Any game can manage to have a brilliant idea or two inside of a cutscene or story premise: it’s harder to feel brilliant all the time by its very nature, as a result of cool features and freedoms built into the design. Saints Row 2 was this second type of game, a ludically brilliant one, and was amazing. Saints Row 3 lost a lot of secondary features, but has a substantially more ridiculous narrative—in other words, it went from Type B to Type A. This was a poor trade. It also doesn’t fluctuate as much in tone or mood, which makes it a little less memorable.
My list of desired changes includes better diversions, crazier clothing customization, custom music, a little more harmony in co-op (like both players hearing the same thing on the radio), more ridiculous character body sizes, the ability to disable certain upgrades after buying them, and replayable missions.
Killing Gat was a bad idea, especially since the execution of it was blundered. The game was generally pretty funny, but the DLC was not, and the “Zombie Gat” thing kind of felt like a slap on the face.
Worst of all was completely changing Shaundi instead of just leaving her behind in the old city and introducing a new female character. This notion of interchangeability, almost only ever seen when men write female characters, is annoying. It implies a belief that the minds and personalities of the women never really mattered to begin with. You can say that she “grew up”, but let’s be honest: the old Shaundi isn’t in there.
On the other hand, you can dropkick into a car to steal it, and that is great. Flying jetbikes close to the ground was also good fun for a little while. But I didn’t get any significant enjoyment out of playing around in the sandbox, even in multiplayer. I played it a lot, but this says more about my psychological need to complete things than it says about the actual quality of the game. It was a disappointment.