Let's be honest, when Saints Row 2 came out for the PC, it was nothing, but a broken console port plagued by buggy controls. I, like many others here, was hesitant to buy this game and at the same time, very curious, because I own the 360 version and can't recall having such a blast playing a game. I laughed so hard at some of the missions, I was in tears. Just wait to rescue "Zimos", the dude with the voice box and you'll know what I'm talking about.
So, I took the plunge and bought the PC version, and all I can say is, well done to Volition and THQ. You have redeemed yourselves. I have to admit, I started the game with a 360 controller for windows, but then decided to do the game some justice and give it a try with the old mouse and keyboard combo...and boy was I pleased?! From the moment you start walking, you can feel how tight the controls are, driving vehicles and shooting is just as impresive. It's been a long time since I played a game that reminded me of what a TRUE PC GAME should play like, and Saints Row The Third's done it. I was very impressed. The controls are so tight, I had no need to re-map any; in fact, I tried going back to the 360 pad, but found myself returning to the mouse and keyboard; it was nice to finally play this game aiming with a mouse, the true tool of FPS and TPS. Hands down.
Now, the story, for those of you who have not played the console versions, well, long story short, your money is gone, your hood is gone and now you must take it back at all costs. As I always say on all my game reviews, "I won't spoil" it for you. You will have the most fun you've had in a long time, I promise you that. This game is so silly and at times, plain stupid, but in a very good way. It takes elements from other games, GTA being the obvious one, and puts a spin to it that will make you wonder how the dudes at RockStar (I'm a fan) could miss it...You will laugh so hard your sides will hurt. The various weapons (a long one in particular) are fun to use, the various costumes and vehicle options will keep you busy and enterntained in between missions.
This game has kept its original formula, making it one of the best, most relaxed games you'll ever play. With plenty of rewards.
The game looks better than the console version and even more if you use Dx10 or higher. I'm running it at max settings with 2 GTX570s, 12GB, i950. I haven't had any issues at all. I've heard/read online that the "experts" think the game is not optimized for high end systems; well, I'm running it at max without a hicup. Game's smooth as it can be. Lighting and water effects look better than the console version and so do some of the textures. But to be honest, I'm having so much fun when I'm playing this game, I couldn't care less about the graphics.
Both sound effects and the music are simply amazing. Explosions sound amazing. Gunshots are a bit generic, but never the less, they do sound good. My favourite is the background music during missions and the different radio stations. I was quite surprised to hear groups such as Tandem (a french canadian rap group) amongst others. 80's & 90's and a lot more rap. If you have a surround system, pump up the bass, this game sounds that good. Every single track played in this game adds a bit of flavour to every single situation. I sometimes drove around, not taking any missions, just listening to the radio; I would stop now and then to car jack a better looking ride, but then kept on driving.
Character and Vehicle Customization:
To put it simply, you have colours, clothes, hair styles, bling bling, rims, threads, bumbers, spoilers....what more can you ask? This is the one aspect of this game that others can't match. The countless options given to you add so much freedom to chose who or what you to look like and what you want to ride.
The major difference between the console and PC versions. Record Mode, basically, record yourself (the character) during what you consider a good play/move or simply breaking havoc, and share it with others. I had a blast doing it and even try doing a bit of a remix with some video software of my own. It is fun and you should try it.
In conclusion, whether you get this game on sale or at full price, you will get your money's worth within the first couple of hours of play. So if you are still thinking about it, doubting it can deliver, due to past experiences, let me put your mind at ease, because Saints Row The Third has shown that the PC version can be an independent version, a game on its own with responsive, tight controls. What a PC game is supposed to be.