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 Saints Row Review

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Harden Cox
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Posts : 232
Join date : 2011-02-20
Age : 75

PostSubject: Saints Row Review    Thu Oct 13, 2011 5:13 am

Kis wants me to do some game stuff for Xbox so lets start this with review of Saints Row





Caution this is not my review i am to damn lazy to do one so what i did after an hour in a half of looking was found a review that i very much agreed with I shall put credits at the end for anyone who cares

The beginning of Saints Row manages to separate itself quite a bit from the game that it is so obviously modeled after. First of all there’s the player creation mechanic which allows you to design your player very similarly to how you would a golfer in Tiger Woods. Everything from hairlines to waistlines can be designed to your liking, something that would have been nice to see in GTA, but was understandably left out. The ugly underbelly of that equation is that due to the millions of combinations that you can come up with using the creation tool, your character never develops much of a personality throughout the game. In Vice City Tommy Vercetti (Or how ever you spell his last name) the main character had a strong personality that helped to bring you into the world of being a criminal, but in Saints Row the main character is nearly entirely mute – less a few sentences that take a stab at humor, only a few hitting their mark. Instead the story relies on its supporting cast of gang members to drive the plot forward; luckily They all do it quiet beautifully
THQ went to great lengths to sign on some seriously big names in the world of acting including Michael Clarke Duncan, Keith David, David Carradine, Michael Rappaport, and Tia Carrere among others. They all sell their respective personas very nicely, much like the actors in all of the GTA games. Without the cast of actors in Saints the plot would undoubtedly fall flat on its face, rather than shining through as well as it does.

The missions, and more importantly, the entire point behind Saints Row is dominating the 36 neighborhoods that make up Stilwater. The Saints – your character’s apparent gang of choice – have been on the losing end of the gang wars as of late, seeking a haven in what seems to be their last piece of safe ground; the church. The opposing gangs are fairly typical fare. First, there are those of the Latin persuasion, Los Carnales (just be sure not to call them The Los Carnales). They’re fiery Latinos, short tempered for sure. Then there are the Westside Rollers, unsurprisingly their interests lie in jacking cars and pimping out their rides with the latest and greatest accessories. Next come the Vice Kings, probably the nastiest of the four. Their gang is founded on shady business and resembles the mob a bit more than the others. My question is why can’t players make the choice of allegiance for themselves? It seems that here, in the next-generation, that games should let gamers make the choices, for a more user-defined experience. Sadly, Saints doesn’t quite make the leap into true next-generation gameplay. For that, we’ll more than likely have to wait for Rockstar’s next.

Each of the gangs has their own set of missions, and you can complete these missions in any order you’d like. For continuity’s sake you’ll likely want to play through one set at a time, just to keep the story as straight as possible. Unlike GTA though, the core missions are not readily available for your completion. Instead the respect meter needs to be filled so that missions will open up. Filling the meter requires players to complete activities, of which there are many scattered throughout Stilwater. The offering of activities includes things like hijacking cars, pulling off insurance scams by causing as much damage to yourself as possible, and even participating in demolition derbies. The activities of Saints Row are actually a bit more fun than those offered in Grand Theft Auto, but the dynamic of forcing them down players’ throats gets a bit stale after awhile. There’s also the mystery as to why completing missions for your gang, which entails things like picking apart opposing gangs piece by piece, doesn’t earn you enough respect – or any respect at all for that matter – to continue on with the core missions. It’s understandable that Volition (the developers) wanted players to experience as much of Saints as possible, but they should have trusted their game to be fun enough to inspire gamers to explore further than the main missions.



The other meter that you will need to be constantly aware of is the notoriety meter. Essentially this will begin to fill depending on who you’re currently pissing off. Mow down a few coppers in the street and you’ll earn a few stars, or start a mission that requires you to push a gang’s drug shipments into the ocean and you’ll get some unneeded attention from your enemies. The more stars you have, the more trouble you’re in. Luckily, just as in Grand Theft Auto there is a forgiveness store that will reset your notoriety for a cost – ironically the store’s name is Forgive and Forget.

The notoriety system feels like it’s ripped straight out of Grand Theft Auto. The cops reactions are nearly identical. They begin with a few black and whites chasing after you, then the cops begin carrying shotguns, then helicopters and SWAT begin to appear, and that’s followed by FBI agents with their swank SUVs careening towards your character, with automatic assault rifles waiting on the inside. The gangs follow a similar response curve in that their intensity steadily ramps up as you gain more notoriety.

Beyond the constraints and predefined systems that lie within Saints Row there’s also a game that is largely about choice. Players have the ability to do everything that GTA provided, and in some cases maybe a bit more. You can own houses by stealing your enemy’s strongholds, you can buy weapons at the local gun shop, you can fine-tune your car with nitrous oxide at a parts store, or you can simply rampage your way around town and have a bit of fun with the innocent civilians of Stilwater.


Break yo’ self drink cup!


Just like GTA before it, a good bit of fun can be had in Saints Row by simply driving around town and wreaking as much havoc as possible. As players make their way across Stilwater it will become clear that what you’re driving through isn’t designed to be a virtual depiction of a city, but instead a city in its own right. People carry out everyday events just as they would in everyday life, but the realism of the city is truly brought out by the oddities that happen in common society. As you drive through Stilwater you’ll see car wrecks, people robbing stores, and even citizens mugging one another. These random events help sell the fact that you’re in a living, breathing city atmosphere and not just some huge random group of avatars.

The streets of Stilwater are nicely varied. Sometimes you’ll be driving around nice, cookie-cutter residential homes, and other times you’ll have to trek through the game’s interstate system. Much like the rest of the game, the roadways feel very alive and are constantly littered with the residents of Stilwater. The physics engine of Saints also aids in the fun factor. The ragdoll physics that are exhibited as you plow through an innocent pedestrian are fun to see, and the fact that oncoming drivers actually fly through their windshields in a head-on collision is a bit of good, if not sadistic, fun.

Speaking of sadistic fun, the multiplayer arena is filled with awesome game modes that turn illegal activities into decadent entertainment. Matches are both free-for-all and team-based in structure, and are meant for up to twelve players at a pop. You can thoroughly pimp out your online character just as you can your offline persona, and join an in-game gang (clan), complete with matching threads and statistical tracking.

Game modes go from the been-there-done-that Deathmatch known as Gangster Brawl, to the strategic superstar Blinged out Ride. In team-based Blinged, both teams will have to pimp their rides amidst gunfire and adversarial vehicles looking to play demolition derby. There’s also a President-like Protect tha Pimp mode, and a fun resource (i.e. gold necklaces) gathering, free-for-all or team based mode entitled Big A$$ Chains. There’s even a form of two player co-op which allows two players to partake in various, multiplayer-specific activities, such as drug running and fleeing a crime scene.




Gameplay Controls:

For the most part the controls in Saints Row manage the action very efficiently. The aiming reticule that has been bestowed upon players is much more intuitive and user-friendly than the lock-on system that GTA uses. The only fault of the targeting system pops up while sniping, as the right analog stick can be a bit too touchy when trying to make that crucial headshot kill. The default driving controls could also use some tinkering as the ‘A’ button is the default gas pedal, which is obviously not nearly as intuitive as the analog sticks or triggers can be. The camera is also a bit too slow to swing around while reversing, so you’ll be driving blind for a few seconds while the view repositions itself. Drive bys, on the other hand, are easier to execute than in Grand Theft, as you can now fire in any direction, not just to the right or left of the car.

The physics in the game affect the controls quite a bit as driving different car models provide for different abilities. Obviously hopping into a Corvette-style racer will lend itself to speed, but will lack the durability of a larger ride. Likewise, as you add more passengers to your vehicle the handling will get more sluggish, just like it would in the real world.

Here’s a quick rundown of the controls you’ll find within the world of Saints Row:

Left thumbstick – movement
Right thumbstick – change the view
D-pad – change radio station/recruit followers
Left trigger – alternate attack/handbrake
Right trigger – fire weapon/attack
A button – select option/accelerate
B button – change weapon
X button – jump/brake
Y button – action/skip cinematic
Right Bumper – sprint/look right
Left Bumper – block/look left


Overall Gameplay Impressions

In case it hasn’t become apparent yet at this point, one thing should be known about Saints Row - beyond the fact it’s sorely missing an apostrophe – and that is that it’s almost a carbon copy of dynamics that we’ve seen before. Grand Theft Auto pioneered the free-roaming genre, and Saints does little to truly innovate it. Sure there are a few new additions, like the plethora of activities, or the ability to meld your character to your liking, but there are simply too many parallels that can be drawn for Saints to be considered a truly great game. It’s fun, there’s no mistaking that. Running around the city of Stilwater and working through the impressively involving plotline is great, but it all feels extremely familiar. While it may be true that the bar has been raised for GTA IV, Rockstar likely won’t have a problem clearing it with ease come October 2007.


Graphics

From the moment you start the game it’s clear that you’re playing on the Xbox 360. There are realtime reflections on the cars that you drive, some impressive shader models, and finely detailed characters for you to toy around with. The city of Stilwater is modeled very nicely and benefits from the fact that it doesn’t have to worry about the constraints of being molded in the image of an actual American metropolis. The map of the city that is presented to players is also very functional and well laid out, giving players the ability to set waypoints to any number of hotspots. The radar on the HUD, is also nicely organized, if not a bit too zoomed in. I found myself being surprised by an oncoming turn because the radar doesn’t present a wide enough viewable area a bit too often.


Please, please….not the fauxhawk!


As you continue to traverse the city of Stilwater the visuals get a bit rougher. It’s almost as if the more you see in Saints Row the less you’ll like. Driving around the interstate system reveals several pop-in problems with everything from cars and shadows, to pedestrians and signs on the side of the street. Not only that but there are also instances when cars that you’re approaching will simply disappear into thing air. The framerate is another problem area for Saints. When the action gets too frantic on-screen, which it commonly does thanks to the amount of chaos that you’re able to cause, things can slowdown to what can only be defined as a quick slideshow.

Overall the visuals are more of a mixed bag than the developers were obviously aiming for. There are hints of graphical wonder within the follies that the engine constantly makes, but they’re bogged down a bit too much. The explosions are something to watch, and viewing a car go from pristine condition to a rumbling mess of bolts and pipes is pretty cool, it’s just too bad that they couldn’t smooth it all out in the last few months of development. It’s a memorable showing, but we’ll be expecting much more from GTA IV.


Audio

Again, keeping with Grand Theft Auto’s user-defined aural experience, Saints Row offers radio stations which can be tuned to several different frequencies, each representing a different genre. Most of the mainstream categories are well represented, with several notable artists lending their stylings to the soundtrack. There’s also a personal music player that allows you to put music that you’ve purchased and place it onto what amounts to an MP3 Player.

Just as the music shines through, the dialogue and sound effects do the same. As we said before, the actors who voice the personas in the gangs do a splendid job. The plot wouldn’t be nearly as accessible and engrossing as it is without the Hollywood talent backing up the story arcs at every turn. They’re funny when they’re supposed to be, they’re dramatic at the proper time, and because of that the story runs its course without a hitch. The sound effects follow in the same pattern with each sounding just as they should while packing the proper amount of punch.


The Bottom Line

At the end of the day Xbox 360 owners could do much worse than Saints Row. The amount of fun-filled gameplay that it delivers is worth the price of admission, and that’s not even factoring in the multiplayer playability or the Hollywood production values. The visuals hit a few bumps in the road, but it’s not enough to significantly detract from the overall fun factor.




Credits go to- http://reviews.teamxbox.com/xbox-360/1208/Saints-Row/p1/

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