Unexpected Pleasures in Saint’s Row 3
As many of you may know, I am the proud owner of a new gaming PC, so naturally I’ve been digging through my backlog of Steam games to put the new machine through its paces. Thanks to various sales, I have a pretty sizable collection of games despite not having a rig worthy of running them until now. One of the games I’ve been playing the most is Saints Row: The Third, which I bought as part of the THQ Humble Bundle. The funny thing, though, is that I didn’t buy the bundle thinking I’d end up playing much Saints Row; it was more that I’m a sucker for a sale price and thought some of the other games in the bundle might be worth checking out.
Part of the fun of my new machine is launching games and seeing how they run with all settings maxed out, so I spent most of one Saturday launching one game after another and playing with the settings. Much to my surprise, Saints Row is actually a gorgeous game, especially on the highest settings. Once that sank in, I realized that I was also having a hell of a lot of fun playing the opening set piece during a bank robbery gone wrong. Pretty soon after that, the game had its hooks in me, and I ended up playing it for a good six hour session the following weekend.
I was definitely not expecting to enjoy Saints Row as much as I do. I know the other guys raved about it when it first came out, but it never really sounded like the sort of thing I’d enjoy. I got kind of burnt out on open-world cars and crime games after GTA IV and LA Noire, and I was planning on avoiding the genre for the foreseeable future. The driving is usually what gets on my nerves the most; it’s standard practice to force players to drive around giant maps just for the sake of it, and the cars usually handle like boats. Luckily I don’t seem to mind the driving in SR3 so far. Part of the reason is probably that you’re encouraged to drive like a psychopath, which definitely helps increase the fun.
It got me thinking, though, about other games I was surprised to enjoy. I know Trials Evolution really snuck up on all of us as a group, and that’s another case where the racing/driving genre took a unique approach that I found enjoyable. I also remember playing demos for Limbo and perennial GS favorite Resident Evil 5 and not expecting much from the games, but that’s probably due to a poor demo at least in the case of RE5.
How about you? Are there any games you never thought you’d play but ended up loving? What came out of left field and got its hooks in you? Let us know in the comments!