I've never played a Saint's Row game before, and I've never really been a fan of the GTA series. However, I'm having a ridiculously fun time with this game.
I downloaded the Initiation Station a couple of days ago out of curiosity, largely because I love tinkering with character creators. After toying with the sliders and being relatively satisfied with my creation, I realized two hours had already passed and had a burning desire to see my character in action. So, on an impulse, I purchased the full game off of Steam.
I have to admit, I suffered buyer's remorse while waiting for the game to download. I figured I'd get my character in-game, end up tweaking her a bit more, play around for a bit and get bored. Fortunately, I couldn't have been more wrong and my regret over my impulsiveness was quickly abated after loading up the game.
I really like how cinematic the gameplay is during the missions. For example, how when your character is free-falling through the sky in the second mission, and the game fluidly transitions into a cutscene where (s)he shoots and kicks in the windshield of a plane and dives through it, taking out several enemies in her path, before flying out the back and putting the player back in control as the character continues plummeting towards the ground. Not to mention, how over the top and dynamic the whole scenario is (as are most of them).
It's also nice how most of the missions are unlocked as activities, so you can play your favorites at anytime. Also, the city looks gorgeous, especially when it rains. The streets actually look wet and reflect light. It's a nice touch.
My biggest gripe with the game is that my characters often look like ass during some cut-scenes, despite looking fine any other time (in my opinion, at least). I guess it's just the "cinematic lighting," but it can be really jarring sometimes. Also, I can't say I'm particularly fond of any of the female hairstyles. I hope they add more in the future. Why do western developers always suck at making female hairstyles?
For a game that's filled to the brim with crude humor, drug references, really blatant sexual innuendo (actually, I don't even think it's really innuendo) and all sorts of other vulgar things, the game is surprisingly well crafted. I've only had the game 3 days, and I've already clocked in way more time in SR3 than I have in Skyrim.
And to close with a gameplay question: I'm at a point in the campaign where the STAG guys are everywhere. I'm finding this often makes doing a lot of activities exceedingly difficult as my notoriety inevitably increases and squads of those STAG guys roll up in their armored street tank behemoths (that shoot lasers or something) in addition to the usual rival gangs and regular cops. Can I get rid of them without actually finishing the campaign or am I just screwed?