First tour through ‘Saints Row’

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OK, I’ve finally gotten some hours into virtual gangsta life on the 360. To be honest, I got a little bored with multiplayer at E3 — there’s something about 3rd person, non-robotic multiplayer that just doesn’t hold my interest. Perhaps I don’lt like actually SEEING a bunch of people running around shooting each other at random. True, Stilwater makes for a very interesting battlefield and there’s something to be said about getting into a car and driving around in a multiplayer universe — but I guess it’s just not me.

OK, we all know it’s a GTA-style game. Anyone who denies that is simply blind. The big question is how does it set itself apart?

Well, there’s the character creation, which I think is a good start. It reminds me somewhat of what the Tiger Woods games did, enabling you to produce a fully customized person, tailored either to look like you or whatever odd self-image you can come up with. So there’s a plus — a fully customized G for you to represent with.

The fighting controls are a little annoying. Right trigger for right punch, then left trigger to use the left hand? Physically, it makes sense, but in a game, it turned melee into a little bit of a chore — I should keep in mind though, I’m still spoiled off “Dead Rising” and the wunderkind hand-to-hand power of “journalist” Frank West. Perhaps I just need practice. We’ll see.


Nothing else really screams out at me just yet — there’s the ever-familiar dance of bouncing from place to place and partaking in various missions ranging from actual story-related material to the task of supplying pimps and madams with employees. I get the feeling I’ve done this already — oh wait, I have. What bugs me is that I have to build up “respect” to access the major missions, which means I’m pigeonholed into doing some of the random tasks around the city. That’s a lack of freedom that story lovers might find irritating.

Gunplay is interesting. There’s no auto-targeting like in GTA — just use the right thumbstick to aim and pull the right trigger. FPS fans will pick this up instantaneously. I also like how you can FINALLY shoot enemies through the windshield. That’s a bit of realism that’s been missing so far, and it makes the volleys of vehicles that come after you a little more tolerable.

But what is up with the goofy artificial intelligence? Stand still and people watch for a bit, and you’ll see people get run over or shot at random without much of a reaction from anyone. I saw a massive hit-and-run outside of the burger place that seemed as normal to bystanders as the sun rising. I understand this is difficult, and I certainly can’t do it — but it’s silly right now.

OK, I’m whipping out the notebook and getting set to dive into it a little more. But first, I might try to make some headlway into “Rule of Rose,” which is legitimately creeping me out. Check back later.

  • Reggie

    Did you try any of the side tasks that are all over the place? You have to try out Insurance Scam. It’s one of the strangest mini-games that I’ve played in a game like this, where you WANT to get hit by a car to make some big bucks.