dimsey's Saints Row: The Third (Xbox 360) review

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Lack of adjustable baseball caps aside, Saints Row 3 is awesome!

Saints Row 3 has dialed up the crazy from the last game.
You all know about how the Saints are celebrities now and folk are asking them for autographs in the opening as they rob the bank. That's all well and good.
But on the other hand it feels like they've dialed a few things back also.

Now this review is honestly going to be me just ranting about the customization options mostly, because frankly I don't feel like the actual game play itself has changed dramatically from the last but for instance character creation has taken a hit. Don't get me wrong, the game play is most important and that holds up great but I just don't have much to really say about it.

I'll touch on it a bit later but...
For starters there is no longer a gender slider that would allow you to make a character male, female or something in between. There is just a binary switch. You're either male or female.
I get why they did this because there are at least a couple of scenes that reference character gender, but it feels like something of a loss.

It's not just gender. Fat people don't look fat as they did in the last game.
They just look like... Girthy, muscular people. They still have some degree of body definition.
They aren't the hilarious blobs they once were and that's something of a bummer.

There aren't as many hairstyles and what's there you can't customize any.
For instance in the previous games you could change hair length. Not anymore.
And on a related note you can't change the position of head wear anymore.
You can't just buy a baseball cap and decide you want to wear it backwards or sideways or however you like. You might be able to buy a baseball cap but it'll only point in the one direction.

On the bright side cars are at least as customizable as before, if not more so.
There's a decent amount of cosmetic bits and pieces you can purchase for your vehicles, in addition to actual upgrades that improves the cars speed and damage resistance amongst other things.

And some weapons are now customizable too to some extent.
The upgrades vary from weapon to weapon but they can be anything from increased rate of fire to incendiary bullets, Though frankly maxing out the first pistol you get will get you through most anything the game throws at you, though I guess it's not quite as fun as just blowing things up with an RPG or mixing it up in some other way.

One good change is that the game doesn't waste time in giving you some fun toys, within the first hour you'll have UAVs and helicopters at your disposal. And it just keeps getting better.

Competitive multiplayer has been ripped from the game, but co-op makes a triumphant return.
Really prefer playing the game with a friend and like how it changes some of the activities.

For instance there's escort where you'll drive someone around while they get busy with a prostitute in the backseat. Well do the activity co-op and and the second player will be said prostitute, which will just involve moving the stick in whatever direction the screen tells you to in order to raise the clients pleasure meter while the first player is evading paparazzi or whatever.

It's just cool when they find each player something different to do when they probably could've just been lazy and slapped the second player in the passenger seat and told him to shoot at pursuers. It's good they got more creative than that.

They also removed some side stuff and sometimes it makes sense.
Like I couldn't imagine doing the bodyguard activity now. I mean the Saints ARE the celebrities at this point. But it's a shame they got rid of FUZZ, which would've still worked. Not to mention the lack of sewage spewing vehicles. Bit of a pity.

And I guess the big change is that you can purchase upgrades for your characters now with all the hundreds of thousands of dollars you'll likely get throughout the game. Some of it's as mundane as getting your vehicles delivered to you or being able to hold extra ammo for a particular weapon.

But by the end of the game you'll be getting upgrades that make it so you never have to reload which in combination with the upgrades for unlimited ammo well it works pretty freaking well. Not to mention the damage resistance upgrades which by the time you're through will render you immune to all but melee damage, which is fine when most dudes shoot and at this point the dudes that don't probably won't be able to get near you.

Those crazy upgrades are a pretty awesome way to reward a player who's dumped enough time into the game to be able to earn it, by that point you don't want to worry about dying or challenge - you'll be at the dicking about and blowing shit up phase which is more fun when you don't have to worry about personal safety.

But as much as somethings have changed it's mostly the same.

Shooting mechanics haven't changed. Still free aiming as opposed to a GTA style lock on and it feels good enough. Driving is as floaty as ever, though not to the detriment of the game. Nice and easy to drift around corners and cruise along your merry way as you go about blowing stuff up. Still upgrading your strongholds for benefits such as increased income.

It's just more Saints Row. It's more over the top. It's funnier.
And while I'm more than a little bummed that after toting their extensive customization options I play to find less well it hasn't made stopped me from having a great time with the game. There's still a lot here to love.

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