Customization in Saints Row The Third

There's nothing that annoys me more about a video game series than when a sequel doesn't do everything at least as well as its predecessor. Whether it's a fighting game having a smaller roster or an enjoyable gameplay element gone missing, it always feels like a lack of effort on the part of the developer. Couldn't this have been easily avoided by just starting with what you already had?

In Saints Row 2 the player had a great amount of control over their character's appearance. You could pick your favorite socks, button or unbutton your coat, and choose between having pants on normally or pulled down gangster-style. One would think the next game would let you choose how many buttons to button or have a 'pants height' slider. Unfortunately, Saints Row The Third ended up taking a big step in the other direction by simply having preset top and bottom outfits. Want to wear a leather jacket with a necktie and cargo shorts with striped tights? Sorry, weirdo, you can't wear that, it's not an option. For a game that seems to thrive on oddity, it does a good job limiting people to preset oddness.

One method of customization SR3 gets right is car customizing. You can drive a car into a garage and moments later drive it out with a new coat of paint and several different features from bumpers to hoods to tinted windows. How great the car customizing is only raises further questions as to why the clothing options just don't stack up.

Not only does the clothing fall short of matching up to SR2, it actually takes the biggest flaw of SR2's clothing and further compounds it. While Saints Row 2 gave you a lot of freedom, obtaining the right outfit was not as streamlined as it could be. If you bought a purple jacket and wanted it to be blue you had to drive to that store and buy it again in blue, and then you had two of that jacket in your wardrobe. If you liked to change up your look regularly it led to a pretty cramped menu. Dyes have apparently remained undiscovered in the Saints Row universe, as this is still the way things work in SR3. Not only is it still a bit annoying to have to go back to a store to buy the same thing in a different color, but with the lack of 'wear' options you now have to own identically colored versions of the same jacket just to have a hood up or down.

Sure, this is a minor complaint about an otherwise extraordinarily well-made game. And there may be some technical reason behind this that I am unaware of, like it was a trade off for improved graphical features. Still, it is a shame that Saints Row The Third was not able to exceed its predecessor in every way possible.

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Posted by Fawkes

There's nothing that annoys me more about a video game series than when a sequel doesn't do everything at least as well as its predecessor. Whether it's a fighting game having a smaller roster or an enjoyable gameplay element gone missing, it always feels like a lack of effort on the part of the developer. Couldn't this have been easily avoided by just starting with what you already had?

In Saints Row 2 the player had a great amount of control over their character's appearance. You could pick your favorite socks, button or unbutton your coat, and choose between having pants on normally or pulled down gangster-style. One would think the next game would let you choose how many buttons to button or have a 'pants height' slider. Unfortunately, Saints Row The Third ended up taking a big step in the other direction by simply having preset top and bottom outfits. Want to wear a leather jacket with a necktie and cargo shorts with striped tights? Sorry, weirdo, you can't wear that, it's not an option. For a game that seems to thrive on oddity, it does a good job limiting people to preset oddness.

One method of customization SR3 gets right is car customizing. You can drive a car into a garage and moments later drive it out with a new coat of paint and several different features from bumpers to hoods to tinted windows. How great the car customizing is only raises further questions as to why the clothing options just don't stack up.

Not only does the clothing fall short of matching up to SR2, it actually takes the biggest flaw of SR2's clothing and further compounds it. While Saints Row 2 gave you a lot of freedom, obtaining the right outfit was not as streamlined as it could be. If you bought a purple jacket and wanted it to be blue you had to drive to that store and buy it again in blue, and then you had two of that jacket in your wardrobe. If you liked to change up your look regularly it led to a pretty cramped menu. Dyes have apparently remained undiscovered in the Saints Row universe, as this is still the way things work in SR3. Not only is it still a bit annoying to have to go back to a store to buy the same thing in a different color, but with the lack of 'wear' options you now have to own identically colored versions of the same jacket just to have a hood up or down.

Sure, this is a minor complaint about an otherwise extraordinarily well-made game. And there may be some technical reason behind this that I am unaware of, like it was a trade off for improved graphical features. Still, it is a shame that Saints Row The Third was not able to exceed its predecessor in every way possible.

Posted by Andorski

There was a post on Volition's forums explaining the change of clothing customization going from Saint's Row 2 to Saint's Row: The Third. The layering feature in Saint's Row 2 where you can individually customize the way clothes were worn and put on top of each other (e.g. putting a jacket on top of a shirt) was a resource hog. Volition decided to scrap that feature in order to get higher fidelity in the game's overall graphics. I kinda wish they would compensate for removing the feature by adding more clothing options, but I'm willing to bet that there was a big push by THQ to get that game out by the holidays. Not to mention that Volition's attention could be more focused on other areas of the game; Saint's Row: The Third doesn't exactly run buttery smooth on the consoles.