Posted by Pip
SM9- Requires One Big Antacid
It takes more than a puny digestive tract to keep Anger down! Your feeble monster stomach acids only fuel its rage and pointiness! Then again, eating any godly physical manifestation of an idea raw is a rather bad idea. At the very least, you sear it beforehand. Keeps the evil crispy and juicy.
A happy start of Chanukah to our Jewish Slapeggs! The Sins will forgive you for celebrating for eight nights instead of the much more awesome seven.
Long, Papa Payne's Puffy Coat Emporium Review: Saints Row 3- I normally keep notes and a list of story points as I play through games, but if I were to do that for Saints Row, it would be a jibbering mass of excited nonsense. Clones, tiger, Internet, mayor, chainsaw, Mars! SR3 is a great palate cleanser. After so many disappointing games, it's great to just play one that's fun but doesn't completely abandon story, craziness, and things to do. Just about everything in the game serves the cause of fun. Everything you do is rewarding you or counting up to something. Spun out of control in a car? Well, you were probably driving on two wheels at some point so that counts towards your trick requirements. Bought a business because you wanted a discount on goods, well it's going to pay protection to you and give you a place to lose your wanted meter. Drove so fast that you got thrown out of the window when you slammed into that invincible tree? There's a reward for that too! Even when it does other genres, it's better than games that specialize in them. I'll take Saints Row's single survival horror mission over the entirety of Resident Evil 5 any day. I'm on my second play through and now that I'm looking closer at it, the design team did a fantastic job of where things are placed into the world and how it rolls out or hints at things to come. Even with the trophies and challenges, they're numbered fantastically. The game has 200 shortcuts to add to your GPS, but the challenge and bonus is for finding just 50 of them. I never would have gone for all 200, but at 50, I found around 35 by just playing the game normally so I messed around for a little while longer and found 20 more to get the trophy and some money and experience for my character. It had an in-game reward for hunting them down in not only would it lead me to quicker routes through the city but it had the bonuses as icing on the cake. I'll take that over the Nintendo/Rare style collectathons any day.
There were days in a row where it was getting late, I told myself I'd play for ten more minutes, and looked at the clock to realize that another hour had gone by. Time is the only major major complaint I have about the game. If you stick to just the story missions, you can finish the game in a weekend. Granted, there are another 30 hours or so of activities and challenges to complete, but the story missions and character interactions are what make the game so great. It's more bothersome because the story jumps around at points and some characters stop getting mentioned but they're still alive and there wasn't a story reason for them to cut ties with you. I have a bad feeling that some of it was removed to sell as DLC later on given their claims of having enough DLC for 40 weeks. There are seven voice options for your character and they seem to all have their own unique dialogue during the main missions so you want to replay everything as each one, but you can't. If you want to hear a different character's take on a mission, you have to start the game over from scratch with absolutely nothing from your finished save. I understand that adding a replay feature can lead to a flood of bugs, but the least they could have done was a New Game+ mode. Let me carry over my weapon upgrades, properties, and some experience and money, that's all I want. Something to get me back into the game quickly and into the craziness without having to hit the side missions or grind.
SR3 is an open world sandbox game and, if I can channel the power of Giant Bomb here, it is loaded with jank. Some bugs I found just by playing normally: Vehicles spawning in the ground or on their backs pointing to the sky. I hijacked a car and my health went from 100% to dead in two seconds with no enemies on screen and nothing around that could have been attacking me. If you load a previous save, the radio can discuss events that happened in your other save so the announcer will talk about the outcome of a mission that isn't even available yet. I thought I was clever and tricked one of the strongest enemies in the game into jumping into a lake. For some reason, this made him invincible. That was bad. Vehicles for the chop shop missions will just randomly become destroyed even though you're nowhere near them. You'll be driving to the pick-up point and a message will pop up that it was destroyed and you're nowhere near it and there aren't any aggressive gangs or cops around. The draw-in for vehicles is abysmal so you can be driving down an empty road and a car will spawn either right in front of you or even inside you. Cars do not seem to realize that the bridges go up and the drivers will continuously drive off them and explode when they hit the water. And if you drive fast enough, your car may occasionally decide that physics are for chumps. You'll either hit an invisible barrier and go flying or the best was that my car just started to rotate faster and faster and eventually became airborne. Now, some (most) of these bugs just make the game funnier, but they can all happen during missions, cause you to die, and rob you of several minutes of progress through no fault of your own. SR also features some of the absolute worst pathfinding for AI characters that I've ever witnessed. You can (and probably will) fail missions because you can't get an NPC to get into a car that's two feet in front of it. If your partner gets caught on an object, he won't move around it and won't fight back while enemies destroy him. AI drivers will keep backing up and slamming into objects over and over until the car explodes. Another mission had me get a bunch of people into a helicopter, they all ran to it, but one didn't get in and every time I flew over to his location on the map, he'd teleport over to a new location. Eventually I just failed the mission because I got too far away from my allies (I think he teleported under the world because the game showed I was at his location but he was getting farther and farther away from me). Open world bugginess, I can forgive to a large extent. But the AI's inability to walk around a fence is bad enough on its own, but when it causes you to fail your mission, it's maddening. On a less hair pulling note, there are typos all over the subtitles and even an “it's” vs “its” mistake in one of the weapon descriptions.
Despite its flaws and sandbox gameplay bugs, the testament to how fun SR3 is is that I platinum'd it and then started a new game as a different character just to hear more of the dialogue. I got the game new so it came with a free download of Saints Row 2 (that's only for PS3, I believe) and I'm probably going to run through that again too. If you picked up Saints Row 3 during Amazon or Best Buy's sales (which I did), you got a steal on the price versus bang for your buck. If you even remotely like sandbox games, parodies of GTA, or the kind of madness where beating a man unconscious with a shark is almost commonplace, give SR3 a try.
Sins Committed: Buggy, Short, Bad AI
Virtues Acted: Funny, Good writing, Good characters, Good music, Good sound design, Well designed, I can't even pick one moment to single out for a final point