About 4 hours into the game now and I'm a bit disappointed with it overall thus far. First couple of minutes begin with a Star Wars like intro with a written explanation of what happened between the last installment and the current game and what sounded like some bad Monty Pythonic want to be epic music heavy with low drum beats. Some VO work with flash backs and scenes showing the ascension would have been far better. As it is, the introduction just felt cheap. Secondly, I couldn't recreate my character from the 2nd game due to missing hair types, missing tattoos (ALL OF THEM for my character including the arms, and chest were gone), and sadly the request by gamers for more voice over types for characters was missing as well.
Gamers complained about the camera setting (height / distance) of the driving. Doesn't appear changed in any way from SR2, and there's no customization capability to set how high or far back you'd like to have the camera whilst driving. Huge miss here by the dev team. I'm guessing on the feature request list it was just below the jar of farts you can hurl. *sigh*
No Eliza Dushku as Shandai is a huge let down. Eliza has a unique voice that really gave Shaundi that edge in the last game and fit so well with that I'm dirtier than dirt kick ass chick that you can hear it in my crackling could be a phone sex voice. Though if I believe the trailers, we get Burt Reynolds.... not his voice, no, the real Burt Reynolds. How in the world do you get Burt Reynolds but fail to land Eliza??? One word. Fail!
To be fair, I hung out on the Saint Row's Official Forums for awhile and mixed with the community a bit, even dabbled writing a short story in a vain attempt to learn to write (for the record, technical minds are not suited for this endeavor!) with a story I began titled Fracture. I probably have more of an idea of what the community requests (not just my own) were than the average gamer/reader, and whether or not they were realized. My own requests were primarily centered around additional customizations and tools for story and mission creation capabilities.
Finding the drivers in the game are just all over the place. Many time running me over, crashing into other cars, running off the side of the road. It's almost as if the entire driving AI is utterly glitched. Whether this is an attempt to create a dynamic over the top crazy and dangerous atmosphere or just a buggy AI it's hard to say, but either way I'm finding it far more annoying than fun.
On the framerate issues being ironed out, that doesn't quite seem to be the case. I'm playing on the XBox 360 with it installed to the HD and I'm seeing framerate issues, primarily at high speeds when coming off bridge areas into the city portions. Doesn't break anything, but is awkward and can cause miscues if driving at high speeds.
On the bugs side, I ran into an issue with a character getting stuck in the environment in the FIRST part of the game in the plane shoot out. Couldn't figure out what to do from there as it had just explained how to hold them with Y to protect yourself. Unfortunately I couldn't get to him (the enemy as he was stuck under the baggage section on top of a seat!), and I couldn't progress without him (at least door in front of me was not openable with no hand/Y option to open). Finally, unable to grab him, I just shot the guy, and after several agonizingly slow minutes went buy (literally) after he died the door ahead of me presented the hand icon to proceed. Not sure how that was supposed to go, but it didn't seem to be scripted well, and it definitely didn't leave a good first impression for one of the initial 'get to know the game' segments.
I still have a lot of the game to play, so perhaps the game will grow on me and I can look past some of the items above. By the end of the game, I may call this the best entry in the series to date, but thus far it's not giving me anything that I was hoping for beyond the better graphics. To sum, if you wanted more of Saints Row 1 and 2, then you won't be getting it early on in the game. This is an over the top, unrealistic, and highly offensive (for no justifiable reason) game. Volition really should have renamed this game to something else and left the Saints Row brand alone. It was doing just fine before this juvenile entry into the series. :(