Review by idiotman7
"Look here Player"
To many games in the past year or two have tried their hand at taking the success of Grand Theft Auto, and making it their own, using the same style, but worse. While I am not a huge fan of the GTA series, I do have respect for what they've done despite its enormously large controversy. Like many gamers, when I first saw Saints Row I wrote it off as a cheap imitation to GTA. I thought it would surely fall flat on its face, and bring nothing new to the table I had not already seen. While I was partially correct, I was wrong in thinking that it would fail.
Saints Row has given me an experience, better than Grand Theft Auto ever did. While it lacks originality, it makes up for in its sheer fun. What makes the game tick is hard to put a finger on, but so many side missions and antics you can pull around the town of Stillwater helps this game come a long way.
You start out as some random kid who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. While walking down the street, you get thrown into the middle of a gang war, and before long you have the barrel a gun pointed at you. Just before you meet your maker, the Third Streets Saints come in and rescue you. They tell you to come by the church hide-out, if you want to help them. Before to long you're in the midst of a four way gang war, and you're holding the gun now.
As you play through the game you'll meet numerous characters from your gang and rival ones. The Third Street Saints are a kind of falling off the map, racially diverse group, looking for a rise back to the top with a quick take over. The Los Carnales, who are pretty much Hispanic specializing in arms and drugs. Vice King, made of or primarily African Americans, own a record company and are Kings of music, retail and the prostitution ring. Finally we have the West Side Rollerz, made up of mostly Asians and have a high intelligence in automobiles. As stated you are part of the Saints, and it's your job to take down the other three rival gangs, at the orders of your boss, Julius. The game ends pretty abruptly, and after it's over, there really isn't much else to do, since you can't go back and finish side missions.
While the story is pretty lenient, although you can pretty much play the whole game how you want and choose what mission you want to do next, the game just feels kind of rushed through. If not for the ability to free roam around the city doing whatever you want, it probably would have been a very boring game. What's a game if you can't run up to people on the street and shoot them for their money? Police chases are great fun, and if you're looking for trouble and want to go on a rampage, then you will have plenty of them. Robbing stores, breaking into safes, and taking hostages are a few of the things that add to the pure fun of the game, ya know if you're into that sort of thing.
Adding to its simplicity and enjoyment is the easy controls. You can hold an enormous amount of weapons, RPG's, sniper rifles, shotguns, pistols, Molotov, knifes, and many more things, all at once. Shooting is easy and understandable, while the things like sprinting and jumping seemed a tad clunky to me, it didn't dampen the playability at all. Driving was actual fun in this game, and a very diverse amount of vehicles to choose from, although the driving missions I can't say I always enjoyed, driving around having fun was fantastic.
One of Saints Rows greatest assets is its player creation. While not as in depth as Oblivion, it certainly did an awesome job of letting you choose a lot more of what your character to look like. Everything from nose width to height can all be customized at the start. As you progress in the game, shops will become available that let you change your appearance more, for a price, and buy clothing and jewelry. The only thing I thought was kind of a let down was the limited clothing options. There were many stores, but none of them held a lot of stuff, but the clothing I did buy I made sure made my character look as bad ass as possible.
But, sometimes its hard to look bad ass, when the game your playing doesn't look that great in the first place. While Saints Row isn't winning in awards for best graphics this year, it surely is a step up from Grand Theft Autos. I understand that yes the ps2 and 360's graphics are defiantly going to be different, but hey, Saints Row still looks pretty damn good. Environments are great, and all the characters are detailed perfectly, its just, a few small things like jaggies and pointed character models makes me wonder if this is truly their best effort. While it may not be the 360's fullest potential it's certainly a step in the right direction, just for its sure beauty.
Aside from its small graphical and clothing problems, the one thing Saints Row did was bring the noise, and by that I mean its soundtrack. Artists are lined up in this game, everything from Fall Out Boy to David Banner and Wu Tang Clan. Musically the game excels, if you like rap I suppose I should say. Like Grand Theft Auto, Saints has its fair share of laughable commercials and entertaining disk jockeys. Voice acting is superb with many talented people coming in to lend their help, one such being Keith David, the priest in Pitch Black and Chronicles of Riddick!
Sound wise, Saints Row is a little mediocre for a next gen. console. The weapons are all pretty bland and don't make much but the pop pop pop noises, cars sound all the same, explosions and car crashes aren't anything grand either. Rather disappointing, but with the fantastic sound track it will more than make up for it.
Saints Row is one of my new favorite games, GTA clone or not, it exceeds in doing what Grand Theft Auto just hasn't done for me, and makes a fun game I can play and not get bored with. A fantastic story, although to short, keeps you hooked the entire time, as well as its fun and easy to master controls and superb soundtrack. Plus it has online play, which is rather fun to. Saints Row I can tell is going to be one of the cult classics of the 360, that will go un remembered because if what it stands for, gangs and thugs, which people will tell you is for white nerdy guys who want to feel cool. This is a must have game for the 360, so don't judge the book by its cover. Plus the one liners will have you rolling on the floor laughing!
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 01/03/07, Updated 01/04/07
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