Right, I'm going to start off by saying that I like Saints Row: The Third. I like it a lot, because there's a lot in there to like. The graphics engine has been beefed up so that now the Saints look better than ever. Also the physics engine seems to have been tightened up - handling the vehicles is now tighter than ever, which makes it far more of a joy to compete in the various racing side missions.
OH. There aren't
any racing side missions. Well, then the improved mechanics will at least make it easier when doing the taxi or ambulance diversions, where getting from A to B in a hurry is essential. OH again. None of those either?
In fact that's one of SR:TT's biggest problems in my opinion, not what's in the game, but what's been left out. The game feels rushed in a lot of places. As if Volition spent far too long tweaking up what they had got, and not enough time thinking about what they still needed. Many of the "activities" (side missions) from SR2 make a return in Third, but this time they are spread over a wider area, and often used as actual story missions. The story itself does contain some excellent set pieces (the Decker's boss level springs to mind as a particular stand-out) but the story and the game as a whole feels as if the deadline for release was looming and Volition looked at what they'd got already completed and simply stretched it to fit the vision of the game as best they could.
When you get to the big boss showdown, it feels as if his story has been rushed through just to allow for (the admittedly marvellous) set piece.
Perhaps SR2 was just SO great, with so much to do, that they were going to have a hard time ever following it. Or perhaps they simply fell into the same trap that Rockstar did - following a game as rounded and complete as San Andreas by spending too long on polishing up the things they didn't like which lead to them not having enough time to include everything they could have done.
In closing, SR:TT isn't a bad game at all. It's crazy over the top ridiculous fun like its predecessor. Just don't be surprised if when you're done, you find yourself feeling that there could (and should) have been a bit more on the plate.
SR4 however, should be a killer...