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  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • The Boss' personality mellows out a bit in this installment, and s/he gets a bump from full-on Villain Protagonist in Saints Row 2 to a less cruel, but still dark Anti-Hero with a better sense of humor, addressing fan complaints that the previous game made The Boss a little bit too hard to root for.
    • The Quasar SUV, a car popular in its own right, was infamous for how rare it was in the previous game. This issue is fixed in this game, where it spawns commonly throughout Steelport.
  • Awesome Music:
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    • The soundtrack for the game is greater, but two examples stand out for just how great they went with the times they were played: Joe Esposito's "You're The Best", played during Murderbrawl XXXI while fighting Luchadores off of Angel with a chainsaw; and Bonnie Tyler's "Holding Out for a Hero", an extended version of which played during Three Way during the race to either save Shaundi and Viola or stop Killbane.
    • A third is Kanye West's "Power". Not only does it introduce an early awesome moment, few songs are more fitting of the character.
    • In the mission "The Belgian Problem", chasing after Loren by falling after him on a giant steel ornament is awesome enough, but what really seals the deal? You do it while this rocks on in the background. The violins make it especially powerful.
      Oleg: There's no way to catch him.
      Boss: Fuck. That.
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    • "What I Got", especially when Boss sings it.
    • Some of the stores have very great music, too. Here's the Rustin' Needle theme ("Reason", by Falling Blind).
    • Early Cuyler/Unkown Hinson's "Save Me From Myself", a proud song of Early causing his fair share of trouble, perfect for ramming your way through a police barricade.
    • Hybrid's "Just For Today", played when The Boss jumps out of a STAG cargo plane... inside a tank. What follows next is complete and utter chaos in the skies as you're fighting against airborne infantry, other tanks, and VTOLs as it's essentially a fight for survival between you and STAG.
      • There's also "Last Man Standing" by the same artist, which plays during most of Learning Computer, particularly when you're chasing after Matt and the titular MacGuffin.
    • deadmau5' "City in Florida", which in addition to being a track that you can listen to either on K12 FM or in your own playlist, also plays during the boss battle against Matt Miller in http://deckers.die, as mentioned below in Best Boss Ever.
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  • Best Boss Ever: Matt Miller's cyberform in the last Deckers mission. Its a huge dragon wielding a BFS that the Boss has to fight with just an arm cannon for the first few minutes of the battle. Matt uses all kinds of Interface Screw to try and slow them down, only for them to rip his wings off and counter all of his attacks. Then Kinzie copies the avatar for the Boss, giving them all of its powers in the process and the game sends out a few waves of Deckers for the player to test these new abilities on. Finally, the Boss gets the upper hand and completely wails on Matt before finishing him off and reducing him back to his weak human form.
  • Best Level Ever:
    • There are several contenders but it seems that http://deckers.die is one of the most often talked about. Mostly because if involves you going into a virtual world where you get a cool weapon, and there are plenty of gimmicks throughout the mission, including but not limited to a text adventure. And that's not even going into the boss, see Best Boss Ever above. Heck, the stage served as a major inspiration for the setting of Saints Row IV.
    • Air Steelport, the opening mission of the final third of the game, is another worthy contender. It takes everything that the second mission of the game, I'm Free, Free Falling, already does well and runs with it. The Boss tries to hijack an airplane full of state-of-the-art equipment from STAG, including borrowing one of the Syndicate's cargo planes (which is now Viola's) to infiltrate STAG's plane by skydiving into it. What follows next is finding something that can be used to bust open the door to the other side of the cabin. The Boss manages to find a cool weapon for their troubles as they use it to break into the cockpit to hijack the plane itself... only to realize that they destroy the entire cockpit in the process, forcing them to flee into a nearby tank and out of the plane. Chaos ensues as you're fighting against heavily armed STAG infantry (including VTOLs and other tanks) as the tank is plummeting towards Steelport at terminal velocity. All to the amazing tune of Hybrid's "Just For Today". And you get a really cool gun to play around with (and also use in the following mission) for your troubles, too.
    • STAG Film, one of the possible final missions, which has you kicking STAG out of Steelport for good. You take on the Daedalus (a humongous aircraft raiding the city in order to kill the Saints) and finally get to fight Cyrus Temple (albeit in a VTOL while you're on the ground). After destroying some turrets you must land on the Daedalus and fight your way through hordes or STAG soldiers to certain spots to plant bombs. Its only flaw is that you have to pick the route where you let Shaundi, Viola, and Mayor Reynolds die in the previous mission in order to play this. You do get a sweet VTOL for your trobles, at least.
    • The Mayhem missions, in all forms, are probably the easiest yet most satisfying activities in the game. Basically you wreck shit up with the weapons provided. On foot, you often get a rocket launcher and a few other weapons for good measure, all with infinite ammo (the sole exception is the first Mayhem mission provided by Kinzie, which has a shallower loadout, but a lower quota). You start off with a bit of notoriety with the gangs and the police, but this is a good thing, as they provide countless vehicles for you to destroy. The tank variant is even better since you're provided a tank to cause even more damage. You can also summon/bring a tank for the on foot versions to make the process even easier. In short, this activity is a fast means of making money and smashing up enemies to a pulp.
    • The Super Ethical PR Opportunity is based off the infamous Escort activities, but with a number of twists in the player's favor. The progress meter is based primarily off of how many pedestrians one can run over with the vehicle provided. The demands from Professor Genki are also relatively reasonable, as they're often simple such as targetting lesser mascots that are easy to track down and kill, as well as the more mundane versions provided by the regular Escort missions (that is to say, no air time or power sliding is ever needed here). Finally, running over pedestrians charges up the car's flamethrowers, which can be used to incinerate more pedestrians, or even flat out destroy the chasing vehicles one must normally avoid to avert a game over. Needless to say, it's the most liked Escort activity variant by far and is incredibly cathartic to destroy the vehicles that would normally give you so much crap in a regular Escort mission.
  • Breather Level: The second and third missions in the Trouble with Clones DLC are much quicker and simpler than the giant slog that is "Weird Science"; checkpoints are more frequent, objectives are more varied in "Tour de Farce", and in "Send in the Clones", the boss is given super speed, strength, and fireballs for the first half of the mission!
  • Broken Base:
    • The big debate over the plotline and the Denser and Wackier style of the game. Some fans loved that the devs made it nonstop balls-to-the-wall, while others didn't like the fact that it came at the expense of the continuation of the plot from the second game.
    • The revelation that the Save Shaundi ending is canon. Supporters claim that it fits since gang loyalty is one of the defining traits of the Saints. Detractors claim it makes no sense since that ending's epilogue completely contradicts the game's Central Theme of the Saints breaking away from being corporate sellouts and going back to being a legitimate gang, how Killbane and Cyrus were legitimate challenges while Kia was a complete joke, and it makes the game-long hyping of the Daedalus completely pointless.
  • Critical Dissonance: The game outsold Saints Row 2 and was critically acclaimed, with many critics preferring the series shifting from semi-serious gang warfare to being full-on Denser and Wackier. The game also boosted the series into the mainstream, later being ported onto the Nintendo Switch and being remastered nine years later. On the contrary, fans of 2 were disappointed by the game leaving the Dex storyline hanging and found the wacky style to be detrimental to the plotline, with some fans accusing Volition of not remastering the previous games to focus on The Third.
  • Damsel Scrappy: Deconstructed with Shaundi. She feels this way about herself, and after Gat's death, can't forgive herself for being The Load when the all of the Saints needed to kick ass the most.
  • Demonic Spiders:
    • All the Brutes, but the flamethrower variant really takes the cake because catching fire makes you stagger around uncontrollably, opening you to continued attack from other mooks or for the Brute to close into melee, locking you into a Cycle of Hurting. note 
    • Morningstar Snipers. Not only are they incredibly hard to shake off (and can take over half your health in a single shot), but they're the only Specialists that use vehicles; in this case, an armored attack chopper. So unless you have a sniper rifle of your own, a rocket launcher, or great aim with the explosive bullet .45 Shepherds, you're pretty much a sitting duck.
    • The Decker Specialists. While they have the lowest health of practically every enemy in the game, they make up for it with their Flash Step abilities, their ridiculous amount of damage and unlike the Morningstar and Luchadore specialists, they have a multitude of attacks such as a spinning attack from a certain other third-person shooter and their Shock Hammer which always ragdolls and hurts a player, regardless of upgrades. In http://deckers.die, they become even more frustrating by not only spawning in far greater numbers but combined with the effects in the level, such as forced lag, the specialists are known to wipe out players very easily, even when assisted by a co-op partner.
    • While you can take down the Morningstar Specialists fairly easy once you upgrade your SMG or assault rifles and the Decker Specialists can be sorted out quickly enough with explosives, the Luchadore Specialists are equipped with a grenade launcher that rapidly spits out a special-type of grenade that causes you to stagger and get disorientated if you get caught in any of the explosions. Because they can spit out dozens of grenades at once, they can easily trap and kill you without you even giving you a chance to fight back. Even if you manage to kill them, their grenades can still go off and leave you vulnerable for other enemies to gang up on you. They're also high-health, and like other specialists can't be used as human shields.
    • STAG in general. Their introductory mission, "Gang Bang", is on the borderline of That One Level, especially in the final chase back to Saints HQ as their N-Forcers constantly fire upon your getaway car, and the F69-VTOL fighter jets and the Crusader tanks have sustained microwave beam weapons that constantly paint you or your car with damage.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • The level where the Saints raid into the Safeword BDSM club to free Zimos ends. Zimos is eventually found in a pony-themed basement, wearing a saddle and a gimp suit. The level ends when the Boss and Pierce leave the Safeword in a hurry, riding a carriage pulled by Zimos (still wearing a gimp suit), while being chased by Morning Star mooks riding similar carriages pulled by gimps. The icing on the cake is when said carriages explode exactly like regular cars when you shoot at them for long enough.
    • The game has a very powerful face editor for the protagonist. One of the many facial features available is a toothbrush mustache... Yes, you can play the game and wreck havoc in town while playing a perfect Adolf Hitler look-alike.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Matt Miller, before the next game made him an actual good guy.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • The entire Decker gang is quite popular among the fans, mainly for their outfits, hideout, British accents and their unique and challenging specialist. Special note goes to the Decker grunt outfit you can unlock in Kinzie's final assassination mission which is widely popular for various reasons. Simply put, there's a reason why almost the entirety of Saints Row IV resembles the final Deckers mission, and all of the superpowers are roundabout ways of giving you the powers of Decker lieutenants.
    • By extension of being the leader of the Deckers, Matt Miller is easily the most popular of the enemy gang leaders, especially among fangirls. He even comes back in Saints Row IV as an ally.
    • Kinzie Kensington, like Matt above, was also brought back for Saints Row IV, Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell, and even Agents of Mayhem (and even being Promoted to Playable in the latter two) for potentially this reason. Though she's become more of a Base-Breaking Character in SR4 and in Gat Out of Hell. See their respective YMMV pages for more details.
    • Zimos, to the point that many fans were pissed that he wasn't in Saints Row IV save for a cameo in the "Enter the Dominatrix" DLC.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • Incendiary ammo for SMG. It instantly sets everyone it hits on fire, continues to deal damage even if target is incapacitated, enemies set on fire start running around making other enemies catch fire as well (except for Brutes, which attack as normal, but are still damaged by fire). It also functions as a Disk One Nuke, as it's very easy to upgrade an SMG since it only requires spending around $40,000 and can be done before any mission in Steelport (with some money gathering). Since it's an SMG, it has high rate of fire, large magazine, large ammo reserve and, later in game, can be dual wielded. The only downside is that you can also catch fire, but much later, with your Respect level around 46 or 47, you can buy total immunity to fire damage, eliminating the only real downside of incendiary ammo.
    • You can buy immunity to a number of damage types, especially bullets. While you do need a really high Respect level (around 47 or 48) to even get the opportunity to buy it, the game is a cakewalk after that, save for the mission where you kidnap Josh Birk where it suddenly doesn't work, or anything that relies on keeping a vehicle intact, since you still die if it explodes before you get out. Yes, even with immunity to explosions.
    • To a lesser extent, the .45 Shepard. Once you pay a measly amount to bring it to Level 2 to make its fire rate not painfully slow, is quite a potent weapon at little cost, with very common ammunition, since one headshot is enough to down most mooks, it still hurts Specialists and Brutes quite a bit with said headshots and can be dual-wielded much sooner than SMGs. By comparison, the KA-1 Kobra fires much faster initially but deals noticeably less damage when even the mooks don't die from single headshots. And when you upgrade the Shepard all the way to Level 4 and obtain the exploding bullets, you find it's surprisingly effective at taking out vehicles, especially those pesky helicopters.
    • Oleg Kirrlov, once he's available as a homie after Act 1. You know how Brutes are a pain in the ass to fight? Now imagine having one on your team this time. Just try not to accidentally hit him (which can happen too easily if he charges at the same guy you're trying to kill), or else he'll leave and likely turn against you.
    • Get the Challenger tank delivery upgrade, and you can suddenly fend off entire armies of rival gang members without a sweat. Even Brutes become nothing to fear with its fast-firing main cannon and a machine gun that's just as powerful as their miniguns, but never runs out of ammo. You can even turn standard Mayhem into Tank Mayhem with it and rack up the damage goal in no time!
      • On a related note, if you use the infamous Rim Jobs glitch (mentioned below in Good Bad Bugs), you can turn much of Trafficking into a cakewalk by taking any variant of the N-Forcer (particularly the Saints N-Forcer, which is a snazzy Saints variant that you get after the third mission in the game if you have all of the DLC or The Full Package), souping its stats up to the max, parking it around the corner from the starting point, getting out of the Dealer's initial car, and then getting into your N-Forcer. The only downside is that the N-Forcer's turret can overheat, but at least it's better than getting constantly blown up on the harder Instances or running out of ammo. Especially since even if you've got unlimited ammo for all of your weapons, the only thing that will even have that at all times is your starting pistol, which is usually the KA-1 Kobra.
    • If you tend to run without homies backing you up (and henceforth avoid the Homie Hostility alluded to in Scrappy Mechanic), then Explosive Rounds on your starting pistol(s) are your best friend. With fully upgraded ammo capacity and dual wielding, these humble pistols become capable of bringing down almost anything STAG can throw at you, and are spectacular at crowd control, especially if you're good with headshots.
    • The Reaper Drone and Airstrike. The Reaper Drone is unlocked during the Saints' first mission in Steelport and can utterly destroy anything in the game with just a few hits. The only real downsides are its strict ammo limit and the fact Boss is left wide open while using it. The Airstrike isn't given to the player until about the halfway point in the game, but once they have it it makes outdoor missions MUCH easier. Best of all, it doesn't leave the Boss helpless while firing like the Reaper Drone does. Just aim, put the trigger, and run out of the attack radius. Even at the lowest level both these weapons wreak absolute destruction upon foot soldiers and unarmored vehicles, making gang operations and survival missions almost insultingly easy.
    • The D4TH Blossom SMG when fully upgraded, can depopulate vehicles with ridiculous ease, ignore the riot shields on some enemies, and at the same time does more damage per shot and shoots faster than the other SMG, the TEK Z-10. The only downside is that it shoots too fast and will likely run the player dry if they don't control themselves with ammo.
    • The "Penetrator" and liberal use of the run/roll and special attack buttons means that a savvy player can roll, run or rampage on a group in no time. This is great when you have barely any ammo during survival and are just waiting to use the heavy stuff for the brutes (and this is only to kill them off quicker than the micro damage done by melee).
    • Some of the DLCs count:
      • The "Unlockable Pack" gives the player access to all rewards in the story regardless of choices made... right at the start of the game. This means that the player gets the Apocafists, Killbane's Mask, AND a STAG city takeover before STAG even shows up!
      • The "Bloodsucker Pack" gives the player bonuses to all cash AND respect earned which makes the early parts of the game insanely easy. It also changes the player's Neck Snap move into a neck bite that fully restores their health, which means that as long as a mook (or even just a normal citizen) is nearby it's pretty much impossible to run out of health. To top it all off this DLC is one of the cheapest available at only a couple of bucks.
      • The "Special Ops" vehicle pack grants access to military-grade vehicles, such as the Tank and VTOL, right out of the starting gate (so long as there's access to a garage and heliport), well before the STAG forces show up with said technology. These armored nightmares can be used to cheese through certain missions or are just handy to get around with.
      • The "Invincible Pack" does this ON PURPOSE! All it adds are several cheat codes ranging from classics like God Mode and unlimited clips all the way up to things like Super Saints (stronger homies) and bigger explosions!
    • Level 4 Molotov Cocktails have the uncanny ability to one-shot most vehicles instantly, making them more like RPG rounds you can throw in an arc.
    • The larger vehicles like flatbeds and semis are usually fairly innocuous and innocent...unless they've been upgraded to have maximum durability, at which point activating the nitrous will cause enough vehicle damage to instantly take out other vehicles, turning them into short-lived tanks. Add in enhanced bumpers at they practically become rocket-propelled bulldozers.
    • The Notoriety Wipe consists of two upgrades that unlock the ability to ask for a complete reset in the Wanted Meters (there's one upgrade for the police meter and one for the gang's one). Once bought, the Notoriety Wipe can be used anytime. Most of the Vehicle Theft's difficulty comes from the game ramping up the player's notoriety once the target is stolen, forcing either the police or one gang (depending on the vehicle) to actively chase the player until the stolen vehicle is delivered to its destination. Did we mention the Notoriety Wipe can be used anytime? Yes, it includes "during a Vehicle Theft"; resetting the Notoriety Meter also results in the opposition stopping to chase you, which turns what is intended to be a high-adrenaline car chase into a very easy fetch quest.
  • Genius Bonus: Josh Birk trying to convince Oleg that he knows what it's like to be a "soldier of the working man" because of an acting role he played? Funny on its own. The role Josh cites is Torvald Hemler? Hilarious.
  • Good Bad Bugs:
    • It's possible to upgrade vehicles that are marked as unupgradable like police vehicles, APCs, and unique vehicles, by driving a normal car into a Rim Jobs, highlight a special vehicle in the garage, and cancel causing said vehicle to appear in the upgrade menu. This includes changing the color of the virtual X-2 cycle to something else, like red. This bug carries over into the sequel. Upgrading the armor and frame on a tank (the Challenger or any of the Crusaders) with this makes them nearly indestructible, taking up to 30 minutes (yes, minutes) of continuous fire to even start showing damage. You can also do this with any variant of the N-Forcer, too. This in turn makes otherwise infuriating activities such as regular Mayhem or Trafficking much easier.
    • Sometimes, picking up a D4TH Blossom will result in the player being able to use the entire ammo supply without without having to reload.
    • You can get a Decker uniform in one of the assassination missions, but you are unable to customize it. However, there was a bug that involved changing the color of a line on a particular hat, thus changing the color of the line on the Decker uniform. This ended up patched down the line, though. You can customize the line color manually in the next game, though.
    • Homie Hostility is a major problem, though if you manage to avoid dying long enough for the prompt to go away, you can simply call for them and they'll fight alongside you once more, having completely forgotten you harmed them.
    • Sometimes, the gang customization feature goes mad, which causes Saints spawning on the streets to have completely random styles, regardless of which have been selected through the option in the hideout. They can even get styles that haven't been unlocked yet. For instance, you can suddenly encounter a completely friendly, dark-purple coloured Professor Genki before you could normally choose it manually.note 
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Having Marilyn Manson's "Arma-Goddamn-Motherfuckin-Geddon" as a song on The Blood FM is this in light of his allegations of abuse against Evan Rachel Wood and Dita Von Tesse among others coming to light in 2021.
    • Kinzie's and Oleg's Ship Tease in this game (particularly Oleg's Love Confession during Three Way, which Kinzie may or may not have heard). Oh, boy...
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • During an Idle Animation, Caucasian Female Boss will say she may go into politics once the conflict with the Syndicate was over. Guess what happens in the next game.
    • The news report following "Air Steelport" mentions that the explosions were not due to an alien invasion. Guess what.
      • On a related note, there's also the fact that thanks to Jimmy Torbitson, the Boss gets a full taste of power in the final mission for The Trouble With Clones. Yeah, about that...
      • Russian Boss openly admits to wanting to have sex with Pierce in front of a live studio audience. As of the fourth game, Boss can romance Pierce, along with the rest of the Saints.
    • Boss is, evidently, a Top Gun fan and has a huge crush on Burt Reynolds. Not only is Archer also both of these, Reynolds would later appear in the episode The Man From Jupiter.
    • The paralyzing fear one quest giver has of mascots almost seems sane and rational in the light of Five Nights at Freddy's.
    • While Deus Ex: Human Revolution came out a few months before Saints III (and even had a sequel that was sadly an Acclaimed Flop), it wouldn't be until Cyberpunk 2077 where Matt's and the Deckers' fashion sense would finally catch on again.
    • Zimos is voiced by Alex Desert, who was a regular in the 1990 live-action adaptation of The Flash, and reprised his role of Julio Mendez (albeit as an alternate-universe/alternate-timeline counterpart) in the 2014 Flash series. Shaundi's VO for The Third onwards, Danielle Nicolet, began appearing as Cecile Horton later on in that show's run.
  • It's Easy, So It Sucks!: The game's fairly breezy story missions and generally lax difficulty (especially with high enough respect) were a point of criticism. This was compounded by some of the DLC additions, like a powerful tank and VTOL made available from the start of the game. The Unlockables and Bloodsucker packs were especially criticized for, respectively, 1) making every quest-unlocked reward available from the start, nullifying the stakes of mission choices and 2) unlocking income and respect bonuses from the start, removing much of the challenge from progression.
  • It's Hard, So It Sucks!: On the flip side, the activities specifically have been criticized for this. Said criticism is generally made with contrast to the aforementioned easy story missions which together make for an inconsistent overall game difficulty. Though some of these can be mitigated by the Game Breakers mentioned above, it still doesn't take away from the fact that they can be a right pain in the ass.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!: While the tone is much different from the previous game, it did not go unnoticed by critics that the game blatantly recycled the structure of having the city split between three different gangs, and after the player has those taken care of, an unrelated government/corporate Villain with Good Publicity becomes the main antagonist.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Viola DeWynter suffers seeing her beloved father figure, Phillipe Loren, killed by the Saints, her and her sister's rightful position as head of the Syndicate taken by Killbane, her sister's brutal murder by Killbane via Neck Snap, and being forced to dress in an incredibly skimpy outfit for a mission after she joins the Saints. Oh, and then she dies if the player decides killing Killbane is more important than rescuing her, Burt Reynolds, and Shaundi. All of this happens over the course of a few days/weeks.
    • Jenny Jaros during the Gangsters in Space missions.
  • Memetic Mutation: "I like men".
  • Moral Event Horizon: Kia attempting to frame the Saints by making it look like they blew up the monument in the final mission.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: The jingle that plays when you complete a mission and/or activity, especially wonderful if it was a particularly difficult one.
  • Narm Charm:
    • Intentional example in the later half of "Three Way", in which Bonnie Tyler's "Holding Out for a Hero" will start playing as you go to either rescue Shaundi or kill Killbane.
    • Pierce and the Boss singing "What I Got."
  • Player Punch:
  • Porting Disaster: The Nintendo Switch port is loaded with problems. The graphics are downgraded despite running on more powerful hardware than the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions, the frame rate slows down to single-digit levels in handheld mode, Loads and Loads of Loading is frequent, and combat is nearly impossible due to janky controls.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Angel is a former wrestler who claims the Boss isn't tough enough to fight Killbane, even though they've dived into a plane, took on the army and won, and killed countless gangbangers. When Angel actually faces Killbane, he's thrown out of the ring, leaving the Boss fight him instead. The fact that, after making a big deal about simply killing him is pointless and beating him will be enough, he then pressures you into going after and killing him later, making you choose between killing him and saving Shaundi. Another nail in his coffin is that, unlike Zimos, you can take out him and his entire story from the game and it would lose nothing. Being played by Hulk Hogan (see WTH, Casting Agency? below) also isn't doing him many favors.
    • Killbane is also one of the most disliked antagonists in the series mainly for being forced into the role of the main villain despite being the most shallow and uninteresting of the bad guys. In short, few people care much about the Luchadores act of the story enough to care much about Killbane vs Angel to begin with.
    • To some fans, Shaundi became this, despite being relatively popular in the previous game. New appearance, new personality, and new voice resulted in making her so unrecognizable and unlikable that many fans didn't even realize she was the same character until her name is mentioned.
    • Pretty much all the characters behind the Vehicle Theft missions, due to their outrageous, arbitrary demands for the target vehicle, which are often in parts of the city far away from their stations where you send said vehicles.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • Homie hostility. You pretty much cannot use explosives around them. At all. Including your explosive pistol rounds. Even the damage caused by an exploding vehicle, as long as you are the one that caused the explosion, they will go hostile. Another problem is they get in your line of fire and/or be grabbed as a human shield all the time. And yes, saving them from being a human shield by using an electric grenade or flashbang will also turn them hostile. This is the main reason homies become almost useless in this game since you cannot keep them from going hostile for more than 5 seconds in any reasonable combat situation.
    • Speaking of Homies, it seems that they end up being "Busy" a lot of the time, rendering them unable to help out. There's no indication of which Homie is available or not until you attempt to call them. Sometimes it's obvious, as they're part of a mission's narrative, but most of the time it's just random.
    • One more on Homies, should you choose to drive away without them in tow, they'll abandon you if you get too far from them, forcing you to wait for them to haul their ass to your vehicle, which itself counts as a Scrappy Mechanic. If this happens to a plot-critical Homie, it's game over (with the exception of one example at the final mission).
    • Survival missions themselves are not so bad. The phone calls they send you to start them, however, are a pain in the ass. Expect to be harassed by these any time you're not in a mission. To make them even more annoying, the "answer the phone" prompt overrides every other "Use" button prompt in the game, and the people calling you with these have the uncanny ability to call you right when you're about to push that button to do something else, such as open a door or enter a vehicle.
    • Being set on fire. Once on fire, your character will uncontrollably flail around, leaving you open to further attacks from enemies. Think you can set enemies on fire and do the same to them? Well, you can, but getting too close to them will also set you alight. Setting zombies on fire is generally a bad idea since, unlike humans, zombies don't stagger when set on fire and will keep coming after you. Since zombies always come in packs, setting one on fire can set the entire horde ablaze, creating a much bigger problem for you when they close in on you. While you can buy upgrades to reduce damage from fire, you can't stop the flailing around from being burned up until you get the fireproof ability that is unlocked near the level cap.
    • Enemies are capable of dragging you out of your vehicle by force if you're stationary, which might be necessary in getting escorted people into your passenger seats. This is most often seen in the hated Snatch missions. Suffice to say, do not give the enemy the chance to get near your vehicle lest you waste valuable time.
    • The fact that many of the main story missions, especially early on, are just recycled diversions. This is ostensibly meant to introduce the player to them, narratively and gameplay-wise. Yet, there was no problem with players overlooking their existence in the previous games or complaining about a lack of context. They're hardly optional diversions if the main story forces you to do at least some of them, and what players come to main missions for is generally the highly variable, more scripted and hand-crafted nature only those can offer, which diversions simply lack.
    • Taking human shields and getting into vehicles are now mapped the same button, so expect to do whichever one you're trying not to do very often during tense situations. Especially if you're trying to divekick into a vehicle and escape, but instead end up going through the lengthy animation of tackling someone, pulling them back up, turning them around, then having to spend more time throwing or executing them just because the game can't understand what you're trying to do.
  • Strawman Has a Point: The existence of STAG seems out of proportion, until you remember the amount of force and power the Saints alone have, much less other gangs. You'd think the government would have stepped in much sooner.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Some people aren't thrilled about Shaundi's new look, personality and new voice actor. When she was originally played by Eliza Dushku, it's a big pair of heels to fill. Some actually thought she was a new character at first until they realized she was 'the pothead chick with the dreads' from SR2.
  • That One Achievement:
    • You're my Hero - getting all Challenges done - can be Unwinnable if you don't go for it early enough, and even then some can be hard to get.
    • The Johnnyguard in "The Trouble with Clones" DLC. You have to prevent Johnny Tag from taking any damage from the military. Oh, the first few phases might go okay, but just wait till you have to handle both the tanks and helicopters at the same time. And it doesn't help that between the Painfully Slow Projectile both you and your enemies are firing and how their attacks don't hurt Johnny... until they suddenly do... it can seem like you're going to make it only to suddenly notice the missing chunk of health. Time to return to checkpoint!
  • That One Level:
    • Guardian Angel. The Boss has to cover Pierce from a helicopter, first with a rocket-launcher while Pierce is in a car, then via Sniper Rifle from a distant building top as Pierce runs on foot. The problem with the first part of this is that Pierce has a habit of driving right beside the cars The Boss needs to blow up, and needless to say when your escort target is near enemies and all you have is a high-damage Herd-Hitting Attack, you risk doing more damage to him than the enemies. Then when covering him with a Sniper Rifle The Boss can be more selective, but it does not help when he and the targets going after him are behind a building, well out of The Boss' line of sight and ability to cover.
    • Zombie Attack. Infinitely respawning zombies that are randomly on fire or burst into flame when you get too close, which stun locks you, they'll grab onto you, attack in groups, when you cannot fight back every undead enemy for miles rushes in to attack, they're as fast as you can sprint, and you suddenly have next to no sprint ability regardless of how many upgrades you purchased beforehand. And when they run the best you can do is spray n pray because they are just too fast.
    • As well as being a Best Level Ever, HTTP://deckers.die can be this early on if you fight the enemies before your virtual body fully uploads, which gives you the gun needed. Also the part of the mission where Matt forces lag on you, which causes you and the enemies to jump around the place at random. Worst part is that the enemies you have to fight are the Decker's specialists, which are dangerous enough with their Flash Step, but the lag makes it ridiculous.
    • "Weird Science", at least on Hardcore difficulty. Specifically, the "defend the car" section. Take a Trafficking mission (mentioned under That One Sidequest below), make it really goddamn long, and make it so that you can't get out and swap to a new car when yours starts falling apart.
    • "Learning Computer", starts off easy enough with getting to the STAG PR building and fighting some STAG soldiers and Decker mooks. But then you have to chase a truck down to retrieve a computer you were gonna steal in a tank and have to blow the tires out with the machine gun. Sounds simple, right? Well it would be if Pierce, who's manning the laser cannon, didn't shoot in front of you to get at the Deckers trying to stop you and, since most of them are right next to the truck, could easily destroy said truck and fail the mission. What makes this harder is that trying to get the front tires is an utter pain in the ass and the tank moves....well like a tank, meaning you'll have a hard time trying to keep up. Especially since you have to swerve to keep Pierce's shots away from the truck.note 
  • That One Sidequest:
    • Snatch. Possibly even moreso than Escort (see the Saints Row 2 entry for why that one's so reviled), due to the hos you need to pick up sometimes getting hung up walking around the car instead of just getting in while you have an entire army of gang members shooting at you. Even with a fully upgraded vehicle, it may not be durable enough to withstand all the bullets being thrown at you. Worse off, if you're not careful and stay parked too long trying to get one of the hos to get in the car already, an enemy gang member might pull you out of the car, causing them to exit and you losing even more valuable seconds trying to get them in the car in the first place and right the hell out of the group of gang members trying to kill you all.
    • The Tiger Escort missions aren't a big deal on paper, but certain mechanics (like how the tiger will bite you even when you're driving perfectly, thus throwing you off-course and making it even angrier) make them a real hassle.
    • Zimos' Escort missions aren't much better. The client will often ask you to do arbitrary things such as stop by a theater or run over a certain person. The more aggravating examples are getting air time (which can be difficult when trying to find a good jumping point) and making skid marks (the driving kind). The paparazzi that hound you at every turn are relentless and prevent you from making any progress in the mission, but not doing these random tasks prevents making any progress over time.
    • A similar problem occurs with Trafficking. Even with a fully upgraded character, you can still run into issues not unlike Snatch. By the time you reach the hard and medium missions, it's not uncommon for you to have a conga-line of trucks with brutes and helicopters on your tail at all times. Add in the limited ammo and certain missions not giving you explosives and you got a mission that is much more frustrating than it should. On the bright side you're allowed to get into other vehicles even from the beginning, so there's nothing stopping you from bringing your own upgraded vehicle, or even a tank if you've managed to get one.
    • Heli Assault. Specifically, the ones with Kinzie. The Pierce missions aren't so bad, because you get a heavily armored, highly maneuverable gunship with homing missiles and a minigun, but the Kinzie missions give you a clunky old POS with dumb missiles and a much less powerful machine gun...but don't reduce the number, toughness, or armaments of your opponents accordingly.
    • Kinzie's Trail Blazing missions can be annoying if you're not friends with the finicky motorcycle handling. Her constant snarking doesn't help.
    • Luring out Andre of the Morning Star is a massive pain in the ass. To achieve this, you must kill a couple of Hos in his area and then piss off the Morning Star to max rank to draw him out. By the time this is achieved, the player has to balance dealing with snipers from Helicopters, a massive wave of gang members, and brutes of various flavors; upon which it becomes a race to kill Andre before you're smoked yourself.
    • Certain vehicle theft quests can be a nightmare if you don't call the police forgiveness line immediately after stealing the vehicle. Since taking the vehicle automatically incurs several stars of police notoriety, you'll have to dodge helicopters and tanks and cut through roadblocks to get it to the pickup spot in one piece. This makes delivering a slow and ungainly vehicle like a Peterliner halfway across the city to the pickup spot a potentially insurmountable task. You also face reward penalties for any damage the vehicle sustains. Even with police forgiveness, it's a seriously monotonous drive going from one end of the city to another because the demanded vehicle always happens to be far away from the requester's store. Deiter is a serious repeat offender since his station is located at a dock with narrow entrances.
    • Super Ethical Reality Climax. The rules are different in these challenges. Regenerating Health is no more, replaced by static health that can only be replenished by shooting the First Aid sign bonuses. There are electric and fire traps everywhere. You start out with rapid fire pistols and can only extend your inventory through prize boxes spawned at random intervals, some of which are mockingly placed behind obvious death traps. There's also a Time Limit. Getting to a certain point in the obstacle course spawns a Brute, and killing said Brute just spawns more Brutes. It's a Cycle of Hurting to the maximum level, and a motive to get the hell through these death courses without delay. Oh, and don't shoot the Unethical signs, which incur a time penalty.
  • Tear Jerker: Shaundi's possible death and aftermath.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Kiki DeWynter could count. She appears to be slightly more dominant as a character than Viola and isn't even remotely intimidated by Killbane, who is practically twice her size and five times as strong. Sadly, she is killed off around halfway through the game and used to begin Viola's Heel–Face Turn. This is mitigated somewhat by her appearance in Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell, but some certainly felt that Kiki would've been a more interesting defector than Viola.
    • Phillipe Loren was set up early on, and even by promotional trailers, to be the main villain of the story. He's the leader of The Syndicate, comprised of Steelport's three largest gangs, and is shown as an Affably Evil unflappable crime lord who doesn't take no for an answer and even seemingly manages to take down freaking Johnny Gat offscreen.note . Someone like him would have make a genuinely threatening antagonist to the Saints, right? Nope. He's promptly dealt with soon after the Saints got a foothold in Steelport, being comically crushed to death by a steel ball in a cutscene and doesn't even have a boss fight, and Killbane quickly takes over as the new Big Bad and have the DeWynter sisters working for him, effectively removing Morningstar as a threat right after the first act.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • The game's central narrative premise, the Saints having become superstar celebrities, is not really taken advantage of in terms of missions, customization options and side activities. The Saints now sell merchandise, but there is no option to select/modify the kind of merchandise, or manage the business behind it. Shaundi apparently has her own TV show, yet you never get to visit the set or participate in filming an episode. For that matter, if Shaundi gets to have her own show, why not the Boss? Similarly, Pierce cuts a deal to star in a commercial, which could have been an interesting ingame way to earn extra cash. Other aspects of celebrity life, such as sponsorship deals, giving interviews or managing publicity and scandals could have been taken advantage of for diversions as well. Altogether, reflecting the premise in gameplay more could have significantly increased the impact of Johnny Gat's accusation that the Saints have 'sold out' and become 'corporate whores' which fuels the final decision of the game.
    • The trailer implied The Saints and Syndicate would have to team up against STAG. In the actual game the Syndicate storyline is completely wrapped up before STAG becomes an issue. This is particularly notable for wasted potential as one major criticism of the game is that the "three gangs and then STAG" structure of the storyline recycles "three gangs and then Ultor" from the second game, only with more linearity as here the three factions are tied together.
  • Vindicated by History: At the time of its release, many fans were outraged by the apparent off-screen death of series mainstay and fan favorite Johnny Gat, as well as Shaundi's much less relaxed and more serious and abrasive characterization. However, Saints Row IV effectively fixed these complaints by bringing Johnny back and addressing and even poking fun at Shaundi's characterization, and while The Third is still a somewhat divisive game for its Denser and Wackier direction and having less content than 2, IV made its story a much easier pill to swallow for many. It also has some appreciation for being a sort of happy medium between the somewhat more restrained first two games and the complete dive into Denser and Wackier territory made by IV.
    • A better example would be it's port for the Nintendo Switch; as the closest thing that Nintendo has had towards it's own version of Grand Theft Auto (which for various reasons, has never seen any of it's 3D era games ported to Nintendo systems), the game gained a new generation of fans wanting their criminal-centric open sandbox game fix for Nintendo.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: For some reason, THQ/Volition decided to cast Hulk Hogan, who's about as American as apple pienote , to voice Mexican luchador Angel de la Muerte. Hogan makes no attempt to put on any Latino accent, and has a reputation of being a shitty actor (even though his performance in this game was pretty decent all things considered). Some argue that it would have been more appropriate for Hogan to voice Killbane instead, since Killbane's character rivals Hollywood Hogan in many ways. (They're both older, balding blond wrestlers who turned on their best friends/tag team partners out of spite, became leaders of "gangs", are obsessed with their wrestling personas and have egos the size of Canada.)

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