Saints Row

Saints Row Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3

Third-person shooter set in a free-roaming urban environment.

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8Out of 10
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Saints Row might copy GTA, but it does it very well.
Saints Row might copy GTA, but it does it very well.

Saints Row might copy GTA, but it does it very well.

While copying Grand Theft Auto seems like an obvious thing to do, no one has really done so with enough conviction in their game to produce something that is anything more than a cash-in. It's all too easy to label Saints Row as the latest game to shamelessly crib from Rockstar's design docs, but to write-off Volition's debut next-gen title like this would be more than a little foolish. We've got more than a year to wait before a true GTA game hits next-gen systems, and Saints Row fills that void very well indeed.

You play as a new member of the 3rd Street Saints, one of four gangs that are fighting for territory in the fictional city of Stilwater. After a rather uneasy beginning, complete with overdone speech and character introductions that seem rather forced, things settle down into a surprisingly entertaining and well written story. The goal is to take over the city, taking control of areas that are currently run by other gangs. Each gang has its own distinct look and favoured vehicles, and the main characters are pretty believable, although a few jokes are thrown in here and there.

Core gameplay is as to be expected, with your character being free to walk, run and drive around the city as he pleases. Innocent drivers are rather unceremoniously escorted from their vehicles in typical GTA fashion, but you'll only ever be driving cars, trucks and the like - the bikes, planes and boats seen in San Andreas sadly don't make an appearance. That's not to say that the cars are dull, they're far from it, and there's a pretty large number to hijack, each with its own unique driving style.

The key to progress in Saints Row is respect. You need a full respect bar in order to tackle a new mission, and while this might seem like a system designed to extend the game's length, for the most part earning respect is a lot of fun. Your character earns respect in a number of ways, such as taking down rival gang members and tagging specific areas in enemy territory, but the easiest and most fun way to do so is to play one of the game's many mini-game-like activities.

'Activities range from the fairly simple 'Snatch' in which you need to grab hos from pimps and deliver them to a certain location, to the rather genius 'Insurance Fraud' in which you need to cause as much damage to yourself as possible.'

Activities range from the fairly simple 'Snatch' in which you need to grab hos from pimps and deliver them to a certain location, to the rather genius 'Insurance Fraud' in which you need to cause as much damage to yourself as possible. Other activities see you trafficking drugs, hijacking vehicles, and providing a dubious limousine service. In fact, it's only really the rather dull racing activities and the time hogging hitman and chop-shop that let this portion of the game down. The hitman activity is a particular chore, as you'll be scouring an area searching for a target with only his rough location given to help you out.

When you've gained enough respect to tackle a mission it'll generally have been worth it. Although the game's designers have been limited to on-foot and vehicle-based action, you get a good variety and things are always action packed. Numerous missions include in-door sections, seamlessly integrated, so there's no waiting around while the indoor environment is loaded. Unlike the GTA games, which featured targeted aiming, Saints Row uses a more traditional third-person shooter system, with aiming entirely down to the player. This is handled very well, though, and only long-time GTA fans will miss the absent lock-on targeting.

The characters start off rather annoying, but don't remain that way.

The characters start off rather annoying, but don't remain that way.

Letting down the missions somewhat are the often ill-conceived cutscenes. These are often used to link together multi-part missions or to end a mission, but at times they seem to make no sense. One particular scene sees you and your followers enter a room ready to take on the guy inside, only for the game to show a cutscene where you have no weapons and the guy you're after has a gun pointed at you. It's extremely strange and is at odds with the game's generally impressive production values.

At times you'll get a call on your mobile, asking you to help fend off an attack in one of the areas controlled by the 3rd Street Saints. In order to keep control of the area you need to kill the rival gang members, and conversely you can attempt to take control of a rival gang's zone. Of course, you'll need to have built up a full respect bar in order to do so, and come fully kitted out with plenty of weapons and ammo. With pistols, SMGs, shotguns, rifles, hand grenades, and even a rocket launcher available to buy at your local gun store, getting hold of the right tools for the job isn't hard if you've got the right money. Money is earned pretty easily, although you can always carry out a hold up if you're short on cash.

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User Comments

riley's Avatar
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any cheats to get followers
Posted 14:20 on 13 August 2008
AshMan's Avatar
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Ano i want to now that as well JULIUS i dont understand why you need to get blown up wat did i do wrong.
Posted 19:51 on 02 April 2007
AshMan's Avatar
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this game is a ace game i recommend it to any 1 i hav all ready completed the game and it was great also the mutiplayer online is ace as well with all the different types of gameplay and people it is like a different game online like you can get money buy winning games and killing people so when you get the money you can buy online stuff for your charcter.

i think the best clothing on the game and the best gun is the pimp outfit and the pimp shogun is a cain but its a shogun in side it looks ace you get this in the game when you hav done all the snatch activities you also get the pimps car as welll what looks ace but also silly lol.
Posted 19:48 on 02 April 2007
lewis's Avatar
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how do you enter letters pls tell me
Posted 10:23 on 18 March 2007
RequimForMe's Avatar


Yah, screen ripping problems and graphics aside I think that this game and GTA:SA are both great games but in different areas. I really enjoyed robbing stores and doing random tasks on the side to gain respect to unlock new missions [it could've turned out really bad, but somehow they manages to pull it off]. Car physics in my opinion are much better in the GTA series. This game is very easy. That helps though with not having as many people who use cheats as they did in GTA. The gun targeting was very precise, I couldn't really tell though if I missed the auto aim from the GTA series. Especially since if a cheat is used the achievements are turned off. All in all I really enjoyed this game, yet I still can't wait to see how the new GTA4 will fare comparatively to it.
Posted 21:59 on 22 January 2007
kneedownkid's Avatar
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Great game while waiting for GTA4 but has a few glitchs that can be a little frustrating. A purple Santa suit is a must wear when cruising wid ya homies
Posted 20:58 on 22 January 2007
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Julius@ Alvy_Singer

OK, Love the game, but why do you have to get blown up at the end?
Posted 16:05 on 24 November 2006
360fan's Avatar
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360fan@ Alvy_Singer

its a brilliant game and i would recromend it to anyone who like gta
Posted 12:11 on 29 October 2006
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mike_mgoblue@ Alvy_Singer

If you are a fan of the Grand Theft Auto game series, you will love the Saints Row videogame series!!!

Saints Row has excellent voice acting, it plays nearly identical to Grand Theft Auto, so you can be familiar with it very quickly!

I highly recommend Saints Row.
Posted 23:23 on 15 September 2006
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mark@ Alvy_Singer

saints row is one of the best games ive seen.after playing on the demo i realised i needed to buy it .I got it on released date 1st of september. The graphics on the game prove how good the 360 is. saints row is one of the best games ive got apart from oblivion of course.
Posted 19:41 on 03 September 2006
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paul360@ Alvy_Singer

Cool game !!!!
Posted 20:03 on 01 September 2006
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Vallentin@ Alvy_Singer

There is a bit of screen tearing, but gameplay-wise Saint's Row is a tonne of fun to play and definitely makes some improvements over GTA (ie the map system, the way the cars control, aiming etc).
Posted 13:34 on 01 September 2006
Alvy_Singer's Avatar


Spot on review.

Managed to play the game for a couple of hours last night and it still seems like a more polished version of GTA, albeit without Rockstar's moments of inspired genius.

Frame rate wise, it's also extremely frustrating to suffer through the vertical sync problems on the cut scenes. How can the 360's graphics chip not cope with such a basic task? It's driving me crazy.

/takes a deep breath and counts to ten.
Posted 10:59 on 01 September 2006

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Saints Row
Out of 10
Saints Row
  • Great production values
  • Lengthy campaign
  • Fun mini-game activities
  • Dodgy frame rate
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 01/09/2006
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3
Developer: Volition
Publisher: THQ
Genre: Action
No. Players: 1-12
Rating: BBFC 18
Site Rank: 2,532 2
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