Review by cagedcrado

"Saint's Row: The Little Clone That Could"

It is 2 o'clock in the morning, and you and your homies cruise up to the dark and damp ally behind the liquor store... the kind of alley that most people won't even go into in the day. You step over a homeless man, and lift your shotgun into the ready position. Your homies are flanking you, trigger happy and ready to cap any "pig" that decides to get in your way. You lift up your leg and kick the door as hard as you can. The door goes sailing open with a crash that could wake a deaf man and you stumble over to the safe and spin the dial. Sirens start going off and you realize that you've tripped the stores alarm. It won't be long until the cops arrive, so you better hurry. Finally you crack the safe, but as you run out the back door of the store with the goods, a cop comes skidding around the corner and pulls his car into the entrance to the ally. You pull out your RPG-7 and pull the trigger. Fire sprays out the exhaust tube and scorchers the wall behind you as a rocket hisses straight into the cop's vehicle, heat waves shimmering in the air as it flies.

If this sounds like the type of excitement for you, then this is probably the game for you.

Saint's Row is a beautiful city-sandbox game which borrows heavily from GTA. Keep in mind that I haven't played much Grand Theft Auto, although I did play it. I didn't enjoy Grand Theft Auto, however this game is more enjoyable. The designers obviously made the most important aspect of the game having fun. I assume that everyone reading this review has a 360, I recommend trying the demo. The story is rather generic, but you get a good feeling about what is different and what is the same as GTA from the demo. You also get a slight taste of the game's story, which isn't terrible and gets its job done.

I choose to review graphics first, as that is the first thing that a person will notice when they first see or launch a game. The graphics are beautiful and your character being customizable is a very nice feature, especially if you intend to setup a form of role playing. (IE, thinking about how you will dress, whether or not you are crazy and violent, etc.) Despite the fact that your character can look a multitude of different sizes wearing several types of clothing, the animations are all fluid and perfect. The graphics for cars and people are incredible. Cars can be given different textures of paint that change how light is reflected. Weather effects are realistic and the fog that appears when it rains looks very realistic. There are a few graphical glitches, but nothing that will completely ruin the game. My worst graphical error was where my entire car disappeared for a few seconds and the game froze.
Building graphics were typically poor, mostly unoriginal architecture with minimal detail. The game is mostly about killing people and driving cars, and these are things the game's graphics engine does very well. Explosion and gun effects are also perfect, with heat distortion, smoke, and beautiful flash and explosion effects. The world looks exactly like you would expect, only a poor use of draw distance hiding and some glitches drag it down.

Graphics: 8.5/10

The audio for this game is perfect. When the player walks up to a car, you can hear the muffled radio from the outside. If their window is rolled down, you can hear it more. Sound works nearly exactly as it does in the real world. If you have surround sound you are in for a treat.

Sound: 10/10

Gameplay is the meat of any game, and this game delivers. First of all, there is something to do. I will go as far as saying that there is something to do or see on every single street in the game, although there isn't necessarily anything unique to do on every street, it is still enjoyable to run around causing havoc and there is plenty of scenery to do it in. The world is very large, not quite as large as oblivion in terms of gameplay, but probably very close in terms of physical size. (There just isn't as much variation between areas or as many unique things to see.) The driving mechanics are done well, and the minions that follow you around hardly ever get in your way. (the game calls your minions homies. The AI is typically better than other games, and fellow gang members will assist you when they are nearby. The cops have their own AI, and will attempt to stop you from committing a crime. If you rob too many stores of one type in a row, the police will be waiting inside the next one you try to rob. If you are inside a building, the cops will try to block off the exits. Enemy gangs also have their own AI and behave in a totally different way.

Compared to GTA, the gameplay is more enjoyable. The map is much more intuitive and far less frustrating to use. With turn by turn directions on the mini map, it is obvious your character has some of the latest in GPS technologies. The game also has a neat cell phone feature, although the game doesn't really require you call anyone. You can also upload your own music into the game. The game will probably last you some time, the main story could take up to 25 hours depending on how many side quests you do and how many times you decide to go on rampages against the police. The missions are more fun than GTA because they are more enjoyable, even if they are shorter. They are more enjoyable because the game is more straight forward and direct, which adds to the fun. The missions do get repetitive later on though.

Gameplay: 87/100*

I don't buy games for their multiplayer, and I haven't tried it, however I would still buy this game regardless.

Multiplayer: 10/10 (just for it being an option on this type of game.)

You simply will not be playing this game after you finish everything. It could be fun for an hour or so of just plain mayhem.

Saints Row is a good game. I did not like GTA, but Saints Row improves on the aspects that made that game hard to play. (such as the convenient map in Saints Row.) It is a must have game if you like to kill things, or would like to pretend to commit crimes. It isn't a good game if you like an engrossing story, but if you are a little creative you can make one up for yourself. I tend to just kill things, and the killing is good. A good change of pace from Halo and stealth shooters. I would wait for the price to drop to $30.00 to pick it up, but if you have the cash go ahead and buy it now.

Overall: 90/100 (Above average)

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 02/20/07

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