• Publisher: THQ
  • Release Date: Aug 29, 2006
  • Also On: Mobile
Metascore
81

Generally favorable reviews - based on 74 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 63 out of 74
  2. Negative: 1 out of 74
  1. This is a game guaranteed to offend and entertain in equal measure, but it is emphatically not for children.
  2. 100
    Volition benefits enormously from not having to develop for a stinky ol' Playstation 2. Since it went 3D, "Grand Theft Auto" has been lodged firmly and uncomfortably against the limits of Sony's console system. But with Saint's Row, the Grand Theft Auto model busts free.
  3. The game is the deepest and most exciting to date of all the freewheeling street shooter games. There are missions and activities galore.
  4. 95
    Saints Row's Xbox Live presentation is a colossal step in the right direction for the genre, with its live-action lobby, imaginative game modes, and an MMO-inspired element that allows you to amass and spend the money you win online.
  5. It's one of the few next-gen games that truly warrants a next-gen price tag, with a lengthy single-player campaign and a fun online component to extend the experience.
  6. Saints Row is worth your money, plain and simple. Its "Grand Theft Auto" inspired gameplay is not only very well done here, but through many refinements and advances in the feature set, Volition has delivered a game that is... dare it be said... better in some respects.
  7. The next-gen graphics capabilities of the 360 are definitely put to use here and the game simply looks gorgeous. In these kind of games you always want to blow stuff up, of course, but the way Saint’s Row applies particle effects and flying debris (and bodies!) changes it from mindless destruction into a true art form.
  8. Tweaks the Grand Theft Auto formula just enough to make it somewhat fresh. There is definitely room for improvement as the game doesn’t include boats or motorcycles for instance but Saints Row is a must have.
  9. It's almost as if Saint's Row is a parody of the "GTA" games, with its over the top raunchiness, obvious innuendo and complete departure from reality. I never got that into the "GTA" games, but I can't seem to get enough of Saint's Row.
  10. The nature of the game's free-form design coupled with its devices also make it an extremely personal experience, more so than any of its predecessors. [Sept 2006, p.50]
  11. A cracking game and at the end of the day is extremely fun and rewarding which is what counts. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, what with all the sexual orientated gags and the stereotypical look at gangster life.
  12. Despite all the murder and mayhem, one of the biggest aspects of Saints Row isn't how many thugs you can cap, but the deep level of customization.
  13. 90
    Saint's Row has done something that "Grand Theft Auto" had never managed to do for me: the game is so over-the-top, so exaggerated, so hyperbolical, that it really makes you suspend your disbelief and just "act a fool", getting into the role of your own personalized character and becoming a gangster.
  14. 90
    The game has just a pristine sheen all over it. It makes full use of the graphical horsepower of the 360. Tons of explosions or cars on the screen don't contribute at all to any slowdown.
  15. Although there aren’t multiple endings, this game lasts for long enough on its own and creating a new character always adds something different to the game.
  16. Sharing some similarities with the celebrated GTA franchise, THQ's actioner adds some original elements and some fluid controls to make this a winner on the 360.
  17. The controls don’t put a strangle hold on the gameplay, the graphics only have a few hiccups, and the audio is near perfection.
  18. Saints Row is still incredibly polished, unmistakably fun, and is absolutely one of the best games for the Xbox 360.
  19. The one area where Saints Row really goes outside of anything that "GTA" has to offer is through its amazingly diverse and highly enthralling online. [Sept. 2006, p.95]
  20. With the engaging storyline, deep character customization (both at creation and through the game), multiple gameplay options and exploration routes I can’t get enough of this game.
  21. Some will say "We have seen this before", which is true, but luckily Volition has taken the best parts from the GTA series and spiced them up. The result is immersive and fun to play. One of the best games on Xbox 360 so far. [Sept 2006]
  22. Volition put forth a game worthy of challenging GTA of its crown for king of the sandbox.
  23. 88
    While the online play may only walk off with a “thank you for participating” ribbon, the main single player experience is one that should be enjoyed by all and has a lot to offer to keep you playing for well over 30 hours.
  24. The variety of missions varies from great to funny to tedious.
  25. The missions and activities are fun, and the shooting action is perfectly tuned. Even as a serious imitator, Saint's Row manages to transcend its plagiaristic tone and delivers a genuinely engaging experience.
  26. From every angle you take, Saints Row is golden. You’ll drive around and conquer Stilwater for hours to come and enjoy every minute of it.
  27. 85
    But Saints Row, despite its distinct lack of originality, is fun. It starts out fun and it stays fun. It gets deeper and more engaging, and the storyline and the characters come to life, and you're compelled by seeing the narrative unfold just as much as getting all of the 10- and 20-point Achievements.
  28. 85
    This is the first game to actually challenge "GTA" for the throne among these types of games and it actually surpasses it on many levels.
  29. At the very least, it's the best-looking and -playing open-world game this side of "Oblivion" on the X360 right now.
  30. The overall production and core gameplay make Saints fun and engaging.
  31. The entire world of Saints Row hinges on gang activity while "GTA" only uses it as a stepping stone to reach the upper echelons of organized crime.
  32. It puts its mark on the ‘next-gen' in a way that will finally have Rockstar's venerable series being measured against something else as opposed to itself.
  33. Nothing like a drive-by shooting with a little Mozart cranking out of the subwoofers!
  34. Despite its shortcomings, Saints Row is a fantastic addition to the Xbox 360. It contains a long singleplayer experience, and has the potential to be an extremely rewarding online one as well.
  35. It's an exciting, dynamic experience that's frequently rewarding and rarely frustrating and can keep you coming back hour after shameless hour, as you cause mayhem throughout the rather large, detailed city of Stilwater. What's more, a surprisingly entertaining storyline and a number of smartly designed gameplay features make Saints Row a memorable game in its own right.
  36. It may be too over-the-top for some, but if you’re a fan of the Grand Theft Auto series, this will keep you securely fastened in the free-form third-person action genre… just don’t let the kids act this one out.
  37. 82
    Sure, it's never better than GTA itself and isn't going to win any awards for originality, but Saints Row does measure up to 2001's "GTA III" pretty well.
  38. Solid - but lacks the intelligence of "GTA"... Without a doubt, Saints Row's biggest contribution to the genre is multiplayer. This also happens to be the most fun part of the game. [Sept 2006, p.8]
  39. Though it might sound like a backhanded compliment, Saint's Row manages to climb atop the huge pile of GTA wannabes as the most well-excuted and enjoyable of the bunch. [Oct. 2006, p.71]
  40. The single player campaign mode has a somewhat abrupt ending that doesn’t exactly lend itself to replay value, but there are still tons of activities included in the game, not to mention those that you create for yourself. The multiplayer modes are the most significant innovation in Saints Row.
  41. It looks good, plays great, offers plenty to do and it's even funny at times - though in a much cruder way than GTA's more sly, subversively socially relevant sense of humor.
  42. The simple addition of a useful targeting systems opens up so much gameplay that felt tedious in "GTA."
  43. A viciously intense and wickedly gruesome gang simulator that offers up plenty of thrills.
  44. 80
    The multiplayer action is fairly solid, although it doesn't seem like it'll be one of those games that people will still be playing on Xbox Live in a few months. Even worse, the netcode is spotty, with some matches running flawlessly and others lagging horribly.
  45. Partly it's that Saint's Row is just too easy - the cops are less aggressive, the enemies are stupider, and the more open-plan gameplay makes it much easier to tackle missions by cheating. [Oct 2006, p.65]
  46. Better than "Grand Theft Auto"? From what I’ve experienced, both games focus on entirely different concepts of crime, so much so it’s almost a treat to flick backwards and forwards between each series. GTA is far more high flying, with huge drug raids and mafia troubles and I found Saints Row to be more down to earth, focusing on petty crimes and taking over gang turf.
  47. Volition tries and fails to re-create GTA’s sense of style, but their attempts at humor, from the naming of the businesses to the radio commercials, just comes off as even more derivative and less-inspired than its current gen doppelganger.
  48. If there's one thing Saints Row does brilliantly, though, it's explosions. Cars literally get blown apart and come crashing back down with debris flying all over the place.
  49. 80
    The city itself is quite attractive, largely due to the fact that Volition has gone to a lot of trouble creating high resolution textures for all of the buildings and pathways, not to mention the excellent lighting effects which really help bring the game to life.
  50. It's the best copy out there. High praise, but damning with it; like the kid from the rich neighbourhood with the gold chains and stupid trainers who thinks he can rap, it might look the part but it's just not the real deal.
  51. Saints Row lacks the clever subtlety and fun-loving sense of mischief of GTA, with much of its humour falling flat. But there's plenty of fun to be had while waiting for the real deal ("GTA IV") to be released in October next year.
  52. Keith David provides the voice of the leader of the Saints, and that guy has such an awesome voice he could make reading off his grocery list sound cool.
  53. 80
    Despite its complete lack of originality, humour that sometimes misses the point, and one or two occasional technical hitches, what is left at the heart of Saints Row is just an immensely fun and playable game with lots to see and do.
  54. It won't replace Grand Theft Auto in your carjacking, hooker-beating heart, but Saints Row is a surprisingly good clone, and it even manages to do a few things better than the games from which it shamelessly borrows.
  55. It's even superior to the larger-than-life franchise in a lot of ways, but many redeeming qualities are lost because of the short and completely un-involving storyline, boring lead character (you can combine customization with an actual character, just look at San Andreas), and lack of features found as standard in the later incarnations of the Grand Theft Auto franchise.
  56. The missions to the story are extremely well designed, and the tasks are considerably varied. The shooting missions are joy to behold too, set out in true 3rd person shooter style with no automatic lock on. But once all the razzmatazz of the story has gone, and the dust has settled on “the Row”, there isn’t enough variety to keep you coming back.
  57. The first game to copy "Grand Theft Auto" directly. It gets away with it for three reasons: one, it looks better than GTA ever did, two, it has insane online multiplayer that GTA4 will hopefully copy, and three, GTA was a gratuitously rewarding experience to begin with.
  58. So little experimentation yet so few mistakes in a genre that's littered with notorious misfires. More freedom would have wowed us, but this one for impatient "GTA" fans to investigate. [Issue # 11, p.76]
  59. While Saints Row won't win any awards for originality, it does manage to weave a pretty interesting story with great game play and a lot of fun activities to do.
  60. For wannabe thugs in upper-middle-class houses countrywide, Saints Row will seem like a sleek glock from the gods. [Oct. 2006, p.104]
  61. Volition has layered misogyny and brutality throughout what is an entirely civilian setting, and without GTA’s deft wit, Saints Row is the kind of title the British tabloids have been waiting for.
  62. Almost nothing here is frustrating: The game goes to extremes to make sure you always know where to go, what to do, and whom to run over.
  63. It’s good, messy fun, even if everything but the multiplayer is “borrowed.”
  64. While I really enjoyed the look and feel of the graphics and controls, there is still a nagging feeling that the game is just too much of a clone.
  65. 70
    Sure, "GTA"'s story and sense of humor were pretty infantile most of the time, but it was still damn funny and did a bang-up job of satirizing American pop culture and consumerism. In Saints Row, however, it all feels obligatory. Like it was something they just had to do, and the result is pretty lifeless.
  66. Sure, it's probably the most morally bankrupt game we've ever come across, but if you delight in extreme violence, language that would make Tarantino blush and a more forgiving take on the GTA theme then you've come to the right game.
  67. A game of little steps as opposed to giant strides; it's a game that ultimately fails to push open-world, free-roaming games onto the next-generation, but is, nonetheless entertaining and worthwhile.
  68. It is so easy to die in this game that you may not notice you’re dead until after you realize you’ve been shot at.
  69. Polished, involving and a great deal of fun, but current-gen in all but the smallest details. [Oct 2006, p.126]
  70. Refreshingly, the size of the game is just enough and avoids the titanic proportions of GTA.
  71. While Rockstar made its millions capturing the grotesque allure of fantasy crime, every character in this me-too endeavor is simply grotesque. It has a taste for hot coffee, but only knows how to serve it straight. [Oct 2006, p.88]
  72. 60
    The game goes overboard, too, when it attempts to be clever or creative. When Row tries desperately to outdo "Grand Theft Auto" in terms of its in-game radio stations—accessed when players hijack cars—it fails miserably.
  73. Relatively small game world does it no favours. [Issue #15]
  74. 22
    I don't want to see anyone play this badly built junk even once, let alone own it for the "joy" of multiple playthroughs. The single player experience was so bad I refused to even try the online mode. I don't want to see anyone else go through the pain of being tempted with such an immersive experience just to have it ripped away by the shortcomings of whoever was responsible for these game-breaking glitches.
User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 192 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 47 out of 53
  2. Negative: 2 out of 53
  1. BlueFalcon
    Nov 9, 2007
    10
    I hope gta4 is this much fun. At the moment this is the best game on the xbox 360 (yes better than gears of war, yes better than halo 3, and I hope gta4 is this much fun. At the moment this is the best game on the xbox 360 (yes better than gears of war, yes better than halo 3, and yes better than bioshock, oh and yes better than the orange box). To address some other comments i see... after 30+ hours of gameplay I haven't come across any noteable glitches. Calling this a gta clone doesn't do it justice. It improves upon the sandbox formula in a lot of memorable ways. Full Review »
  2. CalebHs
    Nov 10, 2008
    8
    No matter how awful the acts you commit in this game, no matter how many people you killed for no reason, no matter how many times you evade No matter how awful the acts you commit in this game, no matter how many people you killed for no reason, no matter how many times you evade the police, the story line always maintains one central idea: Justice. Full Review »
  3. Aug 27, 2012
    10
    I love this game this game i preordered this with dead rising when i got into this game i said **** i love it so much better then gta actionI love this game this game i preordered this with dead rising when i got into this game i said **** i love it so much better then gta action many objective and side mission all awesome Full Review »