The review of any game in the Saints Row-Series could be just one word: ludicrous.
The games of developer Volition are like a little brother of Rockstars GTA-series. The mad brother, always out for mischief. The one who doesn’t give a shit, takes nothing seriously, a lost cause. And that’s the truly wonderful thing about Saints Row.
The intro-sequence says it all (spoiler-alert!):
First you rob a bank, disguised with humongous, rubber foam heads. And these heads show… the face of your gang leader, who’s robbing the bank with you.
After a quick – or in my case an hour long – interlude with the character creation tool that gives you a very nice range of tools to customize your characters face, body and whatnot, the intro continues.
It has you falling out of a plane, diving for your colleague who doesn’t have a parachute while you avoid the load that dropped out of the plane and shoot down pursuers who jumped after you. Ludicrous.
When you finally reach and catch your colleague, the plane approaches, flying straight at you. So you drop your colleague, shoot open the front shield of the plane, drift through it grabbing a human shield and shooting down several thugs in the plane and out the back you fly, heading straight for, exactly, your colleague who’s still falling towards certain death (for about ten minutes now).
Scenes like this define the Saints Row series. Where GTA aims to be the game iteration of films like Taxi Driver, Saints Row is a straight forward action package that takes some liberties with logic for the sake of mad fun. But it does it with a lot of irony and that’s what makes especially the latest instalment in the series such an enjoyable piece of entertainment.
For example when you fall through what seems to be a neverending stream of cargo that fell from the plane and your character bluntly states: There sure was a lot of stuff in that plane.
Or my personal favourite, the fake radio-trailers for a superhero series that play as soon as you enter a car. Great writing that had me laughing out loud and miss the odd exit because I forgot where I was supposed to go.
So, summa summarum, all in all, if you like the gameplay of GTA, you’re gonna like the gameplay of Saints Row. It’s not exactly the same, but not really different either. And if GTA is a tad too serious for you, Saints Row might be just what you’re looking for.
In any case it’s bloody good fun and another example for where game writing is heading. The story, the characters, the dialogues and the action – all easily on a par with the best Hollywood action films.
Apart from The Expendables 2 maybe. They have Chuck Norris. And he doesn’t eat honey, he chews bees.