It's been a roller coaster ride for fans of Saints Row: The Third looking to expand the life of the game past the game over screen. The first batch of missions, Genki Bowl VII
, was a horrible set of re-skinned mini games and side missions that didn't amount to much. Thankfully THQ's second pack of downloadable content, was better. Gangstas in Space
rekindled my love of the game and, more importantly, gave me hope for the third (and possibly final) pack of content. I knew I shouldn't get my hopes up.
The Trouble With Clones brings the silliness of comic books and superheroes to the ultra-violent world of Saints Row. After tackling sporting events and television production in the first two packs of DLC, this graphic novel-enhanced feels right at home. It tells the story of Jimmy Torbitson, a Third Street Saints super fan that has spent much of his life trying to clone Johnny Gat.
In true comic book fashion, the cloning process goes terribly wrong and creates a giant Johnny Gat monster. Now it's up to your user-created character to track down this beast and save the city from certain destruction. But it won't be that easy, because the army has caught wind of the situation and will do everything in its power to stop him ... and YOU! It's an action-packed storyline that sees our hero gain superpowers and listen to horrible homemade rap. It's kind of a mixed bag.
While the superhero concept is ripe for Saints Row: The Third, the execution is all over the board. The comic book nerd has a few funny lines, but it's hard to listen to his annoying speech impediment for very long. The fact that he narrates the action while you drive should have been a funny gag; however I was ready to strangle him after only a few minutes. It's a one-note joke that doesn't sustain itself for very long.
Along the way there are a couple solid ideas. I like the concept of creating a monstrous Johnny Gat and all of the interesting stories you can tell. But this game isn't interested in telling much of a story. There are no twists and turns here, it's a straight line that can be summed up in one sentence. The whole thing is over in just over a half hour, making this a short and shallow experience that won't stay with you for very long.
There is a stage where our hero turns into a superhero of sorts. You don't look any different or wear a cape; however you can run extremely fast and throw fireballs. This is admittedly cool, even if you can't fly, pick up large objects or teleport. Unfortunately it's all over too quickly. You really only get to throw fireballs for a few minutes, then it's back to using your standard weapons and running at normal speed. Worst of all, you don't get to use those powers outside of the one mission.
The truth is, I already felt like a superhero before I was knocked out by cloned monster Gat. Thanks to playing through Saints Row: The Third and the two subsequent expansion packs, my character was near invincible. I couldn't take damage from bullets, explosions, cars and falling. And because I had upgraded all of my guns, I never had to worry about running out of bullets. There were times when I didn't even pause the game to get a snack, because I knew that the army wouldn't be able to hurt me.
While I love the idea of falling out of an airplane and not dying from the impact, it certainly makes this third expansion pack less challenging. I was just going through the motions, looking forward to getting the easy achievement points and being done with the game for good. I never thought I would say this, but I'm sick of Saints Row: The Third. Or maybe it's just that I'm sick of bad Saints Row: The Third DLC.
Johnny Gat deserves better than this. We all do. With such a rich history of comic book storylines to pull from, it's a shame that the developers opted for something this simplistic. This is nothing more than a bunch of action sequences, all of which you've experienced before in the main storyline. Not even super powers can make this a compelling expansion pack to one of last year's best games. This is a horrible way to end the Saints Row: The Third storyline.