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Well, I didn't paly Saints Row 1 or 2, do I have to know what happened there to understand the story/characters/world of Saints Row 3?

I want to add this to my fall sales list, but I'm unsure if it's good to play the third game without knowing anything about the Saints Row universe :/
SR2 introduced Shaundi and Pierce, most of the remaining cast is introduced in SR3. Another major character from SR2 is killed off in the opening sequence before you get to the open world segment. You shouldn't need to know much of the story of SR2 beyond what you get from the opening sequence to follow the story in SR3.

The tone of the world in SR2 was overall more subdued than it is in SR3, but even SR2 had its over the top moments.
Thank you for the fast reply. I'm going to read a short summary of the second game before I play SR3, as you said that should be enough to start the third game. Thanks again!
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Estelline: Thank you for the fast reply. I'm going to read a short summary of the second game before I play SR3, as you said that should be enough to start the third game. Thanks again!
I recently finished SR2 and just started SR3. It's probably helpful to know something about SR2 before you play SR3. On the other hand, having played SR2 makes SR3 a little disappointing in some ways.

I'm not saying SR3 is bad, but it improves on SR2 in the mindless fluff areas while cutting out some of the things that make SR2 a deeper, more interesting game.

SR3 is a much better port than SR2 though.
Similar here. Finished SR2 earlier today & started with 3. Both titles have stuff the other could profit from. In SR3 creating a female Boss does not feels like an afterthought anymore; driving is actually fun & not a chore, and (naturally since newer) everything looks more pretty. But customization of outfits & cars appear to have taken a nasty hit with removing categories like under/overshirts among others or the inability (at least at the start, but looks like it does not change) to remove decals from other gangs cars.

If you got SR2 together with 3 in a double deal & your are not in a hurry to play 3 I suggest to play 2 at least for the story & sequences. And to master cars in SR2, will make driving in 3 look like ultra easy mode in you come right out of 2 :D