Saints Row 3: What Happened To Shaundi?
Saints Row 3 probably would have been one of my favorite games of 2011, had I played it in 2011. Sadly I didn’t get ahold of it until January 1st. I was a big fan of Saints Row 2, and based on my expectations from that game, Saints 3 did not disappoint. I had to turn the resolution to 720×480 just to make it playable, and even then the framerate chugged whenever things got busy (spoiler: things were busy most of the time) but that’s my laptop’s fault, not the game’s fault. On the whole Saints 3 felt very fresh and fun.
I have a lot of things to say about it, some good and some bad. I guess I’ll start with the first observation I made.
The three major support characters in Saints 2 were Johnny Gat, Pierce and Shaundi. In Saints 3, Gat and Pierce are back on screen in the very first mission. Gat looks largely the same. Pierce is wearing a pretentious rich-guy costume, but he’s still Pierce. But Shaundi never shows up, not in the mission or in the whole game.
So here’s my question: What the hell happened to my favorite character?
The strange thing is that there’s a new girl in the group and everybody refers to her as Shaundi, but she doesn’t look, talk or act anything like Shaundi from Saints 2. I understand that graphical upgrades are going to cause some changes in a character’s overall appearance, but this Shaundi has a different face, a different outfit, a different voice, and a completely different personality.
Saints 2 Shaundi was the archetypal stoner. She was chilled out and laid-back, she rarely ever got upset or tense, she knew all about drugs and where to find and produce them, and to top it all off, she was a complete and total slut. She just didn’t seem to give a shit, and that’s what made her charming.
Saints 3 Shaundi is so different I refuse to accept that it’s the same person. This one is a complete hardass. She’s pushy, she’s violent, she always seems to be angry at somebody, and she doesn’t hesitate for a moment to bark out threats, even threats directed at her friends. Occasionally other characters will make jokes about Shaundi being such a slutty stoner, and there’s the rare case where she’ll allude to some past exploit of hers into the field of drugs and sex, but none of that is ever shown in her actual demeanor or actions. I get that characters can change overtime, but this is a pretty extreme gear shift, and we never even see a hint of the old Shaundi in this new one.
My theory is that at some point between Saints Row 2 and Saints Row 3, Shaundi must have died a horrible death, and since the other three dudes in the team wanted to have a girl in the group to look pretty, they hired some actress to wear a low-cut top and pretend to be Shaundi. And this actress completely misses the point.
Whatever the case may be, I’m not happy about this shift. As I said, Shaundi was my favorite character in Saints 2. She was charming and endearing, and I found her to be the most relatable character, though I’m not sure what that says about me as a person.