I remember as a kid when games had a simple responsibility to a player, and that was being fun. Since then I've noticed the generic increase in games having a bigger focus on pushing the boundaries of hardware with overly detailed narratives delivering less than fun interactive media. When did all the focus from games being pure fun drain away into trying to turn every other game into something it's pretending not to be? Don't get me wrong, I like a serious story every now and then, but the increase has only showed me how glutton it can get, like thirty days before Christmas it devours everything within the industry. Too many times I've just wanted to pick up my controller and just go all out having fun, not sit through the occasional five or ten minute cutscene or even worse, scripted interactive cutscene to get to the actual gameplay, all for the sake of the story. The child in me screams and throws tantrums at what he had been so used to, and the adult in me can only sit there and try to accept the inevitable that has become of this generation. However, Saints Row: The Third, showed some light in that aspect of all that's dark and depressing. A franchise that for many years was ridiculed for being nothing but a GTA clone, out of the blue reinvented itself and put a primary focus on fun and unique gameplay while realism and a serious narrative took the backseat. After about fifty hours of gameplay, beating the story and reaching a percent of eighty. I can happily say Saints Row: The Third actually made me smile, it had a sort of charm to it. It's by far my personal game of the year.
Upon arriving at Steelport I was open to the "Initiation Station" where I developed my character to be a punk metalhead with a mohawk, purple collared shirt, with black jeans. After about two missions in I was already blown away by the insanity of the gameplay. The cutscenes were short during any narrative set up and the gameplay missions were long and choice riddled. I found the introduction to some of the activities as missions to be a bit cheap as far as adding to the gameplay, I may as well had been playing a tutorial with no idea until completion. Onto the sound, the radio stations feature some very nice tunes to listen to while driving around or causing chaos, even some missions have songs playing during an intense moment such as Kanye West's Power and Bonnie Tyler's Holding Out For A Hero. The voice acting is also very well done, for a game that offers the choice of six voices to use from, they all sound like it's true interaction between all the other voice actors. The vehicle controls have been completely overhauled and perfected. Quick turns no longer feel like I'm driving a corvette like an 18 wheeler, occasionally however cars would spawn in front of me rather than see them from far away, sometimes leading me to crashing into them at high speeds. As for the characters, I have never seen such a mix matched bunch of people under one building. To avoid giving away any spoilers I'll simply leave it at that.
In conclusion, Saints Row: The Third is a great reminder that a game in this day and age can still be fun with no tired focus on realism or seriousness. A growing fad among games that simply needs to take a cat nap. Volition has crafted a great quality title to end the year with, not only earning well deserved scores and sales, but giving their franchise a real identity.
Great job Volition, can't wait to see what you make next!