GTA clone I hear you say? Well maybe Saint's Row could be classed as that, GTA is a very popular game and classing Saint's Row as a clone of GTA is really a huge advantage to Saint's Row. It's about time a game came out like this on a next-gen console.
For the very first time we have a free roaming Xbox live game, where you can go
Where you want and do what you want to do without restrictions, well until you reach the end of the very large map, that is.
How good is it offline and online and is this a step in the right direction?
Loading the game for the very first time you have two options, you can jump Straight in and explore the free roamed very large city of Stillwater, by foot Or by the huge collection of vehicles available to you, from cars, police Vehicles, trucks, trains etc you name it, it's there excluding aeroplanes and Motorbikes or you can begin the missions.
However, if you choose to start the hundreds of varied missions, which starts the story it will ask you to design a character. The character design has an extensive Selection of different nationalities, body weight, muscle build, hair colour, face shape etc, the character is fully rota table, so you can check it from all angles and you can if you want spend ages here getting that character exactly how you want or you can randomise it and let the game choose it for you.
When you press the Y button and begin the first mission the story starts and things really begin to open up;
You are in the wrong place at the wrong time and witness a gang brawl. The 3rd Street Saints drag you into their gang, but first you need to prove yourself Worthy to them.
The Saint's then direct you to Friendly Fire, a weapons store where you get to buy your first weapon. As you progress through the game and earn or steal money you are able to buy better weapons and there is a useful selection from pistols, SMGs to grenade launchers, clothes, even plastic surgery, drugs, Liquor, soundtracks, modify your vehicle among a huge selection of other items and services can be bought. Or you can pick up weapons and cash from the people you run over, beat up or shoot. If you want to then you can rob the cashier at gunpoint and run away with the cash
You are advised to stock up on your weapons before starting missions as you will need to use them.
|Don't get too close now|
As well as the missions there are a variety of different activities which increase in level difficulties. Ranging from holding people to ransom in their cars, Rescuing ho's, collecting vehicles, racing and demolition derbies.
There are a huge amount of stores and services, where you can buy items and services that you want, from clothes, jewerly, weapons, drink, drugs, food. A forgive and forget service is available should you get yourself in trouble with the police and have so many stars the FBI and helicopters are after you, this puts the police off your tail. A garage as well where you can repair your cars.
Taking drugs or drinking alcohol will change the screen to blurry which is very realistic and as this is a game you can drive whilst under the influence.
Earning respect is very important and this is done by killing other gang members, completing the missions and activities. Increasing the respect bar will unlock missions and create safe houses, complete with a garage to collect your cars in, these also double up as save points although you can if you wish save the game whenever you please. Pedestrians react to your actions and remember who you are and start fights around you.
The map system, available when you press start, is very easy to use, with zoom functions it allows you to see the whole island. Selecting the different options along the bottom will light up the different categories of missions, save places, activities etc and show you how to get to certain things when you select the one you want to do, following a green dashed line on the mini map in the game. In fact it is like a GPS system.
As you go through you unlock "cribs" these are safe houses where you can keep clothes, money and weapons, they also double up as save points.
You are able to shoot from cars, but targets do not lock on so your aim is all important. The handling of the vehicles is very good. A funny feature of the game is when you jump on a bonnet of a car being driven by another character, after a while they panic and scream and drive into people and objects!
When hit by a car characters will shoot off into the air and land almost relealistically, with their legs bent or in a crumbled heap. Another amusing thing is there are people dressed as hot dogs walking down the street!
The graphics are superb, and HDTV users will notice the high-end shader models and shine on the cars, through to the dazzling headlights, even the characters' hair moves, with rag-doll physics and car damage, they will crumble and bend when hitting obstacles this is what you would expect from a next-gen game and does make Saint's Row one of the best looking games on the Xbox 360 market.
You have a huge soundtrack available, from gangster rap to classical, which you can select and the radio stations are really amusing and even tell you of blockages up ahead or sales in the stores. In fact one of the mini missions is to collect CD's which increase your playlist. One of the features is that you can hear the music from cars when you are not in them, and depending on where you are directed to becomes muffled or basey. Character dialogue in the cut scenes will have you in stitches and are very different from gang leaders and their leader-like voices to female characters with charm and the many characters running around or going through their daily routines in the game are also witty. The racing activities are especially funny where the woman says 3-2-1 and then screams GO! had me in stitches every time I heard it.
|Hi-jacking is the way to go in this game|
Ranked matches are ranked by true skill which is a bar that changes as you beat (or are beaten by) your opponents. As the bars increases you go up a level.
As you play you earn money to customise your character with items such as bandanas, t-shirts and other items of clothing.
All options in Saint's Row are very well presented and easy to use as with the Xbox Live side.
There are leaderboards and downloadable content and of course system link.
I can see the Xbox Live side of this is going to be a lot of fun as there are so many options and here at Xboxliveaddicts, the Xbox Live side is extremely important with games.
The game is no way directed at children and you may want to usher them out of the room or send them to bed before you play this. It does carry a rating of 18+, which is a good thing as there are lots of flower baskets (f words) and killing, high jacking, drugs etc.
Saint's Row offers depth and variety, it's a go anywhere do anything first of it's kind game, that is sure to keep you playing for months on end and you still won't discover everything this game has to offer! I haven't covered every single feature in this game to do this it would take up many pages, and anyway you need to find these out yourself. Be part of it join the Saint's!
Pros :- very in-depth
Tons of missions and activities
Characters are both amusing and very well done
Handling of both the vehicles and character
Huge variety of Xbox Live options
Cons:- Whole city not available on Xbox Live
No aeroplanes or motorbikes
No vibration when shot