So I’ve been playing Saints Row: The Third with aabicus lately and we’ve been having a blast despite the iffy connection. I’ve mentioned Saints Row before, we actually brought up one of our Daily SPUF articles while playing, Both games get a lot of shit from deviating too much from ‘the series’, i.e. Saints Row 2, and being too over the top. I do get a lot of those criticisms – Saints Row 2 is overall a better game with more options, even if it is dated, I feel that Saints Row 3 does have merits of its own.
Most notably, the driving is way, way, way better.
As awesome as the Gentlemen of the Row is, the driving in Saints Row 2 does not compare. And one of the huge major things that puts me (and other people) off playing Saints Row 2 is the requirement of Gentlemen of the Row. Otherwise, Saints Row 2 does not work. At all. It is literally one of the worst PC ports ever and I don’t really want to go buy the game again on a different platform to play Saints Row 2 as it should have been.
But anyway, back to Saints Row 3 and 4.
Saints Row 3 is actually one of the few games I’ve pretty much completed. The only bits I haven’t done are the Professor Genki challenges and a few smaller things, but I never actually cared for them. Turns out, I’m not alone, because aabicus forgot they were even part of the base game and genuinely struggled to get through the mission. Weirdly though, neither aabicus nor I had really played the game fully co-op before, we’d both completed the game in single player mode and unlocked most of the game. I was genuinely surprised at how good and how balanced co-op mode was, particularly for missions. The second character slots in very nicely, if not better than in single player on some missions.
There are some issues though. Because aabicus is in the US and I’m on a tiny island in Europe, the latency is pretty bad. Driving for the passenger is very hit and miss, but most of the time the passenger doesn’t need to do anything apart from fire vaguely in the direction of everyone else. Driving isn’t too bad, but again, high latency means that cars tend to appear out of thin air. Everything else though is pretty much perfectly synced. Well, almost.
Turns out though, Co-Op seems to save everything but the number of quests your character has done. Although I helped aabicus do a chunk of the game, coming up to the destruction/acquisition of Morningstar, my actual save with my level 7 character when loaded into Single Player left me at the very first mission in Steelport, in which you rob an armory. That’s annoying. But I think SR2 does the same, and I’m pretty sure it happens in Saints Row 4 as well.
Saints Row 4 though is a whole new kettle of fish. While Saints Row 3 was zany and crazy and railroady, you are still a gang boss doing gang boss things, stealing cars, getting drugs, assassinating people and destroying other gangs. Saints Row 4 does very much get rid of that feeling. You’re basically Luke Cage, a gangster with godly powers. Which is cool, but it means base weapons are less valuable, getting a Tornado helicopter is kinda meh and driving a car is 100% pointless. The whole running a gang thing isn’t a thing at all any more, and although the sandbox environment still exists, you’re always being the good guy and saving the world. In Saints Row 2 and 3, you can roleplay more as both a goodie and a complete douche bag.
Still, I’ll always recommend Saints Row 3. To anyone. It’s so stupid yet so good. And you can actually play it out of the box. Unlike Saints Row 2 and its game-runs-stupidly-fast bug.