I’ve robbed a bank by stealing the entire vault – by helicopter – whilst gunning down a small army of elite security guards on the roof of said bank from the roof of said flying vault. I’ve ridden said helicopter above the busy streets of a crowded metropolis, riddling dozens of other helicopters with machine gun bullets. I’ve dropped out of an airplane fifteen thousand feet above sea level, engaged in gunfights with small hordes of goons during the freefall. I’ve thrown myself back into said airplane by crashing through the windshield, killing several more goons on my way through the airplane before flying out the cargo hold on the other side. Oh, and I created a custom-made character. All of this has happened within the course of a half hour, and all of it has happened in Saints Row the Third.
After hearing about the Saints Row franchise, I expected its latest installation to be over the top, but there’s no way I could have seen this coming without watching video footage first. I’m taken aback by three things so far: The visual beauty (on the PC, of course), the surprisingly witty writing (when not profanity-filled), and just how over the top Saints Row is. It’s begging you to not take it seriously… and I love it.
The Third is an open-world, third-person shooter where, on normal difficulty, you’re nearly bulletproof. No surprise, you’re the leader of the Third Street Saints, the gang that alternates between bankruptcy and total power over the metropolis of Steelport. Unfortunately, some big bad French mobster is taking control over populated estate city by city, and Steelport is his current target. He offers to take most of your money on a monthly basis. You’re too awesome, so you say no. The bad news is that the Saints are now flat broke thanks to your rejection, and the “story” (I’m not sure if that’s a valid term yet) is that of you regaining Steelport district by district by completing missions and assassinating important figures like the ramboesque gangster that you are.
Did I mention “you” is “whomever you want to be”? The character creator in Saints Row is gratuitously extensive! Have you ever wanted to change the width of your ear lobes? NOW YOU CAN! Really, though. There are so many sliders in the character creator, your sliders have sliders. I’m barely exaggerating. Vibrant purple hair set into neat little corn rows with a big, thick unibrow to match are thinking pretty small with possibilities like this.
So far, so good. Very good. However, the entire nature of the game is incredibly crude. If that causes you to hesitate, go ahead and pass on this one. Otherwise, go check out some gameplay. It’s way out there.