A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Saints Row: The Third is a mature title that attempts to push the envelope. The story is about a fight between rival gangs, and revels in actions both depraved and violent. Players can use ranged and melee weapons to kill rival gangs, as well as police and pedestrians. There is blood and gore in the game, too, though it's not very realistic. The game also has sexual imagery, including scantily dressed escorts, nude men and women with blurred genitalia, and moans and groans associated with sexual intercourse. It has strong profanity and drug and alcohol references, as well. Parents should note that this game supports open voice communication in online play, so players may hear inappropriate language and conversations.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
THQ's SAINTS ROW: THE THIRD is an over-the-top, mature adventure with the same amount of violence, sex, and irreverence that made its predecessors become more than just Grand Theft Auto clones. Having taken over the city of Stilwater, the Third Street Saints organization –- now a household name in the city -- has set their sights on Steelport. The problem is that three rival gangs already have their claws dug into the city. The main goal throughout the many varied missions is to crush the competition and take over Steelport.
After a short introductory mission to get players familiar with the controls, players can begin customizing their character in myriad ways, adding bizarre animal, alien, and monster-like features if they desire. They can then begin diving into the game's wealth of primary and side missions, which include the franchise's popular insurance fraud challenges that have players steering their avatars into traffic to cause as much bodily harm as possible to net a big payout.
Is it any good?
Saints Row: The Third is ridiculous and outlandish, ending up as an entertainingly silly sequel for adult gamers. There are so many customization options, non-repetitive missions, memorable characters, and other extras packed onto the disc that it's plainly evident a lot of work went into the game's making. The money and respect players earn can be used to buy and unlock new goodies for your character (outfits, weapons, vehicles), so there's incentive to take on as many missions as possible, going on violent adventures that see them taking out rivals, protecting a convoy in a vehicle, and stealing evidence from a police station. It's worth adding the single-player game can be played in co-op mode with an online friend.
Downsides include so-so-graphics, a few technical glitches and slow pacing. However, those who take the game for what it is -- an absurd adventure that doesn’t take itself seriously -- will no doubt enjoy the cheeky experience.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the game being over-the-top and purposely irreverent. Do you think this dark fantasy appeals to some players because it is so forbidden in real life?
Families can also discuss the portrayal of gangster life in video games. Should the game include realistic consequences for killing innocent civilians and law enforcement officers? What is the impact of media violence?