant to each of the three gangs in order to figure out how to take them down.


-From here, you have an interesting level of flexibility in how you tackle the story. Each of the three rival gangs has their own individual set of missions and strongholds to conquer, and the game allows you to actively jump around between the plots of each gang as you see fit. That said, we’ve arrived at the meat of Saints Row’s problems. In order to unlock the ability to play a mission or clear out a gang stronghold, you have to fill up your “Respect” bar by doing side activities. The bar stacks, so you’re able to build up several bars of Respect before going on a marathon of missions and strongholds, but the amount of Respect that’s required to perform a mission is really high, and it brings any sense of pacing that the story may have to a grinding halt.


-The second problem with Saints Row is the lack of mission checkpoints. A lot of the missions have multiple parts to them, and having to start all over upon death gets really annoying. For example, there’s one where you have to drive to a location, kill the driver out of a limo, drive to a drop off point, pick someone up, drive to a couple spots around town, lose some pursuers, drive them home, follow them inside, and kill a bunch of gang members inside. If you get killed during the shootout with the gang members, you have to go all the way back to the church to start over from the beginning. It’s frustrating to say the least.


-Now that we’ve got the worst parts out of the way, it’s time to discuss some of the better parts of the game. While the button mapping is a little bizarre, the controls respond very well, and considering that this game predates GTA IV, this was a really big deal. The stories of each individual gang are told pretty well, with some solid writing backed by an all-star cast of voice-actors for the rival gang leaders. Seriously, considering most games just get random unknowns for their voice-overs, the cast of Saints Row is really impressive. The leaders of the Vice Kings, Carnales, and Westside Rollers are respectively voiced by Michael Clarke Duncan (RIP), Freddie Rodriguez, and David Caradine (RIP) with Mila Kunis appearing as a Lieutenant for the Vice Kings. All the stars deliver great performances, and it manages to elevate an otherwise pretty average game.


-Saints Row is an interesting little novelty, and the celebrity cast is entertaining, but the frustrating and repetitive gameplay coupled with the damn near 20 hours it takes to finish the story make it a real slog to play all the way through. It’s not a terrible game, but for the sake of context for later games, feel free to read some plot summaries on the Saints Row wiki, and save yourself the effort.



-At the end of the original Saints Row, your character is on a yacht that gets blown up, leaving the player to presume themselves dead. The thing is, you were rescued just in time, and fell into a coma at the Stilwater prison hospital. You awaken from the coma three years later and escape with the help of Carlos, a fellow inmate who had a brother in the Saints. Interestingly, Saints Row 2 now allows you the option of playing as a female character, something I have fun with if only for a different perspective and different voice than usual. Anyway, you escape back to Stilwater and narrowly save Johnny Gat, definitely the most badass of all the Saints, from being publicly executed for “300 counts of First Degree Murder.” After you escape the courthouse, Gat fills you in on what happened in the years you were out. After you were presumed dead, it turned out that Troy was an undercover cop who’s now chief of police, another one ran off to join the Ultor corporation, and Julius disappeared without a trace, and three new gangs have moved in to Stilwater. After officially recruiting Carlos, as well as newcomers Pierce and Shaundi to help out the Saints, the setup becomes more familiar. Carlos is in charge of The Brotherhood, a bunch of muscled up dudes with monster trucks and tattoos led by the enormous Maero, Pierce is in charge of the Ronin, a Japanese gang that enjoys motorcycles and swords, led by a couple people whose names and don’t remember, and Shaundi is in charge of the Son’s of Samedi, a bunch of drug dealers with some new stuff called “Loa Dust” that’s really taken off, lead by a couple Rastafarian types and a white dude voiced by Neil Patrick Harris.


-From here, gameplay is very similar to that of the original, although plenty of improvements have been made in order to keep the experience flowing. You still have to play side activities to earn Respect and play missions, but Respect now accumulates much faster, there are tons of new activities to play, and you can now earn little extra bits of Respect Points for killing gang members and doing some fancy driving skills, so it never feels like the game has to slow you down too much in order to artificially lengthen the experience. The button layout is still kinda funky, but it remains responsive and workable, and it isn’t too hard to get used to.


-While the refined gameplay is nice, the story is easily the biggest improvement from the first game. While Saints Row’s story was pretty good, it doesn’t have teeth quite like SR2′s story does. It’s so incredibly rare to see a game where you play a villain, and I mean a real villain. Sure, there are games that let you choose the “evil” option in conversation and stuff, but they usually end up with you saving the day and being somewhat of a dick about it, or like Fable 3, a game that rather than actually letting you be an evil king opted to demonize rational thought for the sake of having “good” and “evil” options. Saints Row 2, on the other hand, makes no excuses and pulls no punches. You are a playing a bad person, and you revel in all the awful things that they do. You aren’t here to clean up the city like in the first game, you’re here to take control and have the city under your thumb because it sounds like a good time. You set a guitarist’s hand on fire just because Maero likes to get tattoos from him, you tricked a man into brutally murdering his girlfriend because he dared to try crossing you. The player character in Saints Row 2 doesn’t care how much his/her actions ruin other people’s lives, and usually neither do the other members of your crew, you’re all just there to run a city however you want, and aren’t afraid to commit some murder on the way there. It’s a hell of a story, and it makes for a great character study of “The Boss.”


-Overall, Saints Row 2 is fantastic. It’s got a riveting, lengthy story, fun gameplay, and makes for a huge improvement over the original in every way. Definitely give this one a go.



-Saints Row The Third was the first game in the series that I played, and without the experience of the other two, I thought it was really good. With this being my third time reviewing it, I hope I can (finally) give it the review that it needs.

-Things pick up a few years after the end of Saints Row 2. Johnny Gat has better hair, Shaundi became less of a stoner, Pierce is now a well-dressed public figure, and the Saints have become elevated pop-culture icons, with tons of people asking for autographs, a successful energy drink, and even a movie deal for “Gangstas in Space.” The game starts off with you, Shaudi and Gat robbing a bank along with Josh Birk, an actor who’s researching his part for the movie. After the bank heist goes wrong and the crew gets arrested, it’s revealed that the bank belonged to a multi-national corporation called “The Syndicate.” Their leader, some Belgian asshole named Felipe Loren takes you onto his plane to talk merging The Syndicate with The Saints. Johnny manages tear out the bolts holding his chair to the floor and cover you and Shaundi’s escape, and after shooting his way to the cock-pit, suffers an off-camera death. Yeah, now that I’ve played the first two, I completely understand why loosing Gat was such a big deal. Anyway, you and Shaundi land in the city of Steelport, and after joining back up with Pierce and robbing the army, you start regrouping The Saints to take down The Syndicate and avenge Johnny. While there are a few interesting developments, the structure of the game’s progression sort-of limits the flexibility of the game’s narrative. You see, there are still 3 separate gangs existing in Steelport, each with their own leadership and such, but they all work together, so while you do still have to take down 3 gangs, you do so in a much more linear fashion than before, bringing in a few new faces to help you find your way around Steelport, including a Lucha Libre wrestler that’s voiced by Hulk Hogan, plus one of the lieutenants for The Syndicate is voiced by Sasha Grey. I’ll go ahead and let you figure out who that is if you don’t already know.


-There have most certainly been improvements made to the gameplay in The Third, and most changes exist solely for the purpose of streamlining the experience, which given the wackier play-style that much of the game indulges in, a quicker pace seems to be the right way to go. While the side activities are still there, you no longer need to earn Respect from them in order to play missions, with Respect instead being used to level up your character, allowing you to purchase upgrades to your health, ammo capacity, and many others, if you have the cash to spend. The thing is, though, the combining of three gangs into one as well as the lack of necessity for the side activities means that Saint’s Row The Third is considerably shorter than its predecessors, clocking in at not quite 9 hours, less than half of either of the first two games.


-The button layout has now been made much more sensible, but with 40+ hours of playtime with the bizarre setup of the first two, it was difficult for me to adjust to having a competent control scheme. Once I got it together, though, I was glad to see that Volition was able to learn from their mistakes. On another note, there’s this new mechanic wherein you’ll be presented with two different options, usually a decision between two different bonuses, although they grow in variety as the game continues, with one even providing an alternate ending. It’s a neat little mechanic, although some choices are most certainly bigger than others, and there’s a bit of an imbalance between the options from time to time.


-While it’s by no means a bad game, Saints Row The Third is a bit of a misstep after the fantastic Saints Row 2. The fact that it takes itself much less seriously isn’t bad, but the shorter length, lower activity variety, linear mission structure and lack of a truly compelling story keep the experience from resonating like SR2 did.



-I was really excited the first time that I played this, mostly because I had so much fun with The Third before I’d experienced 2, and I was very curious to see just how ridiculous everything got. Well, very ridiculous is the answer. After successfully taking over Steelport by the end of The Third, The Saints are back to being a really big deal, and the game opens up with you, Pierce, and Shaundi on an operation to assassinate a military leader gone rogue after The Third that plans on destroying Washington DC with a nuke. After a fairly standard run-and-gun combat tutorial and a hilarious nuke destruction scene, we cut to 5 years later when The Boss has officially become President of the United States, with Keith David as your Vice President, not voicing you Vice President, BEING your Vice President, constantly assuring you and that he’s not like Julius, and Benjamin King as your Chief of Staff, now voiced by Terry Crews. After a few scenes establish that you’re basically running the country into the ground, aliens invade, kidnap all of your friends from previous games as well as Keith David, Matt Miller (one of the gang leaders from The Third, now an agent of MI6) and other MI6 agent Asha Odekar. After an incredibly hilarious section that, on reflection, I probably shouldn’t be spoiling, Kinzie, your tech expert from The Third, tells you that you’re stuck in a Matrix-like simulation being controlled by the aliens, and that you need to get out to get your friends back and save Earth from the aliens. For such a seemingly simple concept as “aliens invaded let’s stop them,” Saints Row IV manages to bring a surprising amount of depth to the story by way of the character interactions and excellent villain that is Zinyak, the leader of the aliens. Also, just in case you didn’t see any of the promotional material, Johnny Gat makes a return. I’m not saying how, but he’s there, I promise.


-One more very important thing, by exploiting holes in the simulation, Kinzie is able to give you super powers. Yeah, superpowers in a Saints Row game. Super Speed, Super Jump, Mind Control, Freeze Blasts, and Telekinesis are just some of the awesome abilities at your disposal as the game progresses, and there’s some very Crackdown-esque hunting for Data Clusters in order to upgrade your powers, which makes for a nice little diversion in-between missions.


-While just sticking to the story missions would likely see you plowing though the game pretty quickly, side missions take you through all the activities in the city and reward you with new outfits, powers, weapons, and plenty of other things, providing great incentive to play the side missions. Speaking of which, there have been some nice changes made to the activities to make full use of the new super-powered gameplay, and it’s all tons of fun to play around with, especially with some of the sillier weapons like the Inflato Ray and the Dubstep Gun.


-I go into more detail in my full review of this game that I posted about a month ago, but I’ll just say that I loved Saints Row IV. I’m still not sure whether or not I like it more than Saints Row 2, but it’s still a great game with a gripping story, fun characters, awesome weapons, and loads of gameplay variety.


-I’ll try to sum up my thoughts on the series as a whole here, and let’s see if I can’t give some recommendations while we’re here. Basically, the original exists as a relic of a time long past. It was an open world crime game on a 7th generation console that predated GTA IV, had responsive controls for moving and shooting, and wasn’t all that bad, and in 2006, that was enough, but today, it’s merely a curiosity, and there’s no real need to play it.

-Saints Row 2 is a massive overhaul in every way, with an awesome story filled with dark, intense character drama, a great character study of you and your crew’s genuinely villainous nature, and a ton of fun to play. Start your Saints Row experience here.

-Saints Row The Third brings some innovations to the formula with the leveling system and optional activities, but came out a lot shorter than the first two and other than losing Johnny Gat, is largely devoid of any real drama. It’s still very fun to play, it’s just not the game that it could have been. Worth the ride, just don’t pay too much for it.

-And finally, Saints Row IV is an impossible crescendo to mark the apparent end of this bizarre franchise in the most ridiculous way that it possibly can, and if you can suspend your disbelief enoughfor all this sci-fi insanity to work, it’s a hell of a ride, and easily rivals Saints Row 2 as a contender for the high-point of the series.


Saints Row The Third (for real this time)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 22, 2012 by caseystorton

-Yes, I know I sort-of reviewed this already back in January, but at that time, I was too busy plowing through the game as fast as I could, still working on figuring out how to use the PS3 controller I was playing on, and dealing with my cousin’s dog to really get a good look at what I was playing. Also I only finished about half of the game, which I feel is a little lacking. Feel free to write that little adventure off as a first impressions, and consider this one the full review.

-Basically the Third Street Saints have become massive celebrity media whores, and mostly just sign autographs and make movie deals because they can. Eventually, though, a new gang moves into their native Stillwater and forces them out, forcing what’s left of the Saints to regroup in the city of Steelport. While it initially seems as though you’ll have to start from the bottom and slowly work your way up to get anywhere in this town, in about five missions you go from a shitty apartment and a starting pistol to a massive penthouse and a full arsenal of weapons, so the game makes sure that the audience isn’t bored, which fits with the game’s tone pretty well.

-The thing about Saints Row The Third is that given the absolute stupidity the game puts on display, I really shouldn’t like it as much as I do. To counterbalance the overly serious story about taking control of the city and avenging your dead friends and stuff, everything in-between is down-right insane. There’s a ton of different things to do as the game goes on, and it’s a genuine pleasure to see what ridiculous new thing the game will tell you to do next. You might have to cause mayhem from a tank, drive around some prostitutes, protect your tech-savvy ally on a run to some hacking spots, or shooting up mascots in “Professor Genki’s Super Ethical Reality Climax.”

-The thing that keeps it all flowing is consistent variety. Mission types rarely repeat, and even when they do, you typically have plenty of other options to keep yourself busy if you don’t want to do those missions just yet. The fact that the developers could make a game this absurd and still be able to make the rest of it work as well as it did is actually pretty amazing, and it makes for a very entertaining experience. Side-note, I didn’t really appreciate this as much when I first played this game, but it’s something that I’ve been craving for a long time. In Saints Row The Third, your character has their own voice in both gameplay and cut-scenes, and has some sharply written dialogue that varies based on which gender your character is. With games like Borderlands 2 where your character is pretty much just told what to with no option to argue about it or even voice anything resembling an opinion, and games like Mass Effect providing little to no incentive to customize your character when they’ll just say the same lines in their same voice anyway, it’s incredibly refreshing to see a mainstream action game take this step and make the player an integral part of the experience.

-Overall, Saints Row The Third is much better than I initially gave it credit for. It’s fun, it’s interesting, and it’s chock full of all kinds of juvenile humor that most other outlets won’t allow you to indulge in.  It’s currently on sale for $15 on Steam. So yeah, go for it. 86/100



My Favorite games of 2011

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 3, 2012 by caseystorton

-Since every other game reviewer and their mother is doing this list, I feel it’s only right that I do the same. Since There weren’t that many game released in 2011 that I got around to playing,  I’m leaving it at top 5.  There will be a couple of games on here that I haven’t reviewed yet, but reviews will come in the future, and I have at least played enough of them to know where they stand in my top games of last year.

Honorable Mentions:

-I couldn’t make this list without paying homage to a couple games that didn’t quite make the list, but were at least out there enough for me to remember them fondly.

Saints Row the Third

As I said in my review of it, it’s not a great game, but the wacky humor and cool city to explore at least bring it up to an experience that was pretty enjoyable experience that, at least for me personally, was a nice introduction to the PS3 hardware.

Shadows of the Damned

-The first game I reviewed with images may have suffered from somewhat lacking difficulty and little incentive to replay, but nonetheless the over-the-top atmosphere courteous of Suda 51 at least made for an enjoyable and varied experience that was at the very least a good time.

-Now, onto the actual entries to the list

Number 5: Bulletstorm

-While certainly not fantastic, Bulletstorm’s light throwback to classic shooters like People Can Fly’s own Painkiller made it rather distinctive in the recent outpouring of Modern Warfare clones that have been flooding the market. With the deep skill shot system, awesome weapons, and variety given to the actual shooting, Bulletstorm was my favorite shooter of its kind that I played last year.

Number 4: Driver San Francisco

-Here’s one out of left field for the number 4 spot. This being the first Driver game that I’d ever played, I had high hopes for the innovative shift mechanics, and the game delivered. With a great re-creation of the city that’s fun to explore and cause mayhem in, tons of different cars to drive, and a great variety of missions to do, Driver San Francisco is a great game, that I hope to review as soon as my current workload is done with.

Number 3: Rage

-One of only two games that I bought on the release date, Rage sort-of felt like a better version of Borderlands (not that I didn’t like Borderlands, mind you) with elements of Fallout 3 mixed in. I’ve recently replayed it in order to explore more of the content, and hope to do a follow-up review as soon as I finish everything that I feel I need to do in it.

Number 2: The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim

-WHAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTT????????!!!!!!!!! Syrim isn’t number 1? No, it isn’t, remember, this is my favorite games of 2011, not necessarily the best, so while you may argue that Skyrim is better than what I choose for Number 1, I stand by my decision that I just had more fun with it. Anyway, Skyrim is great, but you know that already, so I don’t need to tell you again. Onto number 1.

Number 1: Mortal Kombat

-Yup. Bottom line, Mortal Kombat is a fantastic game. The fighting mechanics are both deep and accessible, the story mode was great, the characters were all very usable and balanced, which made picking a personal favorite completely impossible, and to top it all off, it had the best DLC ever:

yeah, it really happened. I don’t care that they used the design from the remake for his face, the fact that Freddy Krueger is in Mortal Kombat is absolutely amazing. The game was so great that it even got my to misspell stuff in my review of it, which was kinda silly but still, fantastic game. My least read review of last year was my favorite game of 2011. Here’s to hoping that 2012 can bring us some more winners.

Saints Row the Third

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2012 by caseystorton

-Skip to the second paragraph for those of you that don’t care how I’m reviewing a game that I hadn’t ever played until yesterday. Still here? Okay. My cousin and his girlfriend went out of town for a night and needed me to stay at their house to look after their dog. My cousin has a PS3 and he just so happened to have this game for it. So I decided “hell, I heard it’s not that long of a game, and it’s about time I played a PS3.” So yeah, on with the review.

-The setup has the Third Street Saints, the gang from the first two games (which I haven’t played) as high profile celebrities. All the members sign autographs all over the place, Johnny Gat has his own line of bobble heads, they have their own energy drink, laughably called “Saints Flow,”  and there’s even a movie being made about them. After a bank robbery goes wrong by way of a new gang called the Syndicate. Some really awesome set-pieces later, the Saints flee from their native Stilwater to the new city of Steelport to start back from square one. I never really bought into the whole “square one” business though, as literally the first mission after you land in Steelport has you backed up by several attack helicopters as you steal a bunch of weapons from the army.

-So yeah, it’s a sandbox crime game about a gang acquiring resources and allies before deciding that they have enough to turn all of the other gangs into smoldering piles of dust. Although it has to be said that it certainly doesn’t do so seriously at all. After the crazy opening scene you discover some funny, if immature, thing located around Steelport. Here’s one; the vehicle repair/upgrade shop? It’s called Rim Jobs. Get it? Also, check out this impossibly silly melee weapon:

it’s exactly what you think it is.

-But silly jokes aside, how’s the game itself?  Well, it’s pretty good. The story is pretty lame, as all of the rival gangs introduced at the beginning just end up teaming up with each-other, effectively making them one gang with a few different outfits. While there are police in the city, they’re not nearly as much of a threat to you as any of the gangs, which are only a threat if you get your notoriety up to 4 stars, so the police are pretty redundant. The story has you following a linear path of missions accessed through your phone, many of which become available for replay after doing them once. The activities include mayhem  (do $X0,000 worth of property damage in X amount of time), guardian angel (helicopter rocket launcher escort mission with some sniping thrown in), as well as others that have you covering for merchandise sales, transporting prostitutes, or driving people around the city. Even though they are unlocked in freeplay after you complete them, you end up having to repeat some of them with different new recruits of the Saints, which gets old if you don’t like one or two of the missions.

-While the missions are one way to get money, you can also buy up property around the city that pays out an hourly income to your bank account, which you can transfer to your pocket from your cell phone. With this added in, I found I had more money that I knew what to do with, and started  upgrading all my weapons, vehicles, and abilities just because I could, which felt a little silly. There was also an option to use you money to effectively buy experience point with your cash, which felt a bit odd to me, but I never used it.

-Overall, Saints Row the Third is a pretty fun game. It’s not as much fun to explore and dick around in as say Prototype or Just Cause 2, but the story is more fun than what I’ve played of GTA4, which isn’t bad. Worth a look, by no means great, but worth a look. 7/10