My Addiction To The Original Saints Row

These days, Saints Row is very much a household name in gaming. It's a critically successful franchise, a game that has become notorious through its marketing and gimmickry, but also by being a whole lot of fun.

The Saints Row concept really came into its own in the third game, which I liked quite a bit. The over-the-top seeds that were planted for that game were sewn during Saints Row 2. But of all the games in the series, I actually became the most gruelingly addicted to the first one, back when it was just called Saints Row.

At some point during the spring of 2008, I hit a dry spot -- this was back when there still were dry spells that lasted more than a week or so -- and I wound up picking up a used copy of Saints Row after reading some reviews that called it, basically, an uninspired but functional HD Grand Theft Auto game.

I found that I loved it to death. The way that I'd fight to win new territory, the entirely manageable, persistent gang-warfare... I couldn't stop playing. I didn't mind the grating, ridiculous dialogue, I didn't care that the game was in many ways a shameless knockoff and in most ways an incorrigible try-hard.

I actually liked the TV-movie story and even when I finished it I just kept playing -- I wanted to finish all of the activities, I wanted to find all of the hitman targets, I wanted to stage elaborate Heat-style shootouts in the street. I blew past the Addicted to Tha Row achievement (a first for a game giving me an achievement for playing it a lot) and kept going. And going.

I'll say it unabashedly: I loved Saints Row. I loved playing an open-world crime-game on the Xbox 360, sure. But I also loved the world, bland though it may have been. I loved the free-aiming -- let's not forget that Grand Theft Auto IV actually couldn't manage to top Saints Row in that department -- I loved the weapon wheel, I loved how great the explosions looked. I actually learned my way around without the map; I customised a huge fleet of automobiles painted all manner of purple. I spent a lot of time assembling a killer wardrobe.

It's hard to say that the subsequent Saints Row games haven't gotten better -- in just about every quantifiable way, they have been. But Saints Row had that brief shining window after its 2006 launch but before GTA IV came out when it was... well, it was the best GTA game you could get on a next-gen console. And it deserved to be.

Discovering a diamond in the rough like Saints Row felt special, and man did I play the hell out of it.

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Comments

    I never played the old saints rows and I was worried the 3rd one would be some corny tacky gta clone, but I go it anyway and boy was I wrong. Saints row the 3rd is clearly far more polished than GTA and the story is both awesome and hilarious at the same time, reminds me a lot of that show "Archer' on tv.

    The first was an Xbox only game and the 2nd has to be one of the worst console ports of all time. PC gamers will only like the third.

      Original XBOX only?

      Then how come it's for sale for 360 second hand? :P

    I've always been a little bit surprised that Volition never had another crack at porting SR to the PS3 after the success of SR2 and 3.

      My sister owns SR2 for PS3.

    In my opinion, Saints Row 1 was the only Saints Row game worth playing. The others just try way too hard and fail in almost every aspect I can think of. Are they fun? Maybe, but personally I don't think so, especially when they are trying to force their 4th grade humor down your throat.

      The first one is the only one that even begins to take itself seriously. In Saints Row 2 the joke was that everything about the game was completely ridiculously over the top. In a lot of ways the plotlines and characters in Saints Row 2 were a parody of everything in the original. Just look at the difference between Johnny Gat the thug in the first and Johnny Gat the lunatic in the second.
      Gameplay wise everything they added was well designed. Whether they were dealing with helicopters or poo cannons they made sure to think the idea through.

      So yeah, long story short, the key to Saints Row 2 is to laugh at it not with it.

    Well the third was terrible.
    I'm playing the 2nd one with a mate on PC even though it has terrible bugs that were never fixed.

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