Review by Shoie13

"This is Saint's Row - Living and Breathing"

Saint's Row. I've had about 3 months to play it, 83% completion and working through the campaign a second time. Saint's Row starts out better than a lot of games in the “GTA” theme we've come to know and love. No, I will not compare this game to any GTA game. This is Saint's Row. There are no boats, planes, bikes, or motorcycles. The entire city is unlocked at the beginning. And you get to be who you want: Caucasian, African-American, Asian, or Hispanic. The customization options are endless.

STORY:
8/10
There are four gangs in the city of Stilwater. The 3rd Street Saints, Vice Kings, Westside Rollers, and “the” Los Carnales(ingame joke). You're a member of the Saints, and under Julius, you are tasked with destroying the other three gangs and taking over Stilwater. This ranges from raiding gang “strongholds”, destroying the Westside Roller's high performance cars, shutting down drug factories, ect. The story progresses nicely and overall, I found no faults with it.

GAME PLAY:
7/10
The game play in Saint's Row is magnificent. The storyline missions, ranging from the average “mission” where you go and do whatever is needed, to the “stronghold” missions where you are tasked with destroying all the gang members in the area to destroying something that gang is protecting. However, to unlock storyline missions, you must gain respect by doing side activities, such as Snatch, Escort, Hijacking, Insurance Fraud, ect. Each activity has about 10 levels, and there are three of each type in the entire city. Upon completing each activity, you earn respect and cash, and respect is used to unlock storyline missions – something I didn't like, because sometimes I just want to do the story. But there several side activities, and something for everyone is in there. Completing all the levels of an activity at a location unlocks things such as new jewelry, clothing, or cars for your player. There are also several stores located all over Stilwater. You may find yourself purchasing new clothes for your player, that also come in different styles: for example, a dress shirt with a tie comes in the option of not having the tie, having a tie with the shirt unbuttoned, tucked in, having a tie with the shirt buttoned, not tucked in; for pants, right leg rolled up, left leg rolled up, both legs rolled up, pants pulled up high, pants hanging low, ect. Clothing ranges from a suit to a cowboy hat with tight jeans. You can buy jewelry for your player, so you can have three types of necklaces on at once, a long, medium, and short. You can buy drugs and beer. There's also an auto dealer. Saint's Row also gives you a cell phone you can use – to call stores and hear their advertisements, or, call a cab to take you to a destination on your map. Saint's Row also features a train that comes and you can actually ride it to the next station – no, you can't hijack the train.

GRAPHICS:
7/10
Let me explain. The graphics on Saint's Row are AMAZING. You slam your car into another car, and sometimes, you'll fly through the windshield. You can break the glass on your car, make the door/trunk/fenders/hood fall off. Bump into a fence, and it'll fall over. Slam into it at 50+ mph and it'll go flying. The ragdoll physics (you know, when you hit someone their arms and legs flail), are fun – especially nice when you want to drive on the sidewalk with a van. Also, no more seeing the same person on the street 10 different times. People on the street range from old people – with walkers and canes, or a bad back, to people reading newspapers, jogging, stopping to tie their shoes, ect. I've rarely seen the same person and recognized it. But, there are major graphical errors – nothing that detracts from your experience, but can be really annoying at times – for instance, driving down the road, and suddenly your car disappears, and you're floating there in midair for about 5 seconds, then it reappears and you're no longer moving. Sometimes it stays disappeared. Once during a Drug trafficking side activity, in which you don't get to drive, but ride shotgun with a shotgun, the driver wouldn't get in the car, and I was stuck in the passenger seat with cops shooting at me. At other times, invisible barriers appear. I parked in a parking space, with two empty parking spaces on either side of me, and when I tried to get out, instead of getting out the driver's side, he slid into the passenger's seat to get out. After trying to get back into the driver's side from outside, he refused and instead ran around the car to get in. Invisible holes appear in the rode, and force your car to go sky borne when you get them, or otherwise sink through the ground. Overall, however, the problems aren't overly detracting from the game experience, but can be annoying at times – like during missions.

SOUND:
9/10
Sound has never been a major issue to me, but I can tell you the sound is nice. Each car has a unique sound that fits it's type, and each weapon sounds like it should. The voice acting is perfect for the character type, and the things people shout on the street “You almost made my wife a widow!”, “My wife would kill me if anything happened to me!”, “This isn't a race track!”, are enough to laugh at.

OVERALL:
7.75/10
Saint's Row has an amazing story, excellent game play, and it's graphics utilize the best of the 360's hardware. Does it live up to the hype? Play it yourself, decide for yourself. I had an amazing experience playing it, smiling at certain parts, grinning at some, but being overly frustrated by some annoying missions. But for the most part, it's a mixture of easy and hard parts – you'll have fun playing it. Buy it and keep it.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 08/22/07


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