Saints Row: The Third gives you the tools you need to wreak havoc. You start off with typical pistols, shotguns, and submachine guns at your disposal, and even from the first moment, you have the ability to cause all kinds of bedlam. You can spend money to level up weapons until they become instruments of absurd destruction. Fully level up a pistol, and it can fire explosive bullets that send enemies into the air. Max out a submachine gun, and it can set your foes on fire. But it's the way that you constantly gain access to awesome new weapons and vehicles that makes your progress immensely rewarding. You eventually get your hands on one device that lets you take remote control of any vehicle, another that lets you paint a target and call in an airstrike, and a number of other fun and powerful weapons.
6346974NoneThis UAV drone is pretty cool, but it's just the first of many incredibly powerful weapons you acquire.
You also become the proud owner of an increasingly large and varied assortment of vehicles that includes helicopter gunships, VTOL planes, and jet bikes. Regardless of how you choose to get around Steelport, you're sure to enjoy yourself. Cars have a tight grip on the asphalt and slide around corners with style; aircraft are similarly maneuverable and let you bank and roll with ease. If you don't find a car that suits your tastes on the streets of Steelport, you can take your ride to any Rim Jobs mechanic shop and avail yourself of a robust customization system, improving the car's performance and changing its appearance in a number of ways.
Unfortunately, the world in which you get to use all these amazing toys is far from flawless. Saints Row: The Third looks sharper on the PC than on console, and the improved draw distance makes Steelport's skyline more eye-catching from afar, but the city's districts don't have much detail, and as a result, the world feels more like a chintzy miniature playset than a living, breathing city. Textures still sometimes visibly pop in to the environment, and sometimes characters get stuck inside of objects. Occasionally, activity objectives won't trigger properly; for instance, you may steal a vehicle that has been requested, but find that your GPS continues to direct you to the area where the vehicle can be found, rather than to the chop shop. And at times, you may call in homies for support and have them fail to show up. Also, the enemy gang members and law enforcement officials you're constantly gunning down don't exhibit much intelligence. They tend to stand in the open, making easy pickings for you and your fellow Saints, and when they do take cover, you can often walk around behind them and take them out before they even know you're there. But this isn't a game that tries to excite you with challenging tactical combat. It's all about the chaos that ensues as you fend off dozens of enemies, the sheer fun of pointing and shooting and making things blow up and fly through the air in spectacular fashion. And when you're having that much fun, the blemishes don't matter much.
Rival gang members are kind enough to attack you in vehicles that blow up real good.
As entertaining as it is to cause mayhem in Steelport on your own, the enjoyment is amplified considerably when you bring a friend along. The Third incorporates your Steam friends list, making it easy to team up with a pal. Playing with a partner, you can each freely move around the city doing your own things, or you can join each other for activities and missions. Causing mayhem in tanks, raining rocket-propelled death on rival gang members from a helicopter, or just running around and kicking people where it hurts is all the more merry when you're rolling with a real-life homie. With another player, you can also participate in the Cat and Mouse diversion. Similar to the great Chopper vs. Chopper multiplayer mode from Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned, Cat and Mouse has one player drive a car through checkpoints while the other attempts to destroy the car from a helicopter. It's too bad, though, that, with the aforementioned exception, you don't have the option to replay missions you've already completed. Some are so spectacular that you might want to invite a friend to join you, but you can only do so if your friend has played up to exactly the point in the story when he or she has access to the mission and hasn't done it yet.
Outside the main game, Saints Row: The Third has Whored mode. This pits you (and possibly a partner) against waves of enemies, but while plenty of games have similar "horde" modes, this one has a distinct Saints Row flavor. One wave may give you a chainsaw with which to defeat a flood of zombies, another may give you a minigun with which to take down a massive energy-drink mascot, and another may require you to fend off attacking gimps while armed with nothing but a purple dildo bat. It doesn't offer the tactical thrills of the best "horde" modes out there, but the absurd concepts and varied waves make it fun to experience at least once.
You fight some pretty questionable opponents in Whored mode.