The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

'Saints Row: The Third' is Big, Dumb Fun

3 min read

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“Saints Row: The Third” is stupidity on a disc. It’s juvenile, it’s lewd, and it’s the dumbest video game you’ll ever play. And that’s precisely why it’s also one of the most fun.

If you haven’t played the first two “Saints Row” games and are afraid you won’t understand what’s going on in this one as a result, don’t worry about it; even if you had, you still wouldn’t understand what’s going on here.

Play “Saints Row: The Third” and you’ll enter a ludicrous world where your character’s gang, the Third Street Saints, are international celebrities. You’re not even just a gang anymore, really; you’re a brand. Even with your fondness for “murder” and “crime,” people still wear Saints merchandise and stop you on the street to take pictures with you. They love you.

To prove that point, the game hits the ground running with a ridiculous bank robbery where you and your fellow robbers all disguise your faces with giant bobblehead masks of one of the robbers. During the robbery itself, a hostage excitedly asks for your autograph.

Maybe this is a better way to illustrate how gloriously dumb this game is: an early mission has you diving from a burning plane and engaging in a freefall shootout with dozens of enemies. It feels like they couldn’t possibly get any crazier – until a later mission, where you’ll dive from a burning plane in a tank and engage in a freefall shootout with dozens of other tanks.

This game is like what your mom always imagined “Grand Theft Auto” to be: you’ll be tasked with trying to commit insurance fraud by throwing yourself into incoming traffic, causing as much mayhem and destruction from a tank as you can in a limited time, and shooting up an entire sex-den full of strippers and gimps.

It never takes itself as seriously as “Grand Theft Auto” does, checking any aspirations of “realism” at the door. A lot of it is actually just really smart design, though. In 2008’s “Grand Theft Auto IV,” driving involved uncontrollably sliding around corners and keeping your eyes glued to the mini-map so you’d know where you’re supposed to be going. In “Saints Row: The Third,” you can go 100 mph and turn on a dime, slam into oncoming traffic without worry, and it draws borders in the world to give you turning directions like a racing game so you won’t have to rely on the tiny mini-map in the bottom-left corner of the screen.

Some of the smart design designs like that actually made me question what I want out of “Grand Theft Auto V,” which is rumored to be coming out this year. I really enjoyed the darker, more personal narrative of “Grand Theft Auto IV” and the emphasis on making a living, breathing world more relatable to our own, but there’s just something about beating someone to death with a giant, flopping dildo bat in “Saints Row: The Third” that speaks to some dark part of my soul.

I don’t really want to say much more about “Saints Row: The Third” and how absurd it is, because honestly, the discovery is half the fun. Instead, I’ll just leave it at this:

You should play “Saints Row: The Third.”

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