My copy of Saints Row was used and came without a manual, and I didn’t realize there was an in-game manual for a while, so I’ve been figuring out the finer points of the game as I go.
One specific game play feature that I have since learned much more about is the respect bar.
At first, I noticed that when I did missions I gained respect and unlocked new missions. But I didn’t know exactly what was going on.
I’ve since discovered that respect is a currency used to buy unlocked missions. Originally, this wasn’t information I needed because I had spent so much time goofing off with the side stuff. But since then, I went on a tear with the actual missions. I was kind of tired of the mini-games and wanted to progress through the story. And that was fine, until I ran out of respect.
Now I’m in a position where I have to play the mini-games to earn enough respect in order to get back to the story. And while I kind of like the idea of needing to prove your worth in the neighborhood and within the gang in order to be trusted with more responsibility, after everything I’ve done within the story I should no longer need to prove myself.
Additionally, I’ve already picked a lot of the low-hanging fruit. Completing mini-games is now much more difficult, making for longer stretches until I can take on the next mission.
Another point that disappoints me about all this is that I’ve spent a large portion of in-game time with a bunch of money that I never spent. I thought it was primarily for weaponry and I always had plenty of weapons to go around. But I’ve learned that money can be used to buy piercings, tattoos, and clothing – which adds bonuses to earned respect. Had I realized that from the start, I might have a lot more respect now.
Live and learn?
Unfortunately, yes. I’ll concede it is probably properly balanced (though that could be debated), but I believe Saints Row could have done a much better job of illustrating these lessons in game.