The other day, I picked up an old Saints Row: the Third save and started playing it. It was from my Co-Op game with aabicus, but because of the weird way that SRTT works, my character technically hasn’t progressed at all apart from appearing in Steelport. In aabicus’s game (because he always hosts), we’ve already fucked up the Morningstar gang and are working on doing other stuff as well, but that mission progress was only progress for aabicus, not me. It kinda makes sense, aabicus is the ‘Playa’ or the Boss or whatever you want to call the protagonist, and I’m his badass sidekick who has a penchant for running enemies over.
Of course, the first thing I did in my old yet new save was start buying properties. This is something I’ve always done. But it turns out, that’s not exactly a common tactic. Whenever I played with aabicus, or any of the people I’ve destroyed Steelport with, they’ve never really bought many properties, they just go around shooting people.
I mean, I can see why, that’s what Saints Row is for – shooting people, destroying other gangs and being ludicrously over the top. The getting rich, buying tons of weapons and upgrading yourself into an unkillable monster is really more of a side thing. The buying of properties is even more of a side thing, outside of buying gun shops and garages, even if it does add to your overall completion of the game.
But again, I can see why. Most properties in Steelport are actually pretty cheap if you put it in a real life setting, but most of the time, you’re looking at about 5k minimum for a single property. There are a lot of properties to buy. There’s another side though, how properties are split – you have green stores – places you can enter and get customization like Rim Jobs (vehicles), Friendly Fire (guns), Rusty’s Needle (tattoos) and so on. But then there’s other properties (marked in brown on the map) that often don’t even have real bonuses – for example, you can purchase the local airport for $50k, which gives you 5k per hour, but you can also buy places like crack dens, a steel factory and the hospital, which only give you a small bonus in your hourly income. You have to buy the Airport Crib separately, and that’s another 10K. I find it odd though how most people just… don’t buy the properties at all. Not even the stores. There’s a lot more value in them that meets the eye.
This comes back nicely to how I play Saints Row: The Third. I pretty much bankrupt myself purchasing as many stores as possible. I always start off buying the stores rather than buying the properties, as I get more tangible benefits from doing so. The 10% discounts on everything from ammo to clothes is always good.
The secondary reason for buying stores is two-fold. Firstly, every store you own increases your hourly income by $500 for most stores (it’s $1000 for Leather and Lace and Let’s Pretend). Doesn’t seem like much, but when you own a lot of stores, that hourly income builds up fast and quickly allows you to buy much more expensive things like the $10,000 airport crib or the many upgrades for the higher tier weapons. But owning stores also gives you a place to hide. Running into any shop you own removes your notoriety completely as long as you don’t shoot the shop keeper inside.
Of course, both you and your co-op buddy need to be inside the store, but if you’re playing solo and lack the extra backup, then hiding in stores to catch your breath is always handy. The notoriety removal is instant, meaning anyone outside (or even occasionally inside the store) will instantly stand down, and you can walk out of your store a free man.
You can also hold your own stores at gunpoint in order to get a small amount of extra money, but this will set off an alarm, increase your police notoriety and mean you can’t hide in there any more. Unless you go to another nearby shop and set that alarm off as well then run back, but that’d be silly now, wouldn’t it?
So yeah, that’s my way of playing. Buy all the stores, get loads of hourly income then start making my way into the world and taking on the three gangs of Steelport. By the time I start the main storyline, there’s often nothing they can do to stop me.