Review by The_Dude_Sam

"Better than GTA4? you betcha!"

Many people believe Saint's row rips off of GTA, well I would be lieng if I said it didn't. But is this a bad thing?

Back in 2004 a game called Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was released and this just proved GTA was getting better and better. This was amazing, you could customize your car's, recruit people to follow you, customize your character and participate in the MANY mini games and side quests and more.

Then in 2008 GTA4 was released, and boy did they take a step backwards, sure it had great graphics and production values, but it left behind what made the GTA'S so great, it was very "back to basics" it was like GTA3 all over again. They removed nearly all customization options, and left use with barely anything really apart from changing your clothes.

Where is the ability to buy shops from the 2002 game vice city rockstar? Where is the customization of the 2004 game San Andreas rockstar? Where is what made GTA what it is?

Well ill tell you where it is, it's in Saints row 2.

I believe saints row 2 to be the spiritual successor to San Andreas, it has everything San Andreas had and MORE. You can totally customize your character's, cars, gang, crib, hideout etc. There is also allot of fun to be had outside of the main story, there's so much side missions and challenges it's amazing.

Take part in destruction derby, races, insurance scams, protecting celebrities, causing mayhem, being an escort, becoming a policeman, becoming a TV star, getting cars for a chop shop, causing mayhem in a helicopter, spraying the city in sewage for revenge and so much more.

The game ditches realism for the most part and replaces it with PURE fun, I mean don't get me wrong the physics are excellent, as are the graphics, but you are very rarely bored, unlike in GTA4.

The AI is great to, when you get some of your crew to follow you, they act how you would want them too, they won't shoot at something unless you do or you get shot, so you can be sure that if you want to get away from the police quietly you can.

They only get their weapons out if you do, so you can go into shops without making everyone scared, if you run they will run and they rarely get stuck which is quite an achievement for a sandbox game.

Also if you have 3 followers and you hope into a 2 seater car, the other 2 followers will steal a car and follow you in that car, so you can get all your followers to the same place at once. I have no idea why gamespot said the friendly AI was bad, because that's an outright lie.

There s also many, many, many vehicles. There are car's ALL of which can be customized, want's gold plated police car? you can, want a souped up hatchback, you can. Want a pimped out ambulance? you can!

There is also boat's, helicopters and planes, yes you can fly planes which is nice because you could in San Andreas but not in GTA4.

The sound is great, all the voices are excellent and the explosions are REALLY nice, as is the sounds of the vehicles and weapons, the graphics are brilliant, VERY smooth and the framerate is solid 99% of the time.

The controls are just so smooth, you can literally pick up and play without looking at the manual, the controls are just "right", very few games can pull this off.

Also the game features COOP which is a blast, unlike GTA4 you can play through the main game with a friend, which is far more fun than doing it solo. Also for the competitive types, there is player versus player multiplayer, which I have yet to try.

Gameplay = 10/10 - Pure fun and mayhem

Graphics = 8/10 - Very nice

Sound = 9/10 - Excellent

Multiplayer = 10/10 - COOP is flawless

Overall = 10/10 - This is what a Sandbox game should be, fun.

Maybe the GTA series should take a leaf out on saints row's book for once.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 06/01/09

Game Release: Saints Row 2 (EU, 10/17/08)

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