Saints Row, an open-world crime epic, will be released for PC and consoles on August 23 by Volition. It’s not difficult to perceive the unnumbered game, a revival of the genre situated in a metropolis akin to Las Vegas, as a dig at Rockstar’s upcoming Grand Theft Auto 6. However, Saints Row does a number of things far better than the original, despite the fact that it is often viewed as an imitation. Here are some of the ways we think GTA falls short in comparison. Is this comment outrage bait intended to incite Rockstar fans to rage? Maybe, but it’s also a straightforward evaluation of two franchises that are very important to us. Additionally, friendly competition encourages both parties to step up their game, which is ultimately beneficial for gamers.

1. BATTLE Sometimes as a criminal, you have to use force to make your point. While GTA loses interest in reality as your level of wanted rises, low-level shootouts and similar activities aren’t really entertaining. While Rockstar removed the crazy and entertaining weaponry from the prior games, Volition introduced even more. As a result, skirmishes in Saints Row are much more interesting across the entire game because to the mix of tactical nuance and ridiculous boomsticks. Every time we engage in a combat in GTA V, we dread the auto-aiming bullet sponge adversaries. Lean into the fact that gun battle in video games is unrealistic by nature—if it weren’t, we’d all be playing Counter-Strike—and try to at least make it interesting.

2. PERSONALIZATION Rockstar has gradually shifted the GTA series towards narratives that are substantial and akin to those in movies, and to do that, you need well defined lead characters. That’s wonderful for them, but when we play video games, it’s nice to be able to relate to our on-screen avatar—especially in a sandbox game with so much room for exploration. Saints Row gives you the ability to customize your Boss in almost every way, including voice actor and even gender, giving you the impression that your adventure through the game truly belongs to you rather than merely being an extra in someone else’s movie.

MOBILITY 3. How little you can actually interact with the incredibly rich worlds Rockstar creates is one of the biggest disappointments of the GTA series. Although the cities and surrounding areas are enormous, they are also largely desolate and inaccessible. Volition is able to make the smaller worlds of their games more vertical and provide the player better movement options by incorporating ridiculous superhuman abilities. Being able to fly adds a lot to Saints Row because cities aren’t as intriguing when viewed solely from the ground.

4. RELATIONSHIPS Grand Theft Auto’s ominous and brutal landscape gives you the impression that it’s just you and the universe, and the last game’s trio of protagonists still left you feeling somewhat alone. The Saints, though, are a gang and they watch out for one another. You have the support of Johnny Gat, Shaundi, Pierce, and the others, who genuinely seem like allies rather than being NPCs who disburse missions. Everything you do has a little more significance because you can accompany your friends on missions and into conflict; as a result, you feel real emotion when one of these characters suffers a negative outcome.

5. DIVERSITY In GTA V, there are certainly a lot of things you can accomplish, but not many of them are worthwhile or satisfying. Although you might say that about actual life, I already do. Saints Row has transformed the art of the side gig into a number of pursuits that might all stand alone as games. For instance, the Insurance Fraud missions are tremendously entertaining as you toss your nearly indestructible body into an intersection and attempt to extort money from Geico and State Farm by causing accidents and property damage. Unlike the limited and ultimately pointless side content in the GTA franchise, there is always something new to keep you busy in these games.

6. CHOICES ARE FREE The missions in the majority of Grand Theft Auto games are the worst, according to fans. Although they are obviously necessary to advance the plot, these parts’ levels of difficulty frequently appear out of proportion, especially when they entail driving. And to make matters worse, there frequently seems to be just one method to defeat them, and deviating from the plan necessitates annoying redos. Saints Row’s open-ended missions provide the player considerably more room for improvisation and personal choice because Volition respects them enough to do so. Just good game design, there.

7. CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT One of the fun things about playing video games is seeing how your on-screen character develops over time, learning new tricks and taking on more difficult foes. That kind of abstraction is resisted by the grounded nature of the GTA games, and for the most part, the skills you begin with are the ones you finish with. Yes, you can level up your stats in GTA Online, but not in the regular game. In Saints Row, however, the player has access to a robust upgrade system that puts them in control of expanding their talents. This system enables them to enhance running speed, reduce damage taken, make money more quickly, and perform other tasks.


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8. HUMOR There’s no disputing that the Grand Theft Auto games can be rather humorous, but many of Rockstar’s gags have a slightly shady and vicious tone. Apart from the apparent homophobia, the brand seems to take pleasure in pain and abuse. We don’t mind a little gloom, but sometimes it becomes too much. Saints Row’s rambunctious silliness is just simpler to take, especially in large quantities. We were a little worried that the new game seemed to be losing some of its distinctive comedy, but we’ll soon know how much it was missed.

9. MULTIPLAYER GAMES Simply put, causing mayhem with a friend is more fun, and Saints Row has you covered there. The new game also offers cross-platform play. All the titles offer various forms of co-op support. One could argue that GTA Online is Rockstar’s response to that, but there are significant differences between playing story mode with a friend and navigating the griefer realm and Rockstar’s exploitative economy. Co-op has been a cornerstone of the Volition series from the start, and they’ve mastered it.

KEITH DAVID 10. Keith David is in Saints Row. But GTA doesn’t. Article is complete.
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