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Saint's Row Preview
game: Saint's Row
posted by: RJ Brooks
publisher: THQ
developer: Volition
date posted: 10:28 AM Fri May 19th, 2006
last revision: 10:27 AM Fri May 19th, 2006

Click to read.Saint\'s Row surprised me. I initially wrote Saint\'s Row off as another GTA clone that was just trying to cash in on the current craze in the free roaming genre and thug games. However, upon playing it, I was happy to discover that this is much more than the simple write off I once denounced it as.

While I have a lot of personal gripes with the recent commercializing of stereotypical images of gang/street violence in the gaming industry, I enjoyed playing Saint\'s Row. I spoke with one of the reps for the game who told me that when it comes to the story and the gang culture they built Saint\'s Row around, Volition hired a former gang member to serve as a supervisor on the story and script-and it shows. Just in the language and how it is used, as well as the choice in voices and some of the sequences, you could tell Saint\'s Row had some level of direction in terms of the culture and ideology that went past stereotypical images seen in movies and heard in music.

Saint\'s Row is all about gaining respect and customization. The goal of the game is to run the city. You run the city by gaining respect, and you gain respect by completing tasks. The customization comes in because you can customize everything from your character\'s looks to even how your car is designed.

Upon first starting, what stood out to me is that the game\'s theme song is by WuTang Clan-that alone earned Saint\'s Row an initial stamp of approval. The next screen was the character design set up. It is very quick and easy to make a character, and I was able to immediately jump into the game.

There are small touches to the gameplay that stood out and that gave Saint\'s Row some much-needed character to help distinguish it from competitors. The first little flair of style is visible when stealing a car that someone is driving. In most GTA-style games, when you steal a car that belongs to another character, you pull the driver out of the vehicle and jump in. In Saint\'s Row, though, you don\'t just pull them out of the car: First, you sucker punch the person, then yank them out, and then your character jumps in.

Then there is the gang situation. Upon initially entering the Saint\'s Row headquarters, for the fun of it, I punched one of the guards of the building. I was immediately ambushed by two guys and a girl all sporting the Saint\'s colors. I ran around them trying to get them off me because I could not fight back. Eventually they just left me alone. Now, yes that kind of reaction has been seen before, but in Saint\'s Row, it was the character animations that caught my attention. The characters seemed to acknowledge that they knew I was still there, but that they did not want to be bothered with me anymore and indicated that through their hand, eye, and mouth gestures. Small details, but nevertheless, it left an impression on me.

I am interested in playing Saint\'s Row when it is released. It is clear that the designers of Saint\'s Row have put a lot of work and research into its development, so hopefully when the game is ready to be released, the final version will reflect that as well. Although THQ is not known as a powerhouse developer (in fact, most of their games are pretty bad), I am keeping high hopes for Saint\'s Row.

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