Saints Row the Third – Asshattery Deluxe
Back in the day, I tried out various Grand Theft Auto games for the ridiculous gangster antics. I never got very far. I had to fight through too many story missions to unlock any suitable playground, and the difficulty ramped up too fast to be any fun for someone with minimal skills at fast twitch aiming with a controller.
During our traditional August Week of Nothing, the spousal unit convinced me to try out Saints Row the Third. It totally was the asshat shenanigans game I’d always wanted.
Saints Row the Third is an action movie playground that keeps on handing out the toys. You get confronted with some giant overpowered pain in the ass, and then score it as a mission reward a short while later. You accrue more and more cash to go after that next weapon upgrade or power-up dangling just out of your reach – and at max level, you can eliminate those pesky concerns about your health and ammo supply. Experience is constantly handed out for driving on the wrong side of the road, near misses, wheelies, and other typical sandbox antics. There are minigames involving mass destruction and essentially reenacting Ow, My Balls. Checkpoints are generous, and death only costs a pittance of cash. Apart from a couple of early rough spots where the need to KILL FAST KILL MORE is hammered home, the learning curve is encouraging and friendly. The game is well on the easy side, but I like that.
Plot? Who cares? It’s enough to facilitate more and more great set pieces to race and annihilate your way through – including some welcome surprises, like a particular computer simulation – and it involves characters with entertaining quirks and interactions. And it starts with you airlifting a bank safe, hanging off said safe to shoot more bad guys, skydiving out of an airplane, then jumping back into the same airplane because there’s yet more asskicking to be had. You can redo your character’s appearance – gender, voice, and all – at any plastic surgery center, which plays a fittingly absurd role as well. Games with serious intent tend to fail it for me in myriad ways. It’s refreshing to play one that only cares about bringing the fun.