01 Sep 06

In Saints Row, players begin the game as a member of the 3rd Street Saints, battling rival gangs and corrupt officials while attempting to conquer the city of Stilwater. Gamers can personalise their experience through an unparalleled level of character customisation and the freedom to progress through multiple storylines in any order they choose. Unique side activities such as Snatch (rescuing prostitutes from abusive pimps) and our personal favourite, Insurance Fraud (where you can earn decent money by deliberately throwing your character under moving vehicles and making sure that there are pedestrians in the area to witness it) add to the hours of gameplay. The virtual city is divided up into 36 neighbourhoods ranging from distinct themes, like the downtown, Chinatown, stadium, or industrial areas of a real city. The one thing that all neighbourhoods have in common is that they’re controlled by one of the handful of gangs that call the city home. The Saints control only one zone at the start of the game, but by completing certain story missions you’ll take control of additional areas and receive money from each of them daily. As you would expect, there is a  map that will help you get around but one very welcome feature is the “path-finder” where you can set your desired destination and a “bread-crumb” line will appear on your GPS mini-map letting you find the quickest route without having to constantly re-open your map every few kilometres. The Xbox 360 definitely gets a decent trial in Saints Row with an enormous amount of detail. Cars will indicate before turning, draw distances will let you witness gang fights a whole block away, bullet-holes will stay on almost every surface and the debris/particle effects from every explosion make this a visual-treat. We know what many of you are thinking – it’s the next-gen GTA. And to be honest the similarities are there – but with this much eye-candy going on, I doubt anyone will complain. Rag-doll physics, glossy graphics and the ability to put yourself in the game make this an entirely more in-depth experience. Not only this – but Saints Row brings online multiplayer to the open-world genre for the first time allowing gamers to battle rival gangs online in a variety of different modes (Capture da Bling for example). The game will support 12 players on the Xbox Live online entertainment network – allowing you to make up your own gang of fellow Live members for fun on da streets!

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