Review by Sinroth
"Are you ready for this playa?"
In what seems to be a blatant GTA rip-off, Saints Row has shown that it has at least tried to introduce fresh, new, concepts and ideas into the gangsta-epic genre of games. Let us begin.
The Graphics are, in one word, beautiful in a cartoonish way. While the graphics are in no way, dreary, depressing, moody, or even realistic, they do an excellent job at depicting the world. One gripe I have is that I find night time to be far too dark to my lighting, but perhaps that's just me. Regardless, if this is the case, you can change the lighting, which never hurts. Cars are rendered greatly, especially in explosions. Fire an RPG at a car, and you can see the doors and pieces of debris fly off it in a burning sizzle across the highway. There are a few minor issues, but nothing too big.
The Sound is a mixed blessing. On the upside, you have the powerful grunting of the cars, to the smart ass insults rival gangsters will throw at you. On the downside, there aren't many songs and stations in game worth listening to. I have two songs that I like, and that's it. You will probably not have heard of half of them, but it doesn't matter. The voice acting is, for the most part, well done. There is a crap-load of swearing, but if you endured San Andreas, it's nothing worse than that.
The Characters mostly all have great voice acting. You don't really see half of them that much, but the ones you do see have their moments.
At first glance, there doesn't appear to be much of a story, other than "Take over the city". Thinks evolve into much more complex issues, but don't expect a Stephen King or Clive Cussler novel epic to unfold; rather, expect a "Better than you're average story". Of course, the focus is divided between three mission storylines, so, unless you tackle them one by one and ignore the others, the story won't be very appealing. I won't reveal anything for you.
The gunplay is very basic and crisp, and gets the job down. Aim with the right stick, shot with the right trigger. For melee combat, you can use the right trigger, left trigger, and left button to pull off punches and kicks. You'll probably only use your fists once or twice in the whole game, but it's nice to know that you've got this feature to use. All a nice feature is the ability to pistol-whip your opponent, or smack 'em with the butt of your 12 gauge. Just tap the Left Button, and it knocks the gun from their hand, and smacks them straight to the ground.
As for the weapons? There's your standard revolvers and shotguns. There is about three or four guns for each category, and there are seven categories (including melee weapons & thrown weapons), so there's enough to get the job done, but not too many so it feels overwhelming.
As for modes of transportation, you have your basic cars & trucks, but also on the list are tankers & trains. That means no motorbikes, no boats, no planes (although there would only be one place to land them). Regardless, it doesn't really take away from the experience. What? Did you want to speed boat across a lake that you could just drive around faster?
There are a crap-load of side-quests and missions to attempt in this game. From playing hitman to scamming insurance companies, about the only thing Saints Row doesn't have is the Taxi, Ambulance, and Police missions from Grand Theft Auto. Lets start from scratch; we have the Snatch. This sees our man killing pimps, and stealing his whores to return to a brothel so business can boom. Charming, eh? Moving on, we have Drug Trafficking, which sees us ride shotgun for a drug dealer. Escort, where we have to keep away from the paparazzi so the whore in the back can please her client. We have Insurance Fraud, where we dive at cars, causing the incredible ragdoll physics to show, as we go flying, smashing into cars, and tumbling, limb over limb. Demolition Derby, where our objective is to smash, crash and bash other cars until they explode. Racing, which is really self-explanatory. The Chop Shop, where we steal cars and take them to the Chop Shop. Hijacking, where we steal specific cars in a certain time limit and take them back to the garage. Hitman, where we set our target, and we kill him, without any markers, and only knowing they wander around in a certain district or two. We have Mayhem, where we cause as much destruction as possible, and, to help us, we are granted with a certain weapon or two that has infinite ammo.
You can also enhance most cars (with the exception of big tankers and tractors, seeing as they can't fit in the garage) and repair them. The customization isn't that big, but there is a truck load of colours, and then different types (such as Candy, Metallic & Matte) to satisfy your lust, then you can individually colour the rims, trim, paint & tint.
What we have is a very refreshing game that revives the gangsta epic that Rockstar founded. Far from a Grand Theft Auto clone/rip off, in the words of my good man Julius Little, "Are you ready for this playa?"
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 11/30/06
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